Mimi’s Place 2018-04-04T02:20:25+00:00

Mimi’s Place

I love being a grandmother! I’ll never forget the phone call from our son and daughter-in-law telling us that we were not only going to be grandparents for the first time … but that we were going to be the grandparents of twins! I screamed … danced … hollered … danced some more … to the point that I got light-headed and had to sit down. Seriously! And I have been a crazy, over-the-top Mimi ever since!

We now have six grandchildren and I can honestly say that the birth of each child has been so unique and so special. My husband and I strongly feel the responsibility of being grandparents and constantly seek God’s wisdom about our role in the lives of our children and grandchildren.

We are learning.

Learning what to do … learning what not to do.

Learning to respect the parenting style and guidelines of our children even when they differ from our own.

I want to share with you some of the lessons we have learned along the way and would love to hear what you have learned as a grandparent.

Just email me: mary@marysoutherland.com.

What’s my role as a grandmother?

To pray for our grandchildren

Mathew 19:13-14 “Then people brought little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ ”

Praying for our grandchildren is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. And letting them know that we are praying for them is very important to their spiritual growth.

When our seven-year-old grandson cut his leg, I cleaned the cut, put a bandage on it, and then prayed for Jesus to heal the cut. I didn’t see Justus for a couple of days, but when I showed up at his front door, the first thing he said was, “Mimi, He did it! He did it!” Honestly, I had forgotten about the cut and my prayer for Jesus to make it well … but Justus hadn’t.

Justus smiled and pointed to his leg where the cut was barely visible. “See? God made it all better! He answered your prayer!” That is awesome, right? But that is not all.

When Justus’ little brother got a cut on his arm, Justus helped his mom clean and bandage it. Justus then prayed for Hudson and assured him that Jesus would make it well. And He did!

Justus believes that prayer works because his grandmother prayed. We now pray together about so many things – including his fear of the dark.

One night, I was keeping Justus and Hudson while his mom and dad went out for dinner. After getting Hudson to bed, I read Justus a book and lay down beside him to snuggle and talk.

“Mimi, what are you scared of?” Justus asked.

I thought for a minute and said, “Well, I am scared of high places and … “ but before I could finish my list, Justus said, “Mimi, I am very scared of the dark! Especially at night when I am trying to go to sleep.”

“What do you do when you are scared, honey?” I asked. Justus invited Jesus into his heart last year and has really grown in his faith, so I was curious to see what his answer would be.

“Well, I get so scared, I forget what I am supposed to do. What do you do when you get really scared, Mimi?”

I was hoping he would ask. “I pray, Justus.”

Justus thought for a minute before responding, “I get so scared that I forget to pray.”

I could relate to the honesty of my grandson. And then I had an idea. “What if I made you a sign that helped you remember to pray? You could put it on your dresser so you can see it” I offered.

“What kind of sign?” Justus asked.

I thought for a minute and then said, “Maybe it could say something like, ‘When I am afraid, I will pray.’ “

Justus smiled, his face lit up, and he almost shouted, “That’s a great idea, Mimi!” So I did!

I started praying for our grandchildren the minute I found out our daughter and daughter-in-law were pregnant with each child. I have not stopped … and will continue to do so as long as I have breath. It is one of the greatest gifts I can give them.

To spend time with our grandchildren

I love this description of a grandmother taken from James Dobson’s book, A Child’s View of Grandma:

“A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own, so she likes other people’s little girls. A grandfather is a man grandmother. He goes for walks with the boys, and they talk about fishing and tractors and like that. Grandmas don’t have to do anything except be there. They’re old, so they shouldn’t play hard or run. It is enough if they drive us to the market where the pretend horse is and have lots of dimes ready. Or if they take us for walks, they should slow down past things like pretty leaves or caterpillars. They should never, ever say hurry up. Usually, they are fat, but not too fat to tie kids’ shoes. They wear glasses and funny underwear. They can take off their teeth and gums. They don’t have to be smart, only answer questions like why dogs hate cats and how come God isn’t married? They don’t talk baby talk like visitors do, because it is hard to understand. When they read to us, they don’t skip or mind if it is the same story again. Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don’t have television, because grandmas are the only grown-ups who have got time.”

All people spell love T-I-M-E, but that is especially true of grandchildren. Dan and I are fortunate that all of our grandchildren live in Kansas City near us. We get to see them all several times a week and we are blessed. We have many traditions that allow us to spend time with the grandkids, but one of Dan’s favorite ways is to take them out for breakfast on Saturday mornings. He takes them to “Papa Bites” which is commonly known to the rest of the world as IHOP and then to Wal-Mart where they each pick out a small toy. In fact, they have been to IHOP so many times that the store manager now recognizes Dan as Papa.

