God Used A Shawl

Submitted by Libby on Tue, 09/05/2017 - 23:44


I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. Would they be nice? Would they speak English? What would they think of me? What would they think of our family?

My family and I were waiting near the last baggage claim, waiting for a long time, waiting for our Japanese relatives. Grandma Notsu would be there; Uncle Hiroo and Aunt Katsuko would accompany her. They were probably on the plane now…or off it, figuring out where to go.

I glanced up at my mom and wondered what she was thinking. Was she nervous, like I was? For the first time in over twenty years, her mother was coming to see her—in America. Over twenty years!

It was over twenty years ago, my mom left Japan to study in America; over twenty years since she met my dad…over twenty years since they married…over twenty years since Grandpa and Grandma Notsu disowned her…

Twenty years later, waiting to see her mom.

Just a couple months earlier…

My mom knit her a beautiful grey shawl and sent it to Japan. We didn’t think she would accept it. The packages and letters we sent before all came back, unopened, red letters spelling our return address. But this time…

We received an email shortly after. It was from my Grandma. She sent us pictures of herself wearing the shawl with a smile on her face. She sent us pictures of her house and her car.

And then we found out she wanted to come to America…

This was what our family had prayed about for years! I had prayed about this almost every day. But I never trusted that God would really answer my prayers in any way.

My grandma, we call her Obachan, received our gift with a heart opened only by God. She was so touched by the fact that her own daughter knit something precious and beautiful for her, that she talked to her son and asked him to take her to America “to see Yukari and her husband and her children.”

A week of miracles.

God used the week she visited for so much more than we could ever have imagined.

She loved her grandchildren. She slept with me in my room, which is the guest room, and we got up early each morning together. She taught me how to fold new origami patterns and to make an origami top.

My mom even got to share the Gospel with her.

She was happy, joyful, and delightful. She played ping-pong with me, even though she was eighty-six. She drank tea with us as a family. She giggled like a little girl.

And she went to church with us on Sunday. Of course, it was just to see my sister and brother play the piano during the worship service. But God used that reason to bring her, my uncle and my aunt to church, where people welcomed them and truth was proclaimed all day.

In the end, Obachan invited us to Japan to see her—and we went…

And to think that God worked in her heart through a simple, grey shawl.

Author's age when written

A true story that took place three years ago. I'm writing this for someone and I would love to have criticism and feedback on how to make it better.


This is beautiful, Libby. I really don't have any criticism. It flows well, and is sweetly simple. Lovely work. Also, I love that you spell grey with an e. To me it feels so much more warm than gray with an a.

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.

I've heard snippets of this story and I loved hearing more of it, especially written in such an engaging way.

Love this. Encouraging, heartwarming, a good reminder how big - and how good! - our God is. :)