My husband and I are the very proud parents of one son, who has grown to be a mature, accomplished man, a fine husband and great dad to three beautiful children, our three beautiful grandchildren.
When my husband and I got married, we were committed to raising our children in a Christian home. As it turned out, God gave us one child, a son. We tried our best to live out our faith, and to raise our son to know about Jesus and to follow Him. He committed his life to Christ as a young boy and was baptized and raised in the church. He went to a Christian school and heard us pray and talk about God’s hand on our lives. However, as a young man, he drifted away from the church, and eventually told us that he was no longer a believer. Besides the heartbreak of hearing this from him, we grieved over the lost opportunity to openly share our faith with our grandchildren.
God gives Christian grandparents this command: “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” (Deut 4:9)
So how do you teach your grandchildren about God when your adult children are not believers, and may even be antagonistic to your faith? We do need to honour our children’s wishes regarding the way they want their children raised. After all, they are our grandchildren’s parents.
We have found there are two ways to show God’s love to our children and grandchildren, while still honouring their parents’ boundaries.
First, pray, pray, pray. We have been praying for our son his whole life, for our daughter-in-law since the day we met her, and for our grandchildren from before they were born. We know that it is not God’s will that any should perish (2 Pet 3:9) and we also believe that God answers prayer when we ask things according to His will (1 John 5:14, 15). We walk in faith and trust that God will bring this sweet family to Himself. For the past several years, I have also been keeping a prayer journal just for them, so that they will see how we prayed and how God answered prayer time and again. I know that they may not see this journal while I am alive, but I do believe that some day, it will make a huge difference in their lives and in how they view God, His faithfulness and His abundance.
Second, love on them generously. There have been many times when we have stepped in to help and to love. When babies have been born, and Mom needed a break from the newborn, or a load of laundry done or just a nap; when Mom got pneumonia or broke her hand and just couldn’t care for the children; when Dad was burnt out from a demanding job, and they both just needed to sleep (time for Papa and Nanny to host a sleepover!); or even just babysitting regularly so Mom and Dad could have a date night. Of course, we get great joy from being with our grandchildren, so this isn’t a chore! My hope is that our children and grandchildren see something different in us, and that it is the love of Christ within us that makes it easy to help and to love.
We look forward to the day when there will be great rejoicing in heaven, the day our son gives his life to Christ once again, just like he did when he was a little boy. We look forward to the day when our dear daughter-in-law and precious grandchildren will also come to know Jesus. What a great day that will be!
Until then, we will keep praying and loving, knowing that “God’s got this!”.