Guest Post – “Touching Eternity” by Lori Wildenberg

SONY DSCToday we have a guest posting her recommendations on how grandparents she sees can and are touching eternity by influencing their grandchildren. Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator and is a co-author, along with Becky Danielson, of Empowered Parents: Putting Faith First (Bridge Logos, 2003). 

Thanks for sending us your practical, inspiring message today, Lori. Here’s Lori’s guest post:

Touching Eternity

By Lori Wildenberg

Parenting for grandparents. What? Yes! Many Nanas and Papas, Grannies and Pappies, Grandmas and Grandpas attend my parenting classes. They are highly invested and involved in their grandkids’ lives. These folks want to brush up on their communication with little kid skills or gain a better understanding of their own children as parents. Attending games, watching recitals, and babysitting are some of the many things today’s grandparents do.  Present day grandmothers or grandfathers are typically a big presence in the young ones’ lives.

But… what if you are one of the many Memas or Granddads separated from your grandkids by miles?

For most of my kids’ growing up years, they have not had the benefit or blessing of having grandparents live close by. But miles don’t change the hearts of the people involved.  

Connection is important to the kids and adults alike.

Of course visits and phone calls make a big impact but many grandparents want to do more. They long to make an eternal difference yet the distance is a huge road block to accomplishing their heart’s desire.

My colleague and friend, Kirk Weaver, of Family Time Training, passed along a great solution to this problem. He told me how, even at a distance, an older person can impact a younger one’s soul.  Letters. Yep. Old fashioned letters–the snail mail type–with a little cash enclosed. The money does come with a stipulation: ten percent must be given away to a cause, a church, or someone in need. More money will come the following month when the child communicates back how the funds were used. 

Think of all the great and meaningful conversations the grandparent and grandchild can have regarding giving, needs, wants, and worthy charities.  They could pray about where the Lord would like the money to go. This deliberate interaction has the potential to adjust a child’s thinking about money and about faith.

Money is a tool to be utilized, entrusted to us by a generous God.

So… long distance grandparents, you can touch your grandchildren’s eternity by getting out those stamps, envelopes, and a little cash. Make a plan to invest in the younger generation’s lives.

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  

1 Timothy 6:10

What ideas do you have for impacting your grandkids future?

Lori Wildenberg, co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting and Licensed Parent and Family Educator, is passionate about coming alongside parents and encouraging them to parent well.  She loves mentoring moms and dads and speaking on the topic of parenting. She is co-author of EMPOWERED PARENTS: Putting Faith First and co-columnist for the “Parenting Prose” column in Marriage Magazine. Lori lives in Colorado with her husband and four children. Visit http://www.loriwildenberg.com or http://www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com for more information.

Advertisements

Janet Thompson – Guest Blogger: “5 Ways to Spiritually Nurture Your Grandchildren”

Janet Thompson, author of Lois and Eunice Bible Study

Today we are pleased to have a guest blog post from author and speaker Janet Thompson. Janet is the author of the Face-to-Face Bible study series from New Hope Publishers, including the study Face-to-Face With Lois And Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family, and many other books.

“5 Ways to Spiritually Nurture Your Grandchildren”

by Janet Thompson

The crowd at the Easter Cowboy Breakfast down by the river went silent as my 6-year-old granddaughter Katelyn recited John 3:16. I was the speaker that morning giving the Gospel message of Easter and I had asked Katelyn if she would like to help me—she didn’t hesitate. When she came forward and clearly spoke into the microphone, I was one proud beaming Grammie, as were her parents and siblings sitting in the front row. Later that day, Katelyn asked me what Scripture I was going to ask her to recite next time. That’s my girl!

