A mark of love (religion)

Published 6:46 pm Wednesday, June 8, 2016

By Chanel Bingham

Our move to Chilton County eight years ago was not an easy one, mainly because it came on the heels of the death of my mother-in-law. She had lived in the area her whole life and was only in her early 60s when she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. She fought a long, losing battle, and the cancer ultimately spread to her bones and brain.

A few short years later, we lost my father-in-law to heart disease. It was a difficult few years to say the least, and we all struggled with our grief. I honestly don’t know how we would have made it through such a difficult time had it not been for a kind and compassionate couple who became a lifeline for our family.



Jean Nelson was my mother-in-law’s sister, and she also happened to be our neighbor. Without hesitation, both she and her husband Wayne gently and tenderly embraced my family as their own.

To my children, they have filled the role of loving grandparents. Living only a few houses down, my children are a permanent fixture at their house. My daughter Grace will help “Nanny Jean” in her garden while Lincoln rides his skateboard down her driveway.

When my kids spend the night, Nanny comes up with the most creative and fun games to play. Just this week, they went on a fairy hunt and caught fairy dust!

And every Sunday morning, my 14-year-old son Peyton walks down to Nanny and Paw Paw’s house for a home cooked breakfast. It is the highlight of his week!

Peyton also enjoys spending time with Paw Paw Wayne. Since the passing of Peyton’s grandfather, Wayne has poured into his life and has become a mentor to him. They go fishing, hunting and enjoy watching television together. Paw Paw Wayne also gives Peyton the opportunity to work with him periodically throughout the summer.

Of course, being grandparents is not the only role they fulfill in the life of our family. They also serve as parental figures to both me and my husband.

Since the passing of my mother-in-law, Jean and Wayne have been a constant support in helping to raise our children. Jean is always there when we need someone to pick up the kids from school or watch them for a few hours. And every Wednesday night, her maroon Altima pulls up in front of our house to take the kids to church.

We know we always have a place to go for the holidays, and Jean always lends an ear when I need to talk.

This week, we say good-bye to Paw Paw Wayne and Nanny Jean as our neighbors, as we prepare to move from Thorsby to our new home in Clanton.

I have reflected on our time together a lot over the last few weeks and can honestly say that they have been “the hands and feet of Jesus” to us through their kindness and love.

In the name of Jesus, they adopted our family as their own. In the name of Jesus, they provided shelter for us in the midst of life’s storms. And in the name of Jesus, they loved us faithfully and unconditionally.

They are a beautiful example of what it means to literally “love your neighbor as yourself,” and there are not enough words to express my gratitude for the love Wayne and Jean Nelson have shown my family.

Over the years, I have come to learn that our every action matters and our words always leave an imprint on others. Wayne and Jean have left an indelible mark of love on our family, and I can only hope and pray that as others cross our path, we too, will leave that same mark of love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Chanel Bingham is a freelance writer, blogger and public speaker. She resides in Thorsby with her husband and four children. You can visit Chanel at www.thepolishedcanvas.com or on Facebook at “The Polished Canvas.” Her column publishes each week.