After My Grandmother Died, Guess What We Found in Her Bible

Today would have been Grandma Ham’s 89th birthday. For those who didn’t have the privilege of knowing her, she was four feet ten inches of well-permed, God-fearing delight. Recently, while my mom was cleaning out my grandmother’s home, she found my grandmother’s Bible. Well, actually, there were many. But what she found inside was a testimony to a life lived in the trenches of faith.

To my grandmother, the Bible wasn’t an old dusty book full of do’s and don’ts, it was a weapon—the living Word of God, an active asset in an ongoing daily battle. The edges of each page were frayed from years of use and the spines held together with multiple layers of tape. But the remarkable thing was what we found hidden inside the pages. It was evidence of her fight: wedding announcements, family photos, prayers, quotes, and handwritten notes. Her life was a battle for the purposes of God.

She taped quotes inside like, “Prayer is the place where burdens change shoulders.” Or my favorite, which said, “Some people get wrapped up in the book but forget about the author.” A call to always remember the God behind the words instead of getting lost in the theology of it all.

My grandmother’s Bibles spoke of the legacy that her life left—a life worth imitating. But in the midst of our crazy, busy life and a modern culture that does all it can to disprove and challenge the validity of the Bible, what does it mean for us today?

Maybe a more challenging question is this :what would your Bible say about you?

Is the Bible Still Relevant?

The Bible seems shrouded in mystery, and for many, it’s intimidating. But did you know that it’s not even a book. Instead, it’s a collection of books and letters passed down through thousands of years making claims about how the universe was created and how we were are to live in it. And despite thousands of years of opposition, it has survived burning, persecution, banishment, wars, scrutiny, yet remains the most widely distributed document of all-time.

To some, it’s a list of rules—do’s and don’t’s demanded by an unloving authoritarian. Or perhaps a collection of quotes—great for a Hallmark card or a quick platitude. To others, it’s an outdated document that has no application in culture today. To many, it’s inaccurate, irrelevant, and even insignificant.

Three years ago, I hated reading my Bible. Not because I didn’t believe it, but because I was so intimidated by it. I had no idea where to begin and my consistency in the habit of reading was nonexistent. I’d start reading for a few days, but my interest would always wain as my streak of discipline was broken.

Then, I came to a crossroads. I began to hate the person I was becoming more than I hated reading the Bible. You see, I was an approval-seeking workaholic who let his agenda and plans dominate his life. At that moment, my passion to become the person that God wanted me to be overcame my excuses.

Three Questions That Changed My Life

Over the past three years, I have discovered that the Bible is the most accurate, relevant, and significant part of my life. It has application in my business, in my marriage, and in my role as a father. My habit for reading became a hunger and my discipline became a desire. And the more I journaled and prayed, the more it became an adventure.

One of the most transformational practices was when I began writing out the questions I felt like God was asking of me as well as the questions I had for Him. It sounds simple enough, but these questions brought great perspective and challenged me each day. There were three questions in particular that have continually resurfaced:

What am I supposed to do?

How have the events of my life led me to where I am today?

God, how do you want to use me?

Although it hasn’t been easy, God has begun stripping me of the very things I hate about myself and that process continues daily. But the greatest thing I have received is an unsurpassable peace, a refuge to weather the storms of life, and certainty in the midst of uncertain times.

So where do you stand?



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  • Great post Matt, I have my Grandfather’s (who I never met) Bible. My aunt had it re-bound – It is a wonderful treasure to have.

    • That’s special, Jon. Think about the stories bound within!

  • lwwarfel

    Beautiful! I still remember the day when I was standing in my kitchen in St. Louis and realized that the Bible has the answer to every question I will ever ask. Here’s mine.

    • That’s awesome, Laura. Thanks for sharing!!