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Posts Tagged ‘grandparents’

One of our grandchildren recently stayed with us for the first time alone without his parents or siblings.  As I was packing his bag for the return to his own home, this three-year-old looked at me and said, “I want to stay.”  Those are words that warm a grandmother’s heart.

But why did he want to stay?  Was it because everything he did was fun?  Was it because he received my complete and undivided attention?

And why, after he left, did I wander through the house in such a melancholy mood?    

I began to question myself as a grandmother.  Had I given my grandson enough of my attention?  Did I play with him enough?  Did I do all the things he wanted to do?

No, I had not.  In struggling with this, my thoughts were turned to my own childhood and memories of overnight stays with my grandparents.  What do I remember most about those visits?  Why were they so special?  Did my grandmothers sit down and read to me every time I asked?  Did they get on the floor with me to play games?  Did they take me to the park or give me ice cream when I asked?  No.  Those things are not etched in my memory. 

When staying a week with my grandfather and grandmother who lived in another town, I often entertained myself.  I created my own “house,” prepared meals in my own “kitchen,” took care of my baby dolls, played dress-up; in other words, I did all the things I watched my grandmother doing.  I wasn’t getting all her attention, but I was in her presence.  I was near enough to hear her, watch her, imitate her.  I remember going with her to the garden where she picked the lettuce for the salad she made for my lunch.  She was working, and I was in her presence… either attempting to pick leaves of lettuce, too, or content that she was caring for my needs while I ran around the yard chasing butterflies.  

I spent even more time with the grandparents who lived only a mile from me.  I do not remember my grandma sitting down to play with me or taking me to the park.  What I remember is how she talked with me while she baked bread or cookies and how she invited me to help by asking me to set the table.  I listened to her speak with kindness as I watched her labor with her hands.  I remember that she was never idle.  When she wasn’t attending to the affairs of her household, she was volunteering at church, singing in the choir, or nurturing relationships by opening her home to family and friends.  At the end of a long day, my grandma settled into her chair and took up her crocheting.  She was making someone a birthday present or perhaps a blanket for a new baby.  Grandma wasn’t ignoring me.  She was mentoring me.  She was welcoming me into her life and teaching me how to do the things she did, most of them for others.

In my grandma’s presence, I felt respected and somehow older than I really was.  I knew she cared enough to have me in her home and help me discern right from wrong.  Whether I was in the same room with her or in another room pretending to be a grown up like her, I was blessed being in her presence.  In this way, my grandma was focused on me.  She was preparing me to be an adult. 

These memories are a great comfort as I think about my grandson’s visit.  I remember him swiffing the floor while I prepared dinner, planting a pretend field of corn with his John Deere tractor while I finished writing a letter to a friend, and building a fort while I organized last minute details for a community “Life Fair.”  I wasn’t on the floor with him, but we shared a companionship in our “work.”  These activities of our day made into good bedtime stories before praying that God would give us restful sleep and the promise of new morning.

Why was I in a melancholy mood after my grandson’s departure?  The house was empty of his presence.

And when my grandson said, “I want to stay,” I think he was telling me that being in my presence mattered to him, too.

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teenagersI will never forget the mom and professional church worker who told me she hoped her sons and daughters would practice safe sex.   We were serving together on a life task force and, during lunch break, she confided, “I raised them to be chaste . . . I want them to wait for marriage.  But, once they started college, I encouraged them to use protection because, after all, they’re sexual, too, and I’m scared to death they’re going to be like everyone else.”

I remember the grandma who toured our local pregnancy center.  She thought the best thing parents could do for their daughters was to get them on The Pill so they wouldn’t need a pregnancy test.

Then there was the single father who raised his daughter to believe in Jesus, but made sure she had the Gardasil shot and was using birth control.  “I know what I was like at her age and I know she’s just going to sleep around so I have to look out for her.”

And there was the pastor who told me that he’s taken some girls from his congregation for abortions because “their parents wouldn’t be supportive of an unplanned pregnancy.”  These girls are “just going to do it,” he explained.  “They can’t help it . . . so I need to be there for them.”

Can’t help it?  What does this say about the way adults view children?

Children are sinful human beings born into a love-to-sin-world.  Do we say, “My child is a sinner.  It’s just who he is, so I’m going to help him lie, cheat, and steal with the least amount of damage.”  Is this how God sees children?  Is this how He helps them?

When we don’t see children the way God does, then our mentoring role in their lives is compromised.

Yes, children are sinful… just like their parents and grandparents.  But baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God sees us as His adopted sons and daughters in Christ.  Jesus won for God’s children the privilege of becoming heirs of the heavenly kingdom.  This not only bestows value but defines purpose.

