Compare Notes

Photo courtesy of Alvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Admit it, the world we live in doesn’t always make sense. A quick glance at the news reminds us that our country is undergoing a long season of trepidation and rebellion. Given the conflicting deluge of messages thrust upon us daily, it’s nearly impossible to know what to believe. Thankfully, there is one source of information we can rely upon for absolute truth: the Bible. Eternal wisdom flows from its pages.  

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God,
keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations
of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
Deuteronomy 7:9

We probably all have concerns for our grandchildren’s physical and spiritual well being. Having many decades of experience, we’re reminiscent of the Farmers Insurance ad tagline, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” Our perspectives and collective wisdom are vital for these young ones. That old cliche’ reminding us “it takes a village to raise a child” hits home here. Please, allow God to be at the center of it all. 

It is a blessing to have friends that share the same concerns for their grandchildren as I do for my grandson. We support one another with prayer, encouragement, and advice, much as mothers of young children do amongst themselves. Think of it as comparing notes with other people whose ultimate goal aligns with yours: to spend eternity with our grandchildren and other believers in heaven. Be sure to bring a notebook the next time you meet.

 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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The Blue Bike

God’s timing is perfect. We know that from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 which tells us there are seasons for every activity under heaven, including teaching a child how to ride a bike. From our perspective, it is a matter of patience, strategy, and persistence. I can attest to this.

My grandson is cautious by nature, more cautious than his friends I have come to know. He is also a bit of a perfectionist. It shows in his reluctance to participate in any activity publicly until he has at least mastered the basics. This is where the blue bike comes in. 

Two summers ago, I encouraged him to learn how to ride a bike. He dismissed any consideration of it, opting instead to try scootering. I agreed, figuring it would at least give him practice balancing on two wheels. Did I mention his hesitancy to get back up on wheels after a fall? Luckily, our neighbor’s son also had a scooter and did a better job of teaching the fine art of maintaining an upright stance while mobile. Having a friend also made it mandatory to get up and ride again, or look like a wimp.

For us, that scooter became a regular part of every neighborhood walk. The next step was to get him enthused about riding a bike. My expectation was that he would be gung-ho for a bicycle by the following summer. Wrong! He simply hopped on his scooter and scooted off.

The challenge was on. I launched into a full-out marketing campaign, touting all the benefits of bicycle riding: speed, his dislike for walking (too hard on his feet), bike riding with friends, and riding some of the popular trails in our neighborhood. Slowly, he began to express interest in bicycle riding, until he began asking for a bike. 

My husband and I spent an entire afternoon checking out potential bicycle shops. We wanted to get one that would be the perfect size and fit for our grandson, hopefully with the option of trading it in for an adult-size bike within the next few years. We found it: a 24-inch hybrid model in bright orange. Finally, we were ready to make the purchase. 

Because of restrictions due to COVID-19, only two people per family were allowed in the shop at one time. I opted to wait outside while my husband accompanied our grandson into the bike shop. About 20 minutes later, my grandson emerged from the shop sporting a huge grin and guiding a blue bike toward our car. I literally rubbed my eyes to be sure I was not going color blind. It turns out, this model is ideal for neighborhood streets, sidewalks, and paved trails. 

Within a half hour, our grandson was balancing his way down the street astride his new blue bike. By the end of the day, we were all riding our bikes around the neighborhood, greeting friends from a safe distance and thanking God for giving us patience and persistence to see our efforts come to fruition. It was a wonderful way to see how all things work according to God’s perfect timing, just like it says in Ecclesiastes.

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Home Alone – Not!

We’re getting a big dose of family time at home. Online meetings are nothing compared to the task of guiding children through distance learning classwork. As grandparents, my husband and I are deeply involved in the education process of a third grader. The word “alone” is not typically part of our routine. However, during the course of this new educational system, it is often preceded by the words “Leave me _ _ _ _ _.” 

Don’t get me wrong. I love having my family near. I’m just not used to having them so near so much of the time. Neither are they. We all want to get out to the coffee shops, department stores, and restaurants where we can mingle with other people. But, in the meantime, we are practicing our ability to view life from a grander, eternal perspective.

The Fruit of the Spirit, as presented in Galatians 5:22-23, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I keep working on these, sometimes more successfully than other times. I printed, framed, and set these verses in a place where I see them every day. It reminds me to give my best to the people I love most. 

There are times when I look at my grandson and consider how much he has grown since his first year of life. He has accomplished countless skills and abilities since the day he surprised himself by rolling over onto his tummy as an infant. Watching him concentrate to master new math and language skills, or finding the right bait to catch that big bass reminds me of the swift passage of time. Will his faith exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit as he reaches adulthood? Am I doing all I can to encourage that eventuality?

I view our concentrated time together as an opportunity as well as a challenge. Is my grandson learning how to live out the fruit of the Spirit? My chance to show him comes while we are not home alone. Thankfully, summer vacation brings new opportunities to grow our fruitfulness.

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