Learning From Our Latino Friends

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers
Proverbs 17:6 ESV

Four years ago, we retired and moved to Florida. Oh, the weather is grand, and I tolerate the heat and humidity, recalling that I will never have to dig my car out of three feet of snow again! We live in a nice quiet neighborhood, go to a nice church and life is easier. But I miss the Brazilian church where we attended and served on staff for 16 years. With Grandparent’s Day just around the corner, I am missing more and more, how our Brazilian brothers and sisters related to older people. Now, of course our Anglo church is respectful of older folks, and schedules lots of senior stuff, like luncheons and trips, but I miss being invited to birthday parties for 1 year-old’s and being asked to pray a blessing before we sang – Parabens pra voce! (Happy birthday). I miss heading out with everyone else for ice cream on hot summer nights after church and having young people hanging around with us at the church picnics.

Today’s verse lays out the model that God has in mind for us. It says that older people’s greatest glory is not going on a cruise with a bunch of other old folks but being included and honored among the people who are their children and grandchildren. One custom I loved was called “Bencoes” (Blessings) This meant that when a family visit was over, the young ones would run to their uncles, aunts or grandparents and ask for blessings before they left for home. They were remembering that we older people are carrying a blessing to give. So, let’s ask ourselves, “How can I give away a blessing to the younger people around me?” or if you are that younger person, “Who can I honor by asking their blessings on my life today?”

Trusting the Engineer

Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Worrying over our grandchildren’s relationship with Jesus has been a recurring theme for me lately. Now I can hardly believe that I first wrote that opening line two years ago. Things with our grandchildren have gotten easier with some and harder with others. Some days it feels as if our hearts are being pulling in opposite directions, and I need that peace that is waaaaay beyond anything I can understand sometimes! When they were small, everything seemed pretty simple. We took them to church; prayed with them and made sure they had plenty of cookies. But now they are older, some days it feels as if I am slogging through a mud bog trying to communicate even the basics of what it means to be a Christian. As I tossed and turned through another middle of the night worry the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that I was not alone. I was forgetting that ultimately that job is His and that He loves them way more than I do. It is hard to trust God with people who are the closest to us. Yielding control over our spouse, a child a grandchild or a friend means letting God take over. Back in 2005 Carrie Underwood recorded a song called, “Jesus Take the Wheel!” and its message was exactly what we need in our most anxious moments. We need to let go of our grip so that God can steer. Jesus won’t just rip the steering wheel away. He will allow us as many nights as we wish to toss and turn. But when we are worn out with worry and fed up with fear God is waiting and even longing for us to trust that He knows how to fix things better than we do. Only He has the strength to carry our worries and has promised a peace that stretches from our anxious hour all the way to heaven!

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer!  - Corrie Ten Boom

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Grandfather I Never Knew

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6 ESV

The fading photograph of he and my grandmother sits on our bookshelf, and the shadow of his hat covering his eyes makes me wonder what color they were. Though our youngest son is named after him, the life he once lived is as mysterious to me as the lost continent of Atlantis. All I know is that at the ripe old age of 16, he boarded a steamer in Naples and arrived in New York to begin a new life with the help of three brothers who had come before.

All that remains behind is a 100-year-old barber kit that sits on the dresser in our guest bedroom and an antique barber chair that a local shop bought from my cousin. I never heard his voice or knew what his favorite food was. He never took me for ice-cream or walked with me to a park. But my grampa missed these things, not because he was a bad guy, rather as a result of my parent’s less than amicable divorce and his passing away just two years after I was born.

This morning as I was thinking about all I missed from never knowing my grandparents, I remembered our grandchildren. The Bible says that God has given them to us as a crown. and a crown should be on our head, just as grandchildren should always on our mind. When we give them our time, watching a movie together or playing with them in the back yard, we are giving them the memory of the sound of our laugh, the touch of our hand and the color of our eyes. As we share in every little moment – yes, even the hard ones, they will want to know why we pray with them as we put them to bed. They will remember the songs we sing as they sit by us in church and every hug when we can no longer be there to hold them. Though we may not leave them trust accounts brimming with cash, if they receive our faith then they have received our greatest treasure. Grandchildren are given us as a crown, so while we have breath let’s not be the grandparents they never knew. Instead, may our lives remind them, when they are in the middle of their own storms, to trust in Jesus and find that He is the one who has known them and loved them from the beginning of time!