Lessons From Vera

Babushka Vera - Her name means 'faith', and she lives up to it.

It’s getting chilly ’round here!  With that in mind, went to visit our dear little Babushka Vera today with Tom.  Her nephew from 3hrs north is supposed to come and pick her up sometime this month before the harsh winter months set in.  Her 120yr old house is not equipped for winters anymore, let alone a hobbling old grandma.

We found her joyful, thankful, layered in clothing and a traditional scarf.  Her eyes still glisten with this youthful sparkle.  We tried to coax her to pack up and move in with us while she waits for her family to come down.  I mean it’s really cold out at night folks!  She is content to brave the 30-40F nights we’ve had lately, many blankets and a winter coat hang over her bed.  She’s a warrior in many respects.

Our spiritually minded Babushka is teaching me something every time I visit her.  Some of the classes include:

Contentment 101- As we sat in her dirty, cluttered and chilly 3 room house, she reminded us that the Bible warns against complaining like the Israelites.   She can barely walk with a walker, and her outhouse is 50ft from her outside door.  Her well is even further.

Hope 101- She sings to us hymns spontaneously about the hope in Jesus, the glory that awaits her.  Her eyes are on the prize, not her earthly situation.

Gratitude 101- Not just for the little bits of food we might bring, or the short and difficult conversations we’ve had.  She sees God’s goodness in it all, she praises God verbally mid conversation for the ways He takes care of her and shows her He’s present.  She cares more about God’s confirming love than the blessings themselves.

Stubbornness 101- I told her she was stubborn today.  She chuckled and brought it up a few times.  It was meant in part as a compliment.  She refuses to keep her house warm which isn’t reasonable, I told her she’s not in heaven yet and until she goes there, God would like to keep her warm!  She does however refuse to be pandered to, she knows her place in the Kingdom, and I respect that.  She’s going to finish this life on her terms – you go girl!

So we’ll keep taking her some food, smiling, hugging and praying for dear Babushka Vera.  If the family doesn’t come and get her soon though, I told her I will physically pick her up and take her to our home.

As I type this I’m thinking about my warm house, the things I take for granted.  Running water, electricity, the comforts of life that only a few centuries ago weren’t considered a ‘right’.  We don’t like to think about some of these things.  We like our comforts, we see them as blessings and granted, they are pretty incredible!  Somehow though I think for many of us those blessings are entanglements, drowning us in a sea of self absorption.  We would do well to loosen some of the loads of this life, get back to basics and press into Jesus like it’s our own final hour – it may just be.

Bruce & Deborah Crowe
Missionaries | Rzhyshchiv, Ukraine

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