July Blog – Women's Ministry

Each year as a kid, and for as long as I can remember, we would travel to the midwest for a summer vacation to my grandparent’s home in Fairfield, Iowa. The road trip seemed long amidst various road games; the license plate ABC game, counting the horses you saw grazing in green fields, dreaming of running through cornfields as fast as the car moved. All the ways to pass the hours over the 2-day drive seemed endless, but the reward at the end was always worth it.

We knew we were getting close when we went through Batavia, Iowa – 11 miles separated my Uncle Harvey and Aunt Kay’s house from my grandparent’s home. When we would finally pull in their white gravel drive after the 2-day, 14-hour journey, our car doors would open and the heavy summer air would weigh around us like a blanket. The smell of green trees, grass, and rich soil filled the air. I was always amazed by the black soil of Iowa (still am). It smelled rich and beautiful. Grandma would come out of the house and stand on the covered front porch. Grandpa would always join us later after he closed the dairy. We would unload the car and find our places in the snug little home my mom grew up in. It was a small home with 2 bedrooms, a jack-n-jill bathroom, small kitchen, and living area. A backport that had been converted to a room just big enough to hold a bunk bed. But the best of all was the front porch. The kind that welcomes you whether friend, family, or stranger. You have seen them, midwest porches, don’t they speak for themselves; wood, covered, and a porch swing with plenty of room for the family and neighbors who walked by and stopped to talk.

Next door to my grandparents lived a dear friend of theirs, Mrs. Knauss. After a few days of being with my grandparents, there were times when we would play the oh-so-safe (not really) game of “Lawn Darts”. Sometimes, when we were fortunate, out on the porch of the single-level home next door, painted white with black trim, with old-fashioned lilacs that adorned one side of the home, Mrs. Knauss would step out onto the wrap-around porch that encompassed 3 sides of her home. Then we would watch her sit in her wooden rocking chair with a worn padded cloth seat. We would wonder and wait. Would she? OH yes!! She invited my sister and me over to talk. We would start out with her asking us hospitable and pass-the-day kinds of questions. We would happily engage; she was so kind. And if truth be told we knew that sometimes she would venture inside her home and produce delicious homemade cookies. Then if we spent enough time, she would venture back inside and return totting a carton filled with Barbie Dolls and clothes. We would dress them up and pretend all kinds of adventures for these dolls as we passed a hot summer Iowa afternoon. It was a sweet time and a beautiful memory.

What kind of love must she have had for my grandparents, for my mom, and then for us? As I look back on this, she loved well. She wasn’t afraid to invite a couple of little girls over to enjoy an afternoon of cookies, conversation, and dolls. God provided a space for us to be safe and loved by a beautiful woman who shared what she had. Mostly, her impact was given in a heartfelt way that has lasted a lifetime.

I wonder, how have I, or any of us, loved so well that we have impacted others including our family, with love for a lifetime? Doesn’t the Lord call us to this kind of love and kindness? How beautiful is His love? It overflows. I long for His love freely given to us. I just have to take the time to watch and look for it. I hope you can reel back in your mind to a memory of someone who impacted your life with kindness from Jesus. Then look for someone to pass that on to.

- Traci Hollingsworth