Now to Him who is able to do so much more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Eph 3:20, 21
Life is full of surprises, isn’t it? I remember when our son and daughter-in-law were trying to get pregnant. Our poor daughter-in-law went through two gruelling years of hormone therapy. They were at the point where they were wondering if IVF would be their best option when “Surprise!” they announced to us that they were expecting our first grandchild. Our grandson was born healthy and happy, and then “Surprise!” another grandson and a granddaughter followed over the next five years. So we went from wondering if we would have any grandchildren at all to three bundles of joy and energy!
God often takes us through trying, dark times and then blesses us with greater joy and abundance than we could have imagined. For the last year, all of us have been experiencing difficulties and, in some cases, the trauma of the pandemic. It has meant separation from children and grandchildren for many grandparents, either because of government restrictions or inability to travel. For some, there have been missed family celebrations, including Easter, Christmas and birthdays. But, God is not surprised by the pandemic, nor by our longing to give our loved ones, especially our grandchildren, a big hug. He knows what we need even before we ask it. He is an abundant God and wants to pour his blessing out on us. And he can use what was meant for evil for our good.
Although challenging at times, I have found that this pandemic period has been a time of creativity and blessing. There have been many treasures – moments of blessing and joy – amidst the restrictions and difficulties. Sometimes, we have to look for the treasure, as it is a “hidden treasure” that we need to uncover. Here are a few of the unexpected blessings or “hidden treasures” that I’ve discovered:
- More time on my hands, which has allowed me to spend more quiet time with God and more time in prayer for my grandchildren. For the past several years, I have been keeping a prayer journal just for our children and grandchildren. I now realize, looking back over the pandemic period, how intentional and detailed those prayers have been. Not a day goes by that I don’t pray for the salvation of our children and grandchildren, as well as things that are most unusual: protection from COVID, children getting used to wearing masks to school, parents working from home or doing online schooling. I plan to share these journals with them one day, and I believe the journals, but more importantly, my prayers will make a difference for eternity.
- More time with the grandkids. My husband and I are providing childcare for our three grandchildren, so we are very blessed to see them regularly. I know there are many grandparents who do not have this for a number of reasons, including distance, government restrictions, or restricted access for other reasons. Whatever our circumstances, most of us have more time during the pandemic since we are not travelling, pursuing hobbies or even eating out like we used to. We can use this extra time to connect with our grandchildren in a very special way, whether in person or via videoconference. Even our 10-month old granddaughter recognizes my voice and starts to smile and wave when I video call.
- Creativity in how to celebrate and mark milestones. Although celebrations are different, they can still be meaningful. Whether it’s an outdoor birthday skating party for a grandson with just a few, special people in attendance, or a game night on Zoom, there are lots of ways to show your love and interest, even though hugs may be off the table.
- Write a blessing for your grandchildren for their birthday or another special occasion. This is something that I started when our first grandson was born. One day, my grandchildren will read the words that their grandmother wrote to them over the years. Since our oldest grandson is now six, he will soon be able to read them for himself. How I would have loved to have had a letter from my grandmother at any point in my life. A written blessing is a wonderful opportunity to share with your grandchild (or your child, for that matter) God’s view of them, what you see as their special gifts and talents, and to let them know that you will be there for them for as long as you live. For more detail on how to write a blessing, please see this blog post: https://christiangrandparentingnetwork.ca/a-grand-blessing-at-christmas/
Being a committed, intentional grandparent may not be easy during a pandemic, but it is worth it. If we open our hearts to God and to the possibilities he has for us, those “hidden treasures” can be uncovered. The blessings and dividends of loving our children and grandchildren with creativity and purpose, in spite of challenges and obstacles, can bring eternal treasure to those we love.