On August 11th, 2019 at the age of 96, Laura Marion (Sutherland) Faught transitioned from this world into the next. She was beloved by all who knew her, and adored by many. She was a true gem. Her caring light was bright. Many were drawn to her. She was a darling wife, a loving mother and friend. To me, she was Grandma.
My earlier memories of Grandma trace back to a farmstead with a white-house and adjacent barns. Visiting Grandma always meant adventure, fun and home-made pie. Grandma made some of the best pies in the Ottawa Valley. A young child could be tempted into faking an illness just so that they could skip school and spend time there. In fact I did on more than one occasion. Her Osceola driveway never looked so good to a young boy who loved the outdoors, time away from school and homemade pie. Besides, who else had a Grandma who would take out the .22’s and do some target practice. Surely this must be heaven.
Through all my growing years Grandma was a steady, safe and secure woman that I looked up to. She gave priceless nuggets of advice and words of wisdom inspired from above. One could tell that she had connections that went beyond this world. She modelled a faith that was obvious, honest, genuine and sincere. She believed in the God of the Bible and praised the Name of Jesus.
Time and time again, a popular phrase would roll off her lips with sincerity and goodness. Whether she was alone in her rocking chair drinking a tea, or listening to someone pray, Grandma would often say, ‘Praise You Jesus’. I will never forget that phrase or how she said it. They were the sweetest of words, from the sweetest of hearts about the sweetest of Saviours. It was as if the angelic hosts of heaven were speaking praises to God’s Messiah through her. In fact, I truly believe she was joining in on the worship chorus of the cosmos. She was bringing her glory to King Jesus.
As time passed along, this young boy grew older and times together with Grandma looked a little different. The .22 repeater did not come out as often, but conversations around eternal matters sure hit the mark. We would talk a lot about life and family. She was the hub for many spokes in the family wheel, and was the central point of contact between her five children, eleven grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. My own three (great-grandchildren) adored her at every moment. They loved the way she dressed and how she always complimented them. Every time we visited ‘Nanna’, she was always amazed at how they had grown and how they look so much like their mother! For that I am glad.
Recent times with Grandma were filled with singing and reminiscing about times gone by. My girls would often sing for her, and she especially enjoyed their version of In The Sweet Bye and Bye. We sang it today at her funeral service. Nanna loved to hear them sing, and they loved to sing for her. She would look so pleased listening and comment on the grandness of their ability. ‘My that’s grand’ she would often say. I think they all grew an inch in height after every visit due to the encouragement they received and words of affirmation spoken. Grandma always had an encouraging word and a treat to go along with it. We will miss those times. They were rich moments lavished by her genuine love and care.
In the Bible, God’s people are referred to as ‘oaks of righteousness’. As ‘trees’ God’s people are planted by the Lord Himself to bring Him glory (Isaiah 61:3). If there ever was a verse in the Bible that described this wonderful lady, it is this one. Not only because of her love of trees (and disdain for any beaver or chainsaw that came near one), but because trees symbolize strength, steadfastness and stability. Not only that, oak trees replicate their very lives in the acorns that they drop. Laura Faught was such a tree.
I am a proud descendent from her tree. Together with Elmer Faught, they planted a tree within the Faught orchard of God’s Kingdom. From this tree, five acorns have fallen and produced trees of their own. I am a descendent of one of those acorns (Shawna), who also produced three life bearing trees. My very own mother is a replica of the original tree that gave her life. The acorn did not fall far from Laura’s tree, and in so many ways I was raised by two oaks of righteousness. Today, my family continues to grow and resemble the oaks of Laura. She has replicated her life within us and has modelled heavens agenda for how we are to live and grow.
I had the privilege to lead her committal service today. I shared some of these thoughts there. I spoke as one among many others who have also experienced the richness of knowing Laura. A truth I also shared there and believe is that this is not the end of Grandma’s life or story. Laura lives today in the divine Presence of Jesus and His Paradise. As one of God’s people, she is receiving the very same promise that Jesus gave to a dying thief who acknowledged the Lordship of Christ. She is enjoying the paradise of the Risen King.
What this looks like and how this happens still remains a mystery to us who are still on the temporal side of life. But let me make this certainly clear, God did not need another angel, nor did my Grandma become a star in the galaxy or a drop in an ocean of non-existence. My Grandma is fully alive and is experiencing all the blessedness of Jesus’ love and goodness as we speak. In fact, she’s not the only one. She has joined a great cloud of witnesses that continually receive others until the end of the age when the Day of Resurrection occurs. At that time, her physical body will raised to a new, resurrected, ultimate reality. What was once corruptible will become incorruptible. What was once dishonoured will become glorified. What was weak will be strong. What was natural will be supernatural. It will happen in a thinking of an eye when the dead in Christ are raised. This is the the trunk of Grandma’s oak tree and the Source of her strength, steadfastness and stability. Her roots have always been connected to the life giving flow and hope found in Jesus, who is the True Vine, David’s Root and the Branch of Jesse.
Looking to my own tree and three little acorns, I realize how blessed I am to be part of such a great orchard that is connected to God’s Vineyard. Looking back I will fondly remember the years, conversations, and moments spent on this side of eternity with my loving Grandmother. I look forward to the time when I will see her again in eternity. There may not be any .22’s to shoot up there, but I am sure there will be tea for us to enjoy together. Regardless, there will be eons of time to catch up, reminisce and enjoy each others company once again.
Until then, I will continue to follow in my Grandma’s footsteps and call upon the Name of Jesus as she did. I will praise His Name while drinking tea, enjoying the outdoors or in times of prayer. He is worthy to be praised. He is the King of Kings.