Daily Devotionals

A Grandparent’s Gift of Joy

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Scripture: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1: 2-4

Andrew Taylor Smith could do it all. He was an avid fisherman, who constantly entered into tournaments across the Southeast. If he wasn’t fishing, you could find him in a stand at Mill Creek Hunting Club. He was practically a master at any sports activity, whether it be skiing, golf, tennis, or ping pong. He was an all-around handyman and extremely competitive. He enjoyed spending time with his family, hand-crafting furniture, and playing cards. In 1971, he married Johnnie Bolt and became a devoted husband. He was a faithful Christian and loving father. There truly wasn’t much Taylor hadn’t tried or wasn’t good at. Andrew Taylor Smith was my grandfather, or “Pop Pop,” as I called him. 

After a 10-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Pop Pop passed away several years ago. He first began to show symptoms around 2008, when my twin brother and I were only four years old. The symptoms started small and were almost unnoticeable – a small shake or stutter here or there. However, as time passed his condition worsened. He struggled to get words out of his mouth, and his movement became very slow. He had low energy, was extremely stiff, and had constant tremors. Pop Pop became unable to do the things he loved. He could no longer take his annual hunting trips or fish with his buddies. He was forced to retire and focus on his health. 

It wasn’t until my brother and I got older and Pop Pop’s Parkinson’s progressed that I truly realized the pain my grandparents went through. I can’t imagine the mental strain on Pop Pop as he slowly lost control of his body, and also how hard it must have been on Nanna as she watched her husband go through this. However, despite these difficulties, Nanna and Pop Pop never gave up hope. 

They had faith that God had a plan for them. Through this trust and belief in God, they never let their struggles overtake their positive attitudes. They acted selflessly towards their friends and family only looking to spread kindness and joy. I can’t thank my grandparents enough for showing me what it means to be a Christian, spreading joy even through difficult circumstances, and showering me with love. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for the examples set by people who spread joy and Christ’s love every day. Amen. 

Submitted by Mark Brown