In the two previous articles I have written, I have included the idea of gospel-centered grandparenting. Readers may be wondering what exactly I am alluding to in utilzing that terminology. While I don’t have a specific definition to share, it involves the concept that God has called grandparents to a role in passing on their faith to future generations. Additionally, a primary tool for showing and sharing that faith is the gospel!

While I have been a Christian for over four decades, my understanding of the gospel has only recently been expanded. I had understood the gospel as the “good news” that was paramount to my salvation, but never understood it beyond that experience. Through solid, Biblical teaching I have begun to grow in the understanding and application of the gospel to my daily life.* And I now recognize the value of transmitting those truths to my grandchildren.

The idea of gospel-centered grandparenting is not original with me, but rather is something I have been learning about, and prayerfully growing in, in recent years. My first exposure to a more succinct definition came through an article on Christian Grandparenting Network entitled, “The Best Part of Being a Grandparent.” This article was an interview with Larry McCall, who was writing a book on grandparenting. The entire article spoke to my heart and perhaps it is best encapsulated in this quote, “Having fun with our grandkids is great! But, that’s not the best part of grandparenting. The best part is having the amazing privilege of passing the baton of faith.”

Most of us approach grandparenting in response to how we watched our parents or what we remember from our own grandparents interactions. We’ve adopted societal norms or just fell into what seems natural in our role as a grandparent. Others don’t really think about it at all. But, I want to play a role in the discipleship of my grandchildren—teaching and modeling the gospel and intentional in being Christ-focused in my interactions.

If this has intrigued you to discover more thoroughly how to live the gospel with the next generation, I want to direct you to Larry McCall’s book, Grandparenting with Grace. This is a practical, biblical resource that will give clarity to your role as a godly Grandparent.

Other resources:

Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent is one of those simplistic and yet utterly transformative works that every follower of Christ should read and return to again, and again, and again, until they’re overflowing with the Gospel.

And anticipating its release in June Discipling Your Grandchildren: Great Ideas to Help Them Know, Love, and Serve God by Josh Mulvihill. (Obviously I have not read this title yet, but having read other books by the same author, I think it would be a great resource)

* I don’t have the room to fully expand on this topic here, but please contact me if you are interested in learning more about the power of the gospel in your daily life!

My introductory article mentioned three areas that are important to me in my grand-parenting journey: growing relationally, praying consistently, and being gospel-centered. It is obvious that I will not grow and persevere in any of these areas without a definitive plan and intentionality, and I suspect that I am not alone. Therefore, in this post I want to remotivate and encourage myself, and you, in the subject of praying for our grandchildren.

As I have aged, the topic and action of prayer, in general, have become more important to me. There are probably several reasons for this—growth both in spiritual and theological ways, but perhaps the biggest reason is really quite simple, I have more quiet time. Our home is no longer bustling with four children and all the activity that occurred as they transitioned from infants to adults. Looking back over those busy parenting days, I lament that I didn’t pray more consistently for my children, yet God is merciful and gracious and I’m thankful for the opportunity to now pray for my children, and grandchildren, too.

As Deborah Haddix writes on her website: “There are so many reasons for grandparents to pray.  Prayer:

  • is our call and our responsibility.
  • helps us be more involved in the lives of our grandchildren.
  • has an eternal impact on our grandchildren’s lives.
  • is an honor and a privilege.
  • closes the distance gap (miles and generations).
  • helps stop Satan’s schemes and powers toward our grandchildren.
  • is one of the greatest investments that can ever be made into the lives of our grandchildren.
  • is power.”

If, as grandparents, we do not make the time and effort to pray for our grandchildren, who will? I encourage you to take up that responsibility and recognize that it is a privilege and honor to be able to stand in the gap for our grandchildren with our prayers.

Prayer is one of those disciplines where there really is no right or wrong way to go about praying, but rather we should “Just Do It!” However, if you’re like me and benefit from having some structure to guide you in your prayer time, the following resources and tips might be helpful. If you have further suggestions, please share them with me, as well.

A journal, notebook, or calendar would assist in organization and tracking consistency in your prayers. Note and document your answered prayer requests, as well. I use an app on my phone for my prayers that does the same.

Grab grandpa or another grandma to pray together and/or hold you accountable to be regularly praying for your grandchildren.

Regularly ask your grandchildren, if they are old enough, for their prayer requests. The resources below give you lots of general ideas, but nothing beats personalized prayers for specific needs. Also, ask your children (parents of the grandchildren) for prayer requests for both them and their children.

