Friday, October 26, 2012

DEAR J.D. (and he is!)

I picked up an old Bible recently, not one I normally use.  I lifted it from the bookcase, opened to a passage and an old letter fell out.  I recognized my own handwriting but did not even remember writing it.  As I read it, I realized it was a copy of what I wrote to our first grandchild just hours before he was born in 1996.  He's named after both of his grandfathers--James Douglas Grainger.  We call him J.D.
 The mandatory bowl cut, another family legacy!

This letter was me giving him a blessing, reminding him of his spiritual heritage by tracing those godly footsteps back through several generations.  He'll only meet some of these family members in heaven one day.  But they have imprinted who he is by virtue of their lives.

~     ~     ~
"My Dear Grandchild,

Tonight I talked with your daddy at midnight.  I think it was our fourth talk in the last 24 hours.  We're all so eager for your arrival.

As your mama reads this, you will finally be here.  Already in my heart, I can't wait to get you in my arms.  You're so special--the first child of our first child, and our first grandchild.

In the Bible a mother named Hannah said, "My heart rejoiceth in the Lord. . ."  She knew the joy of a much loved and awaited son.  My heart is so full of love for you, sometimes it feels like it will burst with joy.

In the Old Testament it was a custom for a blessing to be given to the first born.  It was like a prayer for the future.  As I look back on your heritage, the history of your family, I also see a future.   Your great, great, great grandmother, Cathon Strickland, was called Muh.  She loved little babies and especially loved to kiss them on the backs of their necks.  A horse and carriage used to pass by her house.  She'd run and stop the neighbors just to kiss their little newborn son.

Her daughter was your great, great grandmother, Henrietta Strickland.   She loved people.  In her community if anyone got sick or had a death in the family, she'd be the first one there with pies or cakes.  She cared.

Then her daughter, Kathryn Strickland Tippett, was my mother and your great grandmother.  She always had so many friends.  Her mailbox still overflows at Christmas or her birthday.  She had a soft shoulder and a good ear to listen to problems.  We teased her that all her friends were neurotic.  Actually they were just people with needs and they knew she cared.

Her daughter is me, your nana.  I was the Kool Aid mom to your mother. Children and teenagers through the years seemed to flock to our home, because we loved them.

Your parents too have so many friends who love to fellowship in your home.  It's a favorite college hangout.

With all that history of lavish loving, we hang out the welcome banner to you.  In a word, the gift we pass on to you is HOSPITALITY.

It's also our prayer for your future--love others as much as God loves you. Show them.  In doing so, you love Him!

That little baby in the buggy almost 100 years ago, grew up and married your great grandma.  He was the firstborn too.  He was my father.

Barely here and yet already rich with a Christian heritage few can claim. Your arrival makes us wealthy too--not in dollars, but your very life is a gift to us all from God Himself.  On loan to your parents, received and handled with gratitude you are a treasure, to be returned to God.

We pray that you will be fashioned and molded for His pleasure and use. What an awesome goal and privilege.

Just like Jesus--at the right time, at the best time, you came!

Heart full of love,
                                ~     ~     ~
J.D. turns 16 today and has grown into an extraordinarily godly young man who uses his gifts and talents for the Lord and others.  Happy birthday, Jade!

Some say he looks like Justin Bieber.  Others see a resemblance to his uncle Kent, our son.  I say he looks like James Douglas Grainger!  See, John?  I told you when we met, you'd make beautiful children.  And Kimberly helped! Beautiful inside and out, as Mama used to say.

J.D. today:

This is his Uncle Kent.  Did I fool you?
OK, so this IS Justin Beiber.

1 comment:

  1. Love the post for two reasons....Genealogy is my hobby so I love the family history. And I received the gift of my first grandchild almost eight months ago. What a joy it is to love on that sweet and precious little girl that God blessed us with!