It happened again.
Dave and I had invited a couple over to our home to whom we wanted to show some love. We had a lovely evening of fellowship. As we continued our conversations after dinner, we noticed sadness and discouragement clouding their countenances. It was not unlike watching the gorgeous blue of a bright and beautiful fall sky darkening as the thunderstorm begins to form, rolling in to bring the expected downpour that will follow. The often-short-lived weather front brings flashing lightning, rolling thunder, and heavy rain as the layers of warm, moist air rise in a large, swift updraft to cooler regions of the atmosphere. And such was our fellowship that evening: smiling faces, grateful hearts, the goodness of being together – changing as tears of regret from years of abuse and bullying from peers, the effects of which flowed down to their children, rise upward. Layer upon layer of shame, sorrow, and sin followed as the perfect storm formed in their hearts while sitting in the safety and serenity of our living room.
Dave and I have been through that storm. Busy lives lead to even busier times that lead away from time with our children. Time pressures, the tyranny of urgent, expectations from others, misguided priorities, and a faulty understanding of God’s acceptance, grace, and love can drown the soul of a parent or grandparent who truly love their adult children and grandchildren.
How do we bear up under these things? How do we repair the bridge that connects the hearts of our children and grandchildren to our own? Where do we find relief for the burdens we bear and the sorrows we share when our children distance themselves from our lives or walk away from God’s presence, steadfast love, and faithfulness? When the clouds roll in and we can not see the face of God, how do we continue to live for Him in a meaningful way?
Where’s the magic wand that we would all like to have sometimes? Wouldn’t it be great if God would just occasionally wave it over our difficulties? I hate to tell you there is not a quick fix, no waving of a magic wand. But, the good news rings out loud and clear: There is hope in Christ and His goodness. There is a path back to healing broken relationships. Sunshine always follow the storm. The sun rises on every dark night. Every time. It is a promise of God. Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
The following resources can help provide a solid foundation as we walk with Christ through the ebb and flow of life. Many others could be added that would be equally important ~ this is a short, but important list. Here are some resources that will help guide you.
Have a Right View of God
Knowing God by JI Packer will help you as you delve into this study.
Unconditional love – The Steadfast Love of God
Do a study on the love of God! Psalm 118:1 says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Forgiveness – Asking and Receiving
Forgiveness is a huge subject and is foundational in our relationship with God and others. Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns and From Forgiven to Forgiving: Learning to Forgive One Another God’s Way by Jay E. Adams are excellent books to have in your library.
Develop a Biblical Worldview
A Biblical Worldview: What It Is, Why It Matters and How to Shape the Worldview of the Next Generation by Josh Mulvihill is a great tool as you look into this important topic.
Pointing Your Children to Christ
I love these two verses:
“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” 2 Corinthians 1:12
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.” 1 Chronicles 16: 23-25
These Scriptures focus my attention on how I live my life before others and to remember to tell the story of God’s redemptive work in my life. Always, I want to remember to praise Him and tell my grandchildren how God is active in Oma’s life. You might want to add your own favourite verses.
The Bible admonishes us to pray without ceasing or continually. I Thessalonians 5:17. Some books that I have found helpful and inspiring are Refresh Your Prayers: Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise by Lori Hatcher, Prayers That Stir the Hearts of Grandparents by Sherry Schumann, and A Grandmother’s Prayers by Kay Swatkowski.
It is Never Too Late
Never Too Late: Encouraging Faith in Your Adult Child by Rob Rienow is an encouraging and biblically sound book and a must have for most grandparents. As Dave and I have visited senior adults we would always ask them how we might pray for them. It was not uncommon for these dear grandparents, who have loved, served, and followed Christ for many years, to ask for prayer for children and grandchildren, expressing concern for their relationship with Christ and life choices. We have found Rob’s book to be a game changer as we all deal with the messiness of life.
Rest Fully in Christ, Our LORD
Resting in the Lord means casting our all cares, worries, burdens, disappointments into His Hands. By placing our lives fully into His hands, we are taking a gigantic leap of faith. Psalm 62:1,2; I Peter 5:7
Anytime is a good time to give your children and grandchildren the best gift of all: the promise of unconditional love, wrapped in the warmth of asking and receiving forgiveness for wrongs and misunderstandings, praying continually for God’s wisdom, and redirecting your children to the lover of their souls, Jesus Christ, our LORD and Saviour. Then rest completely in Him, knowing the steadfast love of the Father stretches across the realms of time to the hearts of our adult children and grandchildren.
Don’t become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Christian Grandparenting Network Canada has reorganized as Legacy Coalition Canada. Check out our soon coming website at www.legacycoalition.ca