Identity matters!  Our sons and daughters are not “sexual from birth” as Planned Parenthood sees them.  They are not captive to instincts and desires.  They are persons created more in the image of God than the image of wolves and rabbits.     To see children as God does is to realize they are more than flesh and blood but spirit and, because they are spirit, every choice they make will take them either closer to — or farther from — God.

It is the children who suffer when we fail to see them as God does.  Expectations for their purpose and behavior are lowered.  Their future appears grim.

Identity matters.  And, because it does, my grandchildren need me to remind them of what happened at the baptismal font.  Their baptism “is an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him” (1 Peter 3:21-22).  I can literally tell my grandchildren that their Lord and Savior rules!  This means that someday, when they are teenagers, they won’t have to be subject to raging hormones or made foolish by lack of judgment.  In remembering who they are, they will know the source of their wisdom and strength.  This will affect their choices and behavior.  But that’s not all.

When boys and girls see themselves the way God does, the way they view each other will improve.   Relationships will take on new meaning.  Think about it.  If boys see themselves in light of their baptism as sons of God and girls see themselves as daughters of God, then all baptized people become brothers and sisters in Christ.

Can you imagine?  I mean, really!   Can you imagine the impact this would have on high school and college campuses… at the beach… in the workplace… around the neighborhood… and for society as a whole?

I can.  And it renews my hope.

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I’m a tolerant person.  Tolerant of people, but not of the wrong things people do.

I have no tolerance for socially experimenting with children, stripping away their innocence, and setting them up for a fall.  I see the mission of pro-sodomy groups who know they can’t have their own children so absolutely must recruit other people’s children.  I’ve studied more than I ever wanted to know about Margaret Sanger, Alfred Kinsey, Planned Parenthood (PP), and SIECUS.  I am convinced: evil does exist.

What else should we call PP’s Northwest Region’s promotion of “Where Did You Wear It?”

The Daily Caller is reporting that, as part of National Condom Week, the nation’s largest abortion factory is selling and distributing 55,000 condoms with QR codes that allow users to “check in” and plot their GPS location on the interactive PP “Where Did You Wear It? map.

The PP site asks users: “Did you use a condom to protect yourself against unwanted pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases?”  Once answered, PP offers up encouragement like “You Go tiger!” and “Safe sex should be shared.”  Users can then anonymously brag about intimate details of their allegedly safer sex experience.

PP asks users to describe the experience by choosing from PP-suggested phrases like “Ah-maz-ing,” “rainbows exploded . . . ,” (ezerwoman chooses wisely not to give more examples).  Finally, users are asked to answer the question, “Where did you wear it?” and then encouraged to share their entire experience with the world through direct links to Facebook and Twitter.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America calls this “the most despicable mockery of love, marriage and the private relationship between a man and a woman” that she’s ever seen.  Even worse, “our tax-dollars are actually funding this organization that so brazenly undermines our values.”

Yes.  Evil does exist.  And evil has no desire for a generation of hope.

This Sunday, March 4, my fifth grandchild is going to be baptized.  Kate joins a big brother, Max, and three big boy cousins, Jaden, Ethan, and Andrew.  These young lives are proof that hope exists.  You can be sure that I will stay in this battle between good and evil for their sake… and for as long as I have breath.  I will talk to my grandchildren about patient love.  Friendship and trust.  Courtship and marriage.  I will guard the gate of their modesty.  I will encourage them to bring glory to God rather than to themselves as males and female.  I will always remind them that they are on a journey to an eternal destination.  And… I promise to help them journey well by warning of deception and teaching the truth.

George Orwell said, “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

The revolution for a new generation begins with each parent.  Grandparent.  Resisters of evil – all!

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Titus was a young pastor who served his people on the island of Crete.  Young Titus and his congregation found themselves in the midst of a pagan culture.  “One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12).

How could Titus and the men and women of his congregation not only remain faithful to God in the midst of evil, but affect the culture?  Shine light?  Share hope?  Titus was in need of a model, something that his people could use in the midst of selfishness, unhealthy lifestyles, and false teachers.

St. Paul warned Titus away from the worldly influence, but also was inspired to give him a model for mentoring generations of hope.  That model is found in Titus 2:1-8.  That model — indeed, the wholeness of the Gospel — brings salvation and leads to self-controlled living.

Titus 2, however, is one of the least popular chapters of Scripture.  It is not particularly favored by Christian women.  There are at least three reasons.  Most obvious is the fact that Titus 2 speaks to men and women separately… because we were created equal, but not the same.   Painfully obvious is the part about women “submitting” to their husbands.  (Ouch.)  But, a third reason that Titus 2 may be dismissed or ignored is that older women are instructed by God to mentor younger women.  Oh my!  How is an older woman — who has not made right choices; who has had an abortion or lived with a man not her husband; who has been abused, or become addicted, or suffers depression — going to mentor a younger woman?

This weekend, at a Titus 2 Retreat, we’ll be talking about why an older woman (in age, experience, or spiritual maturity) might feel too intimidated to mentor.

