September 23, 2018 was a day that changed my life forever. It was the day my dear granddaughter, Johanna (Jojo) entered the world. I’ll never forget how I felt when I first laid eyes on her just minutes after her birth. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, I was a grandmother. Friends had told me how amazing it would feel to hold your grandchild for the first time, but until I experienced it myself, I had no idea just how wonderful it would be. There was a deep connection from the moment I looked at her sweet, tiny face.
In her book, The Power of a Praying Grandparent, Stormie Omartian describes the experience as “profoundly special, uniquely moving, and irrevocably life altering.” I could not agree more! But why is grandparenthood so special? We have already raised our children and we love them dearly, so why would grandparenthood evoke such intense feelings of joy? One reason may be that most of us do not have full responsibility over these children; their parents do. We are not experiencing the sleepless nights, temper–tantrums, school years, or the other tasks that come with daily childrearing. We simply get to experience the fun parts of grandparenting. In other words, as Omartian states, “The job of the mother and father is to be the parents and discipline and raise their children. It is our job to be the grandparents and think that the grandchildren are perfect no matter what they do.”
I also believe that perhaps God is giving us a second chance at parenting and influence. Have you ever reflected on your role as a parent and thought, “If I had a chance to do it all over again, I just might do some things differently?” Well, as grandparents, perhaps we are offered that opportunity. And if so, how can we embrace that opportunity in order to be a positive influence in our grandchild’s life? As believers, our job as grandparents is to pray for our grandchildren and teach them about the Lord. In other words, we are called to minister to them. As Omartian states, “Grandchildren are a gift from God to you. And your prayers are a gift to them that can touch them for a lifetime.”
When we explore scripture, we find many examples of the role of grandparent. We are all familiar with 2 Timothy 1:5 where Paul says to Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” And in Deuteronomy 4:9, Moses says to the Israelites, “But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.” In other words, we are called to be an example to the next generation and to teach our grandchildren the ways and decrees of the Lord. It is our sole responsibility to pass on a spiritual legacy to these precious children so that they too will receive Christ into their lives. Joel 1:3 reminds us to “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” God wants His Word passed down from generation to generation, and what a better opportunity than being able to share our love of the Lord with our grandchildren, in ways they can understand as they grow and mature.
I’ll never forget when I gave my granddaughter, Jojo, her first Bible last Easter that was appropriate for her age level and the first thing she did was to chew on the cover, as she was only seven months old at the time. I thought to myself, “How awesome it was that she was already ‘feasting’ on the Word of God,” and I pray she will continue to do so for the remainder of her life.
As I reflect on God’s calling on my life as a grandmother, I am committed to do two things; pray daily for my granddaughter (and her parents) and be an example of what it looks like to live a godly life. My daily prayers are for her protection, knowledge, compassion for others, obedience, gifts and talents, and a relationship with the Lord. My hope is that as I live out the commands of the Lord, she will see Jesus in me and will want the same experience in her life. May I be a godly role model to her for years to come.
I love giving gifts to my granddaughter. In fact, every chance I get, I buy her something special for the next holiday or occasion. Currently I am gathering items for her Easter basket. Why does this bring me such joy? It’s because I know it will bring her joy and happiness. But I cannot think of a greater gift to give her than to pray for her daily and to pass on a spiritual legacy. That must be my highest priority. After all she is God’s gift to me that has changed my life forever. Therefore I must do all I can to teach her about the Lord so that one day she too will come to know Him, and have her life changed as well!
Omartian, S. (2016). The power of a praying grandparent. Oregon: Harvest House Publishers