If you are a parent you probably think back to the way you were parented, whether positive or negative. You may think about the type of child you were, or the way your parents handled discipline, what games they played with you and so on. You probably also think about the ways you have changed upon becoming a parent, as well as the ways your parents have changed upon becoming grandparents.
Erin Wyble Newcomb, a guest writer for ChristianityToday.com, has written an article titled How Grandparenting Redeemed Our Family. Newcomb’s children are the only grandchildren in the family, and recently her parents moved to where she lives so they could be close to their grandchildren. She writes,
“My parents regularly help us with childcare, while we helped them after my father’s hip replacement surgery. Now my parents are the ones I turn to for advice about so many things, from diapers to discipline, because they, too, are invested in my children. They’re among the few people I can talk openly with about my hopes and fears for my kids.”
Newcomb states that she is surprised when she thinks about the way things have turned out. She used to be the odd one out in her family, but now she and her parents are able to relate and join together over her children, their grandchildren.
Parenting can be stressful, and oftentimes as the parent you end up focusing more on character shaping and discipline than the fun things that say grandparents get to focus on. Newcomb explains,
“Technically, my parents are the same people who raised me, but they’ve changed with the introduction of a new generation. They’re more relaxed, more smiley, more goofy. They’re freer and more fun because they’re not the ones raising the kids. They get to be more themselves, just as I get to be more myself. My parents weren’t bad parents when they were raising me, but by virtue of being on the frontlines of parenting, they were chronically stressed and often exasperated. How could I, as a child or teenager, have realized how often they were winging it? Faced with financial pressures, the weight of developing our characters, and maintaining their own relationships, it’s no wonder that I didn’t see my parents the way my children see them now.”
With a new generation comes new hope and fresh chances. Newcomb expresses, whatever baggage or regrets you have with your parents, there is hope for your children. As parents you have the opportunity to break generational curses and share your stories. Because like most parents, your parents probably didn’t do everything right, but if your parents are loving grandparents to your children you can appreciate them in a new way.
Whether you have loving parents who want to be active grandparents nearby or far away, or whether your parents aren’t in the picture there is hope for your family. The church redeems families through the only bloodline that matters, Christ’s. At church individuals and families can bond through intergenerational fellowship as sisters and brothers in Christ. Newcomb relays,
“None us have the perfect parents, and none of us are the perfect parents, but we share the same Father who redeems us all…”
There is hope for every family in Christ, and every family is in need of the Father’s grace.
“As I stand in the doorway of my parents’ house—not my childhood home, but the only one my girls will remember—I see the ways that grace transforms us. I’m observing an old game but hearing a new story. I’m the bridge between these generations. But what holds us all together are grace and hope, the redemptive work of God acting upon my family.”
To read Erin Wyble Newcomb’s article in full please visit ChristianityToday.com.
“It is imperative that we strive to cultivate relationships with the people God sovereignly ordains in our lives. And there is no one more important than your parents. God sovereignly, before the foundations of the earth, determined to place you in the family you were born in. He hand picked your parents and knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).”
For some this may be easy and enjoyable and for others it may be difficult and stressful, but there is one thing we need to remember as we strive to open doors for God’s grace and redemption to pour through:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
…And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-14,17
Publication date: June 20, 2016
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com.