Thursday Interview: How It All Began

Renee here. Last week we heard from Dianne on how she got roped into–er, I mean, how she came about getting involved in the Grandparenting Through Obstacles project. This week, I’d like to share from my side of the fence of how the idea for this book began.

As I’ve mentioned before, like Dianne, I am not a grandparent; but unlike Dianne, I am a parent. My kids are still young, and all are still in school. During one of those many days when I feel as though I am literally living out of my car, driving kids to school, to the dance studio, from track practice, and so forth, I noticed–maybe for the first time–just how many grandparents–not parents–were doing the exact same thing as me!

But these grandparents were rather young–mostly in their 50s. After getting to know some of them, I began learning their stories. One was filling in for Mom because she was a working single parent. Another was stepping in temporarily while the family tried to recover from a divorce. Another had gained full custody of her grandchildren due to an abusive marital situation that her daughter was in.

And, although my kids attend a public charter school, a large majority of the families at the school and in my community at large are Christian. I discovered that aside from simply providing physical assistance, these grandparents desperately wanted to influence their grandkids for Christ. But many found themselves in situations where that just wasn’t possible.

The more I thought about all of these circumstances, the more I realized how prevalent these problems are in our society today. Combine that with the aging Baby Boomers, and the fact that 1/3 of all adults (and growing) are grandparents, and I realized there were a lot of people who needed some help and encouragement, especially those who are trying to make a spiritual impact in their grandkids’ lives.

I believe that God sowed a seed in my heart that day to try to reach these grandparents with His Words of hope–letting them know that He cares about them and their families–and that with His help, their dream of seeing their grandchildren come to know Him would be realized.

After doing some preliminary research through various government agencies and places like Barna Research, I felt confident that this book could potentially touch–and change–many lives. I truly felt it was a God idea!

I didn’t want to tackle the project alone, so I enlisted the help of my writer friend, Dianne Butts. After an initial conversation about my vision for the project, we both spent some time praying about it, and we soon both decided it was meant to be.

And the rest, as they say, is history! Seeing this book go through its various stages then finally grow and materialize into what it has become with the help of Pix N Pens Publishing, has been a very exciting process. I only hope that it will bless others as much as it has blessed me and Dianne just being a part of it.

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Grandparenting through Obstacles Blog Site

Welcome to our very first Grandparenting through Obstacles blog post. We hope our site will become the center point for discussion about the experiences, challenges, and victories of Christian grandparenting. This blog is created by Renee Gray-Wilburn and Dianne E. Butts, co-authors of Grandparenting through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ.

It is our mission through this blog to encourage Christian grandparents in their journey of imparting biblical values and principles to their grandchildren while hopefully helping grandparents to overcome the obstacles they may encounter along the way.

Our book, which is to be released just in time for Grandparents’ Day, 2012, by Pix-n-Pens Publishing, discusses the various challenges that Christian grandparents find themselves facing today. Challenges such as trying to grandparent across the miles, attempting to reach their grandkids with their faith when the grandchildren’s parents are not believers, taking on a more significant role as a result of divorce or other family situations, and just trying to maintain healthy boundaries while working in partnership with their grandkids’ parents.

On our blog, we will be talking through all of these issues and hope you will join in our discussion. What struggles are you facing as a Christian grandparent? What advice do you have for others who are facing these or similar challenges? As a community of believers, we can all learn from each other, encourage each other, and grow as grandparents.

You’ll also meet our book’s contributors who have opened their hearts in their personal stories in order to help others who may be going through similar situations. We’ll talk to them about their stories, their lives, and how God has been working in their families.

To learn more about Renee or Dianne, visit us at our blogs (A Way With Words Writing for Renee, and Deliver Me Book Blog¬†for Dianne). You can also “Like” our book’s Facebook page (Grandparenting through Obstacles) or follow us on Twitter (@GParentObstacle) where we’ll keep the discussion going!