Category: grandmotherhood

May They Find Us Faithful

Many years ago, when my children were little I heard Steve Green sing these words:

“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

Those words stuck with me while we were raising our children, but I think that now, as a grandparent, they instruct me in the way I am to interact with my grandchildren. And the timing seems much more urgent. My oldest grandchild is almost five years old. In another eight years or so, her beliefs about God for the rest of her life will be pretty much established.

Eight years passes by with frightening speed.

So, what can we do to make sure that we leave footprints for them to follow?

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.

Sounds kind of scriptural, right? If our love for God is not real and strong and devoted, it won’t last and it won’t be obvious to our children. You know how it is – you can preach and preach to your family, but if they don’t see it modeled, you might as well preach to a rock.

I always think of Paul when I think of modeling the Christian faith. Everywhere he went he was genuine and unashamed of his love for the God who had changed him.

Just one example – read the words he wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy.

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 1:12b-13

After Paul reminded Timothy of his own faith, he was able to instruct Timothy to listen to his words and to follow in his footsteps.

2. Keep your memories of God’s power in your life fresh.

We all have stories of what God has done in our lives – how He saved us; how He has provided for us; how He has made us strong enough for trials – all kinds of stories. The Israelites who were brought out of Egypt had stories too – stories that God expected them to tell to their children.

Take the crossing of the Red Sea, for example. If you had experienced such a thing – tons of water pushed back by an invisible hand, walking through the sea on dry land, and then watching your enemies destroyed when the waters were allowed to rush back – would you have had any doubts about the power of God?

“Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.”

Exodus 14:31

And would you ever have stopped talking about what you had seen God do?

And yet they did stop talking about it.

And a generation grew up who didn’t even know the story. A generation who did not serve the one, true, living God.

God has given you stories and you need to be telling them to your family.

3. Pray

Pray for yourself to really know and love the one true God.

Pray that God would keep you faithful.

Pray that God would shine the light through you to your family and those around you.

Pray that those who come behind you would follow as Timothy followed his mentor, Paul, and his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois.

Pray, remembering that it is God who is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in all of us.

4 Ways to Keep the Christmas Crazies Out of Your House

The Christmas Crazies are out! I’ve seen them all over the place and I bet you have too.

Christmas Crazies tell you things like:

  • Give the biggest gift under the tree
  • Find the perfect gift
  • Make your table Instagram-worthy

And Christmas Crazies tell you that you need:

  • Top-rated Christmas decorating ideas
  • Christmas light ideas that will top your neighbor’s house
  • Holiday essentials for the perfect party

You know what I mean, don’t you?

Christmas Crazies make you sigh when you look at your lopsided tree. Christmas Crazies keep you up at night figuring out how to top last year’s gift list and how to pay for it. Christmas Crazies send you into the craft store even when the lines are beyond unbelievable because you have to have just the right ribbon to finish off the presents. Christmas Crazies glue you to Pinterest to find the party ideas that will make you the Christmas party hostess of the century.

But even worse, Christmas Crazies wear you down from lack of sleep and too much multi-tasking. Christmas Crazies make you look at your husband and children as hurdles to jump on your way to the perfect Christmas. Christmas Crazies make you care more about impressing your guests than about enjoying time with your friends.

To sum it up, Christmas Crazies can either completely ruin your Christmas or come very close to it.

I know. I’ve been there. I’ve stayed up ridiculously late on Christmas Eve finishing up hand-crafted presents that my toddlers would soon forget. I’ve worried over Christmas Eve menus and Christmas morning brunch menus and Christmas Day dinner menus until there was so much food that half of it was wasted. I’ve worked very hard to decorate my house for people I didn’t have time to invite over.

I’ve had more than my fair share of run-ins with the Christmas Crazies.

And I’ve come to see that there are at least four ways to keep the Christmas Crazies out of my house – yours too.

