"Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow..." the old jump rope rhyme took me back in my memory to the playground at Gladstone Grade School where we'd jump using those heavy plastic beaded school jump ropes. My granddaughter, whose in the first grade, was chanting the same jump rope jingle I'd used fifty years ago, using her jump rope from the Target dollar section, and trying with all her might to beat her four jump maximum before tangling her feet up in the rope.
She's a miracle, that one, but they all are really. She was long awaited, my daughter and her husband struggling through over ten years of infertility and three miscarriages before she was born. We all prayed so much, our family, our son-in-law's family, people all over the world, and then she came. She was worth the wait.
She and I were outside in front of my house trying to jump rope, she with her long legs and arms, taking after her daddy's side of the family more than ours. Her little sister is the one who takes after our side. Though not so much in the oldest one's appearance, in her personality I occasionally see glimpses of myself. This is the amazing thing about grandchildren, you catch wisps of the past in them, glimpses of your children, glimpses of yourself.
I think grandparenting may be the most surprising thing I've experienced so far in life. Surprising in the power and intensity of the love that I feel for this little being who's not my own, yet still part of me. I've had this conversation with other grandparents, and most seem to agree, that it almost feels like you love them more than you loved your own children. That sounds horrible to say, and even worse to put in print, but let me explain before you pass judgement. I've decided it feels like more because it's a less distracted love. It's much more about pure enjoyment of them, and a lot less about work and responsibility and providing for. (I realize that there are many, many grandparents out there who are having to parent their grandchildren. My sincere prayer for you is that God will richly bless you, provide for you, encourage you, and give you His wisdom and supernatural strength and endurance.) From my point of view, this intensity of love differs not a bit between my grandchildren who came to us via the miracle of adoption, two of them, or the miracle of biological birth, three of them.
It's a vastly different world that they're growing up in than the one I did, even than the one their parents grew up in. It's easy to worry about what the future holds for our grandchildren in this sin-twisted world. While we may not be responsible for their provision and daily care, I do think grandparents have an important God-given role, one that can be an immense help to our children and grandchildren. Repeatedly in the Bible God connects three generations, calling Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The passing on of blessing from one generation to the next was an important Biblical concept that we see in the Word of God. I believe it's very important for parents to speak blessing over their children and to pray diligently for them and with them. I also think that grandparents can be a huge strength and support to their children and their children's spouses and a great encouragement to their grandchildren by continuing to speak blessing and to keep praying fervently for them. Our children don't have an easy task raising their children in this culture and our grandchildren don't have an easy task growing up in it. They need our prayers for wisdom, for protection, for guidance. One prayer that I've written down and been praying lately is, "Father, I pray that our children and grandchildren will have discernment between truth and deception. I pray that each one of them would choose truth and walk in truth. In Jesus' name, Amen." I based this prayer on 3 John 4, "I have no greater joy than this, that my children are living their lives in the Truth." If you don't know what to pray for your grandchildren, Stormie Omartian's book The Power of A Praying Parent has great prayer topics in it that can be prayed for your grandchildren as well. Put some of that powerful, overwhelming grandparent love to good use, not just in spoiling your grand babies, (which we all love to do!), but in keeping them covered in prayer.