Four of our grandchildren lived in Charlotte, North Carolina until this year. It was harder to see them, so I was especially partial to speaking engagements in the Charlotte area. I also tried to arrange flights to other speaking engagements so that they went through Charlotte. If that didn’t work, I flew to Charlotte before or after a speaking event to spend several days with our son and his family. We tried to see them every two or three months – and Face Time with them as often as possible. It takes time and effort to be a grandparent.

To be a role model for our grandchildren

Our grandchildren know what their Mimi and Papa do for a living – they tell people about Jesus. Papa is a pastor and Mimi writes devotions, Bible studies, and books and speaks to women across the world about Jesus.

One weekend, Danna and the boys were taking me to the airport. On the way, Justus said, “But Mimi, I don’t want you to go. I want you to stay here and play with me.”

When his big brown eyes filled with tears, I took Justus’ face in my hands and said, “Honey, I need to tell some women about Jesus. You know how important that is, don’t you?” He nodded.

“But can’t somebody else tell them, Mimi?” he asked. “They could. But Jesus asked me to tell them, so I need to go. How about this? I will tell them how much Jesus loves them and then come back home to you. Is that a good idea?” He smiled and said, “That’s a good idea, Mimi.”

It is very important to Dan and to me that our grandchildren understand the very important life truth that God comes first in our lives – but we also want them to know that our family comes next.

We want to model that truth for them in every way possible – in our behavior, our speech, the way we treat others, the television shows we watch – the way we live our lives. We want them to be able to follow in our footsteps. I often tell the ladies to whom I speak that my greatest legacy is not the books, Bible studies, or devotions I write, or the number of speaking events I have each year. No, my greatest legacy is my family. When it is all said and done, I want them to be able to say that I was a woman who loved God and loved her family with all her heart.

Creating traditions for your grandchildren 

Mimi’s Movie Dinner Theatre

Our first grandchildren were twins – Lelia and Jaydan. When our son started his own construction company, he worked many long hours. His wife is an RN who worked three twelve-hour shifts a week. So you can imagine their crazy schedules. Jodi’s mom and I got to Charlotte as often as possible to help them out … a tough job, I know, but somebody had to do it!

One of the twins’ favorite television shows came on during the time they were supposed to eat dinner. It was during that tough hour of the day when both kids were tired from playing outside. Lelia and Jaydan knew what immediately followed dinner – baths and bedtime – and they were not fans of either one. So I tried to come up with a plan that made sure they would eat a good dinner and calm down before bedtime. And that is how Mimi’s Movie Dinner Theatre was born!

I let the kids sit at the coffee table in front of the television … a rare treat. I dimmed the lights and lit several candles. I prepared their favorite gourmet meal – hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, applesauce, grapes, barbecue chips, and chocolate chip cookies with fruit punch to drink.

I served this scrumptious meal on special plates I bought at the dollar store. With a kitchen towel over my left arm, I served their meals and asked in my best French accent, “Is there anything else I can get you, Madam and Monsieur?” Lelia and Jaydan died laughing … but they ate every bite of their meals. I watched carefully to make sure their drinks were always filled and waited on them hand and foot. When they were finished, I took their plates and wiped the table. I then presented them with the bill and a crayon and asked them to simply sign their names. They loved it! It has become one of their favorite Mimi traditions.

Visit G.I.G.

If you have not seen the new Girlfriends in God website, check it out at www.girlfriendsingod.com.

Sharon, Gwen and I have several Girlfriends in God conferences lined up for the rest of this year as well as for 2016. Be sure to check out our conference schedule. We would love to see you!

Created By God

Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I love being a grandmother. I absolutely adore our six grandchildren and work hard at finding any and every excuse to spend time with them. The games I played with their parents, I now play with them. I read many of the same stories that I read to their parents and have come up with new renditions of old songs I once sang as a young mother. I am convinced that my grandchildren keep me young. I am also convinced that they are some of my greatest and most profound teachers. Maybe that is because they are so “fresh” from Heaven and the presence of God. Whatever the reason, when I spend time with them, I always come away with new truth.

Our son and daughter-in-law lived in Charlotte, North Carolina for several years. I visited as often as I could, but one visit stands out in my heart and mind. Jered and Jodi have twins. As you can imagine, life is anything but dull as Jered and Jodi try to keep up with Lelia and Jaydan. It seems like the twins do or say something new every day and I can now testify to the fact that are learning to talk … a lot! They are also learning how to pray.

