There is just something about a granddaughter with her Papa . . .
And there is just something about a child of God who walks with their Heavenly Father.
“For this reason, I bow my knees to the father, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14, 17 & 19
“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” Psalm 111:2
“Commit thy way unto the lord: trust also in him: and he shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5
“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:5-6 NIV
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:19
“Grandfathers are for loving and fixing things.” Author Unknown
“The love between a grandfather and his granddaughter is forever.”
Recently, my daughter-in-law asked our granddaughter why she loves coming to Grammy and Papa’s house so much, and she responded, “Because Papa will be there, and I love Papa. He tells me I am beautiful, and he calls me Tinker Tot.”
That sums it up right there. The relationship between a little girl and her Papa is an incredible thing to watch. The relationship between Lydia and my husband fills my heart with joy and love. Lydia visited us for about 36 hours last week, and she filled our days and moments with wonder, laughter, and smiles. As I sit here tonight thinking back on our time together, I started thinking about God’s plan for our lives, and how sometimes He takes us full circle so we can truly feel the impact of His plan for each of us.
Without God’s plan I would not get to hear the giggles and the conversations between Lydia and her Papa. Without God’s plan I would not get to see the hugs between the two of them or hear her say, “No, Papa!” when he is teasing her about something. Without God’s plan I would not be able to feel the love that grows between the two of them more and more every day.
God’s plan for our lives has truly brought us full circle. From my mother’s childhood, the death of her father when she was three to her mother remarrying my Papa to gaining two new sisters to mother growing up through The Great Depression and WWII to marrying my daddy and them moving to Burlington, NC where my siblings and myself were born. I grew up in Burlington, met my high school sweetheart and we married in 1976. He passed away in 1987, and I brought my son to South Carolina to be with family, where I met my Steve and we married and blended our families. Now, we have three grandchildren of our own. And Lydia has her Papa, just like I had my Papa.
Last week I came across my Papa’s bible, such a treasure, and just holding it in my hands, looking through the pages of his well-read bible brought back so many memories of him and the relationship we had. In my eyes, my Papa had a striking resemblance to Popeye, the Sailor Man. There was just something about him, yet he had a softness about him, a tenderness for his family. He loved to sing gospel songs and he always seemed to be dancing, shuffling those feet with rhythm. Whenever I hear “When We All Get to Heaven”, my Papa is the first one to come to mind. He was a hard worker, at work, at home, and in the community.
I remember walking with my Papa everywhere as a small child, my grandparents did not own a car, so we walked! We walked around the neighborhood, and I specifically remember with fondness walking to the community grocery store, Blair’s Grocery Store, and Papa would buy me a bottle Coke. I remember walking to their church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, the church my mother went to and where my parents were married. I remember playing in the trees in their front yard, swinging on the swing on their front porch, and all the family gatherings.
Memories of my Papa are precious, and I hold them in my heart. I learned many lessons from him, laughed a lot when I was with him, sang many songs, and loved every moment of being with Granny and Papa. As I grew older, the roles changed some and I found myself stepping in to help him – taking him to buy groceries or taking him to doctors’ appointments. I would also go over when he called because he could not find something. There were even those few embarrassing moments when I was at the ER with him, and he tried to set me up with the doctor. Papa just wanted to see me happy because he knew how much I missed Mike. The marriage between my Granny and Papa was a second marriage for both, they were widows/widowers. Papa understood! He also understood God’s plan, and I am so thankful for God’s plan in all our lives.
As I think back now as a Grammy myself, I think about how much patience my Granny and Papa always showed me, how much love they poured on me, and the amount of discipline they gave when it was necessary. I am thankful for all these blessings and for my grandparents.
Then I thought back to Lydia and Papa, and how most of the time they are laughing, hugging, teasing, and playing around with each other; yet there was a moment during this last visit where Papa had to reprimand Lydia. Almost immediately you could see the hurt and sadness in Lydia’s eyes. She ran off and I found her in the corner of the bedroom, crying so hard. She looked at me, and said, “Grammy, Papa hurt my feelings.” Her heart was broken that Papa could tell her no and use a stern voice with her. My heart was broken for her and the reality that parents and even grandparents must help us learn and grow, and sometimes that means saying no. I explained that Papa was just trying to get her to understand that what she was doing could harm someone or one of the animals. I told her Papa would always love her, that there was nothing she could that would make Papa not love her. Eventually, she came back into the living room, and smiled the tiniest of smiles until Papa made her laugh and feel special again.
Wow! I will always treasure the memories of my Papa spending time with me, in their home, walking the streets of their neighborhood, watching me climb his trees, teaching me how to snap green beans, and singing songs. I will always treasure the memories that Lydia is making with her Papa. The relationship they are creating will last her a lifetime.
I will always treasure the moments where God has showed himself in my life, walking beside me and guiding each step I take. I will always love the fact that His plan is always perfect, and where I may not always understand His plan, He knows what we need and when we need it. I will always remember that moment I publicly accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, I was nine years old. I will always remember that moment when I realized how great His love for me truly is and how incredible His mercy and grace for His children are. After watching Lydia’s reaction to Papa telling her no last week, I thought back to the times growing up and even recently as an adult, that I have disappointed God or He has had to tell me no, that is not His plan. I thought of the times of His gentle rebukes and discipline, and how hurt I was that He did not see things my way. Just like Lydia! God’s discipline is gentle, yet firm. His discipline is because He loves us and He wants what is best for us. He wants to take care of us and protect us from evil and harm. Much like Papa wants to do for Lydia. I think of God’s unconditional love, and His forgiveness, and my heart rejoices in God, my Father, and the relationship I have with Him. I know there is nothing I can do to cause God to not love me.
Yes, there is something so incredibly special between a granddaughter and her Papa. But oh, take that incredibleness and multiply it by thousands tenfold, and that does not begin to describe how incredibly special it is to have God in my life as my Heavenly Father.