The grace of giving from enough

I can count on one hand the number of times we saw grandma Durham. I remember visiting her and grandpa in California when I was 5 or 6. We drove from Louisiana or Arkansas, wherever we were living at the time, in a station wagon that I think we slept in at least one night.

My memory focuses on the cots spread out in the field behind their house, across the levee under nothing but the California sky. The cots were available to men. The times were different and so was the language. They weren’t homeless in those days even if they had no address to call home. Here in an open stretch of space they had a place to sleep and a bowl of beans served up by grandma. I think the only payment in return was chores around the property or grandpa’s used furniture store.

Years later they moved north to Washington state and this time it was a big house where they rented rooms to migrant workers. Rooms filled in the summer and empty come winter when the work moved south back to California. The men paid what they could, often bringing heaping bowls of cherries or other fruit they picked in the orchards.

 

This is who they were. People with little, but feeling they had enough and giving from their enough to others.

Mama told me about the man she bought stockings for. He came to church but didn’t quite fit in. A man’s body, women’s clothes and he needed stockings. Grandma bought them. He was in need. That’s all that ever mattered to her. If she could help, she would. She did.

Years after grandma had gone to be with Jesus, mama sat in our house in Memphis. She called home to check on things in her absence and I heard her voice tighten. I saw her eyes redden.

What happened mama? Someone died. Who? I don’t remember you mentioning that name. He was a drunkard. He was my friend.

A legacy, handed down from her mama, from grandma. The focus not on herself as God’s grace swept through her heart.

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.” Matthew 6:6 the Message

Maybe this is why I’m comfortable sitting in a roomful of addicts and alcoholics. Maybe this is why I’m fit for this work of victory and defeat, of relapse and recovery. The focus on self is removed as God shows his grace to me through these men. He shows me how desperately I’m in need of his mercy.

This is in our blood, my DNA that at its core has a cross.

More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

14 thoughts on “The grace of giving from enough

  1. Bree Durham

    Deb, this made me cry with joy of the story of who my parents were. They were even more than that. My Daddy, your Grandpa Durham read every book he could gets his hands on. He even had a book nook part of his store. You could trade 2 books for 1 or buy a book for a dime. He gave books free to anyone who had nothing.
    That’s how I learned to read and read some more!
    My Dad taught us basic math by Playing poker, dominos, twenty-one, solitary, and as we grew older TTY he games got more serious with math. That’s why I can still calculate in my head. I could go on and on…✝️
    Aunt Bree

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I know so little about grandpa. Mama didn’t talk about her family too much, but probably because she had a hard time getting much said with Daddy talking 😉 Thanks for telling me grandpa was a reader. And how he taught math. So interesting. I think he and grandma must have been a pretty good team.

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  2. Stumbling into GRACE

    Hi Debby.. It is such a miracle to me when Love is handed down it always reaches Upward .. God bless our relatives for showing us the path to compassion

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    1. Debby Hudson

      That’s lovely, Sue…that love handed down always reaches upward. I need to remember that. Yes, thankful for having that modeled to us.

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  3. Annie Rim

    What a legacy! It’s such a reminder that our choices and actions (no matter how seemingly small) will shape our family story for generations. You have me thinking about what I want our contribution to look like….

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    1. Debby Hudson

      Don’t overthink it Annie 😉

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  4. Valerie Sisco at Grace with Silk

    Debby,
    I loved reading this about your roots and the legacy of hope and help your grandparents modeled for you! I can only imagine how overjoyed they would be to see you following in their footsteps as you offer love and help to those in need. Love the vintage photo too! xo

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    1. Debby Hudson

      I’ve got to figure out something great to do with the few old photos I have. They become more and more precious, don’t they Valerie? I’m forever grateful for this imperfect family who believed and lived with grace.

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  5. hopeful50

    Oh Deb, this was just perfectly perfect. And, you are right – your dna has a cross in it, stained with blood. You are doing good work because you are doing HIS WORK. xoxoxo

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    1. Debby Hudson

      And isn’t every grace-filled word we share His work, Susan? I know it is. Thankful to be part of this wider community of grace-givers.

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  6. sarahgirl3

    What wonderful lives, poured out for others. Being Jesus with skin on. Amazing legacy!

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    1. Debby Hudson

      A legacy that invites participation. I think we call it community 🙂 Thanks Sarah.

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  7. REBECCA Hastings

    This is so beautiful! Your heart (and those of your mother and grandmother) shine through! I loved this: “People with little, but feeling they had enough and giving from their enough to others.” So profound!

    And Matthew 6:6 in the MSG version is GOLD!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Hi Rebeca! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, there are a few portions in Matthew that the Message just makes a deeper impact on me. I’m grateful we have those inspired voices.

      Reply

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