A Tribute to Grandma

Yes, I have been noticeably absent from this blog and I so appreciate each email, comment and Facebook message of concern sent out. It was an intentional break from blogging, and one I haven’t quite resolved in my mind as to what direction I am going with it, but I just received some sad news and everything that is in me ached to write… and so I sit here writing.

The sad news I received is that my dear grandmother has died. I must preface the “sad news” part with it being a truly joyful and beautiful occurrence as she knew the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior and she will be with Him forever more – no more pain, suffering or heartache.

My grandma, Phyllis (Statton) Dibble spent most of her life working with her husband, Spencer Dibble, in Nigeria, West Africa. Growing up I knew my grandparents only through letters, which could take upwards of 6 weeks to go one direction, and the furloughs that occurred every few years where they would stay at our house and buy us all ice cream since it was a special treat they couldn’t get in Nigeria.

At 18 years of age I went over to Nigeria and lived with my grandparents for almost a year. In that time I got to really know this woman I called grandma.

My grandma is an incredible woman – she embodied contentment, faithfulness and love.

She was content to serve alongside the man that she loved in the place that they had been called to serve – they don’t own anything fancy, never enjoyed a cozy retirement or exotic vacations.  In fact, she didn’t even have the luxury of an air conditioned home in the midst of the African heat and for ages she didn’t even have basic electricity needs. Something so many think is a basic need she contentedly lived without for the sake of being obedient to where the Lord called them.

My grandma was faithful in her service – in the year I was there I watched her mark thousands of Emmaus Correspondence Courses, write hundreds of thank you notes and pray daily with my grandfather for their family and friends near and far, as well as pray for other missionaries around the world.

My grandma loved my grandpa – and he simply adored her. They truly enjoyed each others company. It was such a beautiful testimony of a God honoring marriage. They read God’s word and prayed together every single morning. Every meal was eaten together. And every evening they would play a game or two together.

As most of you know, Judah, Wesley and I were able to make the trip over to Nigeria this past November. Even back then I knew the details of that trip falling together were orchestrated by God and now I am humbled and so thankful that He directed us there, even at a time where it didn’t make financial sense and when Paul wasn’t able to travel with us.

The 5 weeks we spent there are even more precious to me now. My grandma got to meet my sons, and, more importantly, they got to meet her. While Wesley’s memories come directly from pictures and things Judah shares, Judah has a treasure house of his own memories from the trip stored up. I hope that, when it is time, both of my boys will look for women that exemplify the characteristics that they saw {and will hear about} in their great grandmother.

a very treasured picture – the oldest child {Judah} of the oldest child {myself}  of the oldest child {my mom, Susan} of an oldest child {my grandma}

When I was telling the boys about my grandma dying I started to cry. Judah said to me “But mommy, she’s going to see Jesus and I know Jesus died for me so when I die I’ll go to Heaven and see her and so will you and so will daddy and so will Wesley.”

What sweet words of comfort.

And from 1 Peter 1:3-9;

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in Heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Related Posts:  

34 Replies to “A Tribute to Grandma

  1. Oh Jess, thanks for sharing this! What an amazing, godly example you've had in your grandmother – and how precious for your boys to have had an opportunity to connect with her! Oh how God has blessed you with a Christian heritage.

    Praying for you and your family!

  2. A beautiful tribute for a beautiful grandmother. Jessica, Ford & myself are so very sorry to hear about your grandmother. It is a difficult time with mixed emotions, sadness for losing her, joy that she is with the Lord. She is in our prayers, as is your entire family.

  3. Jess, thank you so much for writing this…you have such a gift for writing, I appreciate your words and your appreciation for the woman I proudly called mom.

