I’d like to share with you about the faith of Monica Steckbauer. I never knew her as Monica though, but as Grandma Steckbauer. So that’s what I’m going to refer to her as. Grandma Steckbauer was a devout Christian. We all knew that about her.
We today, tend to write that off as superstition. We think about how backwards the older generation is, with their myths and organized religion. But I’ve found, after a great deal of struggle, addiction, and almost death, that the faith Grandma Steckbauer had was not a myth, a superstition or a nice tradition, but in fact, a real, living faith, in a God who is actually real.
I was so certain that I wanted nothing to do with Christianity. It was nothing. It was less than nothing. It was bigotry. It was judgment. It was backwards. And then Jesus Christ entered my life, in a real way, and changed everything.
For Grandma Steckbauer, she knew all along. She lived her faith in Christ. She served those in need, ministered to the shut ins, faithfully attended mass, and served her family first.
Grandma Monica and her husband George were a dynamic duo, a team. I don’t think most of us truly understand just how much they loved each other. Grandma was a wife who supported George is all his ventures, with music, family, and travel. And she was a loving mother to her children.
But I think the most important thing about Grandma Monica was her faith. It’s a part of her many of us didn’t really understand. She was always inviting us to church, telling us about the saints, giving us cards and devotional pamphlets, which I would promptly toss in the garbage. Yet she continued, day in and day out, to serve as a faithful Catholic.
She was a prayer warrior for me when I was addicted to drugs. For 10 years she watched me crumble, piece by piece. She never stopped praying for me. When I would come to her house and beg her for money so I could buy more dxm, she would give it to me. When I went into her house and stole from her, she would forgive me. When I would be terribly in need, and despairing of life itself, she would pray for me.
The light was always on at grandmas house. During my earliest years, during my youth and upbringing I felt like I was constantly at her house. I cherish those memories of sitting around the table, playing cards, listening to grandpa tell jokes. And I think of the times when we’d be out at the farm. I used to look forward to that as a kid like nothing else. And we’d ride the 3 wheelers. We’d go swimming in the pond. It was a golden time.
Grandma Monica was a lover of souls. Let me tell you. Her devotion to us as a family was central. She was a servant. In fact she loved us so much that we were accustomed to knowing that we were loved, and cared for.
She encouraged me to be creative. She encouraged me to write, to paint, and to learn. She encouraged me to live a moral life. Including the timeless maxim “Eat for the hunger that’s coming.” Any of you remember that one? Oh yes. “It’s nice to be nice” Grandma used to say to me. And “It costs nothing to be polite.”
She had a way of diffusing tense situations. I recall one time when Travis and I had a serious argument at her house, she made sure neither of us left. She would grab us gently by the face and pull us into her arms until we calmed down, we’d cry, and all would be well again. She was that kind of person. Sometimes I didn’t like what a “force of nature” grandma could be. But she always meant it for the best.
Her dumplings and gravy were to die for. And her poppyseed cake was a delight. It’s the little things I think I’ll miss. That kitchen, that table in the old house, our conversations.
Things changed as the years went by, and grandpa passed away. She struggled more and more. But I think I’ll always remember that kitchen. And Grandma smiling. Her welcome, her presence.. as a place of joy. As a place where Grandma’s love provided a refuge of peace and safety from the world out there.
Her and grandpa always kept the family together. The joy of the family get togethers I’ll never forget. Her encouragement I’ll never forget. Her unconditional love I’ll never forget.
She wasn’t perfect. Grandma was not perfect. But she was a lover of souls. And ultimately her love came from Christ’s love for her.
I think it would be her dream for each of you in the family, to come to know the love of Jesus Christ. I thought it was fake. I thought it was nothing. I was wrong. Could you be wrong too?
Who is this Jesus? He is God, who came to Earth. God came on a rescue mission to Earth, to save a wayward humanity. Our sins separated us from the love of God, yet Jesus Christ came and lived a perfect life on Earth. And he willingly gave himself to suffer, and to die on the cross, as a substitute, a payment for our sins. And then he was a laid in a tomb. 3 days later, jesus Christ the God-man resurrected from the dead. And when he did that, he was saying to us today, if you believe in me, you will live forever. Though you die physically, you will be resurrected.
To me, it became clear that God is real when I considered all the harmonious complexity around me. The stars and moon at night. The wildlife, the trees, the sunrise and sunset, the plants and life about me. All of this couldn’t come about by chance. No, God is real. And His Bible, though it’s so hated by our culture today, remains His word.
Buy yourself a Bible. Read through it. Tonight ask God to reveal himself to you, if he’s really out there. I found that Jesus Christ is real. And that he still opens the door for those like me. I found a protestant church, the salvation army, where God is using me now. Protestant or Catholic, we worship the same glorious God.
Grandma knew exactly where she was going. She was going to be with Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Grandma’s legacy is one of faith. And if we are wise, we will pursue that as well.
I will remember Grandma Monica, but more so, I will see Grandma Monica again, in the eternal city. That is the truth. Truly truly, She lived for Christ. And that is the legacy of Grandma Monica Steckbauer.
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