Welcome to the first of many interviews with our book’s contributors. We’ve titled these conversations our “Thursday Interviews,” as we will be posting them every Thursday from now until around the end of the year. To kick off our Thursday interviews, we’d like to introduce Peggy Cunningham.
Peggy is a grandma who has spent many years of her life on the mission fields of Bolivia. Although she knows that God has called her and her husband to the Bolivian people, she greatly misses seeing her grandchildren back in America. Peggy’s story, called “I Like Jesus!” is one of five stories in Grandparenting through Obstacles that discuss the challenge of having a long-distance relationship with your grandchildren.
Let’s hear a little about Peggy’s story…
GTO: Peggy, why did you decide to share the story that you did for our book?
Peggy: When I heard the book was about overcoming obstacles of grandparenting, I thought sharing my situation might help others who share the obstacle of distance with their grandchild. I know how hard it is to be far away and not feel you are contributing to their everyday lives—and their spiritual lives. It is something I’ve struggled with since our first grandchild was born.
We were there for his birth, but three weeks later we returned to our missionary work in Bolivia, South America. I desperately wanted to have a part in his life, but didn’t know how that would ever happen. Of course, we had pictures, but there was no way to bond. As he got older, Internet became a possibility and also Vonage phone availability. Still, I searched for more ways to bond with our grandson.
Our granddaughter was born two years later. When the children were three and five, our daughter came to Bolivia for two months with the kids. After that much quality time with them, they knew us as Grammie and Grampie and connected with our place of ministry. When they left that summer, God led me to write books for them about the animals we have on our property.
I included biblical principles so I was also teaching them about God. It was my first attempt to write. God gave me a new ministry, not only for my grandkids, but other kids and adults too. Since then, writing for my grandkids is my way of establishing a legacy for them; a way they will never forget us. Even though we are 6,000 miles away, they know our voice on the phone, they know who we are, and they know we love them because we find ways to connect with them.
No matter the distance or circumstance, God can guide grandparents to connect with their grandkids. We can teach them God’s Word even from a distance. If He can do it for me, He can do it for others.
GTO: That’s for sure! Sounds like God gave you a wonderful creative way to reach your grandchildren. What do you hope our readers can learn from your experience?
Peggy: I hope they can see that it’s possible to have a real and lasting relationship with their grandkids no matter what the circumstance. God can do all things, even though we think our situation is unique and impossible. Nothing is impossible to Him. I never thought my grandkids would be so close to us, even though we are so far away from them. They know we are close in our hearts.
GTO: I hope your story will encourage many grandparents who live far away from their grandkids. What can you tell our readers to encourage them to not give up on their kids or grandkids no matter how bad the situation might look?
Peggy: Sometimes as grandparents we have to step back. I experience times when my kids are so busy in their lives that they can’t do one more thing. Many times that thing is connecting with us by telephone or emails. Our daughter recently went back to work after 12 years as a stay-at-home mom. Now that she is working, her time is limited and her workload overwhelming, but she loves her job. On top of that, she and her husband moved into a new home.
During this time we weren’t in touch as much. It was hard for me to sit back and give them space to organize their new lives and work through the stress of the new responsibilities. I missed the frequent phone calls and emails, and the nice conversations with my daughter, our son-in-law, and especially the grandkids. That was eight months ago that the changes began, and now it is getting less hectic for them, and we are connecting more once again. Hang in there, I’d say, circumstances change and God is able. At times, we just need to let go and allow God to bring it together.
Thanks, Peggy! I think you’ve given our readers a lot to think about. But I know we’re not finished talking with you yet. Next week, we’ll continue our conversation with Peggy and take a look at how God has helped her grow in Him through her circumstances.
In the meantime, if you’d like to see what Peggy’s up to check out her blog at www.peggyspostings.blogspot.com