To be the parents of godly children is an unspeakable blessing, only to be surpassed by having godly grandchildren. Seeing your children’s children walking faithfully is a testimony to the kindness, mercy, and faithfulness of the Lord.
“To be the parents of godly children is an unspeakable blessing, only surpassed by having godly grandchildren.”
As Christian parents and grandparents, we have the privilege of following the pattern Moses gave the Israelites:
“That you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long..” (Deuteronomy 6:2)
As grandmothers, we are to do more than simply cheer for our children and grandchildren and buy them Christmas jammies (though we should certainly do those things and more). Our foremost duty is to fear the Lord and obey him every day of our life.
Our grandchildren should remember us as faithful, God-fearing grandmothers, and all our loving and giving should flow from a desire to be a source of material and spiritual blessing to our grandkids. It is natural and obvious that we should expect to have an active role in passing on our faith to them.
Your Grandchildren’s Spiritual Asset
Timothy’s grandmother Lois clearly had a hand in passing on her faith to her grandson. Otherwise, why would Paul mention her, as well as Timothy’s mother, Eunice, in his second letter to Timothy?
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. (2 Timothy 1:5)
Clearly, Grandma Lois impressed Paul as a woman whose faith was the real deal. She was staunch. And though our own lives are vastly different from this first-century Jewish woman, surely we can be a spiritual asset to our own grandchildren in our own generation.
With seventeen grandchildren of my own, ranging in age from two years old to nineteen, this is something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. And though your household is different from mine, I hope I can still offer you a few suggestions.
Don’t Get in the Way
“Though we want to be resources in the discipleship of our grandkids, we must not try to do their parents’ job.”
Grandchildren are easy to admire. What grandmother hasn’t been immediately smitten with delight and joy over a newborn child? I think loving the grandkids is the easy part. It comes naturally and abundantly. So much so that sometimes we even have to rein it in. That’s the first thing. Don’t let your affection for your grandchildren get in the way of their spiritual growth. How can that happen?
When my son-in-law would take our first grandson down the hall for some much-needed discipline, I would find myself offering excuses for his misbehavior (I would apologize to Ben afterwards). But I remember the turning point, when instead of cringing when this happened, I said something like this: “I bless you, Ben. I want godly and happy grandchildren!” And my first grandson has grown up to be a very fine young man. Thanks be to God!
Honor Their Father and Mother
Though we want to be resources in the discipleship of our grandkids, we must not try to do the parents’ job for them. Grandmothers are to be a help, not a hindrance — and not running interference. God has called the parents to raise up their own children in the Lord, and our role as grandmothers is to be a support in all their efforts. Even (and especially) when we might disagree with how they are doing it. And we will.
Remember, your children have done the leaving and cleaving. You have had your chance to raise them up to be faithful Christians. Now your job is to encourage them; it is no longer to teach and admonish them. If you have a good relationship with your grown children, they will welcome your input. But it’s always better if we wait until we are asked.
I’ve had to do a fair bit of counseling over the years with young mothers who are having a difficult time with their mothers or mothers-in-law. I would say the top issues are criticism and interference.
For example, the parents don’t want the children to have a certain kind of toy, but the grandparents buy it for them anyway. Or the grandparents buy way too much stuff for the kids. Or the grandparents criticize the way the parents are doing their job. All this criticism and interference will only succeed in chasing your children away. You can differ with their decisions without telling them about it.
It is far more fruitful to tell God about it, and he will either show you where you are reading the situation wrong, or he will give you the patience to hold your tongue. Remember how you felt as a young mother. Did you appreciate criticism from your parents? I doubt it!
Open Homes and Unceasing Prayers
Make your home a hospitable place for your married children and your grandchildren. Don’t greet them with a list of rules. What is more important?
“You can differ with your children over parenting without telling them about it.”
My beautiful dining room table has many scratches and flaws. But it makes me smile when I think of all the happy hours around that table. There is even a smiley face carved out in one spot! I don’t even want to know which grandchild (or guest) did that. But at least it’s a smiley face and not a frowny face. You might think I’m weird, but I treasure that little piece of art in my table.
Finally, pray for your grandchildren, and take every opportunity to encourage and bless them in Christ. Your actions speak much louder than any words!
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children. (Psalm 103:17)