If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram or happened to catch my last post, you probably know that my Grandmother Dorothy (my dad’s mom) died earlier this month, on April 8th.
I remember my Grandmother as steady, kind, loving, spunky, and enduringly strong in her faith.
I was blessed to grow up living in the same city as all my grandparents. Grandmother Dorothy lost her husband, my Granddad Jess, when I was 3, so I don’t have any memories of him. But my other three grandparents were always there for me, at every birthday party, every holiday, and endless days in between.
When my mom called and told me the long-expected news of her passing, I hopped in the car and drove straight to Fayetteville to help her with funeral preparations. For me, that was mostly wading through the hundreds of albums and scrapbooks to find photos for a slideshow. My grandmother lived a long and full life, and narrowing all those pictures down to the allotted 40 was no small task.
I knew my grandmother pretty well, but I never knew much about her life before I was born. Sorting through those scrapbooks broadened my perspective on the life she’d lived. Pictures of her from her childhood, from college, as a young mother.
My favorite pictures were her and my granddad, always adorably in love:
My dad pulled out the picture below and told me that when they got engaged, Jess didn’t ask for permission to marry her. They just showed up and informed her parents that they were getting married, not wanting to leave anything to chance.
I was so young when he died, that I don’t remember it happening or how it affected her. But I grew up believing her to be strong and independent, because she didn’t mind living alone and was always more than up to any task – even disposing of tarantulas.
She put her faith in God alone, and wasn’t shaken even by losing the love of her life, because she trusted Him. This fact is most evident in the first line of the journal that she started after he died:
“Jesus came to take Jess home today.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice (Phil 4:4).”
I can only hope to face trials with that kind of grace and faith.
Not long after that, she started a grief recovery ministry to pour into the lives of other widows. She was always thinking of others. She spent her life serving. From giving thoughtful little gifts just because, to spending hours with the church’s prayer ministry, to mentoring younger women, she spread the love of the gospel in a thousand ways that were simple, quiet, and ordinary.
But they were extraordinary because of her Savior.
I’m writing this tribute not just to brag on my amazing grandmother, but in the hopes that others who never met her might be inspired by her.
Dorothy Covington knew that you didn’t have to spend your life doing something big for God to take your life and do something great.
She lived on her knees in prayer, with her voice raised in praise, with her hand daily at the plow – she trusted God to make what he would of her life, and he built a beautiful masterpiece of his enduring love, mercy, and grace.