Today I was reminded of my great aunts, Aunt Netta Mae and Aunt Virginia. We always speak of them in that order because Aunt Netta Mae was older then Aunt Virginia and clearly in charge. She could drive and her sister couldn’t. She drove them to the First Baptist church which they never missed if they could possibly help She drove them when it came time to do any of their shopping. Aunt Virginia was dependent upon her. Aunt Netta Mae didn’t seem to mind much.
When we were kids, Mom would take us to see Aunt Virginia and Aunt Netta Mae. They were my mother’s aunts, her father’s maiden sisters. They lived together with their mother, my great grandmother, caring for her until her death when I was in high school. After that they lived together until they could no longer care for themselves. Then they lived together in the nursing home in their hometown until their deaths. They lived in the same small town all of their lives and had many friends.
There was a slight ritual that happened when we came to visit. “Oh, it’s Saundra Faye.” One aunt would say.
The other would ask, “Saundra Faye? Well ”
“She brought the children,” her sister would add as if my mother ever went anywhere with out us in those days.
One would walk over to their mother’s chair and holler, “MOTHER, IT’S SAUNDRA FAYE AND SHE’S BROUGHT THE CHILDREN.”
“Ohhhh,” my white haired great grandmother would quiver sitting up to look around with great interest. Then the shouting match would begin. Visiting they called it. ` They were the kind of great aunts that would actually pinch your cheek and say, “Netta Mae, look how she’s grown.”
Aunt Netta Mae would peer at me though her rhinestone cat eye glasses and say, “Look at those brown eyes, Virginia.”
Aunt Virginia was a schoolteacher until she retired. Aunt Netta Mae owned her own beauty shop. They both loved BRIGHT red lipstick. Their salt and pepper hair would be done to perfection even if the style was out of date. .
They were loud! Remembering them now makes me wonder if that is where I inherited that trait. They talked loudly because Great Grandma M was hard of hearing. At least that is what we thought until we lost Great Grandma M . . . . . and they still talked at full volume. Their laughter often rang though the house. Aunt Virginia’s voice was high and had that squeaky pitch some older women get. Aunt Netta Mae’s voice sounded like hers but it was a little deeper in pitch.
They could COOK now! We didn’t eat there often but when we did, oh my goodness. I remember heaping plates of mashed potatoes and green beans and other wonderful homemade things. I can still see Aunt Virginia standing over the table with a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes in one hand and spoon in the other looking for any sign that someone’s plate might be getting just little empty. I don’t remember ever eating a meal there with them sitting at the table. They hovered over the table or rushed to the kitchen and back.
“Virginia, Virginia,” Aunt Netta Mae shout would ricochet though the small sunny dinning room, “M . . . . needs more potatoes.” She’d point at my plate. They always used my first and middle name together, making my name sound like one word.
The ever-diligent Aunt Virginia hardly needed reminding. Aunt Virginia would already be heaping my plate full of steaming mashed potatoes as Aunt Netta Mae shouted and pointed. Aunt Netta Mae would be right behind her with the gravy boat. We would have to seek help from Mom to get them to stop.
This is why I remembered my aunts, today. .
I have arthritis in both knees. I hurt always. Most days it’s not that bad. Some days it is. I have a very very mild pain pill for those days. Saturday, I had a great deal of pain. I don’t know what I did, but my right knee was just not right at all It felt like bone was rubbing on bone. I walked though my house holding on to things to take weight off of that knee. My dear husband was caring things to me. . I hurt so very much by the end of the day, I could barely walk to the bed. I didn’t sleep well that night. I hoped that Sunday it would be better. It was not. I didn’t go to church.
Wes did. I told him to be sure to go up and have Pastor lay hands on him and pray for my knee.
Later that day I remembered something my pastor’s wife said. We have been studying the evidence that Jesus heals us today. Healing is part of the Atonement as evidenced by Isaiah 53 and Jesus’ own words in Matthew 8:17. One evening Darlene witnessed about headings she has lately received from Jesus. One of the things she said was that she laid hands on her foot which was hurting her greatly and prayed claiming what Jesus had done for her on the cross.
I had gotten up to walk to another place in the house. When I got there, I sat down, put my hand on my knee and prayed. I talked to Jesus about his bearing my sins and sicknesses on the cross. I rebuked the devil and told him to get his hands off of my knee.
The rest of that day, when I walked I praised Jesus with every step and talked to Him off and on about Isaiah. I told him that I had asked for healing as I was commanded and I thanked Him for it. All day.
Wes went to church that night. I didn’t. I got up to wash dishes because I wanted to see how things were working. Then I walked to the bedroom. I noticed a marked difference. By the time Wes came home, it was better still. Tonight as I type this, my knee is back to normal or normal for me.
Darlene called today to see how I was doing. I told her what Jesus had done for me. We talked about a passage of scripture she had read that day in her daily reading. In Matthew 15 a Canaanite woman came to Jesus crying out for him to have mercy on her because her daughter had a demon. . He ignored her for a while but she persisted until his disciples urged him to send her away. He turned around and told her that He had come only to Israel. She didn’t give up even then. She knelt before him and said, “Lord help me.”
26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
That didn’t stop her. She persisted still.
27″Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Darlene talked about the Canaanite woman’s persistence until Jesus heard her and healed her daughter. Then she said, “Jesus just gave her a crumb from that table and her daughter was healed. We don’t just get crumbs from the table. . .”
“We get everything,” I said.
That is what reminded me of my great aunts. We as the children of God don’t get crumbs from under the table. We sit at that table. Jesus himself is serving.
Like my great aunts when Jesus has heaping bowls on that table full of healing and deliverance and salvation and sanctification. If we believe the gospel, those things are heaped on our plates. These things have been provided though Jesus’ atonement to all of us who believe.
Can you not see it?
“Jesus, ” we pray, “I need healing. I need help with my finances. I need forgiveness of sins. I need guidance. I need you.”
While we are still speaking Jesus is there with the bowl filling that plate.
It is all prepared and on the table, We just have to believe and ask. Then our plates will be heaped full of what ever we need.