At Deaths Door, Grandma Pulled Me Out of Hell…A Tribute to Emma Reedy
It is now 2010. I have been serving the Lord since I rededicated my life to the Lord in the mid 1990s.I am thankful and humbled to be a servant of the Most High. But let’s step back a moment before all that happened. I was backslidden. I had fallen away from God completely. I was drowning in sin. In the mid 1980s I had taken a year sabbatical from the ministry working in a mega-church as an associate pastor and went into private business. The Lord had blessed my efforts and I hit one of the largest oil wells ever drilled in North America. I was an instant multi-millionaire worth tens of millions of dollars.
But in the years that followed, I did not return to the ministry, and I slowly took a down turn in my spiritual and personal life. Forgetting that it was the Lord that had guided my life, I completely turned my back on Him and sin became my master. Back to the mid 1990s. I was a drug addict, and having oil funds to fuel my addiction I was spending 2-300 hundred dollars a day on drugs. Everything and everyone around me suffered as my life was out of control. I was completely lost. I contemplated suicide on a daily basis.
In the midst of all my turmoil there was someone that had me in their spiritual radar. By the time I had married she was already an elderly woman, she was my wife’s grandmother, Emma Reedy. We connected well in those days as I was a minister of the Gospel and she was a very deep spiritual woman. We used to sit and talk of the goodness of God all the time. She had a Bible that was tattered and torn. It had hundreds, if not thousands of personal scribbles and notations on its precious Holy pages. She could quote almost any passage verbatim and I would sit and listen to the decades of enlightenment God had shared with her.
But as the years past, one of us changed…. it was me. In her sweet but forceful way she would sweetly always remind me that I needed to find my way back to the foot of the cross. At first I just ignored her invitations to pray with her or to talk about God, but as the years passed her words would irritate me more and more. So much was I irritated by this that I would not go with my family to the various Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers at her home for the annual celebrations. I would always get a message that Emma was praying for me.
As she grew older, her health began to deteriorate. She was in a nursing home, and as it is with all of us, her cycle of life was coming to a close. She had suffered a stroke and was hospitalized and then returned to the nursing home as her life slowly slipped away.
I received a message that she wanted to see me. As I understood it the stroke had robbed her of most of her motor functions and most of her ability to speak. It was about 7 in the evening as I made my way reluctantly to go see her out of respect. I found my way to her room. I walked in to the dimly lit room. She seemed to be asleep, resting. As I turned to leave, she spoke,”Have a seat, Darrell…please” she said. There was a chair next to her bed and I sat down next to her.”How are you Emma”, I asked? She remained silent. So I sat there remaining silent for a minute or two. She suddenly spoke up again and said to me, “There is a Bible on the stand next to you; would you get it for me please”? As I picked up the Bible, she said “Please turn to the Lord’s Prayer and read with me. Grudgingly I turned to Matthew 6:9-13. Even though I had not held a Bible in my hand for ten years, I knew the scripture by heart.
I began to read as she quoted the scripture by heart. I read the words slowly as it was a tremendous struggle for her to even speak. As I read the Words, she with great labor and difficulty reached out and grabbed my hand, and held it. Her grip was weak, so I held her hand as I felt she was too weak to hold on.
As I read I came to the verse; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. But the words that came out her mouth were different than the words I was reading from the Word. She said,” Lord lead Darrell away from temptation, and deliver him from evil, right now in Jesus name”. As she spoke those words she gripped my hand with the strength of an 18 year old. I was speechless and stopped reading. She slowly turned her head my way, and said,” Son, you are no longer bound, Jesus has set you free”. I let go of her hand and she lay there with her eyes closed, silent.
I quickly got up and left the room. I walked outside, and wept and wept and wept. I never saw Emma alive again, as she died shortly thereafter. At her funeral the church was filled to overflow. Person after person for an hour took the podium to tell how Emma had led them to the Lord, including the Pastor of the church. I was amazed that this little woman, who lived in a town of maybe 50 people, had led so many people to the Lord. I am privileged to be one of those people. Grandma Emma, on her death bed, speaking possibly her last words spoken, spoke truth and Grace into my life and pulled my soul from the depths of Hell, as her prayer broke the chains that Satan had on me and released God’s glorious Grace back into my heart, redeeming my life. For that I will be eternally grateful.
When I get to heaven, I intend to look her up, probably somewhere on Apostle’s row, with a place next to Peter and Paul and thank her for reaching out to me while she herself was on death’s door and allowing God’s grace to work in me and return my path to one of righteousness in Christ.