My fondest memories of my grandmother was when my father would take me to visit at her apartment in the Howard Projects on East New York Avenue, Brownsville, NYC.
The neighborhood during the late seventies and early eighties had a reputation for being violent and I always had an ominous feeling walking in and out of the projects. The thing that made my visits to Abuela’s (grandma’s) house memorable, was her constant desire to serve you.
She always had this overwhelming desire to make coffee for you. We would sit around the small, round, kitchen table and she would ask, “Quiere cafe?” (Do you want coffee?). She scurried around in her house dress to get the pot and water boiling. Coffee to her was a unifying beverage and I would say, it’s exactly that in most countries.
I personally had and have a dislike for coffee, so I always, politely said, no. Without skipping a beat, she then would ask if I wanted to eat something and before I could answer she was slicing some Italian bread, swinging to her left into the refrigerator with spice ham in her targets.
She was eager to make sure that I either had coffee or had food in my stomach. She had a love for her children and grandchildren, and probably would have given everything she had to make sure that they were taken care of. I love my abuelita.
In 2 Chronicles 22, the Bible shows us a different picture of a grandma. Her name was Athaliah and she had murder running through her veins:
10When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. (ESV)
Athaliah’s son, Ahaziah was king for a year before God removed him from this earth because of his idolatry. It was easy to see that in her mind, this was perfect time for her to rule as Queen of Judah.
At this time in Israel’s history, the nation was divided and had two kings, one for Judah in the south and another for Israel in the north. Athaliah, was raised by a murderous mother, Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, king of the northern kingdom.
Jezebel, who was not an Israelite, was known for her wickedness and hatred toward the LORD, God of Israel. As the Queen of the northern kingdom, she and her husband married off her daughter, Athaliah, to Jehoram, king of the southern kingdom with hopes of merging the two halves into one.
Jezebel was also known for her overwhelming desire to kill the prophet Elijah.
Now, Athaliah, makes a grab for the throne, but she knows that she can’t sit as Queen if there are any princes available. So she tears through the royal family killing every grandson she can.
11But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom, and they hid him from Athaliah, so the child was not murdered. (NLT)
Jehosheba loved her brother’s son and wanted him to survive, but he was a helpless infant. Under the direction of her husband, Jehoiada, she took her nephew and hid him from his murderous grandmother. Jehosheba’s husband, Jehoiada, was a godly priest in the temple and protected the heir to the throne. Jehosheba, which means “Jehovah is an oath,” was living up to her name by preserving the promise that God made to David: that there will always be a descendant of David to sit on the throne of Judah (2 Samuel 7:11-12).
Athaliah held the throne for six years until Jehoiada was able to gather enough political and military allies to rightfully install his nephew Joash, a boy, as king (2 Chronicles 23:1-11). When Athaliah heard that the rightful heir to the throne was being cheered and accepted by the people, she tore her clothes and began an attempt to kill the new king by going to his coronation ceremony being held at the temple.
Jehoiada gave orders to kill anyone who came to harm the child king and as Athaliah approached they captured her and put her to death outside of the temple. This murderous grandmother was finally brought to justice and although it took almost seven years, her evil plans came to an end.
This disturbing image of a grandma is heartbreaking. Grandma’s are suppose to be sweet and cuddly and caring, like mine was. But some grandma’s are brutal and evil at heart.
Have you experienced something like Grandma Athaliah — a person who was supposed to love and care about you, but instead, they hurt or abused you?
This kind of person can seem unreal to most people, but to you, it is or was a reality.
Let me encourage you by letting you know that God will live up to His promises in your life. If you are alive today, it’s because God has kept you alive so that you can fulfill His purpose in your life. It’s terrible and crazy to think that our loved ones could be so selfish and hurtful, but to God, He sees them for who they really are, evil.
If this story sounds like something you’ve experienced, take some encouragement from this story that He will work to rescue you from that destructive grandmother, mother, father, sister, brother or cousin. Call out to Jesus in your time of need and you will see that He hasn’t left you alone to be destroyed by those who should be loving you.
Here are some words from Him about you:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. — Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)