Editorial: Faith Like Your Grandmother Lois
How often does it take the death of a loved one to really think about their impact? One of the great failings of human nature is our blindness to how blessed we are by the people around us. Too often, it takes tragedy to reflect on someone’s legacy. This has proven true with my maternal grandmother, and the impact she had on me and my family.
Lois Burls McKnight crossed into eternity over five years ago now – I can’t believe it’s been that long. Later in her life, she dealt with tenuous health and memory problems. It’s harder to remember the brave, outdoorsy, unshakable woman that she was. My memories, filled out by stories my mom, aunts, uncles, and older cousins tell, remind me of her strong faith.
My grandma hailed from northern New York, and was a strong Christian of Wesleyan stock. She was the first of a long line of Houghton graduates in our family. Following commencement, she married a fellow graduate and soon-to-be pastor, and moved to his native Canada. They had four children, all of whom grew up to love the Lord.
Unfortunately, my grandfather’s infidelity and call for divorce broke up their union when my mom was a teenager. She talks about hearing her mom weep through her prayer time in that season. However, her faith in and love for the Lord grew through this tragedy. Lois’s involvement in the lives of her children and grandchildren always brought in its wake the fragrance of Christ.
At her funeral, they read snippets of her journal. There were profound bits of theology in her writing even when she was a young college student. She was one of those people whose love of the Lord was resilient. God had been with her to the mountaintops and through dark valleys, and her life was a testament to her faith from her youth and until the very end.
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5, NIV). A number of times, my mother has tearfully relayed how much joy it would have given my grandma to know I’m at seminary and pursuing ordination in her home denomination. If I come out of seminary with faith that looks a little more like my grandmother’s – like Timothy’s did – let the glory be God’s.
Why have I told you this story? To encourage you to look more deeply at the people you take for granted. There is something to be said for someone’s enduring legacy, but how much better is it to honor their living legacy? I hope you have a Lois McKnight in your life – someone that lives their faith through thick and thin, prays without ceasing, and can fearlessly face tomorrow.
This article is by Julia Hotchkiss, Alumni Office Student Worker.
Thank you for a wonderful remembrance. Such a witness is what will stay with us in our difficult times.