Last week we talked with Rhonda Rivers, who contributed the story “Worth the Wait” to the Grandparenting Through Obstacles book. Today we continue our conversation.
GTO: Rhonda, how have you grown in the Lord through the challenges you’ve faced in trying to teach your grandchildren your Christian faith?
Rhonda: In trying to reach my grandchild for Jesus, I found He taught me some valuable lessons. First of all, I am not the parent and my grandchild has good parents, even though at the time they were not going to church. Could I force them to take him to Sunday school? Of course not, but I prayed about it constantly. Could I make them go to church? I could pray about it and perhaps make a suggestion once in a while. Other than that, I was powerless. God taught me patience and trust. Because I was not in a position to take him with me to church, I had to trust the Lord to answer my prayers. In the meantime I learned to be joyful in the waiting and expectation of answered prayer.
GTO: What can you tell our readers to encourage them not to give up on their kids or grandkids no matter how bad their situation might look?
Rhonda: No matter how bad the situation might look, I would encourage grandparents to be like the persistent widow. Keep praying and ask God to show you how to recognize opportunities to share your faith. Trust the Lord that He is at work all around them and never stop praying for their salvation. I have prayed for many years before some of my relatives found the Lord.
GTO: What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values to their grandchildren?
Rhonda: Imparting spiritual truths and values to our grandchildren takes planning. If you are blessed to have time with the child, plan activities around Bible stories. Make a necklace with the colors representing the plan of salvation, which tells the whole story—from the fall to the cross. Color pictures from Bible story coloring books and tell them the story as they color with you. Teach them the Intsy Weentsy Spider and tell them how God made the sun, rain and the spider. Apply Scripture and God to any activity: taking a walk, playing games and always praying over meals. Let them see your faith and always tell them that you are the way you are because of a God that is greater than anybody and that the same God loves them. Let them see your gratitude for God in your life.
GTO: If you could give yourself a grandma nickname to represent your relationship with your grandkids, what would it be and why?
Rhonda: If I could give myself a grandma nickname to represent my relationship with my grandkids it would be Hannah. She had such a desire for children and after much praying, God granted her wish. Because of her deep gratitude she gave the child back to the Lord for His service. I had such a desire for grandchildren for so many years that my gratitude reached to the heavens when he was born. I know my grandson belongs to the Lord and it excites me to think of how the Lord is going to use him in the future.
GTO: What do you hope your grandkids will most remember about you when you’re gone?
Rhonda: I hope my grandkids will remember me as the grandma who loved them and loved the Lord. I hope they remember me as one who read the Scriptures for wisdom and sang the hymns about my Lord and Savior. I hope they remember me as the woman who went to church and the woman who told them stories about Jesus.
GTO: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Rhonda: The world can be a scary place, especially when we consider the obstacles they will face in the future. One time my son said, “Why would I want to bring a child into such a world of turmoil?” My response was that as Christians, we need to train up a child in the way of the Lord to fight the good fight when we draw near to Jesus’ return. Our grandchildren will be the ones the lost go to when there is no one who understands what truth is or where to find God.
GTO: Amen, Rhonda. Those are beautiful and powerful thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing them and for encouraging us all. My God bless you and your entire family, and you, too, who are reading this.