    Uncle Rick

  4. My name is Emakoji Ayikoye, and I saddened to hear of the passing into glory of this incredibly sweet, loving and amazing woman, whom I truly lack words to describe. I met her, her husband and her daughter Lois and family when I stayed over at their mission center for perhaps 2 months. I know that she has gone into glory to enjoy better than all the comfort of America that she gave up to serve my people in a really remote village in Nigeria. I had hoped to see you during planned August 2011 visit. When I and Lois reconnected and spoke of you, I offered to stop to say hi.. I was moved when Lois told me how much you really liked me when I stayed over. Thank God you heard of me before your departure to glory. May your humble soul rest in perfect peace in his bossom!!!!

  5. It is amazing how God orchestrated that trip so that you would have that time with your boys and your grandparents – how wonderful!

    And your grandmother has now heard those sweet words – "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

  6. What a legacy, Jess. Simply beautiful in every way. And her children (and grandchildren and great-grandchildren) shall rise up and call her blessed. Praying for your Grandpa during this time along with all your family. Love YOU!

  7. Beautiful———–your grandma was much like mine!!!!

    they now dance on streets of gold

    Rejoice as one day we shall meet again!!

    praying for u all

  8. It sounds like your grandmother was an incredible woman. Praise God that you were able to see her again and that your boys were able to meet her before she was called home. I am praying for you and for your family.

  9. That is a beautiful tribute to your sweet Grandmother! She sounds like a wonderful person, That is so great you were able to spend time with her and your son's got to meet her too!

    I know its not easy loosing someone I recently lost my Grandmother last month but it is nice to know that they are with the Lord now 🙂

  10. Oh, Jess…I'm so sorry. I can't tell you how sorry I am. Praying for more and more of God's comfort on you and your family and, especially, your grandfather. What a beautiful tribute to an obviously beautiful woman.

  11. Your grandma sounds like she was an amazing woman of God. How special that the 3 of you could make that trip last fall, God is so good! Judah sounds like such a sweetheart, great words of comfort for his grieving mommy.

  12. So sorry for you and your family's loss. It is such a great testimony she lived from your memories you shared. So very happy for you that you had the trip to spend time with your grandparents. I'm sure you will treasure it always.

  13. Jess, my heart goes out to you–but rejoice as well. To be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing you traveled the path on this earth well. Praying for you and your mom. May just a few of those words be said about me when I am with Him. Blesses is she.

  14. I am so glad you got to spend time with your grandparents this last year. What a wonderful heritage you have. Isn't the Lord good to orchestrate events in ways that we can't even imagine. We'll be praying for your family and especially for your grandpa who has lost his life companion.

  15. Psalms 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

    Knowing they are there waiting for us, doesn't it make you look forward to heaven even more than before? Though there is much pain in their passing, there is also peace, because we know they are finally united with their True Love, Jesus Christ. I'm sorry for the pain and I can feel it in my heart, because I have been there, but I rejoice with you over a life well lived. I'll be praying for you and your Grandpa tonight.

  16. What a beautiful tribute to your Grandma. I grew up at Ika and have many memories of the whole family there. This brought tears to my eyes; I totally agree with your uncle Rick. God is so good, and aunty Phyl is rejoicing in His presence now. May He richly bless and uphold you all through this time. Ojo ki dugbu we.

  17. I understand the feelings you are having. Both my parents passed on to be with the Lord last year. I'm so thankful that they had a relationship with the Lord and are with him now, but it is my waiting to see them again that is so hard. God is so gracious to provide us opportunities to have that special time with our loved ones before He calls them home. I'm thankful your children were able to meet such a wonder lady, and you were able to see her. I think you have her qualities – what a blessing!

  18. Jessica,

    I wish to share my herty condolences with you. Your grandma must have been wonderful.

    I hope they enjoyed thier life here in Nigeria.

    They are gone though but i know ur heart still sees them closeby.They are in Gods glory.

    I dont know if you ever visited them in Nigeria? well would love to have u visit Nigeria if you wish at your spare time.

    I would be able to uspport your stay in Nigeria.I and my family have read about you.

    Do call me if you can.



    John Chinedu

Comments are closed.