I’m three years into this grandma gig and it’s pretty sweet. I think most grandparents would agree. Watching my daughter love, care for, and raise her son is one of the richest blessings in my role as her mom.
Stepping back a generation, my parents and my husband’s parents faithfully cared for our children during their developmental years. I am confident that they prayed for my children’s faith journey. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Although my role as a grandparent is exceedingly divine, it has also been a bit of a learning curve. My natural mothering tendencies run deep. At times, I catch myself not wanting to step in too closely or back away too far from offering my opinions and assistance. What I think might be helpful could very well be seen as an annoyance to my daughter. Likewise, I could step back too far and leave my daughter feeling alone. Neither of these is what I want to do as a mother or a grandmother. Ah, and the quest for the ever-elusive balance continues.
As I’ve navigated these last three years of being a grandmother, I’ve asked myself how I could help our grandson and our future grandchildren grow in their faith. I can think of nothing more eternally valuable.
Here are three ways that I believe we grandparents can partner with our children whose desire is to raise our grandchildren to follow Christ.
Always pray. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) With the state our world is in, our grandchildren will need it unlike any generation before.
When my husband’s grandmother died, we felt a pang of fear as we realized she would no longer be praying for us. We joked about having to step up our game and act right now that Grandma O wasn’t here to cover us any longer. She was such a faithful pray-er.
Praying for our grandchildren is hands down the best way we can participate in their faith journey. If we do nothing else for our grandchildren, pray for them and their parents. Joining forces with God Himself and praying for the desires of their heart to fall in line with His plan for them is a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Stand behind the parents.
Unless extenuating circumstances are in play, our place as a grandparent is to stand behind our children as they parent. When we do, we are in a position to encourage and even cushion the blow should they stumble. But we should never find ourselves in front of them taking the lead. We need to allow parents to be our grandchildren’s primary faith teachers by reinforcing the good that they are doing.
We must be careful not to overstep God-ordained boundaries. This can damage the relationship with our children by showing lack of respect and trust in them. We, as grandparents, must realize that our grandkids are not ours to raise – unless, of course, you’ve been granted that holy honor. The role of the parent trumps the role of a grandparent. Let’s step back and give our children the space they need to parent and be ready to encourage and offer support by standing behind them.
Share your faith stories.
Do your grandchildren know your salvation story? What struggles has God carried you through? Are there seasons of joy that you are grateful for? At an age-appropriate level, and as much as their parents approve of, these stories shared with our grandchildren can be so valuable in growing their faith.
We, as grandparents, have been through the parenting years and we realize that most of what our children learn is caught rather than taught. I can’t think of one child who doesn’t love to hear a story. And our faith stories are the best kind.
Most of us grandparents have the blessing of time to sit with our grandchildren and tell them stories. The stories of our faith journey can help them as they grow in theirs.
Praying for our grandchildren, standing behind their parents and sharing our faith stories with them are three things we grandparents can do that I believe our like-minded children will appreciate.
I can think of no better legacy to leave our grandchildren with than faith.
Andrea Stunz is a committed wife, an incredibly blessed mom, a grateful mother-in-law and a ridiculously proud Gimi. She is a seasoned traveler from south Texas. Having visited countries all over the globe and lived in Brazil, Singapore and the UK, she finds hope and comfort in a beautiful sunrise and a good cup of coffee. Andrea is a self-proclaimed stumbling pilgrim who is ever so grateful for grace. She longs to encourage others in their stories by sharing a part of hers because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more of her work over at andreastunz.com.
See more of her contributions for allmomdoes here.