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Apr1FriMy granddaughter’s unselfish present reminded me of another made 2,000 years ago. April 1, 2022 By Jeanette Levellie
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- Faith & Friends
(Above) ”I felt as if she was giving me a piece of her soul,” says Jeanette Levellie (right), here with her granddaughter, Grace
I wasn’t happy about my birthday this year. Usually, I anticipated a cake-and-ice-cream party with my kids and grandkids, opening gifts and playing Uno or Catan together. This year, not so much. Too many candles on my cake. Too many aching joints. Too many COVID-19 concerns weighing on my heart. Between all that, caring formy mother who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease and worrying about my daughter, Marie, a single mom, I just wanted to run away. I knew that wouldn’t solve my problems. But I was weary and overwhelmed.
Then came Grace’s gift.
Grace, our youngest granddaughter, is a creative child who’d rather read in her bedroom than play dodgeball with friends. My husband, Kevin, and I had stopped asking Grace, “What’s your favourite subject in school this year?” We knew she’d answer the same every time, in a tone that implied we didn’t know her: “Art. Of course.”
Sculpture. Watercolours. Sketching. Murals. Any form of using her imagination put Grace in a happy place.
A few weeks before my birthday, unbeknownst to us, Grace’s art teacher entered a mask Grace had designed in our local art centre’s student exhibition. The mask featured Starry Night, the famous painting by Vincent van Gogh. Dozens of bright yellow stars swirling in a midnight blue sky beautifully reflected Grace’s free spirit.
Over the Moon
When I read the article in our newspaper including a list of art awards, my heart leapt. There in black print was Grace’s name accompanied by the words “Judge’s Award.”
I immediately called our daughter, Marie. “Did you know Grace won this prestigious award at the art centre for her mask?” Marie rarely had time to read the paper. She was over the moon with delight.
“Sculpture. Watercolours. Sketching. Murals. Any form of using her imagination put Grace in a happy place.” JEANETTE LEVELLIE
I texted my little artist and told her how proud Kevin and I were ofher.
“Will you bring the certificate you got from the art centre when you come over for my birthday party?” I asked her. “I’d love to see it.”
I hoped sharing this proud moment with Grace would take a bit of the edge off my recent malaise.
The Best Gift
After rinsing cake crumbs off our plates, I sat down to open my gifts. My loved ones had been generous this year, each of the three grandkids bringing a gift of their own, rather than one large present from their whole family. Grace hugged hers tight, grinned and said, “Can you open everyone else’s first and save mine for last?”
“Of course, honey,” I smiled back.
I wondered what she’d bought me that was so important that I save it until the end. Grace rounded the table and stood beside me while I pulled back the kitten-themed wrapping paper. And there it was.
“What? You’re giving me your art award?” Tears moistened my eyes. “Are you sure, Gracie? You worked so hard on this.”
Grace put both arms around my waist, hugging me tight. “I want you to have it, Grandma. I knew you would appreciate all the work I did on it.”
“He Did It for Us”
Grace had no idea how much I cherished that certificate. I felt as if she was giving me a piece of her soul. My heart was lighter than it had been in weeks as I fastened it to our hallway wall—next to an art award her mom had won when she was a child.
The following morning during our praise and prayer time at church, I told everyone about my favourite birthday gift. As I related Grace’s generosity, Jesus’ sacrificial gift to us on the first Easter impacted me in a fresh way.
Just as Grace had done all the work to earn the honour of an award, and then offered it to me, Jesus earned our good standing with God. He didn’t achieve power over sin and death for Himself. He did it for us. He gave us part of His very heart. His best gift.
The gift of grace.
Author of five books and hundreds of published articles, Jeanette Levellie and her husband make their home in Paris, Illinois. Jeanette’s hobbies include spoiling her three grandchildren, pampering her cats and inventing new ways to avoid housework. Find her splashes of hope and humour at www.jeanettelevellie.com.
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