Grandparenting: First Things First

Christmas 2012Grammy’s and Pop-Pop’s. Christmas, 2012.

A friend asked me last week: So where does God fit into this stuff about life in family?  The question took my breath away. Isn’t it obvious? I thought.

But she wouldn’t have asked the question if the answers were obvious. And if she asked it, others have thought it. So this week we’ll take a look at families and God.

  • God invented families. And He did it early on–27 verses into the first chapter of the first book in the Bible.  In the next chapter we find the first reference to spouses (Genesis 2:24).
  • God has a lot to say about how families are to behave. Children are to honor their parents (Exodus 2:20). Parents are to teach their children and not aggravate them (Ephesians 6:4). God’s own son, Christ, lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. (Romans 5:19). At this stage of life, that perfect obedience sounds pretty awesome. But when I was 15 I would have laughed out loud at the thought.
  • Sibling rivalry is nothing new. Think Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:8).  Think Jacob and Esau (Genesis 27). Think Joseph (Genesis 37:28). Could it be otherwise? In Genesis 3 we find the fall. Just one chapter later, we see fratricide.
  • Families can be conduits of faith. Timothy learned from his grandmother and his mother (2 Timothy 1:5). Moses instructed the people to teach their children God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
  • Families are meant to provide comfort. They are the antidote for loneliness (Psalm 68:6).
  • Children are a gift of God. We are to see our children as blessings. (Psalm 127:3).
  • Grandchildren too. They’re a crown. (Proverbs 17:6).
  • We are to provide for our families. Caring for our kin is faith in action (1 Timothy 5).
  • Families help us understand our relationship to God. God is our heavenly father and we are His children, members of His household. (Ephesians 2:19, 1 John 3:1, Romans 8:14, John 1:12). The church is Christ’s bride (Ephesians 5:32).

So why did God have so much to say about families? I can’t speak for Him, of course, but our very first lessons about love are taught by our families. Sometimes those lessons are all about patience and honor and grace. Sometimes they’re not.

How does it impact us when family relationships, meant to help us understand God’s love, are painful?

A real challenge in families comes when different households–or members of a single household–adopt different faith traditions. Beliefs are prized. They’re defended.

How do we keep loving well when our cherished, deeply rooted beliefs are pulled up and cast aside by members of our own family? 

Sometimes familial love is hard, hard work. But it’s work we must do, no? 

rabbit conga

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13 (ESV)


  1. I’m a grandmother of 7, mother of 2, stepmother of 2 who is blessed to still have my parents (both 80 yrs old) and mother-in-law (age 84), all of my siblings, nieces, nephew, etc. still on this side of heaven. I have a family reunion coming up – our first in 20 years or so. Your blog spoke so beautifully to me about family. I am going to post your blog on my facebook page.

  2. Deborah, thank you so much for your kind words. I’d love to hear more about the family reunion!

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