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OPINION: Parenting with assurance, love, grace

by Annette Beard | June 21, 2022 at 9:55 a.m.

"I'll be right back!"

As I walked away from my 6-month-old granddaughter playing happily on a quilt on the floor and I uttered those words, I was struck with a sense of deja vu.

I had forgotten that I often said that to my children when they were small.

In addition to the visit from one of the newest granddaughters, recent visits from a 4-year-old granddaughter resulted in me saying that several times. We were playing in the living room and whenever I needed to leave the room, I'd say "I'll be right back."

She would play contentedly without following me unless I stayed away too long. Then, I'd hear the patter of her footsteps on the floor and that sweet little voice saying "MiMi, are you coming back?"

In Scripture, Jesus told His disciples (and us): "... I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you until myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2-3)

What a blessing it is to have that assurance.

It's been interesting keeping grandchildren and recalling the days of early parenting.

Years ago (nearly 40), I remember a preacher who married late in life telling me he always thought it would be good to be older and wiser when parenting. Then laughed, saying, young parents need energy! So true!

Wouldn't it be nice to have both?

But, maybe that's part of the design of extended families. If the young are teachable and willing, they can learn from the wisdom of the experienced elder generation. And, if the elder generation is humble, they can benefit from the energy of the younger.

When we're young, too often we don't recognize that we, too, will age and tire and become the people we see our grandparents as. In fact, in our youthful arrogance, we often think we'll be above that and do better and stay in shape and avoid the vagaries of aging.

It seems that every thing I judged (silently, internally criticized) I have since experienced.

It's intriguing that throughout every aspect of parenting, grandparenting, we can see God's hand and learn His ways if we have eyes to see and hearts and minds willing to know, to understand.

In whatever stage we're living, there are lessons to learn, for both us and the young. I'm glad my story, and that of my children and grandchildren, was written by a loving, holy Father who loves me more than I can imagine.

He will not leave me or you. He is coming back and He is with us always. His promises are sure:

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deut. 31:8


Editor's note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County, chosen the best small weekly newspaper in Arkansas. A native of Louisiana, she moved to northwest Arkansas in 1980 to work for the Benton County Daily Record. She has nine children, six sons-in-law, a daughter-in-law, two daughters-in-love, nine grandsons and six granddaughters. The opinions expressed are those of the author. She can be reached at [email protected]

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