At my grandparents’ house one summer day, I distinctly remember whispering to my little brother “do you think grandma and grandpa are rich? How do we know? Should we ask?” We’d whisper back and forth forming our plan to stealthily get an answer out of them.
Meanwhile, my eyes gazed at the small decorative glass shoes my grandma displayed on the ledge by the window in the living room. It had me imagining that yes, they were indeed rich. For the only other person I ever knew of with glass slippers was Cinderella. And she married a prince!
One day, after mustering up the courage to ask such a question, I ran up to my grandma and exclaimed earnestly, “Are you and grandpa rich?” – so much for “stealthily asking.” I vividly remember the smile that came across her face. “Ahh” she said. “Yes, Missy. We are rich.”
“Aha!” I said bursting with joy that my suspicions were correct (Disclaimer: In my 6-year-old head, glass shoes meant my grandparents must have had almost all the wealth in the world.)
But she followed up her answer quickly by saying “We are so very rich in the Lord, Missy!”
“What??!” I thought. I spent the rest of the day roaming around their house pondering her answer. What did it mean to be “rich in the Lord?” Why did grandma and grandpa always bring everything back to this “God guy” (ahem, again, six years old)? He seems to be involved in everything! And obviously the most pressing question in my brain was, how could grandma have glass slippers that look JUST like Cinderella’s and be rich in the Lord and not ‘rich’ with earthly wealth?”
As an adult, I’ve carried this story with me. We grandchildren chuckle at the many, many times my grandparents mentioned being “rich in the Lord.” At the time, my six-year-old self couldn’t comprehend what it meant to know God personally, or what this supposed “richness” meant. But what I was able to see was how much my grandparents loved God. They faithfully praised His name frequently. So much so, it bothered me sometimes because I couldn’t understand the “why”. In all things and in all circumstances, they gave God the glory. They were fierce protectors and prayer warriors for their grandchildren, praying daily for each of them from the day of their birth.
I understand more clearly now the significance of those words: “Rich in the Lord.” My grandparents love for the Lord and His love for them is very real and powerful. They have complete confidence in God’s goodness and faithfulness and it compels them to live their lives each day with unwavering belief that God’s promises are true and that He will be faithful to His word. Indeed, they are “rich in the Lord” and simply out of their love for me, this “richness” has spilled over into my life.
Copyright © 2021 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.
Top image: glass slipper ornament, from Bigstock.com, © martinphotography. stock image ID: 6390056
Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club is a program of the Sword of the Spirit. This program was founded in 2016 by Mike Shaughnessy as a resource to equip grandparents to share their faith with their grandchildren. Grandly teaches grandparents to “Think, Pray, and Act Strategically” in the lives of their grandkids. It recognizes that grandparents occupy a special role in the lives of their grandchildren, and if properly trained, can make an outsized impact on their spiritual lives.
As a youth minister, Mike knew the difference grandparents could make in the lives of their grandchildren. He wondered if it could happen more often. It wasn’t that they lacked the faith. What they lacked was a strategy. If grandparents learned how to think, pray, and act strategically, the way youth workers did, something marvelous would happen. It has. Strategic grandparents have become missionaries to their own grandchildren.
We equip grandparents to be “youth workers” to their own grandchildren. When we ask grandparents, “What is your biggest concern?” Most answer “our grandchildren,” not their retirement or the next vacation. Many see that their grandchildren are not getting the spiritual and moral formation they need, and feel equally unable to address that need. We currently equip grandparents to be youth workers through two venues: our website (grandly.org) and our “Do It Grandly” Seminars.
Our website reaches a network of grandparents who are interested in learning how to think, pray, and act strategically. We publish bi-weekly online articles that provide encouragement, motivation, and practical tools on how to pass on their faith to grandchildren. Through our “Do It Grandly” seminars, we help grandparents to grow in their relational skills while providing insight into contemporary youth culture, giving them valuable tools for building impactful, Christ-centered relationships with their grandchildren. These seminars provide a way for Sword of the Spirit grandparents to re-enter internal (their own grandchildren) and external (their own peers) mission
For access to inspirational articles, sign up for a free membership at www.grandly.org.
Melissa (Missy) Giles, one of 13 grandchildren, is a talented photographer, and lives in Minnesota.