Come in Anyway

This evening I searched for my old photo albums in cardboard boxes under the bed. I found them along with other things I’d saved like pictures my children had drawn for me, random tiny toys I played with as a kid, and in one box I found an old spiral notebook I used to write things in, years and years ago.

It’s not a diary, not even a journal, just notes. For example, on one page I’d recorded how long it took quail eggs to hatch the time I’d gotten them and a tiny incubator from an ad in Southern Living. On another page was a training schedule from when I thought I’d try running a marathon. I laughed when I saw that on my ninth (and final) day of training I had simply written “too hot to run”. On yet another page I had jotted down “Come in anyway – Nannie said” and sketched a little church.

Nannie really was a praying grandmother who wanted us to go to church and who wanted us to know why she wanted us to go to church. She was happy with her relationship with God and she hoped the same for everyone else, especially family. She never preached. Instead she showed by pure example what it meant to be a great Christian. I never pretended to be a great Christian, or even a very good one for that matter, and I thought back to the many impromptu conversations Nannie and I had about God while sitting on her back porch. No one could imagine such deep conversations would pop up after picking a row of tomatoes or pulling a few ears of corn, but they did, and often.

One such conversation began as we shelled butter beans and I started questioning God. Nannie always said we should open our hearts to Him. I said to her that God allows diseases, but I should ask Him to come into my heart anyway? God allows people to drown, burn, and starve, but I should tell Him come in anyway? God allows one person to kill another, but still I should tell Him come in anyway? My examples went on for quite a while but she said nothing, just listened as she continued to shell butter beans. Surely now she realized how I couldn’t ignore all the bad God allows and still say my heart is open, “Come in anyway.” I said nothing else, but I had made my point.

When I was done, Nannie shifted in her chair a little but never looked up as she continued shelling the butter beans in her lap. She said we all do wrong things in life and do them even though we know they’re wrong. We sometimes doubt God or lack faith and we lie and sin in many ways. She said all of us have fallen short and none of us are perfect. Then she said when the time comes for those who believe to enter Heaven, God will stop us and look us in the face, aware of every single one of our past mistakes, errors, and sins, but you know what He will say?

“Come in anyway.”

Nannie threw the last of her butter bean hulls in the old bucket at her feet and stood to go to the kitchen. She said nothing else, but she had made her point.

Stuart M. Perkins

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46 Comments

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46 responses to “Come in Anyway

  1. What a beautiful story and just what I needed to hear today. Thank you :)

  2. Ruth Nulph

    Lovely story Stu. I remember your grandmother and her faith. She was a true Christian lady. I attended one cousin’s funeral yesterday and another one tomorrow. It is comforting to know they will be meeting our Christian family that are waiting for them in heaven.

  3. Such a beautiful story…thank you!

  4. Your Grandmother was a woman of uncommon wisdom! You were blessed, and now, through your stories you extend her blessings on to us all! Thank you.

  5. tellthetruth1

    I’ll be forever thankful that He saved me from what I was. That first sin when Eve took of the bad fruit is why we now have the knowledge of good and evil – something God never wanted for anyone.

  6. Great story Stuart. It is those simple truths uttered in the midst of life that stick with us.

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  8. I am among your biggest fans. Write that book, Stuart! I shall buy it. I am always inspired, touched, humbled, and smiling when I read your writing. Can’t wait for the next “story.”
    Sincerely,
    Lynne

  9. Thanks Stuart for a great reminder. Simple but true does it for me every time. God Bless your inspired writings! David.

  10. What a heartwarming story. I love digging through old boxes in the attic, They ate time machines all of them, transporting us to another time and age with a peek at a scrap paper.

  11. We were so very blessed to have these memories of our grandparents and the memories they have left to inspire us,

  12. Well told..!! God Bless…

  13. Best explanation I have ever heard! Wise grandmother.

  14. Unconditionally. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

  15. Thank you for this – I love your grandmother’s unwavering faith, and you bring her to life so well.

  16. Oh, such a beautiful story of invitation and God’s love. Come in, anyway :-)

  17. Janet

    I love this! So very true.

  18. ly

    Tears in my eyes from remembering just such occasions shucking corn and shelling field peas with my Granny on her back porch. Granny was my guide to the Christian faith, too. How blessed we are to have those memories of childhood.

  19. Tears, and she’s right…if there is a God. :)

  20. Wonderful story-very touching.

  21. God is hard to understand. I guess to God, man is hard to understand.

  22. She sounds like a very wise person. I wish there were more people like her.

  23. Stuart, I am always intrigued by your posts. At times, I am tempted to be envious of you, because you have had some priceless experiences and profound interactions … such things I did not have. But I am happy for you, and I know that man are blessed by what you bring to the table.

    • Oh, but I bet I would disagree! If my experiences are priceless and profound, yours are every bit the same. Details are likely different, but underlying messages or humor probably aren’t. I think that’s why we all relate so well to the many blogs we read. None of us are really that different, once you break it down. I appreciate your compliment, thanks very much.

  24. Great job on this! Nannie would be proud that you shared and embraced her wisdom.

  25. One of the memories I treasure include, as a young child, is being treated respectfully by adults. Nannie listened to you, took you seriously, and responded wisely and gently. That is a gift I try to offer at every opportunity.

