A Marmee's Prayer

Has there ever been such a delightful event as spending time with one’s grandchildren? 

Grandchildren are your family’s hope that tomorrow will matter indeed … that giggles and good-night prayers and little arms around your neck have not ended …  and that if you have done nothing else right in your life at all that you can still bask in the love of a new generation.

I spent nearly 2 weeks with my grandchildren over the Christmas holidays.  Now … let me tell you … grandchildren are something to celebrate!

Have I mentioned that they are beautiful … and brilliant … and well behaved … and charming?  Forgive me for not having said that earlier!!

Craig and I have 7 grandchildren who have stolen our hearts in a unique and unforgettable manner.  I am simply undone in their presence … I love each one so completely and yet so individually. 

How did it ever happen that I would fall head over heals in love with little people once again?  How did I get chosen to be their “Marmee”?!

I love the messes that they make … the loud demands for just one more book before bedtime … their unending chatter … and the busyness that never ceases whenever even one of them is around.

Olivia.

Ian.

Wesley.

Amelia.

Boyce.

Elizabeth Joy.

Jack.

Have I mentioned that they are creative … and curious … and obedient … and darling?!

My heart aches as I realize that they are growing up and that I am not with them as they patter through the hallways of childhood.

My heart aches indeed.

Three of our grandchildren spent the week of Christmas at our home and what joy that was!  Oh yes … their parents and aunts and uncles were there, too.  Sorry.  I forgot to mention the adults in attendance.

And then, Craig and I spent last week in Houston, Texas, with our oldest son, Matthew, his wife Emily, and their brood of four precocious, energetic and sparkling children.

One rainy Texas afternoon, we had spent too much time in the van and the children were ready to be at home, eating dinner and free from the confines of car seats and seat belts.  To make the journey a little more enjoyable for everyone in the car, I began to ask questions.

“Boyce … what is your favorite color?”

“Bwoo!” was his three-year-old answer spoken at a level that would break the sound barrier.

“Wesley … what is your favorite sport?”

“Basketball because my dad is a coach,” from the 6-year-old chip off the old block.

“Olivia … what is your favorite book to read?”

“The Magic Tree House books, Pollyanna and all of the American Girl doll books,” was the answer that quickly came out of the mouth of the resident scholar.

Elizabeth Joy, at 15 months old, was too young to play the question game so she just listened with her blue eyes as round as saucers and her pacifier in her rosebud mouth.

The Marmee game continued …

“Boyce … what is your favorite TV show?”

“Wonder Pets!”

“Wesley … what is your favorite thing to eat?”

“Yogurt!”

“Olivia … who is your favorite American Girl doll?”

"I’d have to say Samantha, Kirsten and Caroline,” was her compassionate reply.  After all, she didn’t want to hurt any of her dolls’ feelings.

And then, Olivia, the oldest at a very mature seven years old, decided that she wanted to ask me a question.

I twisted around in my seat so that I could look into her serious blue eyes.

“Marmee … what is your greatest fear in life?”

What?!!  How did we get from Wonder Pets and basketball and yogurt to my greatest fear in life?!  Connect those dots for me, if you will!

(I hate to say, “I told you so” … but they are brilliant, right?!”)

I took a grandmotherly gulp before I answered, knowing that Olivia was mining for gold in the life of someone whom she esteemed greatly.

“My greatest fear in life is that I would not accomplish the plans and purposes of God for my life,” I said as I reached toward the backseat for her dear hand.  “My greatest fear is that I will go to heaven and not have walked in my destiny in Christ.”

She got it.  She understood.  She cautiously smiled at me and then slowly nodded her blonde head.

Oh!  How I wanted this carload of future dreamers and doers to understand that there are greater things in life to be feared than spiders, the dark and fictional monsters.

Oh! How I desired Olivia, the mini-me, to understand that to whom much has been given much will also be required.

Oh! How I want all seven McLeod grandchildren to know that God has a plan that is to be embraced and not to be ignored!

Oh! How I want my grandchildren to experience the great joy that is found in hearing God’s voice and in following His plan with reckless and enthusiastic abandon. 

Oh! How I long for this new generation of potential and untapped energy to ponder, in childlike wonder, the calling of God on an ordinary person’s life.

Oh!  How I deeply ache to pass down the call to greatness that comes only from a loving Father.

And so this January day, I pray for the seven little people with the last name, “McLeod”.

I pray that hell will grow smaller and that heaven will grow bigger because of their extraordinary, ordinary lives.

I pray that all of the demons in hell will shudder in fear that yet another generation with McLeod DNA in their bones has arrived on planet earth.

I pray that this world will be richer simply because Olivia, Ian, Wesley, Amelia, Boyce, Elizabeth Joy and Jack McLeod are in it.

I pray for the leadership of Moses … for the courage of Esther …  for the worship of David … for the justice of Deborah … for the excellence of Daniel … for the faithfulness of Ruth … for the power of Peter … to take up residence in these McLeod vessels of world-changing potential.

And I pray, that when it comes time for Craig and I to pass the torch to the next generation of those who bear our name and who have captured our hearts, that they would know that they had grandparents who have been relentlessly faithful to the call of Christ.

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