My Unstoppable Grandma

My grandma, Marcie Schipma, is 94 years young. And I want to be her when I grow up.

My grandma has raised 5 children, has 19 grandchildren and 53 great-grandchildren and can name them all in order without skipping a beat. When she wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, she prays for them all in order from oldest to youngest. She says she gets through all of them almost every time. (I’m thankful I’m one of the oldest 😉

A few years ago, my grandma decided after some heart trouble and mini strokes that it was time to move into an independent living facility. After looking at several options and landing on the one where she now resides, she told her children, “I’ve decided I’m going to like it here.” This was before she actually moved in. It wasn’t after she was there for a bit and decided she did like it, or she was liking it. She decided she was going to. And she has followed up on that decision with a positive outlook and zero complaints.

Chriss with her Grandma and sister

This past weekend, my mom and my sister and I had the opportunity to visit my grandma at her new home. We enjoyed a lovely lunch in her dining room together, cafeteria style. We talked about the usual stuff, from our kids and our jobs to our future plans. During the lunch, my grandma was interrupted several times by her friends coming over to meet her granddaughters. One of these ladies, Rose, came up to our table because she wanted us to know how special our grandma was to her. She said that when she came to Saratoga Grove, my grandma was her first friend. This didn’t surprise me or my sister, and we smiled and told her we knew how special our grandma was too.

But we didn’t know the whole story.

What we didn’t know, and what my mom told us on our drive home from Chicago to Michigan, was that after my grandma had been living at her facility for a while, she announced to her kids that she had found her purpose at Saratoga Grove.

Now, if ANYONE has an excuse to just stop, hang up her “purpose,” cash in her chips and let others serve her, it is a 94 year old woman who has raised 5 kids, lost her husband 40 years prior, has had several small strokes, a heart attack and a few falls.

Not my grandma.

She started noticing that there were a lot of people coming to Saratoga who weren’t from the surrounding community, and they were scared and lonely. Grandma made another decision. She decided that she was going to be intentional about introducing them to her friends, inviting them to bingo, and showing them the ropes. In other words, being a friend. She did not let her age or her health or her gender or her living situation stop her from finding a purpose.

What about you?

Have you come to a place where you are discouraged by your circumstances? Have you doubted your influence, your purpose or even your faith? Sometimes you have to make a decision. What do you need to DECIDE that you are going to not just tolerate, but actually LIKE? Your body? Your job? Your house? Your living situation? Your purpose? In our Spring session of Body & Soul Fitness, Unstoppable, our theme verse is Ephesians 3:20-21, which says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.” Today I am so grateful for my grandma’s example, and for the legacy she is giving us through her steadfast, unstoppable love and unstoppable faith. To God be the Glory.


Chriss Pruim teaches Body & Soul Boot Camp and Power Strength programs in Byron Center, Michigan.  She is also a Boot Camp trainer, and wife to Mark and mom to Owen, Grace, and Lily.

5 Comments on “My Unstoppable Grandma

  1. Wonderful testimony! What an amazing woman. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. LOVE THIS! Thank you for sharing your story so beautifully. A legacy of faith – now that’s truly UNSTOPPABLE!

  3. Chriss, I want to be like your grandma too when I grow up!! Awesome!!!

  4. I love this article! I’m going to try to take that tactic and LIKE some of the things that get me upset. Too often I play them over and over again. Thank you!

  5. She is a very special lady that is for sure. A real women of prayer. We have appreciated all of her prayers for my husband Jim.
    She also has a smile that lights up a room!!

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