Use these general prayer cards/lists/scriptures to guide and direct your prayers for your grandchildren:

Free printable topical prayer resources:

30 Day Praying with Purpose Grandparent Prayer Challenge;” free printable topical prayer resources:

  Free printable topical prayer resources for grandparents and their grandchildren; email sign-up for weekly prayer suggestions:

Small booklet that guides in scriptural prayer.

Book on grandparenting with a chapter on prayer with prayer suggestions given.

 

Here are a few Facebook pages to check out:

Grandparenting With a Purpose

30 – Day Praying with Purpose Challenge for Grandparents: Daily prayer prompts during the challenge dates (typically in January and mid-August through Grandparent’s Day in September)

Tell your grandchildren you are praying for them, and then follow through, and PRAY!

Photo Books to Bridge the Distance

Photo Books to Bridge the Distance

Denise shared this idea at her home during a ‘long distance grandparent lunch” get together and I absolutely loved it! – Ann

When our son, daughter-in-law, and 15-month old grandson were visiting last year, I noticed Judah was very interested in the photographs that were displayed in our home. He seemed to really enjoy it as we would name and point out to him the different individuals pictured. That interest gave me the idea to make him a family photo book of his own.

Originally, I was going to include both sets of grandparents and all Judah’s aunts and uncles from both sides of the family. However, my discount coupon to purchase a book was only good through the weekend and I didn’t have time to request photos from our daughter-in-law’s family, thus it became “Judah’s Book: Daddy’s Family!”

I quickly picked out my favorite, recent photos of our family. I love pictures, so it was hard to chose, but I included group shots, individual poses, action shots of us involved in favorite activities, and photos that included Judah and his parents. I wrote simple captions such as, “Aunt Hannah is riding a horse,” or “Uncle Josh likes to climb.” I ordered the book and had it shipped directly to his home two states away.

That book has been such a wonderful tool for our family! His parents read him the book, pointing out the different family members in the photos and talking about us. One Sunday morning, my son sent me this picture of our grandson looking at the book on his own. What joy that brought to this long-distance grandma! His parents tell me it’s one of Judah’s favorite books. Although we are not able to be with him as often as we would like, Judah is “seeing” and learning about our family. I also think that it helps Judah to know us a little better when we did visit, so we were not quite so unfamiliar to him.

I utilized Shutterfly to design and order their standard 8×8 hard back book—there are other companies that provide similar products, as well. The book has been well-used and shows it! My daughter-in-law has taped torn pages, but I am  glad that it’s been used by a toddler—that was my hope. I didn’t want to make a “keepsake” that couldn’t be touched.

At the beginning of January, our second grandchild was born. I received this second picture several months later. Reading “Judah’s Book” to his sister! It’s a small investment of time and money that has helped us bridge the distance!

Long-Distance Grandparenting

Long-Distance Grandparenting

Our oldest daughter, Abi, spent four years living in East Africa. During that time I became involved with a Facebook group named Parents of Missionaries—their goal was to provide support, encouragement, and prayer for parents whose children served overseas. I benefited from being involved in that community. During the years of interaction with that group, I noted that many POM’s not only had children across many miles, but in-laws and, subsequently, grandchildren, as well, which added to their challenges.

In 2017, someone in the POM group shared a link to a blog and Facebook page entitled, Grandparenting with a Purpose. The title of the specific post that day was, “Help! I’m a Long-distance Grandma!” Having recently been promoted to that status, I quickly continued to read! (Our first grandchild had been born several months prior and he and his parents were 350 miles away!) The main focus of the article (and blog) is calling grandparents to be purposeful in building relationships with their grandchildren and their exhortation is that one of the main tools to accomplish that is prayer.

I signed up to receive the blog and free resources that were offered. At first, I felt like the prayer topics were “too old” for Judah—he was just 2 months old at that time, but then the Lord convicted me of the power of long term prayer in the areas of salvation, character development, and others. It’s my desire to be a committed praying grandma! 

Along with praying, I also wanted to develop a good relationship with my little grandson (and future grandchildren). Once again, he was so young, but I knew in my heart that I needed to be intentional and purposeful in planting the seeds to grow that relationship while he was still little, if I wanted to reap a harvest when he was older. It’s my desire to be a relational grandma—despite the distance!

And recently, I read a book about what matters most as grandparents—the salvation and spiritual growth of our grandchildren. It challenged me to examine my role through the lens of Scripture and opened my eyes to apply a biblical approach to my grandparenting—centering on the gospel, not just tradition or culture. It’s my desire to be a gospel-centered grandma!

