I met my mother-in-law before I ever met my husband Jim Bob. I had applied for a job at a yogurt shop where my friend was working at the time, and Jim Bob's mother was the manager there. She was such a godly mentor and role model for me, because I was a new Christian -- I had just accepted Christ.
I remember one day we were working and we were cleaning out the yogurt machine together, and she hurt her hand on one of the machine parts. I heard her say "Ooh" and then, "Praise the Lord in all things," and I just remember thinking this is a woman I want to learn something from. Wow, she definitely has a close relationship with God that can learn from. And I just remember from the very beginning seeing that she has the spiritual gift of teaching.
Many years later, as Jim Bob's father began to get ill and found out that he had a terminal brain tumor, we told them, "Grandma, we don't want you and Grandpa being alone trying to deal with this at home because Grandpa didn't want to be put in the hospital unless it was an absolute necessity." He didn't want to be in a hospital, and he wanted to be around his family as much as he could. He said, "I want to spend my last days with my kids and my grandkids."
So they came to live with us before he died, and Grandma took care of him 24/7. She was there by his side the whole time. Jim Bob and our older boys would go in to help lift him or turn him or help if need be to give him a shower or bath.
I just remember those times that our children just got to spend with Grandpa and Grandma in their lives and the joy of getting to help bring Grandpa out, wheel him over to the table while Grandma fed him supper, and he got to listen to us singing around the table and give praise reports to each other before we would pray at the meal. Those are precious memories for the us and the kids.
Learning from Grandma Duggar
We told Grandma, "You're never going to be alone. Don't you ever think that you'll have to live by yourself because you'll always have a place. You have this guest room in our home, and it's your space; it's your pad." We told her that we'd understand if she didn't always want to hang out because it can get kind of noisy and crazy around the place, so if she needed a place to go to get away, then she should feel free to do that, but that she always has a place to stay.
And I'm so grateful she hangs out with us -- she has been such a blessing. She's been teaching our children recently how to share their faith in Christ with others. She was an evangelist teacher and trainer. For years she would teach people how to share their faith in Christ, and so she's now talking to our children about how to effectively share their faith in Christ with others to spur conversation with people on a daily basis at the grocery store or wherever you're at.
And then she helps us with our laundry every day. She is so precious. I said, "Grandma, we really didn't strategically place the guest room on the other side of the laundry room for that reason. I know it might look that way!" When she comes out of her room, she has to walk through the laundry room, and being the spirit that she has - she's so sweet - she'll start folding the laundry every morning.
That's now what Grandma wants to do. She has our little 4 year old Jennifer gather the laundry. So Jennifer will go and gather all the laundry early in the morning and drop it down the laundry chute. And then Grandma sorts it all, gets it all started. She is such a blessing to have in our lives in so many ways.