My step-grandson, who after all 21 years of his life I have been present, is not blood kin, but chosen kin. My husband and I are SO proud of him!
He struggled all along from short stature, he is now over 6 feet tall; bullied by school mates, he tolerated the jabs from family and friends that he really couldn’t do anything well. His constant smile, I am sure, hid hurt that will be there forever. Things said and implied at a young age, we all know stays there and affects us all more than we imagine. But my grandson has survived that and much more. His parents divorced when he was in high school, a tumultuous age in and of itself. The divorce was heated and played out in front of him, and he became embroiled himself, as any teenager might. After graduating high school, my grandson floundered from here to there, home to home, and school to school. Nothing he attempted seemed to produce positive results; until he went out on his own and found a world that actually sought out his talents, his time, his efforts, his loving and giving heart, and his winning smile.
My husband and I helped him change his attitude towards education by helping him apply and land a job substitute teaching. He did not hesitate an instant in filling out the application and getting the shots and references needed. His preferred age group, grade fifth through sixth. He was called, and called, and called again to replace teachers who needed him. The very first day on the job, his students passed around a letter thanking him for being their teacher that day and all signed their names-as students that age are wont to do-bless them. My grandson took a picture of that letter and proudly shared it with us. We were thrilled!
Not loving school himself, and never seeing the importance or necessity of homework or assignments, all of a sudden, he was on the other side of the desk. Now he understood that once a teacher, or substitute teacher, makes an assignment, it is expected that the student comply. What revelation! What insight! What … really, is that what I was supposed to do myself all these years? Those thoughts came through loud and clear as he shared his experiences with students with laughter, grins, and pride that he was indeed suited to do one of the most important jobs anyone could have-caring, sharing, and leading young people into successful lives!
No surprise that years of leading, caring, and sharing his love of Christ with fifth and sixth graders, with all the enthusiasm and fun he possesses, helped him in his venture into public education. As well, he has said, even yesterday, that his experiences teaching helped him with his new job on staff at the church.
Now, I continue to brag. Yesterday we went upstairs to greet my grandson surrounded by his young charges. Today he was speaking; I said I’d love to hear his message one day; “Come on in,” he said with true invitation! We found a seat in the back and witnessed well over a hundred, maybe two hundred fifth and sixth graders following his lead and instructions. The message began. It didn’t escape me that his message was on Doubting Thomas. Sharing stories about himself, relating his doubts about a haunted house in his neighborhood. Needless to say, the then eleven year old boy quickly realized that indeed all the flashing lights and general spookiness of this house was indeed fact! Laughing with him, the students settled down with their Bibles, to listen to the story of Thomas who needed to see, touch, feel, and hear proof that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. My grandson assured his young listeners, that it is absolutely OK to doubt the things in the Bible, as long as you stay with Him, as Thomas did; Thomas did not turn away; Thomas stayed to see the proof; Jesus knew that was what Thomas needed; as Jesus knows what we all need to assure us, comfort us, affirm his love for each and every one of us!
I came away from that message knowing I had witnessed the Power, Glory, and Supreme Love for one of His children, one of my grand-children. Thank You, Dear Lord, for doing what none of us, family or friends, could do; for taking this young man’s talents and yes failures, and using them to honor You! All Praise, Honor, Glory, and deepest Thanks for allowing me to witness this transformation of one of mine-one of ours. Amen
John 20:24-29 God’s Word Translation
Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, who was called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord.”
Thomas told them, “I refuse to believe this unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my fingers into them, and put my hand into his side.”
A week later Jesus’ disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side. Stop doubting, and believe.”
Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you’ve seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me but believe.”
Written by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl and Al Stillman 1953
I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows
I believe for everyone that goes astray
Someone will come to show the way
I believe above the storm the smallest prayer
Will still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every word
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry
Or touch a leaf
Or see the sky
Then I know why I believe