By: Nicole Marines, Resonate Boise Staff
Last week an article called “Raising Our Kids Near Their Grandparents Is The Greatest Gift We Could Ever Give Them” went viral on Facebook. My husband’s step-mom was one of many who shared the article. Less than two months ago, we sold our home and packed up our lives and moved five hours in the opposite direction of our children’s grandparents. In an instant, a lump formed in my throat and I couldn’t help but feel guilty. I had to ask myself, “Did we make the right decision?”
I opened the article and read all about the social and emotional health benefits that come from child-grandparent relationships. Children have higher emotional stability and suffer from depression less and grandparents live longer, more joyful lives. While I don’t disagree that this is a special and cherished relationship, the message of this article is incomplete. Culture puts such a high priority on our comfort and happiness, and while of course we would love to raise our grandchildren near our parents there is so much more at stake here. We believe that Jesus is precious, hell is real, a choice is demanded, and eternity is waiting. And this is exactly why, even though we would love to live closer to our babies’ grandparents, we moved in the opposite direction.
We Are A Sent People
God is a sending God and He created us to be a sent people. Throughout the New Testament we see over and over that there is a pervasive theme of being sent. In John 20, Jesus told his disciples “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” We see in Acts the early church was always going and sending, called to be His hands and feet to the world. And most explicitly, in Matthew, Jesus gives us the great commission, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
God never asked us to stay put. He never told us to stay comfortable, and to cling to things or people in this world. As parents and grandparents, it is our job to not only live into this calling of mission, but also to lead and model to our children as well.
Psalm 127:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.
4 Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
5 How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
In The Anatomy of a Disciple, Dr. Rick Taylor explains that “arrows were the long-range artillery of the ancient world of war. Sling stones were the intermediate range, and the sword was hand-to-hand combat. But the archers would send arrows deep behind enemy lines where the soldiers could not go. So it is with God’s children that He has entrusted to us for a time.”
Shortly after our first son was born, my husband and I decided to create a family mission statement. We wanted a statement that we could use as the compass for all of our future decisions and that we could reference when we lacked clarity or vision. The Marine Corps’ slogan is “The Few. The Proud.” Our last name is Marines, so we couldn’t help but make a play off of this. Our family motto is “Marines: The Many and The Loud.” We want a big family, with lots of kids, that is loud and bold in proclaiming the Gospel, and our vision is that every one of them gets sent deep behind the enemy lines.
The Greatest Gift We Could Ever Give Our Children
When we came to college, my husband and I both started going to Resonate Church; an urgent, multiplying, collegiate church planting movement. College students are one of the most unreached people groups in the US and we believe that God has called us to plant churches on major college campuses across the Pacific Northwest. We have seen God do miracles and seen Him bring students from death to life in their four short years of college. When we talked about the vision for our family, we realized that if a short short years can make such an impact on peoples’ lives, how much more of an impact can we make on our children, raising them up for 18 years in the Lord and teaching them to share the Gospel?
This is truly the best gift that we can give to our children. Our children will not be raised near their grandparents, but they will see stone hearts changed to living and they will see new life. While we give up the earthly comforts of having family close by, we gain the joy of those who have left everything to follow Jesus. We will live our young lives with a quiver full of children, preparing to send them out to share His Good News.
To the Grandparents
To all of the grandparents who have more conversations with their grandchildren over the phone or via FaceTime, we see you. We know you spend the holidays in and out of airports or on long distance car rides and we know that it is a sacrifice. Even the thought of sending my own children out makes me want to cling to them and keep them close. But God promises to “lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Him and obey His commands” (Exodus 20:6), and I know that the lavishing of God’s love on my family is far greater than the joy that we find in our grandchildren being in the same city. It is my hope that, as the older generation, we would encourage and equip our families to be a sent people, even if that means distance between us. We love you and we miss you too.
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