She was a classy lady, and one day I told her she looked like she could be the president’s wife, especially with the hint of auburn still remaining in her silver hair. But she lived on a quiet corner in Riverton, Wyoming. Her husband worked nights in the oil field, while she sat at her sewing machine, to make homemade dresses for her three daughters. She and Grandpa went to the little Baptist church on Sunday mornings and often hosted dinner parties with friends during the week.
Grandma always had a piece of needlework in a hoop, and in one season she fell in love with a counted cross-stitch pattern of a lion lying down by a lamb. From the wing-back chair in their small living room, her hands stitched the lion and then tucked the lamb into his side. The needle went up and down, until the word “Shalom” appeared on the bottom, with the same word in Hebrew up above.
Shalom -the Hebrew greeting of peace.
When I was a newly married woman, I drove Grandma and Grandpa to another town, for Grandpa’s doctor appointment. We chatted longer than we had ever chatted before, given Grandma’s introverted nature. On that ride home from Casper, she shared with me that for a very long time she and Grandpa had been financially supporting an organization that purposed to share the good news of the Messiah with the Jewish people.
That was the first I had ever heard of it and the last time we ever spoke of it. I don’t know what prompted them to give to this ministry, but Grandma had a quiet passion in her eyes when she talked about it.
Now let me bring you to the present day.
My husband and I just made an educational tour through the land of Israel. While I was in Israel, I met up with my cousin’s daughter, who had just arrived to go to school there. She’s going to school and also hopes to serve the underprivileged in the community. She is the great-granddaughter of my Grandma Eller.
“I have a special gift for you,” I told her, when we met up at the Sea of Galilee for a day.
Then I handed her Grandma’s cross-stitch and told her the story of how Grandma and Grandpa had loved Israel and wanted the best for the Jewish people.
I told her how I love Israel, too.
And then I asked her to hang the lion and the lamb picture on her wall and to remember that God has long been at work in central Wyoming, for the benefit of the apple of his eye. God was still at work in me and now in her, to love his chosen people.
It’s not a loud work.
Remember how many Jews could not believe Jesus was the Messiah? They wondered what good could possibly come out of Nazareth.
Seems God likes to work in Podunk towns in the middle of nowhere.
Seems he rather likes to choose nobodies to do his big work. I believe he even cares about the needlework of a Wyoming homemaker.
That needlework is now hanging on a wall, in an apartment on the west coast of the Promised Land. The work of Grandma’s hands has gone farther than she ever could have imagined.
So just one thought for you today: God wants to do great things through your not-so-much life. The little actions of your hands, when coupled with a deep love of God, can travel beyond the scope of your quiet circle. God wants to use you to change the world.
With love from Montana,