How I love being a grandmother: it’s as if God saved the best for last. Interestingly, the only woman in the Bible referred to as a “grandmother” is Timothy’s grandmother, Lois. She and her daughter Eunice received accolades from the apostle Paul on their rearing of his protégé and future pastor, young Timothy: “I [Paul] have been reminded of your sincere faith which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). “And from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

As a grandmother of eleven grandchildren who all know about Jesus and some know Jesus as their personal Savior, here’s what I’ve learned from Lois:

  1. Pray for, mentor, and nurture the faith of your adult children—the parents of your grandchildren. I put pictures of my grandchildren in my Bible and look at their sweet faces as I pray for them every day.
  2. Give with a purpose. Choose gifts that introduce grandchildren to Jesus at an early age. Shop at Christian bookstores or online at www.christianbooks.com to find age-appropriate games, books, DVDs, CD’s, and toys. Christmas and Easter are especially good times to give them an age-appropriate Bible.
  3. Look for opportunities to talk to grandchildren about Jesus and His love for them. For example my three-old granddaughter Sienna would only jump into her older brother’s arms at the swimming pool even though other kids were trying to get her to jump to them. We talked later that Sienna trusted her brother because she knew he was trustworthy, just like we can trust Jesus.
  4. Be a role model that family members admire and respect.
  5. Assume an active role in your grandchildren’s lives, even if you live far apart. Stay current and don’t criticize the things that interest them. Learn their communication style—email, texting, Skype, cell phone, social networking. Remain relatable and relational with each generation.

Lois and Eunice were intentional in raising Timothy in his faith. The world didn’t set standards for their home, God did. They knew God’s Word and taught it to Timothy. An effective way to help parents and kids learn Scripture is through songs and CD’s. The kids love to play them in the car and sing along and soon mommy and daddy are learning them too.

Parents are often so busy raising their children, that they rely on the church to educate the kids spiritually. Grandparents are usually at a stage of life where they can help parents nurture faith in the home. If relationships are strained with adult children or you don’t live close, you can still pray for them.

My prayer is that my legacy to my grandchildren will be: Grammie taught us about the Bible and Jesus, and she lived what she believed.

What spiritual legacy are you leaving for your family?

Lois and Eunice bible study book cover

__

We would like to add that many wonderful Christian books can also be found on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com that ChristianBook.com does not carry, including our book  Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ.

Thank you, Janet, for stopping by today and sharing your tips with us. May God richly bless your writing, your ministries, your grandchildren, and all your family. And may God richly bless our readers and your families also.

__

Janet Thompson is founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and director of About His Work Ministries. She’s a speaker and author of sixteen books, including Face-to-Face With Lois And Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family—one of seven books in the Face-to-Face Bible study series (New Hope Publishers). Janet and her husband Dave love being Grammie and Grampa, and understand the difficulties of long distance grandparenting—only three of their eleven grandchildren live near them. Visit Janet at www.womantowomanmentoring.com

The Prayers of a Grandparent

It’s Thanksgiving week and I’m sure you’re counting your grandchildren among those blessings you’re thankful for. Have you told God lately that you’re thankful for your grandchildren?

And while you’re at it, what else would you like to talk to God about on behalf of your grandchildren? If you’re anything at all like me, my prayers can get mighty general, which means vague. This can be a problem because if our prayer are general or vague, how will we recognize when God answers them?

But what if we make our prayers specific? For me, that takes effort. I have to work at it. I have to think carefully, pray deliberately, then record my prayers carefully. But then the results are amazing. I can actually see concrete answers to my prayers.

What about you? Have you ever tried to make your prayers very specific? Need some help? In a related article I wrote titled “How to Pray? Be Specific and Find God” I wrote:

What, specifically, do you want from God? What would you like Him to do for you? Is what you want within His will, meaning it doesn’t violate His good and pure personality? If yes, then get specific and ask Him.

So think about it.What would you like God to do for you in regards to your grandchildren? What do they need? And I’m not suggesting what they might want, or even need, as a gift for Christmas. I’m thinking more along the lines of what do they need to be spiritually healthy? Do they need salvation? Do they need strength to stand against a society that is increasingly moving away from God? Do they need to make more godly choices? Do they need a desire to read God’s Word more? To walk more closely with God? To learn more about Him and His Word through a true desire to take part in a good church?

