Monday, February 15, 2010

The Gift of Impossibility: Lessons Learned from my Grandma

Proverbs 3:5
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding”

“The condition for a miracle is difficulty, however, the condition for a great miracle is impossibility.”—Angus Buchan

Trust. To be honest, that’s a word I haven’t had much experience with. Let me explain. It’s not that I don’t have people in my life that I can trust. That’s not the case. It’s just that I live in such a way that there is little need for trust. I am self-reliant. I am independent. Many times, I am all that I need. I avoid the impossible and focus on the probable. Trust is not part of the equation because frankly, I don’t allow it to be. It’s safer this way.

But to be honest, I am realizing something new. I am learning that in order for there to be great reward, there must be great risk. I have felt that challenge placed on my heart lately in everything I have read, in my time with God, and in my interactions with others. One specific interaction that has challenged me in this area is my relationship with my grandmother.

I’ve been interviewing my grandmother, trying to capture the story of her life while I still have time. By looking at her sweet, soft, wrinkled face, you would never believe how adventurous her journey has been. She has lived a life filled with risks, never relying on what she knew logically, but always trusting God completely.

One story she told me brought her back to her early months of marriage. Her father had died at a young age, and she was married young as a result of this. But even at the age of 15, she was a woman who understood the meaning of trust- I guess she had to in order to survive.

One day her husband (my grandpa) came home from a week of traveling as an Evangelist in the countryside of Egypt, with not a penny in his pocket and not an ounce of food in the house. Though the week had been fruitful spiritually, it had not been fruitful financially. He came home that evening with no money and no courage to explain.

“Necima”, he said, “Let’s fast and pray this evening.” He could not get himself to tell her that they had absolutely no money for food, and he did the only thing he knew how to do- cry out to God.

Without one question, without one complaint, without one doubt- she did what she did best- she trusted. She trusted her husband, but primarily, she trusted God. They fasted and prayed together that entire evening and through part of the night. They trusted God because they had to. They trusted God because there was no other option. They trusted God because their very lives depended on it.

An early knock on the door brought the mail delivery man with a single envelope. When my grandpa opened the envelope, there lay a pile of cash- with no name, or note to trace it back to the giver. God had proven Himself faithful. He could be trusted.

My grandpa ran to tell my grandma the news and the reality of their financial situation before the envelope arrived. God had defied logic and he had defied their “own understanding”. With great risk came great reward.

That’s the beauty of our God. He challenges us to trust him. He challenges us to put our faith in Him when it makes absolutely no sense. He challenges us to rejoice in the soil of impossibility, for it becomes fertile ground for the miraculous to take place. Fertile ground for trust to sprout. Fertile ground to draw closer to our God in ways we never imaged.

Lord, may you challenge us to walk boldly on the road of impossibility. May you increase our trust in You and decrease our trust in ourselves every single step of the way.


  1. Wow, nicely said Debbie....I really needed to hear that because I was just thinking today about how I need to stop fearing and to take risks. Teta is a great example of that, that was a great story.

  2. Sarah, thanks for the feedback! How crazy that this came at such a right time for you, it sounds like God is challenging you to take some risks and to trust are right, we have such awesome examples in Tata and Gidu of how to take risks, and leap into faith. I want to be more like that too. Love you, and thanks for commenting!!!!!

  3. Debbie, I love that you're writing about Tata and Gidu's stories!! Thank you!! It's such a rich legacy and we need to be reminded of their story as it has shaped, has impacted and continues to impact, and informs ours today.

    The crazy thing about this story is that I remember Tata telling me that if the mailman or anyone else knew that there was cash in that envelope, they would have taken it and it would have never reached them... they system there is so corrupt in so many ways. Anyway, she told me that they were amazed that an envelope full of money actually made it to them! And there was no return address, they have no idea where it came from... pretty awesome story. :)

  4. Lucy, so true there is so much to be learned from them. I'm excited to do more of this and hear more stories. Love you!! Thanks for commenting!

  5. That's a beautiful story and very nicely written. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for the kind words Matthew, and thanks for reading!

  7. I was actually reading this verse this past week because I needed to trust God in a situation I was dealing with. This was a beautiful story. I just hung out with Tita (she spells it that way!! haha) last night... we kept calling Maggie "koo koo" ... so funny!

  8. Thank you Debbie!!! This is soo fitting for me in my life right now. It's so funny that when I left for work this am I knew I wanted to do something and I couldn't remember what it was. I remembered when I got home and it was to read your blog and then I kept reading them and came across this. This message is so refreshing and you are so blessed to have such a God honoring family history. It's beautiful. and so are you...Love you friend.

  9. I pretty much love this - the Word and our God didn't end and cease to exist after the 1st century believers passed away :) Thank you for sharing this! Blessings!

  10. Tuce, so glad you enjoyed the post....and I'm glad you were able to find encouragement to trust God through it. Thanks for reading and for your support!! Love you Tucey!

  11. Alison, what can I say, getting feedback from you is an honor:) I'm glad you enjoyed the post and even more glad that you choose to read my blog!!! Thanks girl. Can't wait to hear what God is doing in your life and in your marriage!

  12. Rdubbs, thanks for your encouragement and for reading this blog!! It was so encouraging talking to my grandma, in fact, I hope to do it again and get some more precious information from her in the weeks to come....tune in!

  13. wow. incredible. thanks for sharing, deb.


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