Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grandparenting Through Obstacles

Ada: My guests today are Dianne E. Butts and Renee Gray-Wilburn, co-authors of the book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles. Grandpa and Grandma need wisdom for this phase of life, just as they needed it in parenting. This book helps us understand what to do with the challenges we face as grandparents.  

Grandparenting Through Obstacles is Available Now:

Or by request at your favorite bookstore.

About the Authors:

Dianne E. Butts is a freelance writer, author, and screenwriter. Her latest book, Deliver Me, for those in an unplanned pregnancy or with one in their past, is a Christian Small Publishers Association “Book of the Year” award winner and inspired her first short film: http://bit.ly/TheChoiceFilm. She has over 300 articles published in Christian magazines and web sites, and has contributed to nineteen books. She writes frequently for www.FindingGodDaily.comwww.TheChristianPulse.com, and www.ThinkingAboutSuicide.com. Her first book, Dear America, is now available on Kindle. She enjoys riding motorcycles with her husband, Hal, and gardening with her cat, PC. They live in Colorado.

Renee Gray-Wilburn is the author of nearly 200 published pieces, including dozens of magazine articles, two children’s books (Volcanoes and Earthquakes, Capstone Press), contributions to several compilation books, including the Cup of Comfort series and Life Savors for Women, and over a dozen children’s curriculum books. Renee has a passion for instilling biblical truths into the hearts of children and loves helping others through her writing to do the same. She makes her home in Colorado Springs with her husband, Derrick, and their three children, Conner, Cayla, and Chandler.

1.      How many grandchildren do you have among you and what is the range of their ages?
RENEE: Dianne and I are not grandparents, that’s why we called in the experts to help us write our book—real grandparents (20 in all) from around the country who have been through some real-life challenges in trying to impart their faith to their grandkids.

DIANNE: The way I see it, being a writer is being a servant. We not only serve the needs of our readers, but we help others share their stories. Many of the twenty true stories in our book were contributed by writers, but some people needed help getting their story written. And all of the contributors needed someone to conceive of, head up the project and pull it together. That’s what Renee and I did. We also added a lot at the end of each chapter, including Points to Ponder, Steps to Take, Scriptures to Study, and One Way to Pray. All the applications we added at the end of the chapters are related to topics inspired by the story. Renee and I each have a passion for seeing individuals know Jesus as Christ, so it’s a natural fit, even though we’re not grandparents ourselves. So that’s how we wrote a grandparenting book even though neither one of us is a grandparent.
2.      How do grandparents wisely show their love and the importance of living for Jesus?
Dianne: I think in every story in the book readers will see first and foremost the grandparent living their lives with Jesus being of prime importance to them. After that, it’s natural to want to share with others what is most important to you, so wanting to share Christ with the people we love is showing them love. The inspiring part comes in the how-to’s! Just how do we show the importance of living for Jesus? Well the answers to that in this book are very creative. We have grandparents who designed Christian “camp” experiences for their grandkids. The grandkids come to their house for a week or weekend in the summer and they have their own Christian camp with activities and crafts and games and Bible study, of course. We have grannies who got web cams and learned how to Skype so they could be part of their long-distance grandkids’ lives. We have families who do missions trips and others who take the grandkids on vacation to Christian destinations, such as a creation museum. There are as many ways to wisely show love and the importance of living for Jesus as there are grandparents!

3.      Do we need to pray circles around their every activity, or is it sufficient to just ask God to bless them?
RENEE: Personally, I believe in praying specifically, using God’s Word when we pray. Our faith is based on His Word, and He tells us in Isaiah that His Word will never return to Him void. The way it returns to Him is through our prayers. The more specific we can get, the more we can target our faith and have confidence in our prayers. There is a certain place for speaking blessings over your children and grandchildren, but that’s a different scenario than praying for them for specific activities, relationships, their walk with God, and so forth.
4.      Do you advise praying for their friends, their enemies, their teachers, those in the media who influence them? How and why? Do you worry about undermining what parents and teachers say that is at odds with faith?
DIANNE: Of course we should pray over all those things. I love Francine Duckworth’s story “G & G Retreat” because Francine brought her granddaughter into her home for a whole summer and they did a spiritual retreat for just the two of them. While the granddaughter was allowed to go out with friends for fun like shopping or movies, Francine demanded equal time. If the granddaughter went to the movies, Francine got the same amount of time with her for discipleship training. Francine was concerned with competing with the world and its alluring pleasures. Her granddaughter is grown now and Francine has seen the fruit of that retreat in her life.
            As for undermining parents, Part 4 in the book is all about “Partnering with Parents.” The stories in this section talk about learning how to work with the parents without stepping over that hazy boundary of going too far. It’s a difficult walk, and no one does it perfectly. But these grandparents have learned from their successes as well as their mistakes, and they share what they’ve learned.

5.      Do you pray for the person they are dating, or will marry? Have you seen results of your prayers? Be as specific as you can.
RENEE: I currently pray for the future spouses of my children. They are 15, 11, and 7 years old. None of them are dating yet! But if they were, I’d be praying even harder! This is an absolute. Eventually they will want to settle down with one person for all of eternity—I better get God involved in helping them make the choice of who that person will be and making sure that is His will for them.
6.      How does a grandparent approach spiritual matters with a grandchild, especially when they don’t see one another often? What do you do when parents object?
DIANNE: Part 2 of the book deals with long-distance relationships and shows how these grandparents are finding creative ways to bridge the gaps. From Skyping to traveling great distances to sending books with a Christian world view, these grandparents are finding ways to make it work.
            Part 1 of the book (there are four Parts with five stories in each Part), is all about “The Challenge of Parents Not Walking With God.” Our first story hits the nail on the head for your question. When the parents and grandkids came to visit Marilyn for a rare visit from a foreign country, the kids’ mother had an angry outburst and threatened never to visit again when Marilyn answered the children’s questions about God. Marilyn humbled herself and apologized. (Not the reaction I probably would have had!) That one act (and much prayer) opened doors for her gain permission to talk to the children about God. After the family returned to their home in the foreign country, God arranged for the nanny they hired to be a Christian and have an influence on the children.
            With prayer and God involved, those parents who object to the children knowing Him don’t stand a chance! <smiling>

7.      Do you worry about conditions in the world, our nation, and even families that could drastically affect your grandchildren? What is the best way to cover grandchildren in prayer when they are going in a landmine of spiritual battles every day?
RENEE: I don’t know if worry is a good word, because I have more faith in God’s ability to take care of them than I do in them getting pulled in the wrong direction. I also pray God’s armor of protection over them, as well as Psalm 91, and I have taught them how to do the same. Along with praying for them, I think it’s vital to be able to teach kids how to pray on their own. You won’t always be with them or even know what is going on in their lives. I was so blessed to hear a report of how my two youngest prayed for me, my husband, and their brother during the fire here in Colorado Springs. They were at a friend’s house across town, and the rest of my family was literally fleeing our neighborhood ahead of approaching flames. They were worried about us, but they started praying together, using Scripture, and having faith that God would take care of us.