I am the grandmother of thirteen beautiful grandchildren. Beautiful, sweet, smart, talented, amazing, loving, Jesus-following, precious kids—and I’m not just bragging! (HA!) Truly, I am blessed beyond measure to be their grandma, and although I have been forced to do my grandmothering from afar (they all live thousands of miles away), we still are very close in heart. There are eight granddaughters (Sara, Gabriela, Anastasia, Melissa, Katie, Hannah, Mandy and Vanessa) and five grandsons (James, Benjamin, Joshua, Matthew and Josiah) ranging in ages from 21 years to 10 months old.
As a family we are a bit unusual—you could say we’re almost a United Nations. My daughter Laura married a man from Ecuador, so their children are half Ecuadoran. Julie married a man who was born in El Salvador and is half El Salvadoran, so their children have Latin blood, as well. Their other three children are adopted—two from the Ukraine, and one who is biracial. The Lord brought us all together in His wonderful plan and we just couldn’t love them all any more than we do! How blessed we are!
Today I want to celebrate two of my granddaughters—Anastasia and Melissa. Their birthdays are five days apart. Anastasia turned seventeen on Wednesday, and Melissa will be fifteen tomorrow. They are turning into beautiful young women, alike in some ways, and very different in others.
This is only the fourth birthday Anastasia has celebrated with us. She made her entrance into our family at the age of thirteen when David and Julie adopted her from an orphanage in Ukraine. Anastasia had been through many hard, sad things in her life, but since the adoption she has truly blossomed! She gained a new name, a new family, new home and country—and she became a new creation in Christ when she gave her heart to Jesus a few months after she became our granddaughter. There was so much for Anastasia to learn and she has done well in learning English and adapting to her new American life. Other things have been more difficult, but she has a sweet, willing spirit and tries hard to please. Anastasia has a tender heart and is quick to express her love for others and the Lord. She loves to sew and bake, draw and read, and is quick to help with the baby or around the house. She volunteered to clean the church nursery every week—often when the other girls her age are off having fun together. She is friendly and kind and loves to talk! I treasure the little love notes she has given me. It is so awesome that the Lord plucked our sweet Anastasia from a country thousands of miles away and gave her as a gift to our family!
And then there is our beautiful Melissa! She, too, was born on another continent where her parents are missionaries in Ecuador. This year is her quinceañera—her fifteenth birthday, a special “coming of age” birthday in the Spanish culture. It is hard to believe our sweet, shy, quiet little Melissa has become a self-assured, mature young woman already! Melissa loves the Lord and has a true servant’s heart. She is often her mama’s right hand. She helps out with the younger children and is a second little mama to them. She is quite talented in directing and producing little plays and videos and photo shoots with her younger siblings. Melissa enjoys baking and cooking and will often whip up a snack or bake a banana bread or cake for the family. I can totally see her someday being an amazing wife and mother in her own home. Melissa loves the beach and is quite the surfer girl! She is generous and giving, sometimes to a fault, and is easy-going and loves to laugh. Melissa loves to talk to her grandma on the phone, too, and share things with me on Facebook and Pinterest. I feel sorry that she has a broken leg and is on crutches this year for her quinceañera—but maybe next year she can celebrate her Sweet Sixteen American style!
What a privilege it is to be the grandmother to these two lovely girls—and to all my grandchildren! To be a grandparent is one of life’s greatest joys—but it is also a responsibility that I do not take lightly. The Bible addresses just what that duty entails. Deuteronomy 4:5, 6, 9 says, “See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them…. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding… Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
We love our grandchildren; we laugh at them and enjoy their antics; we bake or sew or crochet for them; and as much as we are able, we join in their fun. These things are our joy, but our responsibility before God is to teach them by word and deed. In word—Psalms 145:4 reminds us “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” In deed—Titus 2:3-5 instructs us to be role models: “ Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
The apostle Paul gives us the example of Lois, a godly grandmother who played an active role in teaching her young grandson Timothy the Scriptures. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also… But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 1:5; 2:14-15) Timothy went on to be a great pastor and evangelist and through his words and deeds countless multitudes came to know the Lord.
Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children…” I do not believe this is speaking of wealth or real estate or even sentimental tokens, but of a spiritual legacy. Let that inheritance be the teaching and example of a godly grandparent; footsteps in which they may follow; a model of faith and faithfulness to look up to. May our godly testimonies be an encouragement to the generations that follow to come to know and love and serve the Lord as we do. What a glorious family reunion then someday in Heaven!
Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged…” I feel like Queen for the Day! So, Happy Birthday, Anastasia and Melissa! I am so very proud of you both, and I thank God that He made me your grandma! You are beautiful blessings to me and I love you!