BY Glenda Lesher

“I know how old you are Grammie—59!” five-year old Seth announced at my family birthday dinner.  I thought, “If only,” but then grabbed him up and smothered him with kisses.  He pretends that he doesn’t like to be kissed, but he was giggling.  Meanwhile, active Jackson, who is three, was running around oblivious to the occasion although he did give me a card that he had “signed.”  I’m so thankful for these healthy, beautiful grandsons and for my sons and daughters-in-law that love God and are raising them so well.  I’m also grateful for my husband who is always there for me.

My joy was mixed with sadness, however.  This was my first birthday without my mother, who had passed away only four months prior.  Though I will always miss her (and the strawberry-banana pie she always made for me), I am comforted in knowing she is with Jesus—free of her sickness and suffering.

Thoughts of our teen-age grandson, who wasn’t at the dinner party, also brought heaviness to my heart.  I’ll just call him “Ethan”.  When he was just a toddler, his mother divorced our oldest son and quickly remarried.  It was one of the most difficult times our family ever faced.  The smiling young woman that had captured our hearts now seemed to disregard her faith and our family.  Our precious, brown-eyed grandson was yanked away from his dad and from us, too.  It’s no wonder God hates divorce.  (Malachi 2:16 NIV)

When his mother’s second marriage failed, Ethan struggled—he had no motivation for school and a surly attitude.  Although my son supported Ethan financially over and beyond his obligation, his moral influence was limited because of the “every other weekend visitation” rule.  It seems so unfair that the courts often favor the mother, no matter how dysfunctional.

As a write this, problems continue in this young man’s life.  I’m glad my mother is not here to know he is on probation for a minor offense and spent a week in a hospital for troubled teens—or that he failed the 10th grade.

But Ethan recently turned 16 and we see some encouraging, positive changes in his attitude.  He is reaching out to his dad more and is opening up about his confusion and years of verbal abuse and neglect from his mother.  He also believes the medications to “calm” him were a detriment to his development and learning.

In spite of his past, I’ve told l him that God loves him and the best is yet to come if he will make the right choices.  I am confident of two things – Love never fails and the Lord does not wish for anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance (I Corinthians 13:8; II Peter 3:9 NIV) .  Ethan was dedicated to the Lord as a baby and I cling to Him for hope for my grandson’s salvation and transformation.