As we sat down at the dinner table one night, I watched Lelia and Jaydan bow their heads and begin to sing the blessing. It was one of those life moments I will never forget. But there was more. When the song was finished, Jered prayed, “Thank You, God, for our food and our home. Thank You for Mommy, Daddy, Lelia, Jaydan and for Mimi.” I waited for the usual “amen” but instead, heard two sweet voices offer their own thanks. Lelia ended their prayer time by pointing to each person seated at the table and declaring, “I love Mommy and Daddy. I love JayJay. I love Mimi.” Then came the “amen” from daddy. However, Lelia was not done. With sparkling eyes and a smile that would melt any heart, she pointed to herself and said, “And I love me!”

And there you have the three-year-old translation of the two most important commandments Jesus ever gave. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV).

Jesus is responding to a question he was asked by an interpreter of the law. I suspect the motive behind the question was far from pure, but Jesus responded with pure truth when He said that the love of God is the “first and greatest commandment.” In other words, our love of God must not only be not sincere but radical. If we love God, we sell out to Him and will naturally serve Him by loving and serving others. Too often, we stop right there and never get to the second most important commandment. Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Yes, there is a self-love that is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins we can possibly commit. That kind of self-love must die. However, Jesus teaches that we are to love ourselves enough to take care of and be concerned with the welfare of our own bodies and souls. Our body houses the Holy Spirit. Our soul is eternal. We are responsible for the care of both. And we must love our neighbor as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves. That kind of love often asks us to deny ourselves for the good of others because people could care less how much we know, until they know how much we care. Our choice to obey these two commandments will mold our heart and life into something beautiful that honors and pleases God.

The psalmist writes, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14). You can judge the value and the worth of a product by looking at the one who made it. You are no accident. You were created by God – for God – and even if you were never wanted or planned by human heart and mind, you were planned and wanted by God. So, love your neighbor and while you are at it, love yourself.

Darkness With Courage

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort! (2 Corinthians 1:3).
Tears streamed down my face as I held our seven-year-old grandson, watching him sleep. “Mimi, please lay down with me. Let’s snuggle. I’m so cold,” he asked. I would do anything for this child. He has my heart.

The beeping machines recorded his heart rate, oxygen level … and other vital statistics that simply underscored how sick Justus was. His temperature had risen to 106 but now hovered around 104. The lymph glands in his neck continued to swell to the point that he could not turn his head or open his mouth. Test results confirmed the fact that he had a bacterial infection and a viral infection.

I heard him scream as they tried to draw blood. I held his head when he threw up after trying to take medicine he desperately needed but couldn’t swallow. Our daughter and son-in-law had been by his side day and night and were absolutely exhausted. The doctors kept running tests, trying to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection so they could target it with the right antibiotic.

He had been in the hospital for days … with no answer. The doctors said it was just a matter of time until they found that answer. I. Wanted. It. Now.

And I was angry. God and I had gone a few rounds about the whole situation.

Oh, I know and teach truly believe that trials and hard times are for our good. I am well acquainted with pain and darkness. It is one thing for me to battle the pit of depression or deal with physical pain every minute of every day, but it is a game changer to watch my seven-year-old grandson handle pain and darkness with courage and sheer grace.

I am in awe.

And I have learned a whole new level of faith in the midst of this kind of storm. I have knelt at His feet, learning how to fully – I mean wholly surrender someone I desperately love to the Father.

Trials and hard times are an important part of life because they break us. And the most beautiful life is the most broken life. I have a love-hate relationship with that truth. But this I know. God is forever covering each pain with His infinite love and mercy, bringing hope and encouragement where there was once only despair. We just have to remember who God really is – the God of all comfort and compassion.

Trouble strengthens our faith and builds endurance, the ability to stay under the load. We have a loving Father who is committed to building the character of His Son in us. His love wants what is best for us, not what is easiest.

Shallow love rescues easily and quickly.

Real love walks with us throughthe trial.

God wants us to trust Him in the trials of life, even when it makes no sense, and even when there seems to be no explanation.

Isaiah 55: 8-9 The Lord says, ‘My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’

It is easy to have faith and to trust God when the wind is still and the waters are calm. But the true measure of our faith is when we are in the midst of a howling storm, our boat is leaking, and there is no land in sight.

God’s comfort is most cherished when our pain is the strongest. The darker it gets, the brighter His light shines. We may be down, girlfriend, but we are never out, because God is the Shepherd of every valley, Lord of every storm, and Friend of the wounded heart.

When God pushes you to the edge, trust Him fully … because only two things can happen. Either He will catch you when you fall, or He will teach you how to fly. Either way, God’s got you.