“As a grandparent, the extent of my leadership is a matter of the amount of my relational equity and influence in my children’s lives.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 11, 2021
by Guest Writer Bill Ibsen
For this cause a man shall LEAVE his father and his mother, and shall CLEAVE to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
My very good friend Bill Ibsen and I have followed Jesus together for over 16 years. We have been in an intimate community group with our wives for 11 years and traveled to Israel and India with our 16-year-old daughters. In addition, we have enjoyed a book club studying classics over the past 7 years. I love and admire Bill for his love for the Lord and his family. For the next five Fridays, Wisdom Hunters is blessed to share Bill’s wisdom on grandparenting as he and Alison enjoy the company of five grandbabies! Here is the first of five devotionals on grandparenting:
Loving grandchildren well starts by loving their parents well!
Recognize and Embrace Your Adult Child’s New Family
My children are adults now and have left my home and formed their own family unit. They are a new family in God’s eyes, and are now under His sole authority. The husband leaves the authority of his childhood family and is under the authority of God the Father. He also becomes the new head of his wife; therefore, the wife is no longer under her parent’s authority. So also goes a new family unit – it’s under completely new management. Therefore, my married children, their spouses, and their children (my grandkids) are no longer under my or my spouses’ authority or control to any degree. I must respect this God-designed new authority structure, because it represents the wisdom of God rather than the wisdom of the world.
Lead by Influence
Whatever family leadership we as grandparents (or childhood parents) may show, we can only show it by virtue of our influence, not by our position. The extent of my leadership is a matter of the amount of my relational equity and influence in my children’s lives. I’m the head of my immediate family (now just my wife and I), but not theirs, so actually, I hold no authority position anymore, anyway. My influence is earned – and this influence can just as easily be unearned by my poor performance as my children and their spouses (not me) assess my performance.
Love Family as Brothers and Sisters in Christ
It’s best that I view my kids and in-law “kids” as I would anyone, I would view any disciple: I don’t tell them what they should do or how they should think. That’s part of them maturing. On occasion, I may gently, carefully guide by influence (and NEVER manipulation, which is a passive form of trying to control them). I’ve trained my children to be self-sufficient, responsible adults and have entrusted them to our mutual Father’s care. I must now honor that transition. And they will make mistakes, just as we have! That’s all part of the learning/growing/maturing process. Like disciples, my kids owe me nothing. Scripture commands them to honor their parents, but like Scriptures commanding love or respect from a spouse, I’m in error to demand these things from them. In any case, I have a responsibility to love them and represent Jesus well to them, regardless of their treatment of me.
Heavenly Father, show me how to love well the parents of my grandchildren, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
What style of parenting from my children do I need to embrace and not try to change?
Hillsong Young and Free: Lord Send Revival
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