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Posts Tagged ‘caring for grandchildren’

Jo 12My husband and I are entering an extra busy period of our lives this week. Yes, we are yet to discover what that interesting word ‘retirement’ means! Two things are happening simultaneously that should help keep us both out of mischief for the next few months at least.

The first is that, to help our daughter and her husband out, we will be caring for their two young children a little more than we do already. Various things have happened for them in quick succession—the selling of their unit in western Sydney, the buying of a house even further west and also a new accountancy job in the city for our son-in-law, which means he will be unable to pick up our grandchildren from school and day care as much as he has previously.

But the second commitment we have agreed to is to take on a support role at our local church, assisting the ministry team while our two team leaders (husband and wife) are on sabbatical leave. To do this, we have each promised to be available in our church office one day a week to help with different aspects of our church life, particularly in the pastoral care area.

Obviously, these two commitments, while quite different, will no doubt require a fair amount of energy on our part. I am sure God wants us to undertake both ventures, but at times, I must admit I have allowed more than a little anxiety about what we have taken on to creep in. Will we have the energy and strength to see it all through? Will it be too overwhelming? Will I ever get any time to myself to continue writing that next novel I truly want to complete? What if our church commitment in particular grows out of all proportion to the hours we have available in our busy week?

In the midst of these rather fearful thoughts, I ‘happened’ to come to some interesting verses in one of Paul’s letters where he addresses some quarrelling and jealousy that had emerged among the early Corinthian believers. Apparently there was a good deal of ‘one-upmanship’ going on, where some claimed they followed Paul, while others stated they followed Apollos. Paul rebukes them for their worldly way of thinking and points out that both he and Apollos were simply God’s servants doing the tasks they had been given—he to plant the seed and Apollos to water it. But without God, nothing would have taken place among them.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 1 Corinthians 3:6

I read on, slowly realising why God had arranged for me to read these words at this strategic point.

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:9

Yes, Lord, I get the message. It is our role simply to cooperate and work hand in hand with you in the tasks you have called us to do. And what a partner we have—the almighty God of the universe! As for those at our church, you will continue to nurture them and build them up in their faith, whatever happens. You are in charge, not us!

Lord, may I always remember that. Amen

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I knew I sP1030733hould have been keeping a straight face, but I couldn’t. There was our little fourteen month old grandson, smiling up at me with a mischievous twinkle in his big, brown eyes, as he copied my actions to a tee! My daughter had warned me, but I hadn’t quite believed her. Now I could see what she meant.

She had told me that whenever she shakes her finger at him and says ‘No, no!’ when he is doing something he shouldn’t, he copies her exactly and shakes his finger right back at her! So when he pulled the towels off the towel rail (one of his latest tricks!) and I shook my finger at him and growled ‘No, no!’ in my best grandma voice, he shook his finger back at me, chuckled gleefully and ran off! When I gave chase, he thought it was such fun that I soon found myself laughing with him.

Later, when he was sitting quietly beside me, I decided to try that age-old game ‘Round and round the garden like a teddy bear’. I traced that little circle on the palm of his hand and he giggled deliciously when I finally tickled him. Next thing, he was trying to do the same thing himself, before abandoning the whole idea when it didn’t seem to have the desired effect.

It’s clear our grandson is rapidly developing the art of imitating his parents (and grandparents) very well. It’s a large part of the way we learn so much in life, after all, so I’m pleased he is catching on quickly. But watching him has given me some serious food for thought. What if he copies things we do or say that aren’t worth imitating? What if he notices us being impatient and harsh with each other? What if he observes us wasting too much time in front of the TV? What if he rarely sees us reading any book—let alone God’s Word? What if he learns from us to be greedy or lazy or selfish or undisciplined?

Some words Paul wrote in one of his letters often challenge me in this regard. In 1 Corinthians 4:15-16, he says:

Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

I used to think Paul was ‘big-noting’ himself a little! How could he say this? But then I discovered 1 Corinthians 11:1:

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Because Paul is following Christ’s example to the best of his ability, he can urge the Corinthians to copy him in this. Paul knows he isn’t perfect—but he also knows he is following Someone who was and is! Elsewhere, Paul admits he does the things he doesn’t want to do (Rom 7:13-25). Yet he forges on, forgetting the past and always aiming to know Christ better (Phil 3:12-14). And he isn’t afraid to tell others to imitate him and live the same way.

Am I in the place of being able to say that to our grandson as he grows? Could I urge him to imitate me as I follow Christ?

At the risk of sounding too presumptuous, I hope and pray I will be able to do just that.

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