My journey is still in its beginning stages—Judah is just 2 1/2 and his baby sister 9 months—so I am learning and searching for ideas to guide and help me as a grandparent. I definitely am not an expert, but my hope is to spark these desires in other grandmas and grandpas, as we grow together. Will you join me?

Listed below are helpful resources – just click on each picture for more information.

Some books you may want to check out are:

Volunteer to Help Fort Wayne Pregnant Moms & Dads

Volunteer to Help Fort Wayne Pregnant Moms & Dads

Volunteering has always been an important aspect of our family and while we had children in the home, our volunteering focused on areas where we could serve together or activities in which the children were involved. Five years ago our youngest child graduated and with that milestone for her (and me, since I was the primary homeschool teacher), my opportunities for volunteering changed. 

There are so many needs in our community, The Hope Center is one of  two ministries where I landed. While I am utilizing my nursing degree at The Hope Center, the organization has ample opportunities for anyone who is willing to devote some time and love.  

All you need to start helping at A Hope Center right now is … 

  • an open heart
  • a desire to help others
  • a love for mothers and fathers of unborn children
  • a desire to educate those faced with an unexpected pregnancy about their options – accurately, compassionately, and non-judgmentally

 The first step to being a volunteer is to visit A Hope Cener. You may schedule a tour by contacting 260.422.3544. There are many different ways to volunteer:

In-Office Volunteer Opportunities

  • Bonus room worker – Sort incoming donations and cater to our client shoppers who have earned baby and maternity items by participating in Earn While You Learn (EWYL).
  • Clerical worker at Hobson Rd – Help keep the office running smoothly with filing, mailing, tabulating, publication folding and cutting, data entering, ordering, and other office duties. 
  • Classroom educator – Our Earn While You Learn program provides educational opportunities using both individual and group settings. Use your specific expertise to empower clients by teaching a group education class.
  • Earn While You Learn Facilitator – EWYL Facilitators act solely as mentors/teachers to clients who have chosen to carry their pregnancy to term. They use pre-established curriculum and other resources to help clients improve their lives and improve the lives of their families.
  • Peer advocate – Female advocates have opportunities to provide peer counseling to women seeking pregnancy and STD testing and other services. Male advocates provide peer counseling to the male partners of women seeking our services. Both have the privilege to act as a mentor and teacher to long-term clients who wish to grow in knowledge, maturity, and wisdom. Advocates receive extensive training to fulfill this role. 
  • Nurse – A Hope Center is a limited medical facility. It is important to have nurses available on all shifts to provide nurse-administered pregnancy and STD testing. Nurses may also train as advocates in order to conduct all aspects of the pregnancy test visit with a client.

Other Ways to Volunteer

  • Professional consultant – As we grow, the need for professional support services becomes more important for both short and long-term ministry needs. All professional fields are welcome to apply!
  • Financial contributor – A Hope Center is funded entirely by local individuals, churches, and foundations so that clients may receive valuable care without financial cost. Lives are changed and lives are saved as a result of grass-roots investors looking for the most meaningful of returns. Will you be A Hope Center friend? 
  • Walker or underwriter at Strides of Hope – Walk or sponsor a walker at the annual “Strides of Hope” walkathon in August/September. Businesses and individuals may also help support the fundraising event with underwriting funds.
  • Guest, table host, table sponsor, or underwriter at the annual fundraising banquet – Held in April, the annual banquet brings A Hope Center supporters together to hear a great speaker and learn about ministry needs and accomplishments. The event is free, but guests are asked to partner financially with the ministry. 
  • Bargain hunter – Bargain hunters love to shop garage sales and clearance sales for baby and maternity items. Make your donation in purchased material goods!
  • In-kind giver – Many partners in ministry remember the center when cleaning out their drawers and closets. Like-new baby items and maternity clothes bless our clients in need. Just drop your items off at 3630 Hobson Rd, 3701 South Calhoun Street, or 4705 Illinois Rd locations during office hours.
  • Church liaison – A church liaison serves as A Hope Center’s communication facilitator within their church family. Liaisons receive church mailings for distribution to their congregations and are asked to follow up with church leadership to promote events and activities. 
  • Prayer team member – As a member of the prayer team you will be given prayer requests for clients (no identifying information distributed for purposes of confidentiality), volunteers, staff, board members, and ministry events.
  • Fundraising coordinator – Throw a baby shower for the Center to collect maternity and baby items for the Bonus Room client store. You could also collect spare change from your church or small group with a Baby Bottle Campaign. All the information and bottles you need will be provided by the center.

Questions? Call us at 260.422.3544. You can find more information on their website here.