Get specific with God and see what happens. You might want to record your prayers in a journal. Then you’ll also have a place to record God’s answers!

In our book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ, each of the 20 chapters has a suggested prayer at the end of the chapter called “One Way to Pray.” The suggested prayer was inspired by the events of the story in that chapter. I know one thing that helps me when I get stuck in a rut with my prayers is to hear how someone else might pray. I find it always inspires and refreshes my own prayers.

Each chapter also has blank lines at the end for your own “Prayers, Notes, or Ideas.” This could be a perfect place to record your own prayers for your grandchildren.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, why not create some specific prayers for each of your grandchildren and then this Thursday share with them what, specifically, you’re thankful for in regards to them as well as what you are praying for them?

How Grandparents Can Partner with Their Grandkids’ Parents

One of the four sections of challenges in our book is the challenge of partnering with parents. In some cases, such as when the parents are also believers and they are not in opposition with the grandparents, partnering may come easily to both parties. But even under idyllic circumstances, struggles may arise.

The stories in our book about partnering range from Grandma stepping in to bring church to her grandson when her son and daughter-in-law won’t make family time for church, to a grandmother who had to help take care of her grandson when her son-in-law was in prison and her daughter went back to school, to a grandmother who stayed with her grandchildren for three months and helped her grandson overcome his many fears. (This last story is written by contributor, Ann Kronwald, who we will be interviewing later this week.)

As you can see, partnering may come in many forms. It may be as simple as providing the parents an extra set of hands or offering additional spiritual nurturing of their kids; or it may involve making life-changing sacrifices, such as taking in a grandchild for a period of time. Regardless of the level of difficulty, God’s grace will be available to help you handle it.

As you consider how you might best partner with your son or daughter, take time to invite the Lord into your situation. Here are a few ways you can do this:

1. Ask God about the specific ways you are to get involved. You want to make sure you’re not going to be overstepping your boundaries, but at the same time you want your efforts to be effective.

2. If you’ll be heading into a touchy situation, ask God to go before you and soften the hearts of those involved. Ask Him also to give you the words to say to your son or daughter so as to not cause offense.

3. Ask God to help you respond in love, humility, and in a Christlike manner to each situation you encounter.

4. Ask God to change your heart so that you are willing to be obedient to anything He asks you to do, even if it involves a major sacrifice or lifestyle change.

Perhaps the best way to partner with your grandkids’ parents is to pray for your grandchildren–whether their parents are doing so themselves or not. To help with this, we encourage you to take a look at Christian Grandparenting Network, which has many prayer-related resources, devotionals, and articles, including the Grandparents’ Prayer Card written by Lillian Penner.

And, we’d like to ask you: What is one way you’ve partnered with your grandchildren’s parents and how has God used your efforts?

Thursday Interview: Susan Lawrence

Welcome back to another Thursday interview post. Today we’d like to introduce Susan Lawrence, author of the story “Jesus House.” We hope you enjoy learning a little about her.

Susan with her grandkids

GTO:  Susan, in what ways do you believe God has used you most in ministering to your grandkids?

Susan:  My grandkids think of me as the grandma who does things with them: picnics, hikes, bike rides, and field trips to the zoo or the science center. Wherever we go, whatever we do, our faith is a part of the day. It may be a prayer before our picnic, a spiritual discussion in the car, or a bedtime Bible story.

GTO:  So, like we’ve talked about on this blog so many times before–making the most of every opportunity. What advice can you give our readers to help them become more intentional about imparting spiritual truths and values into their grandchildren?

Susan:  I feel a sense of urgency like I have never felt before. None of us knows how much time we have left, or how much time the world has left. The time to impart our faith is now. Our children, grandchildren, and the world are in desperate need of it.

GTO: This is so true, Susan. And the reason we wrote this book is to help grandparents do just that in spite of the obstacles they’re facing. What would you say is the greatest challenge faced by children today, and how can grandparents help them with this challenge?

