The Grandmother Who Helped a Child See

by Kathy Howard

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 1 Timothy 1:5 NIV

She met with presidents and governors. She was the first woman to speak before the US Senate. During her lifetime, she authored more than 8,000 hymns, many still sung in churches today; beloved songs of faith like “Blessed Assurance,” “To God be the Glory,” and “Near the Cross.” Yes, Fanny Crosby left an enduring legacy of faith. But it began with her grandmother.

Frances Jane Crosby was born to John and Mercy Crosby in 1820. Tragedy marked the first year of her life. She lost her sight at six weeks old when an incompetent doctor mistreated a mild eye inflammation. The hot mustard poultice he applied to her young eyes left her completely blind. Then, not long before her first birthday, her father died. Mercy, forced to work as a maid to support her young family, left Fanny in the daily care of her grandmother, Eunice Crosby.

Grandmother Eunice lovingly dedicated herself to be Fanny’s “eyes.” Eunice took her granddaughter for long walks, helping her “see” what the two encountered through vivid descriptions. Eunice taught Fanny about colors, flowers, and birds. She painted glorious word pictures of sunrises and sunsets. Eunice also read to Fanny constantly, particularly from the Bible. She helped Fanny memorize first small, then large chunks of Scripture including many whole books.

Fanny spent most of her young years with Eunice, and the two became very close. Later in life, Fanny wrote about her relationship with her grandmother. “My grandmother was more to me than I can ever express by word or pen.”

In many ways, Eunice gave her granddaughter the world, challenging her not to allow blindness to be an excuse. More importantly, Eunice gave Fanny God’s Word. His truths, firmly ingrained in her heart and mind, ripened and aged. Then years later, the truths flowed out as poetry, birthed to commend God’s works to generations of believers.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. Psalm 145:3-6 NIV

Like Fanny’s grandmother, we canfind creative ways to help our children or grandchildren recognize God’s glory and majesty. For instance, we can take them on a nature walk. All along the way we can stop and praise God for His creativity and beauty. We can live out God’s call in Scripture to tell the next generation of His might acts.

This post is adapted from “Heirloom: Living & Leaving a Legacy of Faith.”

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate, richest coffee, and cherished stories of faith. She also digs deep into Scripture, mining God’s eternal truths. Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and has taught the Bible for more than 30 years in a wide variety of venues. Kathy is the author of 12 books, including “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” and the “meaty” devotional series “Deep Rooted.”

Kathy and her husband live in north Texas. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and one accidental dog. Find free discipleship resources at

Join the Conversation: Did you grandparents help you grow in your faith? Please share that experience!

5 thoughts on “The Grandmother Who Helped a Child See

  1. This is a beautiful story, Kathy. I didn’t know about Fanny’s grandmother. It’s a great reminder that grandparents can make an eternal investment in their grandchildren.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Because my teenaged mother lived with her parents while my dad was in WWII, my grandmother was instrumental in my early development. In fact, “Ma” delivered me at birth in her country home on her birthday. Ma was a wise and godly woman with a servant heart. She did not talk a lot but when she did, everyone listened. She paddled me when I needed it, and I loved her dearly. Her love for the Lord was the theme of her life, and she helped me love HIM, too. Thanks for this post, Kathy! Fran


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