Treasures Along the Way
by Sharon Betters
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
Just before we welcomed our first grandchild into our family, a friend remarked, “The first time you see that child, you’re going to turn into a different person.” This from a grandmother who gleefully shared grandchild stories and pictures as though no one else in the world understood the joy of grandparenting. My friend was right.
I love grandparenting. I entered this new role with lofty goals, planted deep in my heart by observing our children’s grandparents. My parents had forty-two grandchildren (over 100 grands and greatgrands at the time of my father’s death). Somehow my mother convinced each grandchild that he or she was her favorite. My sisters and I often discuss how she accomplished such a feat. We concluded she simply loved and enjoyed each one. Lest you think she must have showered each one with special events and lots of gifts, she spent the last fifteen years of her life living with the after effects of a virus that attacked her heart. Instead of a participant in a lot of activities, she took on the role of cheerleader, prayer warrior and was always available for a long phone conversation or a visit in her kitchen. She struggled with feelings of inadequacy, perhaps not realizing the priceless gift of her presence to each of us. One of my favorite pictures is one where a bunch of the young adult grandchildren surround my mother on a couch, each one grinning widely and clearly happy to be in her circle – a fruit from years of investing in each one.
I think about her grandparenting style often in this season of my life. We have fourteen grandchildren, ranging from ten years old to almost thirty. Grandparenting young adults and adolescents require intentional pursuit of time with very busy people. Digging back through old Treasures of Encouragement blog posts reminded me of sweet moments along the way where mundane moments with the baby and little grands became valuable building blocks in growing life-long friendships with each one.
God’s Word informs my view of grandparenting. The older I grow and the shorter my time on earth, the more determined I am in creating opportunities to share stories of God’s faithfulness with each child. Those opportunities happen in the most ordinary activities. I’ve learned to pray before each fun event for the Lord to give us wisdom on when to speak and when to be quiet. Often we don’t talk about the Lord at all but instead we set a table with our lives that invite our grands to “taste and see that the Lord is good”. Our grandkids often ask us to share stories from our past. We’ve learned sharing childhood escapades often opens the door years later to easily share stories of God’s faithfulness.
In this last season of life, I find myself even more intentional about setting that table and inviting our grandchildren to taste and see that the Lord is good. My heart’s desire is for each one to love Jesus. Perhaps this week’s devotionals will reinforce your own passion for passing on to the next generation the stories of God’s faithfulness in a way that invites them to taste and see that the Lord is good.
Treasured by Him,
LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT
Whether you are a grandparent or not we each have the privilege of “setting the table and inviting those we love to taste and see that the Lord is good”. What are some of the ways you have experienced God’s goodness? How does His goodness flow from your heart into the lives of others? You may not have grandchildren, but there are many ways you can influence the thinking of the next generation, from the way you respond to a fumbling teen cashier to how you pray for the troubled child of your friend. Be the older person at church who speaks kindly to each young person, shows an interest in their lives, worships as a reflection of a joyful relationship to Jesus, uses her gifts to extend mercy and support the vision of the church. Help create a safe place for children and young people to ask questions, observe how to respond to life’s hardest places and trust Jesus to never leave or forsake them. Ask the Lord to open your mind and heart to how you can reflect the faithfulness of God to the next generation.
Sharon W. Betters is author of Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness and co-author of Treasures of Faith. She is Director of Resource Development and co-founder of MARKINC.org, a non profit organization that offers help and hope to hurting people. Sharon enjoys quality time with her husband, children and fourteen grandchildren.
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