Susan:  I believe the greatest challenge our children face is defending their faith in a culture of an “anything goes” society. Grandparents can help by answering their grandchildren’s questions with answers based on Scripture (even if they have to say, “I need to look that one up myself!”). When talking about current issues in the news, respond with what the Bible says about it. And, most important of all, grandparents need to model their faith, how they live it, and how they share it with others.

GTO:  That’s great advice. What might you tell our readers to encourage them to not give up on their kids or grandkids when they’re going through such challenging times?

Susan:  First Corinthians 13:7 tells us that “love always hopes.” I have clung to that verse in the lack of anything substantial, to offer hope, knowing that God is the Almighty God, in control of all that happens here on earth, and loving and merciful toward our children and grandchildren far more we can even imagine.

GTO:  That even encourages me right now! In looking at the specific story you shared with us, what are you hoping our readers will gain or learn from it?

Susan:  My hope is that other grandparents will be encouraged to share their faith with their grandchildren whenever and however they can, knowing that no matter what the circumstances, their influence on their grandchildren will be a positive, life-building experience.

GTO: And finally, what do you hope your grandkids will most remember about you when you’re gone?

Susan:  I want them to remember that I loved them, laughed with them, and learned with them. And I want them to always, always know I prayed for them.

Thank you, Susan, for spending time with us today. I know your story will be an encouragement to everyone who reads it. If you’d like to learn more about Susan, please visit her at www.SusanRLawrence.com.

Don’t forget, Grandparenting Through Obstacles is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both paperback and digital versions. Order your copy today!

Slowing Down to Grandparent

We all know how crazy life can get when you’re parenting little ones. It seems as though you never have a moment to yourself. We don’t normally associate such a hectic lifestyle with grandparents, however. When I think of grandparents, my mind immediately drifts back to my own childhood when I spent considerable time with my maternal grandparents.

After a full day of Whiffle Ball, my brother and I would bike back to my grandparents’ house and join them for some refreshing lemonade on the front porch. On hot summer nights we’d walk through the neighborhood with them, hearing stories of neighbors they had known for 20 or 30 years! Everything seemed to move in slow motion when we were with our grandparents–maybe because they moved in slow motion!

But times have changed. Grandparents today are younger, hipper (is that still an “in” word?), and definitely on the go. I regularly see grandparents chasing their grandkids on the playground, hanging out with them at arcades, and riding bikes with them. I can’t envision my grandparents doing any of this when I was young! But because many of these grandparents are actually fulfilling a parenting role in their grandkids’ lives, they almost have to do these things just to keep up with them.

But this makes me wonder…are grandparents today falling into this same trap of busyness that parents have, and how will this affect their grandkids? I know what it’s like to have young kids in the house while you’re trying to work, take care of the home, make time for God, and also make sure you’re taking time to teach them about God. It’s exhausting–and it seldom all gets done. Many grandparents are now in this exact same place. Many are still working, while some have had to come out of retirement in order to financially care for their grandkids. It’s a tough place.

On this blog, you’ll hear Dianne and I talk a lot about being intentional when it comes to grandparenting. It’s times like this that require it. I’d like to encourage grandparents today to try to slow down a little, especially when you’re with your grandchildren. Take time to walk and talk with them, sharing the things of God as you go. Teach them a craft or a skill. The last time my dad came to visit, he and my teenager spent hours together in the garage on some electrical project. I have no idea what they were doing, but my son still talks about the time he and Grandpa Tom spent together that day.

My husband, our three kiddos, and Grandpa Tom (Christmas ’08)

They will remember the times that you share with them forever. And the seeds you plant for God’s kingdom will take root in their hearts. But you have to make time to sow those seeds. Plan times together when they are your sole focus–then watch God come and join you.

How do you slow down to grandparent? Have you missed teachable moments with your grandkids because of your busyness? We’d love for you to share your experiences with us!

Don’t forget that Grandparents Day is right around the corner. Grandparenting Through Obstacles makes an excellent gift for all those grandparents in your life. You can now find us on Amazon.com!