by Jane Anne Wilson, Guest Writer
…that the coming generation would know them—even children yet to be born—to arise and tell their own children, that they should put their confidence in God.
Today and tomorrow you will hear from two grandmothers who have fully embraced the idea of Cousins Camp as a way to help cement their relationships to their grandchildren and partner with their adult children’s goals of teaching their children about Jesus.
Jane Anne Wilson, the guest writer for today, is one of my younger sisters. Jane and her husband Dave entered the crazy land of grandparenting two years ago, and they are enjoying every minute! Jane and Dave held their first Cousins Camp this year. As I read her words, I wished I could start grandparenting all over! It’s important to remember the way we reach our goals will look different for each family. You may not have the ability to host your grands for a “Cousins Camp”, but you can still find ways to set the table for your grandchildren to taste and see that the Lord is good.
From Jane Anne –
When her grandchildren were very young, my mother told me that she enjoyed them the most when their family came to stay for a week, and she could get the grandchildren up in the mornings. Now, as a grandmother myself for two years, I know that may have been her favorite time because she had the little ones all to herself, and that is just one of the perks of “Cousins Camp.”
When I asked if our two grandchildren could stay with us for a week, I had specific reasons behind my request. I wanted to start a tradition of Cousins Camp, even though the two cousins were only two years old. Others might think I was a bit crazy, and there were some crazy moments during the week, but my eyes were on something much bigger than those crazy moments.
Being a grandmother gives me a unique voice for the hope of the gospel in the lives of these covenant children. At two-years-old? Yes, because these early years are the ones that build in ties that keep us connected through the later ones. Years from now, when they visit with me, they will expect to talk about God because that’s what Grandmother does.
I love hearing young people refer to their grandmother with fond affection. Each of my mother’s 42 grandchildren thought they were her favorite. She gave genuine focused attention to each one, to the point that her children might even wonder if they were ever the recipients of such a wonderful love. My sisters and I have concluded that she intentionally loved us through her relationships with our children.
It only took two days of reading a Bible story together at breakfast for my two “campers” to ask for the Bible story and expected that our story would be followed with singing a few songs and “dancing” together with our banners while upbeat Christian kids songs played in the kitchen. Then they were ready to get back in their high chairs for a simple craft like finger painting or stringing beads. A special snack and a trip to the park and then we were ready for lunch. Helping them to learn to look me in the eyes, thank God for His blessings, and share with each other were opportunities that came along the way.
Although my children might appreciate the free babysitting and I am happy to give them a break that is not my main motivation for offering Cousins Camp. Just as God places an instinctual “mother bear love” in the heart of a new mom for her infant, I believe that grandmothers have a divinely ordained bond with their grandchildren that begins when she first lays eyes on that treasure from Heaven. That bond comes with a greater mission: to selflessly help love that child into the kingdom.
LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT
Grandparenthood is my favorite season of life so far, but our role is not to simply spoil the kids and then send them home, as some might promote. We have the responsibility and privilege of helping to mold the character of these covenant children. We contribute to the stability of spiritual roots and affirm the relationship with Jesus that their parents are seeking to grow in the hearts of their children.
Cousins Camp provides a way to build a rapport with our grandchildren through extended time together centered on the truths of the faith that God has given to us…
that the coming generation would know them—even children yet to be born—to arise and tell their own children, that they should put their confidence in God.
Jane Anne Wilson, wife to David and mother of four adult children, earned her nursing degree from University of Delaware and worked in pediatrics. Jane Anne experienced and grew in her love for Jesus in her childhood home and learned servanthood and leadership in many ministries in her local church. Jane Anne presently serves on the women’s ministry leadership team at her local church, and is the Northeast Regional Advisor for her denomination's national women's ministry team. Cuddling her two grandbabies, long walks with her husband, and family reunions are her favorite blessings.
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