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

Grandma holding my son, Matthew

Today would have been Grandma Ham’s 90th birthday. For those who didn’t have the privilege of knowing her, she was four feet ten inches of well-permed, God-fearing delight. After she passed away, my mom found my grandmother’s Bibles while cleaning out her home. What surprised us all is what we found inside.

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 were held together with multiple layers of tape. But hidden inside was evidence of her fight: wedding announcements, family photos, prayers, quotes, and handwritten notes. These were her conversations with God.

She wrote reminders 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 challenge to remember the God behind the words instead of getting lost in theology.

My grandmother’s Bibles echoed the legacy that her life left—a life worth imitating. And as I pressed into that thought, I wondered what my Bible would say about me?

Is the Bible Still Relevant?

For far too long I thought the Bible was a list of rules—do’s and don’t’s demanded by an unloving authoritarian. As a young Christian, I thought it was a collection of quotes—great for Hallmark cards, Instagram posts and quick platitudes. And still there were times when I felt like the Bible was an outdated document that held no practical application. But then, I learned that the Bible wasn’t just a book. Instead, it was a collection of books and letters passed down through thousands of years that made certain claims about how the universe was created and how we were are to live in it.

The Bible is an account of the history of God’s story. And despite thousands of years of opposition, it has survived burning, persecution, banishment, wars and scrutiny. Almost miraculously it remains the most widely distributed document of all-time.

Four 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 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. My passion to become the person that God wanted me to be overcame my excuses.

Three Questions That Changed My Life

The busyness of life is one of the greatest excuses for folks to neglect the Bible. In addition, modern culture has done all it can to challenge the validity of its contents. Perhaps that’s why less than a quarter of professing Christians actually read it on a regular basis. But over the past four years, I have discovered that the Bible is an active conversation that speaks directly into my life. It is the most accurate, relevant, and significant part of my life. It has application in my business, my marriage, and my role as a father.

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. 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.

There were three questions in particular that have continually resurfaced:

God, what are you teaching me?

God, how do you want to use me?

God, what do you want me to do now?

I would say that these three questions, asked in humility have been the catalyst for the greatest experiences of my life. Now it hasn’t been easy. But despite the difficulty, I have an unsurpassable peace and a refuge to weather the storms of life.

Make the Bible Come Alive

One of the challenges that we face is wedging the Bible into a felt board story. In that way, it seems like a cartoon. But the truth is, the Bible is full of flesh-and-blood people with flesh-and-blood testimonies about the faithfulness of God. From that perspective, we have to insert ourself into the story.

As I pressed in to my own struggle to read the Bible and watched it come to life, I wanted to be a part of creating something that helped people engage the Bible from a fresh perspective. In an effort to create a new lexicon, we have put together a new course called, Learning to Feel the Word: A Fresh Approach to Bible Study.

Whether you’ve been reading the Bible for years or whether you’re diving in for the first time, I would encourage you to join us. Click on this link to learn more and dive into more than four hours of videos and thought-provoking dialogue to open up a fresh perspective on God’s Word.

Regardless, I hope you will give a welcome invitation to faith by inviting God’s Word into your story.



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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!!