I’ve heard older women say, “I can’t mentor!”  But, every one of us mentors… at any given moment… whether we realize it or not.  We are mentoring some kind of faith, lifestyle, or way of thinking.  We are being an example… of something.

There is a reason God calls an older woman to mentor the younger.

Let’s push aside all of her past circumstances, sins, fears, and failures.  If she is a new person in Christ, she is forgiven and set free to live in a way that glorifies God.  In 1 Timothy 5:9-14, we read that the Church was to distinguish older widows from younger widows.  The older woman is distinguished by her “faithfulness” and “reputation for good works.”  She is distinguished if she has “been the wife of one husband, brought up her children, shown hospitality, washed the feet (served) the saints, cared for the afflicted, and devoted herself to every good work.”

The younger widow, however, is different.  She is more easily drawn away from Christ by her romantic passions (v. 11).  She may be more easily tempted away from the “faith” (Greek: “oath” or “solemn promise”) if she had promised not to remarry, or to abide by the Christian faith and teaching.  The young widow (v. 13) without a father, husband, children, or a job might be prone to social problems such as being idle, falling to gossip and the behavior of a busybody, or losing control of her tongue.  The Church was to encourage young widows to “marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary (Satan) no occasion for slander” (v. 14).

In what way would the young widow, perhaps more easily influenced by the world, be helped?  By the mentoring of an older, experienced, spiritually mature woman.  A woman who had also been wrongly influenced, but was brought out of darkness into light.   Who was rescued from the mess of life and covered by Jesus’ robe of righteousness.  The older woman is not distinguished because she is sinless, but because she has learned to trust God.  Not be deceived by silly myths.  Have faith in God’s created order.  And keep her eyes on the Cross of Jesus Christ.

An older woman does not need to fear being a mentor.  Her very experience — from floundering and failing to recognition of her identity as a treasure of Christ — makes her an instrument in God’s hand.  Using God’s Word, she becomes an example of humility.  Service.  Patience.  Self-control.  Hope.

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A woman who faces the reality of her abortion is in need of someone else whom God has named.  That person is you.  It is me.  We are her friends.  Comforters.  Encouragers.  We are imitators of the Good Shepherd who walks beside the heavy-hearted through a dark valley toward “goodness and mercy.”  A mother who mourns the loss of her child needs a Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18).

You and I must take care not to soften the seriousness of sin.  This devalues the magnitude of God’s forgiveness, bought and paid for by the sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ.  At the center of our forgiveness stands the Cross of Christ.  Forgiveness is costly.  Our forgiveness cost the innocent Son of God His life.  There is no forgiveness without blood being shed, without paying a price, without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  But, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, sin cannot defeat us.

Peter, a follower of Jesus, sinned greatly, but he confessed his sin and received God’s forgiveness.  Through Jesus’ forgiveness the Holy Spirit enabled Peter to live a changed life.  That same power of the Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to change our lives — to enable us to live lives that reflect God’s love for us and withstand the temptation of Satan, the world, and our sinful flesh.

You and I can love and accept people burdened by their sin, but only God, in Christ, can heal them.  A woman who’s suffered an abortion may believe that God has forgiven her, but has difficulty forgiving herself.  Jesus is the key that opens the door and sets all sinners free.  What was the process for David in Psalm 51?  David was sorry for his sin, confessed that sin, turned from that sin, received God’s forgiveness, and was restored from sin.  Then he rejoiced over God’s healing touch of forgiveness and was eager to witness to others of God’s great forgiveness.  You and I can assure those who grieve that the memory of their aborted child will remain with them, but,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Word of Hope is a ministry of hope and healing after abortion.  I have volunteered with this ministry for many years.  We know that God has called each child by name.  We grieve their loss, but entrust them to God.  We also know that He has called every mother, father, grandparent, and care-giving friend by name.  May we encourage all in a manner that honors the One who named us.

If you would like to talk with Grace Kern at Word of Hope,
please call (888) 217-8679 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (888) 217-8679      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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Some say, “How could a woman end the life of her child?”  This statement is not intended to be cruel, but it is heard as a  judgment.

Others, hoping to be less judgmental, say, “I would never have have an abortion myself, but I believe every woman should have the right to choose.”  This statement sounds compassionate, but to the woman who has had the abortion, it sounds like a comparison: “Abortion is wrong and because I am a good person I wouldn’t do such a terrible thing, but women not capable of doing the right thing should have a choice.”

Both statements are condeming.  Neither offer hope before or after an abortion.

There is a third response.  Trying to imitate Jesus.  Jesus understands why people like you and me sin.  He came to live among us —  to feel our frustration, fears, and sorrow.  He placed Himself in the midst of a messy world.  Jesus loved us so much that He willingly took on our disgrace, our burden, our sin.  Only by living under His Cross am I able to see those hurt by sin (including my own) in a new way.

