I have a treasured possession that I guard with my heart. It is my Bible.
In August of 1985 My Grandma Chapman, known by her grandchildren (all 42 of them) as 'Ma Chapman' had a severe stroke. She was rushed from her small town hospital to Baylor hospital in Dallas. Shortly after her arrival, the doctors told my Aunt to call her family members because in his opinion, she was not going to live through the night. But if she did live, we were told she would be paralyzed on one side and would not be able to walk or talk for a very long time.
We were devastated. Ma Chapman had always been a pillar of strength. She raised twelve children and had already outlived three of them. We couldn’t imagine her gone or even disabled. As family members (lots of us) gathered in the waiting room of the ICU unit, we reminisced of old times. We prayed, we talked, we read, anything to occupy our time. The doctors and nurses couldn’t believe this many people belonged to the same family! And it wasn’t near all of us, just the ones that lived close by.
Well, the doctors proved to be wrong in their diagnosis, either that or God did a miracle that night. And I choose to believe the latter. The next day Ma Chapman regained consciousness. While she did have some paralysis, after a couple months of therapy she was walking fine. Her speech was never slurred but she said she had some tingling in her face.
She was released from the hospital five days later and sent to a rehabilitation nursing home in her hometown of Sulphur Springs, Texas. I didn’t get to see Ma Chapman again until December, although she had a telephone in her room and I called her several times. She told me that her eyesight was failing and she couldn’t read her Bible anymore. I told her I was coming down the week before Christmas and would spend an afternoon with her. She sounded so happy to hear that. I knew she must be lonely in the nursing home but she never complained.
I found a giant print Bible for her the next time I went shopping and wrapped it up in pretty Christmas paper. The day I arrived in the nursing home I stopped at the front desk for her room number.
The nurse on duty said “Oh honey, Mrs. Chapman is not in her room right now, though. She’s down in the recreation hall leading the exercise class.”
“Leading the exercise class? Are you sure?” I couldn’t believe my grandmother after having a severe stroke was able to do that already!
“Sure I’m sure. Nothing keeps her down. Go see for yourself. They are just down the hall, through that third door, there.”
As I peeked through the door I got one of the greatest blessings of my life. There were about twenty elderly men and women all lined up with Ma Chapman at the head, doing jumping jacks. Or trying to, anyway. Some of those poor souls were not doing a great job but they sure were trying!
Ma Chapman was hollering “One, Two, Three” over and over. I was beside myself with joy and watched until someone spotted me and Ma Chapman turned around. She seemed a little embarrassed but I was thrilled that she was well enough to do the exercises and had the leadership skills to help the others. I was so proud of her!
As we walked the hall back to her room, we talked of things that had been going on in my world. She wanted to know about the kids and my husband, how my job was going, etc. Then I handed her my Christmas present and she laid it underneath her little tree on top of her chest of drawers.
“Well, aren’t you going to open it?” I asked.
“It’s not Christmas yet,” she replied. “But if you want me to I will.”
With the nod of my head she ripped open the package. She got very quiet and looked up at me with tears in her eyes.
“This is the best present anyone has ever given me, child. Thank you so much.” We hugged and I was so pleased that she was pleased.
Ma Chapman left that nursing home shortly after that and went to live with one of my Aunts. I only got to see her on holidays but she always mentioned how much she was enjoying her giant print KJV Bible. She died five years later. After the funeral and graveside services my Aunt asked everyone to come back to her house for lunch. After lunch Aunt Hazel told me she had something for me. She handed me Ma Chapman’s giant print Bible - guess who had tears then? Inside the front cover I had written:
Presented to: Julia Chapman, My Grandmother, with all my love. December 1985. Underneath that Ma Chapman wrote:
Give back to Julia May at my death.
Yes, I am her namesake and we shared more than a family bond and a name, we shared the love of our Bible and our Savior. That’s one reason why my Bible is my most treasured possession. The other reason is that it is God’s precious word. That giant print Bible has been with me ever since. It’s worked out well because now my eyesight seems to be failing me.
And you know what? I can’t wait to see Ma Chapman when I get to heaven……If there is an exercise class up there, I bet she will be the one leading it!
What a beautiful moving testimony about your Godly Grandmother and her Great Love
for you her Grandaughter.
I too was Blessed to have a Grandmother who Loved Jesus and who I'm looking forward to seeing one Blessed Day too!!!
Yes, a True treasure God's Word and the very Bible that you gave to your Grandmother.How very precious that she gave the Holy Bible to you as a Legacy of her Love for her Saviour and for you!!!
Beautiful Testimony of Christian Love in a family!!!
With Jesus Love,
Now, Julia May, you have really gone and written a great story. I could, in my mind, see your grandmother and those other precious souls doing those jumping jacks in that exercise class. This is a very interesting and encouraging story. The Bible is so precious. I sure hope the younger generation will love it the way we do. Thanks for sharing. Thomas