Today, I received a notification that my daughter had updated her Facebook status. So of course, I clicked on it to see what she was up to. Normally, I find a Scripture that inspired her, a church announcement being circulated, snippets from their family life, or “memories.” This update was a little different. It was a sharing of her heart, and it included a photo – of my dad, who went home to be with the Lord six years ago.
That portrait of my dad was a priceless gift to me this morning. Seeing it brought back a flood of memories – family vacations, the water skiing “incident,” the burrs in my hair “fiasco,” hiding dishes in the oven because friends were coming over, and the many images of him with one of his grandbabies… or great-grandbabies.
As the memories swept over me, each one was a precious reminder of who my dad was and how he lived the life gifted to him. I was quickly reminded of his personal attributes (He was known for his trademark “wink” and could touch his tongue to his nose effortlessly!) and his character (He was faithful, hard-working, and full of love – for God and for his family.). He never, ever met a stranger. His heart was huge, and his stories, legend!
It was all there, in that single portrait – direction and encouragement! Through his life, dad modeled for us how to love our spouse, parent, grandparent, be a friend, show hospitality, and so much more.
Biblical Portrait of Grandparenthood
Portraits can be shared on social media, housed in family photo albums, or even found in the Bible.
The Bible is full of portraits for doing life according to God’s design. Just as that portrait of my dad held reminders of instruction, example, and wisdom in living for me, Bible portraits share the same with each of God’s children.
Just a few of the portraits we can find in the Bible are those of womanhood, marriage, friendship, church membership, and grandparenthood.
Yes, grandparenthood! God created it, and He designed it. It was His idea, and in the Bible, He clearly defines it for us.
Instruction, example, and wisdom in grandparenting can be found in the portrait.
Gleanings from the Portrait
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.Proverbs 13:22
[T]hat you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.
The Biblical Portrait of Grandparenthood instructs a grandparent concerning their role.
[W]ith all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.Ephesians 4:2-3
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—Deuteronomy 4:9
In the portrait we learn how a godly grandparent is to conduct themselves. And we also see how God wants to use us in the lives of our grandchildren.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.Deuteronomy 6:7
And So Much More
These verses give us just a glimpse of the portrait. There is so much more if we will simply take time to gaze upon it. Not on the portrait being painted for us by culture, but the one God gives us in Scripture.
Grandparents are searching. We want to do the job well – for the good of our grandchildren and the glory of God. But it can be difficult – sorting through the mixed messages, understanding the role, making wise decisions.
Where better to learn about the role as God designed it than in His Word?
It is for this reason that I have put together a new resource for grandparents. Biblical Portrait of Grandparenthood contains two powerful sections. The first, Examining Our Role in Light of Scripture, presents readers with a series of Scripture passages — each one on the topic of biblical grandparenting. Included with each Scripture passage is list of questions to help the grandparent reflect on their role and their effectiveness. There are also pages for journaling thoughts and reflections as one examines the portrait. The second section, Grandparenting with Wisdom, shares practical ways for grandparents to influence and impact the lives of their grandchildren. This section looks specifically at how our attitudes, words, and actions affect our grandparenting.
I invite you to gaze upon the portrait. Direction and encouragement for grandparenting are all right there – in the Biblical Portrait given to us by the Creator and Designer of all.