Days on which we celebrate life are meant to be happy days, but for many they are not.  In the heart of nearly every post-abortive woman is an empty place that is forever expectant and waitiing.  Although she may have believed the lie that there was no room, a cry of sorrow echoes in the room that was always there… waiting.

We cannot go back to erase years of legalized abortion nor the effect on women, men, children, and society.  Mothers who once believed there was no room in their life for a baby now mourn the child whose heart beat so close under their own.  Fathers who once believed there was no room in their life for a baby are now angry at themselves for failing to protect their son or daugher.  Grandparents who once believed there was no room in their lives for a baby now dream of grandchildren that would have filled the rooms of their homes with laughter.

Sometimes, when I am holding my grandsons, my thoughts turn to Mary.  She approached me after I was finished speaking to a group of women.  She asked for my address and phone number.  In the letters and conversations that followed, she confessed two abortions.  “There has been so much pain in my heart,” Mary wrote.  “I could understand how God could forgive a murderer, but not someone who has killed their own child.”

This pain and the belief that she had committed the sin “too big to be forgiven” held Mary captive.  But, “the reason I want to tell you my story,” Mary continued, “is to thank you.  If, years earlier, I had heard the words of compassion and forgiveness that I heard from you, I would not have had a second abortion.  I would have been reconciled to God and turned my life around a lot earlier instead of wallowing in the muck of sin and accusation.”

“Marys” are everywhere… and they are waiting.  They are silently waiting for a word of hope.  Their broken hearts long to be healed.  God has given to me — to you — His Word to speak in love.  To be sure, the Word of Truth presses hard on the source of pain.  The psalmist (Psalm 32:3-5) writes:

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

There is hope for women and men who have been pierced by abortion’s blade.  It is Jesus.  In Jesus, all who confess their sin are cleansed and forgiven (1 Timothy 1:15).  In Jesus, the captive is set free (Galatians 5:1).

(The thoughts of this post are available in a
brochure form upon request from Word of Hope or LFL.)

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Yesterday was not a day of celebration for those wounded by abortion.  Mother’s Day is a difficult day for the women who have an abortion in their past, for men unable to save a child from abortion, and for grandparents.  Mother’s Day, for many people, is a reminder of lost lives and denied relationships.

Abortion continues to be a heated debate in this country, but for millions of American women and for the men, grandparents, siblings, and friends in the lives of those women, abortion is  not a debate — it is a loss.  It is the loss of a son, a daughter, a grandchild.  That’s because motherhood and fatherhood — yes, grandparenthood, too — begin at conception.

Many of us know someone who has lost a child through miscarriage.  We grieve with them, offer the peace of Christ, and entrust their precious little one to God.  But abortion is a secret pain.  It is a dagger of guilt.  It is a loss that is carried deep inside and alone.

The great loss of life should pierce the heart of every one of us.  The numbers are staggering.  More than 3,000 women have an abortion every day.  These women are in our families, congregations, and circles of friends.  They are Christians who worship with us and go to Bible study with us.  I know some of these women.  At least 25 of my friends, relatives, or acquaintances have had abortions.  Seventeen of them are Lutheran.  Three are the wives of Lutheran pastors.  At least three have had more than one abortion.

Abortion has created a new mission field for the church.  There is a need to enter this mission field — but first, we must understand that we will almost certainly encounter denial, anger, self-hatred, distrust, grief, remorse, and the nature, but perhaps deeply buried, desire for reconciliation with the Giver of Life.

For those in denial, I pray my message can gently convict.  For those already convicted, I pray my message will offer hope and my behavior be welcoming.  I pray my arms remain open with the merciful love of Jesus who reconciles us all with God.

When I became a grandmother for the first time, I realized that holding my grandson was surprisingly different from holding my own two sons.  Each gaze upon the child of my child is a generational moment.  The room of my heart excitedly received my first grandchild.  The room of my life rearranged itself.

Often, when holding my first… then second, third, and fourth grandsons, I think of the thousands of other women of my generation whose arms will never hold a grandchild.  Their arms will never hold the child of their child.  That’s because when finding themselves “with child,” these women believed the lie: “make this one sacrifice and choose a better time to be a mother.”  Although the room of their hearts may have whispered a word of welcome, the room of their lives did not.

Because these women either did not hear or did not trust God’s promise, the world captured their every thought and desire.  Tossed in a tumultuous sea, these women reached toward “salvation” in the guise of a “quick and painless” abortion.

But the degrading act goes against all that is maternal and natural.  Sent away from the abortion clinic, women are abandoned to burdens of guilt, grief, and anger that threaten to pull them into cold and lonely darkness, away from the Giver of Life.

So, how do you and I respond?  Please read on to my next post . . .

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