  1. Keep the whole thing in perspective. Is making yourself stressed out and irritable for the whole of December and probably part of November really worth a couple of hours on Christmas Eve and a couple more on Christmas Day? Yes, it is such a precious and holy time, but does that justify hours and days and weeks of shopping and cooking and list-making and driving and worrying? Would your Christmas really fall apart if it didn’t live up to your ideas of the perfect Christmas?
  2. Know what is enough. One year my husband and I went totally out of our minds with the gift giving. We bought our four kids everything and anything. We charged those credit cards right up to the limit. There were piles of presents everywhere. I don’t know what was wrong with us that year but I can tell you that it wasn’t worth it. We needed to know what was enough and we needed to teach our kids what was enough. Now, years later, I love the idea of giving one thing to wear, one thing to play with, and one thing to read. Your enough may be something different, but find out what it is and stick with it – no matter what your friends may do, no matter what your sisters may do – stick with enough.
  3. Take the Tenth Commandment seriously. I know – the Ten Commandments are not so popular nowadays. Everybody’s afraid of being labeled a legalist if they try to follow them and nobody wants to memorize them anymore, but if you are serious about warding off the Christmas Crazies, you need to know and follow number ten. And what is number ten? You shall not covet. In today’s language – don’t spend hours on Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest drooling over what somebody else owns or has created. Stop it! Be content with what you have. Be content with what God has given you.
  4. Remember the simplicity of the first Christmas. Get quiet and come back to the basics. What are we really doing at Christmas but celebrating a very simple, unassuming birth of a peasant child? Mary and Joseph probably would have liked a roof and four walls and some privacy. They probably would have liked to have a real bed for their baby. But the God of the universe had chosen a different way for the King of Kings to enter the world. No fuss was made. No decorations were put up. Pinterest was not consulted. Just a mom and a dad and a brand new baby in a dirty old stable with smelly animals. Now, do you really want to let the Christmas Crazies steal that simple story away from you and your family?

I know you don’t. So let’s keep it in perspective, let’s figure out what is enough, let’s be content, and above all, let’s remember that very first, very simple Christmas. And we’ll send those Christmas Crazies packing!

So Grandparents Matter After All

Four and a half years ago Jim and I became grandparents for the first time. We were so excited! We couldn’t wait to meet that very special little girl.

Now, because I am a reader, I started looking for books on grandparenting, hoping especially for books on Christian grandparenting. The results were discouraging. I found one book for grandparents. One. And it wasn’t even very good. Disappointing! Did that mean that our role as grandparents really was just to spoil them, fill them up on sugar, and send them home? Couldn’t grandparents be more than that?

Four years later we got an answer to that question when we registered for a conference we had never heard of before.

Today we had the opportunity to go to that conference, the very first Legacy Grandparenting Summit – the first national conference on Christian grandparenting ever held.

I heard things there that I had never heard before.

  • Grandparents are the second most important influence in kids’ lives – second only to their parents.
  • Grandparenting is found over and over again in the Bible where grandparents are instructed to pass on the faith to their son’s sons.
  • Grandparents are to recount the God stories of their families’ lives and to repeat and repeat and repeat them.
  • Grandparents are to be intentional spiritual storytellers.
  • Grandparents have been there and done that and so have what their grandchildren want and need.
  • Grandparents must consider the legacy they are passing on to their families.

In other words, our kids may be out of the nest. We may have more time to do what we want to do. We may have more money to do what we want to do.

But…

our calling to train up the next generation has not ended. It’s just our role in the adventure that has changed. It’s not time to check out of family life so that we can work on the bucket list. Instead, it’s time to get up and get going.

Today was a good day of learning that grandparents do matter after all, and that’s just today. We have two more days of conference to go!

(Oh, and I came home with a nice stack of books on…can you guess? Grandparenting!)

grandparents-matter

Have You Gotten the Mail?

mailMail!

The word and the associations it brings to mind make me smile.

When I was in college my grandmother and I started writing back and forth to each other. Yes, that was back in the days of long distance charges when phone calls were saved for special occasions or emergencies.

We wrote pretty regularly and I looked forward to seeing her beautiful handwriting and pretty stationery. It wasn’t just that her letters were pleasing to the eye. They were full of news of my family and my hometown and they were full of my grandmother’s love.

When I married and moved to another state, the letter-writing between us resumed and once again I looked forward to finding her letters in the mail. Over time her lovely handwriting became a little shakier and she wrote progressively shorter notes, but still her love came through the mail loud and clear.

When Grandma was gone my letter-writing fell off to practically none at all, but, last year when my son went off to become a Marine, I learned the importance of the mail again.

This time it was me writing newsy letters full of family and home and encouragement and lots and lots of love. I knew he wouldn’t have much time to write but still I eagerly raced my husband to the mailbox every evening to see if there was a precious piece of mail with a California postmark.

Mail! So lovely to receive. I know I can email friends and family in distant places. I can even call them without worrying about long distance charges, but maybe it would be a good idea to pick out some special stationery and send it off their mailboxes once in a while.

What about you? Do you enjoy getting mail? Do you have someone you correspond with through real mail or is there someone in your life who might enjoy getting a handwritten letter filled with love from you?

 

Hop on over to Five Minute Friday to read some more posts inspired by the prompt word – “mail”.

Five-Minute-Friday-4

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