    My maternal grandmother is my hero. I do my best to emulate her. We are all blessed with wise elders, whether related or not. Our job is to listen attentively to them, treating them with well-earned deference.

  26. Dear Sir,

    You have an amazing gift for storytelling and bringing your subjects beautifully to life. I often look forward to each of your stories with great anticipation.

    But I am not sure how to respond to this one. Whereas I believe that it is true that God does say, “Come in anyway!” to those who have accepted Jesus’ payment for our wretchedness, I believe that He says something very different to those who have spent a lifetime rejecting His gift of grace. You might find helps in John 14:6 and Matthew 25.

    I have concisely articulated (or somewhat concisely — for me, a woman of many words) my interpretation of entrance to heaven in my post “The Key” on mybetterpoems.wordpress.com, if you care to read it.

    I know that hearing critical viewpoints is often not a favorite activity for anyone. I am especially not a fan. So, you may want to delete this comment rather than allowing it to post with so many of your positive uplifting ones.

    Anyway, I pray for all success for you and your writings. You really do have a gift. (Also, it is not without a little envy that I note your many “Likes”.)

    Thanks also for visiting my poetry blog and liking my poems. That is a good encouragement.

    Best Regards,

    GwennonR

    • Of course I will post your comments! I appreciate them. The premise of my blog, as I mention on my “About” page, is to relate things that happen to and around me. I’ve never used a post to push belief, nor admonition. I enjoy relating my experiences and I’m happy that some enjoy reading them, but it’s just a blog, and there are thousands. I don’t mean to preach or judge and I hope I’ve not come across that way in this post or others. This was one of many evenings with my grandmother that I won’t forget, and I was relating the evening and her message. Thanks for the comment and I’ll be visiting your blog again, of course. I enjoy reading the poetry of others, especially since writing poems sure doesn’t come easily to me! Thanks again for your comments. Stuart

      • Dear Sir,

        Thank you for so tolerantly posting my comment.

        But are we not all preaching something? In your case, you seem to preach the joy of family, the sweetness of friendships, and just now in your reply you preach the toleration of views that are not your own and the ability to let others think for themselves instead of trying to force them to adopt your own views. These are pretty nice things to be preaching, I think.

        In my case, besides preaching (I hope!) good grammar (mostly), I want to preach about the goodness of God, juxtapositioned alongside His justice. But, besides these things, in one of my blogs, I regularly preach the ease with which kids and dogs provide a family with stories worth sharing. (My kids, of course, offer a different opinion, and to protect their feelings and their privacy, I have accordingly changed all our names.)

        As for poetry, I would not close the door so quickly on your own ability to write it. You obviously have a great talent for writing stories. And I know that some of these don’t fall together without some kind of effort on your part. Poems tend to happen more often when the writers make room for them. For example, last year, I may have written 5 poems. Possibly 10. I am not sure of the exact number because I wrote them all over my desk calendar and little scraps of paper. However, when I bought a couple of large colorful (why be boring here?) composition notebooks and began storing them with a stack of pens where I could grab them quickly, more poems have come. Some, it is true, require labor. I have some acrostic sonnets that have taken me months to complete. Other poems fall into place in 5 minutes’ time. But for that to happen, I have had to be prepared. I expect that if you make room for poems (and perhaps study the process of poem building, for example by studying Judson Jerome’s book THE POET’S HANDBOOK, or by reading Matthew Pullar’s excellent blog “The Consolations of Writing”), you may find that your poetry-writing gift that has been lying dormant all this time, might just suddenly spring into joyful existence. And I expect I am probably not the first person to tell you that. The talent has always been there.

        Anyway, thanks for the kind words. They are always appreciated.

        Best Regards,

        GwennonR

  27. V.A. Farria

    What a wonderful, warm story about your Nannie! It’s is beautifully written.

  28. Great story. Don’t keep stuff under your bed. That’s what mom and now wife always says.

  29. It is good that you had your Nannie to talk to about this. Those are questions we all had at one time or another. Beautifully written.

  30. A friend forwarded this to me. I just clicked to follow your blog; enjoyed your writing and will check out some of your other pieces. Feel free to check out my blog sometime when time allows, and have a great evening~
    http://justbeyondthetracks.wordpress.com/

  31. LindaG

    Very touching…Thank you for sharing. Your writing puts me right there.

  32. Thank you for sharing… That was pretty much awesome.. Went so well with a discussion I was having today!

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  34. It seems your grandmother was very wise in her calm manner, knowing the heart of God and the young man helping her shell those butter beans. “Little is much, when God is in it” came to my mind. Her few words made an impact on a little boy enough that he jotted the words down, not only on paper, but in his heart.
    It will be a great day of celebration when we see Jesus and I will be honored to meet her!
    Blessings,
    Ginger Sanders @gingersanders
    Billy Graham Chaplain Coordinator
    and Author

  35. Beautiful story that brought tears to my eyes… reminded me of my Grandmother… we use to call her the “head” Christian in our family because she prayed unceasingly for all the grandkids! Thank you for sharing such a simple message of salvation… sometimes we tend to make it a lot harder than it is… “come in anyway”.

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