“Grandparenting. The only thing in this life that is not over-rated.” – Rob Rienow, Founder of Visionary Family Ministries.
I’m involved with Legacy Coalition – an organization of intentional Christian grandparents who are seriously a force to be reckoned with. I’ve attended their seminars and summits including one in Southern California a few years ago. Memories of that one bring warmth as I write today in Kansas; blanketed by snow and chilled by sub-zero temperatures. Brrrr!
At that particular summit, Sherry Schumann (President of the Christian Grandparenting Network) talked about her praying grandfather and the impact he had on her because of his prayers. Attending such gatherings is refreshing and powerful. Speakers share hope for our tumultuous world and empower us to impact generations beginning within our own families.
John Stonestreet (President of The Colson Center) recalled being asked, years ago, by his youth pastor to visit an elderly shut-in. He and his buddy didn’t want to go but felt obligated. Many years later he learned that Ms. Buckner had – from that day forward – prayed for those ‘rowdy young men.’ Her prayers significantly impacted John’s life. I wrote in the margin of my program that day, “I want to be a Ms. Buckner!”
Stonestreet also suggested that traditional sources of truth and authority are missing; today’s generation is forced to look inward for truth. That’s not always good. Another speaker said 70% of today’s young people have significant doubts about God. Doubt, he offered, is not toxic to faith…but silence is. That is worth repeating. Doubt is not toxic to faith but silence is.
Families are inundated with seemingly hopeless situations, negative news, and toxic circumstances in today’s world. I believe we, as intentional grandparents, can have an impact simply by the lives we live. Are we living reminders of God’s power and promises? Do others see Jesus in me? I hope so.
We must respect boundaries yet each of us can be an encourager or cheerleader to our grandchildren without usurping the parenting role. We can make a difference! Will we be silent grandparents? I won’t. My grands deserve more from me.
I suspect 99.9% of Christian grandparents pray for their grandchildren. I know I do, though I could do better. Once in a while, I ask my grands, “How can I pray for you this week?” I should do that more often.
Perhaps they are facing a major deadline at school or a test in they’re least favorite subject. Stress! Maybe it’s a troubled friendship they’re bothered by or difficulties with a teammate. Stress is a reality for our grandchildren. Teenage anxiety is real. Our families are under attack. Our youth are in daily battles. What can we do?
Have you considered praying for those who are navigating murky waters alongside our grandchildren? We know their friends and classmates have an impact on our grands – whether good or not-so-good. Let’s pray for the entire younger generation. But don’t forget to also pray for the adults they encounter daily. Teachers. Coaches. Administrators. Support staff. Pray for those who share God’s light. Pray they do so boldly and with enthusiasm.
Weeks ago, a nearby school was rocked when a much-loved young teacher died as a result of a tragic vehicle accident on her way to school. The unofficial mantra in those locker-lined halls is now “Live Like Ashley!” Colleagues and students (my daughter and two of my grandchildren included) were impacted by the life she lived; and the person she was.
Earlier this week, a memorial service was held in honor of Mrs. Austin. The school gym was filled, and the words and music shared were powerful. Pray for all those who attended. Pray for all influencers – like Ashley Austin – who make a difference – one student at a time.
Just yesterday, I attended another funeral. This one was for a much-loved pastor and friend of our family who shared his faith in God every day. He lived life with exuberance and joy, even during difficulties. He was an example to all those who loved him – his family, friends, and the members of his congregations over the years. He was an influencer. He, too, made a difference – one person at a time.
Consider the impact of thousands of us praying without ceasing for our younger generation. Imagine the potential for change. Be an influencer. Make a difference.
Random thought: As snowflakes rush sideways past my office window I’m thankful I don’t even have to go outside to have an impact. I can pray from the warmth of my own home even when it’s frigid outside.
So…let’s do this. Let’s renew our commitment to be prayer warriors and cheerleaders for our grandchildren and those they encounter. Let’s be intentional grandparents, determined to make a difference for the Lord. I’m all in. Care to join me?
Check out these websites for resources, news, and information for today’s grandparents:
www.LegacyCoalition.com (Larry Fowler)
www.ChristianGrandparenting.com (Cavin Harper, Sherry Schumann)
www.GrandkidsMatter.org (Ken Canfield)
www.ColsonCenter.org (John Stonestreet)
www.VisionaryFam.com (Rob Rienow)