One of the ways that I enjoy showing love is to give gifts. Not expensive gifts, but simple, thought out gifts that say to the person, “I love you” or “I am thinking of you.” My eleven grandchildren flock to me for that one piece of gum or the tic tac that Nana always has waiting for them. And do you think that I take joy in being able to give them such a simple gift? You bet I do! There’s nothing that warms my heart more than when my grandchildren run to me with open arms waiting for Nana to give them a big ‘ole bear hug–and a piece of gum.
If they love me for my gum, so be it.
I know better. They love me because in their minds, I am an adult who really sees them. Pays attention to them. (Okay… dotes on them!) And they know that if I at all possible, I will stop whatever it is I am doing just to spend time with them.
So is all that I have to offer a simple stick of gum? Of course not. They respect me as a leader and teacher, and my responsibility to them comes in three simple forms:
1. MY WORDS: “O be careful little mouth what you say!” The more I read of Proverbs, the more I come to understand how powerful our words are. We speak life into them. Our littles thrive on words of encouragement. Even gentle rebuke says to them, “I care about you.” Kindness and understanding go a long way in building a trusting relationship with those we love.
“Whoever speaks truth declares what is right…the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:17-18
“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life…” Proverbs 14:27
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive…” Proverbs 15:2
“The tongue that heals is a tree of life…” Proverbs 15:4
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb; sweet to the taste and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
2. MY WORSHIP: “O be careful little eyes what you see!” I am privileged that several of my grandchildren get to see me in church on Sundays, but that’s not what I’m talking about. My life reflects what I value. These grandkids of mine are pretty smart–children aren’t so impressed by what you have, (like the rest of the world), they are much more observant about what you do. Do I live out what I say I believe? Am I exhibiting a faith that leads by example? Do they see genuine faith that trusts despite circumstances, that gives, serves and loves in a way that honors the Lord?
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7
“Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.” Proverbs 18:10
“Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3
3. MY WALK: “O be careful little feet where you go!” My faith isn’t just about religious duty. Attending a worship service is a privilege and one that I “get to” do. What I do on Sunday is a culmination of the rest of the week–and preparation for the coming week. Sure, they see me worship on Sundays, but what about the rest of the week? Is this just something we do, or is it who we are? Are they seeing what I truly value? Is the fruit of my life producing a desire to taste of what is good and true and right?
“I am teaching you the way of wisdom; I am guiding you on straight paths. When you walk you will not be hindered; when you run you will not stumble. Proverbs 4:3
“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday.” Proverbs 4:18
“Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.” Proverbs 4:26
“The one who lives with integrity is righteous; his children who come after him will be happy.” Proverbs 20:7
Now I know that I am not ever going to be a perfect parent or grandparent, the question for me is not one of doing everything exactly right (though my perfectionist tendencies try to win that battle in my mind!). My goal is not to be perfect, but to be kind. To give grace and to show my littles what the Father’s love does in my life. When I open my mouth, I want my words to build up, not tear town.
I want my actions to show strength and honor–
and unwavering faith.
“Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25
Proverbs 17:6 says, “Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly”, and these precious babies are the jewels in my crown. They light up my world and bring so much joy. What more could I ever want for these little treasures than three simple gifts:
1. THEIR WORDS: That they would learn to be kind to others, that they would honor the Lord in their speech and most of all to choose to confess Him as Lord.
2. THEIR WORSHIP: That more than anything else this world has to offer, they would pursue Jesus. That they would love Him, serve Him, and honor Him in their daily activities.
3. THEIR WALK: That they would grow in the relationship with the Lord and gain understanding in what that looks like on a daily basis. That it would be more than a religion, but a daily encounter with a loving Heavenly Father who will guide their steps.
Don’t you just love Proverbs?! So full of wisdom for every stage of life. True wisdom knows the source of wisdom, and there is nothing more important to my grandparenting skills than studying His Word. I know, we are all busy. Our lives are filled with good things–just don’t miss the gift that God has given you in His written word.