a grandmother is . . .
I came across an anonymous quote recently that says, “A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.” I like that, but while this sentiment is sweet, grandmothers are in a unique position to be so much more.
There are seven little people in this world who call me Gramma. I am blessed to watch them grow and be an active participant through each stage of their early lives.
When they’re all riding in my car, deep in conversation about video games and Roblox characters that I know nothing about, I’m listening. Sometimes I wonder, how do they see me? In their eyes, am I simply the old woman who always loves them and will pretty much never say “no” to them?
Having raised two boys, I’ve felt the empty-nest ache that comes when they pack their things and set out on their own. Time goes by so fast. I still recall the painful sensation of letting go. Feeling like, after all these years of discovering what does (and doesn’t) work, was my role as Mom really just coming to an end?
But now, as a grandmother I see it all coming into focus. It all makes sense. Our adult children still need us, but in a different way. I’ve been gifted a unique ministry that is only mine to fill.
Listen, I don’t know everything—far from it! But I do know some things.
I know I can be someone who listens when one of my seven wants to tell a story. It doesn’t even have to make sense, but they’re sure excited to share it!
I know I can afford the time to sit with them when they’re struggling with emotions, a luxury that their busy parents would love but don’t always get.
I know they have questions . . . a million questions about God, creation, bad people, good people, heaven and hell. I may not have all the answers but I can help them sort through the confusion and give them God’s Word.
From the time they learn to talk, why? is the question they will ask most as they grow up and learn to reason for themselves.
Why did Jesus die on the cross? Why didn’t Jesus defeat all the bad guys like Superman does? Why are there bad people? Gramma, why?
Every question they ask is a God-given opportunity for me to listen and meet them where they are, and speak to them in a way they can grasp for now.
These are God-given moments, my opportunity to demonstrate to them the one thing they will never get from this world: unconditional love and grace.
My role as Gramma is not to be a disciplinarian although I support every rule their parents have set in place. Well, maybe not every rule (that no-dessert rule has been broken more times than I can count). Sorry kids.
My role as Gramma is to pour into them wisdom (gained from 30+ years of being a Christian) in a way they can understand.
My role as Gramma is to reflect Christ and—most important of all—to be authentic in my Christian walk.
My joy as Gramma is to see their individual gifts and to help their parents provide opportunities for them to grow in those giftings. It might be in art, music, sports or something that’s entirely new to me. I can look for those signs and help nurture what God is creating in them. I can encourage them to try new things when they fear the unknown.
These seven incredible humans who call me Gramma are my unique and precious ministry. I’ve held each one as a newborn. At one time or another, I’ve sat on the couch with each one as they pouted about some disappointment.
I’ve given buckets of grace to a moody teen who thought she wanted to be left alone, when she really just wanted to be reminded how beautiful and special she is to her family and to Jesus.
I’ve listened while an 8 year old excitedly poured out her dreams and caught glimpses of what amazing things she just might do someday.
I realize that some who are reading this don’t have the blessing of one-on-one time with your grandchildren. But technology is opening doors for us to reach out to them wherever they are. Tools like Marco Polo, FaceTime, texts and emails. We can use these to reach out and say, “Hey, I was just thinking about you. You are loved.”
We can pray.
Yes, pray for each one individually and often. We can pray for our grandchildren like no one else will.
So, Gramma . . . Nana . . . Abuela . . . whatever special name you go by, this is our own personal ministry.
We have a unique calling to shape life through our love and prayers. No matter what age, no matter how close or far, may I gently challenge you to find a way to connect with your grandchildren today. The gospel isn’t just something we share with unbelievers, it’s a pattern of grace and love we’re called to live out in front of our children and grandchildren.
Reach out and see what God does.
“Therefore…stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58