If everyone knew what a few of us do, April 5 would be a national holiday. We would call it “Granky Day.”

Granky Day would be a celebration of all the precious women who have lived holy lives, but refused to be “holier-than-thou.” It would be a day to celebrate a woman who exuded radiant beauty and modesty in equal parts. It would be a day to celebrate a woman whose femininity was only matched by her untiring work ethic. It would be a day to celebrate a woman whose laugh could make you laugh, even when the joke made no sense at all.

April 5th is my maternal Grandmother’s birthday. Her name is Nova Dean Henager. She would have been 84 this year had she not died a few years back. She celebrated in a place where they don’t mark birthdays because no one grows old. I celebrated in a quiet place in my soul, where I remembered how blessed I was to have such a guileless, beautiful person influence my life.

When she passed, one of my aunts asked me to write a piece for the commemorative brochure that would be given to all those attending her funeral. It was a great honor to me to be asked to do that.

Here is what I wrote…

And (Jesus) said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:3

She was a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother. She was a pastor’s wife, counselor, teacher, and friend— especially to those who most needed a friend. Not many called her Nova or Nova Dean. A few called her Mrs. Henager. But everyone who knew her, who really knew her, called her Granky.

The world is full of wonderful grandmothers, grannies, and grandmas. But, as far as we know, there has only ever been one Granky.

What is a Granky? A Granky is a grandmother who never let the child inside her die. A Granky is a woman with an indomitable spirit, an insatiable thirst for godliness, and an untiring devotion to God, His church, and her family. A Granky tells her famous “monkey stories” to kids, while adults gather in the shadows to listen, laugh, and remember how good it feels to be a kid. A Granky makes the world’s greatest rolls (and cinnamon rolls).

A Granky loves Christmas and summer youth camps as much as any child. A Granky is a woman of timeless beauty and simple, childlike faith. A Granky may grow old, but she doesn’t have to “grow up.” She may grow tired…and fall asleep…

But when she finally does, she wakes, refreshed, forever youthful…in the arms of her Jesus.

Happy birthday to my Granky…and to every godly woman whose life and love is a legacy your children will always revere, thank you.

Happy Granky Day.