I’m Not the Grandma I Thought I Would Be – Philippians 4:12-13

This isn’t how I thought grandparenting would be. My grandmothers and my mom did it so well. My own grand-mothering started out to be much like theirs, but chronic pain changed my course.

For a few years I was able to help care for my grandchildren as I thought grandmas should. I carried them, dressed them, caught them when they ran toward the street. I played chase-and-tickle as they toddled around the kitchen. I led them to places of discovery and taught them to be brave when the rooster threatened.

After my first mission trip to Africa, I wrapped chitenge material around my infant grandson and tied him to my back, hoping to carry him down the mile-long road to the mailbox. Afraid I might strangle him, and remembering the four-year-olds in Zambia who did a better job making their siblings comfortable on their backs, I postponed our trip.

In San Angelo I took another grandson on an exploring trek, packing our snacks and water bottles. We made it to the Concho River where we discovered the carcass of a cat which he wanted to touch. I showed him how to poke it with a stick instead. After wilting all day in the Texas heat, we drenched ourselves in the sprinkler when we got home.

After that my arthritis pain slowed me down. I don’t stir cookie dough or lift large pots of spaghetti sauce anymore. My youngest grandchildren won’t remember me chasing them around the house. On our family camping trips I stay close to the trailer while they wander off. It’s easy for me to fall into despair about losing the ability to take part in some of their adventures.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:12-13 ESV

Yet I can be content. I don’t expect I’ll experience suffering at the same level of the apostle Paul, but I’ll draw my strength from Jesus who helps me remain content whatever my state. He really is all I need.

Yesterday I sat on the bleachers for a grandchild’s school band concert. Three rows away my daughter-in-law sat alone, reserving a place for us. I wanted to be near her, but I knew I’d be too uncomfortable to stay long. I stood in the back.

Sometimes staying content is hard. In lack there is also great abundance. I’m sometimes overwhelmed by friends, for one thing, whose love pours out richly toward me. I can face plenty and need, remaining content in either place with the strength he provides.


Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26 ESV

Visiting Dead Cat Park wasn’t the best part of our day, nor was the impressiveness of my physical abilities the most memorable. What will endure in my grandson’s mind is his grandmother’s love for him. I pray he also recognizes her source of unending joy, strength, and contentment.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Traveling with a Sock Full of Seeds – Hebrews 7:25

If you want to be pulled aside by security in an airport, put a sock filled with flax seeds in your luggage. I didn’t expect such a thing to be so interesting to TSA, but it was, raising eyebrows both times it passed under their scanners.

Why the sock? Well, my therapist told me using it might lessen the arthritis pain in my back and neck. Since I had 15 lbs. of flax seed and some white athletic socks that no one uses anymore, I followed his advice. I poured a couple quarts of seeds into a sock, tied a knot in the end, and slept on it.

photo courtesy of jeshoots-com at pixabay

I’ve been using my flax seed pillow for months now – and it really does help. I couldn’t part with it when I packed for my trip to Ohio last week, so into my carry-on bag it went.

Though I figured it might look strange to security, I didn’t expect it to be a conversation starter. One agent seemed to appreciate encountering something unique during her assembly-line job. “Tell me about this,” propping my sock up with both hands as though holding a sleepy kitten.

Another shared his own pillow ingredient for pain relief – rice.

At one airport, I allowed my wheeled carry-on to be stowed with the checked-in luggage. I didn’t like being without my emergency supplies (change of clothes, Bible, toiletries, you know . . . ) so on my return trip I bought a tote bag with pink flowers and Ohio printed on the side.

I hadn’t thought about how hard it was going to be to lug it home.

In Detroit’s international airport I carried my new tote alternately in my arms and on each shoulder for what seemed like miles, passing crowds of travelers hovering near terminals taking them to China, India, and Africa. I set my tote down at every opportunity on the conveyors sliding me forward.

It took more than three days to get over the extra pain, you guessed it, exacerbated by the weight of my therapy pillow.


. . . he (Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:25 ESV

Jesus doesn’t need scanners to know what’s in the baggage I drag through life. And because he’s my high priest and lives forever, as the verses in Hebrews 7 state, I can have no greater security. He is able to save, period.

I like to separate, in Scripture, which parts are my responsibility and which are not. Who is Jesus able to save? The ones who draw near to God through him. Staying close to him, however, might be easier if leave more stuff at home.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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Speaking of carrying less weight, let me point you toward BibleGateway.com. You can read and study the Bible anywhere – on a mobile device that is probably much lighter than socks filled with seeds.

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When There’s Fear in the Shadows – Psalm 23:3-4


Sometimes being in the dark is fun. When I’m playing with my grandchildren I allow my imagination to run a little wild. I jump behind a tree or freeze in the shadows so they won’t easily find me.

sun casting long shadows on green earth through a forest of mature trees

Other times the shadows make me afraid.

I’m in a place now where I don’t know the outcome of my struggles. I follow Jesus and I’m learning his ways, but I don’t know why things are the way they are. Being in the dark may sharpen my senses, but it’s not always fun.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.


Psalm 23:3-4 ESV

Why do I so quickly forget how I came to this place? The psalm starts with “The Lord is my shepherd.” I’m walking through the valley of death shadows because this is where my shepherd brought me. We didn’t come by accident.

It also says he’s the restorer of souls and a shepherd who comforts with his rod and staff. I’m sure if I stop focusing on the pounding of my heart I’ll feel his gentle pressure against my shoulder, directing me down the right path. I’m so glad the psalm doesn’t say we’ll stay long. He’s leading me through the valley, not to it.

This place of not seeing clearly may be uncomfortable, but he won’t abandon me to the wolves that call to my fear.

He is with me, he is leading me, and he uses his tools to comfort me. For now, that’s all I need to know.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Here’s a good plan: Stay close to the shepherd!