Grandparents

Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.

That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.     2 Timothy 1:3-7 (The Message)

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. My mother isn’t here for me to call or send a card to on this day. And so I have been thinking today about my role in the lives of my children. And grandchildren. I’d like to learn from my mistakes as a parent and do better as a grandparent.

On the surface, being a grandparent has all the benefits without the responsibilities. And, yes, parents are the ones responsible for the care and raising of their children. But grandparents have opportunities to sow seeds that may hit more fertile ground just because we aren’t their parents.

When the children are small there is an opportunity to build a relationship with the children that will be a foundation for when they are older. If they see me as not the disciplinarian but instead someone that expects good behavior and gives lots of positive reinforcement, my time with them will be a time of sharing. As they get older and I share events of my life and, occasionally, the life of their parents, I begin to be a needle that sows the tapestry of what God has done in our family. I believe I am helping the grandchildren to see where they fit and how they are not a ‘clone’ of their parents but in fact a piece or color of the tapestry themselves. The grandchildren have an opportunity to see me as a messenger without perceiving me as “preaching” to them. I have had some awesome moments of “truth” with my grandchildren and I know their parents have told them similar truths but I can see the “light bulb” blink on! It is a bit funny that the same truths come through even when they are the exact same words! That is a seed sown in the grandchild and the child, isn’t it? It could really impact their relationship and lives.

Faith isn’t for me to preach to my children and grandchildren but it is for me to walk out in front of them in clear truth. It is saying, “I don’t know” when I don’t. It is saying, “I don’t understand what God is doing” when I don’t. How can they know the victory of a life with Jesus if they do not also see the struggle? This is standing in testimony to the faith that has lived through the generations. I have a letter from the grandmother of my grandparents that described how important it was to her to begin every day reading her Bible. She came from the old country (Prussia) and made her life’s journey with the strength of God. My grandparents and my parents may not have been as verbal about their faith as I am but they did live their faith in my life. I am so very grateful to God and to all of them before me. May I also be found faithful.

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