Photo taken by Gary Peterson
Karlie. Our four-year-old granddaughter. Befriended by a different generation in our church. In the Bible, we are instructed to train up a child in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). It takes a village to do this though.
Five of our grandchildren have been attending church with us for over three years. Karlie was just a baby when she started coming with us. Her siblings little more than toddlers, very young. Her two-year-old sister has been attending with us since she was three weeks old. This village called a church that we attend has opened its arms wide to love these children. They have made church a safe and loving place for five little ones to learn and love.
Every Sunday I see people taking the time to talk to these beautiful grandchildren of ours. They welcome them, smile and laugh with them, and train them. They are training them to the fact there are good people in this world who can be trusted. There are good people who love them and want the best for them. They are training them that there is a God who loves them even more. They are passing their faith down to these children.
My husband and I sometimes struggle to even know where all five children are at any given time. But we know they are safe. We know they are being looked out for. This village, called our church, exemplifies Jesus’ direction to: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16). We are letting these children come to Jesus so they may know Him. Our village is aiding us through their example, their teaching, and their love.
Because even more than wanting them as our grandchildren, we want them to be children of God. As John said, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). That takes us loving Jesus and making Him known to these precious children so God can use that knowledge to bring them into the family. It takes more than parents and grandparents to make Him known. It takes the village or church of the Lord. I’m so thankful for our village.
This couple pictured with Karlie have become surrogate grandparents to her. They watch for her, give her hugs, eat meals with her, pray for her and just love her. Karlie is blessed to have them in her life as they feel blessed to have her in theirs. I think this is what church is all about. Love, relationship, and Jesus.