Friday, September 19, 2008

Grandma Freda's Eulogy

Freda Ruth Peters (January 13, 1927 - September 15, 2008)
September 17, 2008 - Wichita, Kansas
by Jason Bollinger (Grandson)

I’m going to do my best to Eulogize Grandma Freda, but I don’t eulogize very often, and there’s a good chance that this will become sermon number one with sermon number two coming from J.C. in a little while.

The word Eulogy comes from the Greek word “Eulogia” which means simply to praise. While it is appropriate to come together to honor our grandmother and to praise her in one sense, it is more appropriate to give praise to God for Freda Ruth Peters. There are things in her life to be praised, and there are things in her life that cause us to praise God. We’ll start with her.

Grandma Freda endured a lot. She endured the loss of a husband prematurely to cancer. She endured being a single mom to three young daughters. She endured a fire in her home. She endured living alone for the better part of 50 years. She endured many other losses in her life. We praise her for her ability to endure.

Freda was ambitious. Her ambition often got the best of her as she was ambitious for more than what she could accomplish on her own. This caused her much grief in her life, but it is something that we all can learn from. We should be ambitious for more than what we can accomplish on our own.

She wanted the best for each us. Though that best was often at odds with the best we wanted for our life. She loved each of us and wanted us to be happy.

Grandma was creatively giving. She would give constantly. When she had money to give, she would give it. When she didn’t have money to give, she would give it. She would give to her own detriment, but her generous heart is worthy to be praised.

There are some other things in her life which I feel give us an opportunity to praise God for.

First of all, Grandma was passionate about generations. In recent years we remember Christmas cards with “Four Generations” plastered across it. There was nothing more exciting to her than being the matriarch of four generations. We praise God for this because He is a God of the generations. His will and plans are not limited to one generation, but they are formed with future generations in mind. Think of all the ministries and all the good that the generations linked to Freda Peters are a part of. We are here because of her, by marriage or by birth, we exist because of her. If it were not for her, none of us would be here, and because of her we are able to celebrate what God is doing through the generations of this family.

I praise God for the legacy that is growing from Grandma Freda. As we have just observed a changing of the guard in the matriarch position of our family, we appreciate a strong, Godly covering. We see in Susie, Grandma’s leadership, we see in Christy, Grandma’s honesty, and we see in Terie, Grandma’s prophetic-ness. We see a legacy that reflects that character of God. It excites me to know that the great grandkids, Jacob, Anna, Evie, and Ike, won’t have to struggle through some of the hard times with Grandma, they will just appreciate the family they are apart of and will recognize her as the one who God used to bring it to be. Recently Jacob asked for a new puppy. We looked at some online, and our conclusion was that we didn’t have enough money for that right now. A few days later, Jacob said, “Daddy, when we get rich, can we get a new puppy?” I asked him his plan for how we were going to get rich. His reply was, “You can get a job.” I did my best to explain to my son that I have a job, but he wasn’t buying it. Because our church meets in one place and my office is at another place, he doesn’t think that I work at the church. He knows that computers are a source of video gaming, and he’s seen me at my office “working” on my computer, and his conclusion is that I just play games. Since the kids are dismissed before I preach on Sunday, my son figured it out... I just need to get a job. After I pleaded my case and gave evidences of my employment, I asked again what his plan for getting rich was. He replied, “ Grandma Freda can give us the money.” Jacob’s experience with Grandma revolved much around envelopes with cash in it, boxes with some of his favorite things, and a trip to Walmart resulting in a new toy. Grandma Freda had provided him with monetary things he really enjoyed. Tonight, I celebrate the idea that already, the fourth generation remembers her for something we never will - money. Her legacy will be strong.

We also need to praise God for the tension that we have in our relationship with Grandma. Over the years we have suffered many misunderstandings due to this person we are honoring tonight. Many comments were made at our expense that were hurtful or confusing - at the very least misunderstood. Tension was often the result of a conversation gone bad. However, before we write the tension off as a bad thing, I just want to say that Jesus was a character who was surrounded by tension and misunderstanding. He said things like, “He who wants to find his life will lose it” “The first shall be last,” “Love those who persecute you,” etc. Grandma Freda loved those who persecuted her and often persecuted those who loved her, but this tension is not something that we should rush to resolve because this tension is something that helps us draw near to God. Donald Miller said, “I never liked Jazz music because it didn’t resolve.” We don’t need to rush to resolution when it comes to saying goodbye to Grandma, because the tension that we’ve experienced makes us appreciate her even more. More importantly, it can remind us the tension surrounding the Son of God whom we follow. We need to praise God for the tension, the misunderstandings, and the lack of resolution.

We can also praise the Lord for His sovereignty. Scripture teaches us to take both good and bad as being from the hand of the Lord, and we’ve all experienced both in our relationship with Grandma Freda. She experienced both throughout her entire life. What we need to remember is that God, in His sovereignty, brought Freda Ruth Peters into existence, as a part of His plan for each of us (and the future generations) to be a part of bringing Him glory forever and ever.

I would now like to read Psalm 145:

1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your [2] mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

[The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.] [3]
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

In closing, and in the spirit of praise, I would like to say something that Grandma didn’t get to say, and that is Thank You. Thank you to each of you in Wichita who sacrificed so much to take Grandma in. She wasn’t happy about not being on her own, and I’m not sure she ever made the transition, but it was the right thing to do. You guys took her in, showed tremendous love to her in very trying times. You’ve modeled something that we will hold in high esteem forever. You’ve honored her in a way that is truly reflective of the grace and mercy of our Savior. I praise God for you and for the love you showed her, and for the inspiration you’ve provided for our family. Thank you.

Prayer of Praise...