Written by Sylvia Schroeder, blogger of When the House is Quiet
Balance. It’s a thing for older people.
I find myself stretching out a hand to steady myself more times per day than I’d like to admit.
My husband ordered those rubber grippers for the bottom of our tub, the kind old people use. They are not the designer look I’d been going for. It is not pretty in more ways than one.
Balance, as defined by Merriam Webster, is “the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling.”
There are medications, exercises, and classes just for the purpose of keeping us on two solid feet.
I have always been a bit of a klutz, but I find there is another kind of balance difficult to maintain which has little to do with my two feet.
In fact, balance has been an issue since the Garden of Eden when the entire physical creation was thrown into chaos by the spiritual decision to disobey God.
As a grandparent, I find when my spiritual balance is out of kilter, it messes up pretty much every layer of my life.
I started the Grandma journey relatively young. Life was still busy with full-time ministry, abundant obligations, and responsibilities. In fact, I still had a 10-year-old in my house.
Balancing all of it was tricky.
Now I find although my role has changed, equilibrium is still precarious. Spending the right energy, time, and means seem just far enough out of reach that I could easily lose balance altogether.
I am aware of the mandate to end well, to maintain the faith, and to be a godly example to my grandchildren.
I am also conscious of how many challenges there are to accomplish what God has called me to do.
Relationships with our children and their children take time and effort. Babysitting, both draining and filling, requires no small amount of recuperation.
Intentional grandparenting requires intention, and intention begs willpower.
An older Apostle Paul advised his younger disciple Timothy to “fan the flame or stir up the coals.” (2 Timothy 1:6) He reminded Timothy of those who had gone before him whose faith remained steadfast and sure.
Paul recalled Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, and confirmed the valid faith which dwelt within Timothy as well.
Could it be that Timothy needed a bit of spiritual prodding?
“For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…”
The year 2022 started with a snowstorm where we live. Electricity was out for five days. We are fortunate to have a fireplace and a wood-burning stove but keeping them fed and stoked took a lot of work.
Friends commented on how cozy we were on the posted picture of our lovely fire.
The reality was, yes, we were so grateful to have heat, but unless we hauled and prodded and poked and got up in the middle of the night to keep them going, the fires went out.
Whether a fire is new or old, it must be nurtured for it to keep a healthy and effective flame.
Don’t we all sometimes need a reminder of the roots of our faith and the continuing push to the end?
One of the dangers of Grandparenthood is relying more on our position and experience than on the Source of our faith.
We simply cannot sit on our spiritual laurels and expect to coast to the finish line.
Grandpas and Grandmas must continue nurturing spiritual growth or it stagnates. Spiritual effectiveness diminishes.
Balance is compromised and with it the wisdom we need to press on and pass down what is most valuable.
The most effective grandparenting gift is the intentional steadfast nurturing of our own faith.
“That I may know Him,” Paul said in Philippians 3:10.
Paul’s quest to know Jesus better, to be filled with His Spirit is the kind of goal which renews us in our Grandparent role. It brings balance to the complexities in this unique calling and renews purpose.
Jesus is the only one who has ever lived a perfectly balanced life. As a Grandparent, my study of Jesus brings balance.
God’s presence activates and refreshes me. Here are a few suggestions to help us:
- Do a study of older people in the Bible and their impact on a younger generation.
- List good and bad influences and attitudes found in your reading which passed from generation to generation.
- Find the prayers of the older apostles and discover what they prayed for.
- Look for ways the body of Christ in Scripture meets needs in younger members and seek ways you can practice those with your grandchildren.
- Look at what you are doing now to bring spiritual balance and growth and think of how you can encourage your grandchildren to adopt a similar practice.
As I continue to disciple myself through God’s Word, I find there is so much I don’t know. I discover within its pages stability I cannot find anywhere else.
Prayer builds faith and dependence, bringing balance to the cares of life.
The burdens which so unbalance us, placed in the capable hands of the Father, become precious treasures of testimony. Participation in the cooperative body of Christ helps steady our walk.
My husband’s father had old wood and leather bellows. It always fascinated me to see how it breathed oxygen into a fire.
The more I know of Jesus, the more His oxygen breathes into my soul and balance returns.
Editor’s Note: As we move into Spring with all the potential of new growth sprouting everywhere we look, may we look to our lives and see where new growth is needed. May God continue to guide and bless you as you seek to grow intentionally as a grandparent.
Sylvia is a published Christian author passionate about faith in Christ and how it shapes our grandparenting role. She also contributes to blogging sites such as Her View From Home, Flown and Grown, Just 18 Summers, The Glorious Table, and In The Quiver. Her own blog is WhentheHouseisQuiet.com.