Everyone Has Limits. Where Do You Draw the Line?

Posted on: January 18th, 2012 by Kay Swatkowski

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome.

- Helen Keller

A facebook friend left this post: You know you are a grandma when you change the baby’s diaper on the floor and afterwards  have to crawl to the couch to pull yourself up.

I completely identify with that post!

Everyone has limitations.  We all have to draw a line between what we would like to do and what we can actually do.  Limitations are a fact of life.

Grandmothers are often very aware of their limitations.  We aren’t twenty-five anymore.  We don’t have the energy we used to have.  We would love to run and jump with our grandkids all day.  But, we have limits. It would be foolish to live outside those limits too often.

We’d like to take the kids to Disney World or tour Paris with them after graduation.  Wouldn’t it be great to take the whole family out for dinner or pay for private school?  Again, we need to know our limitations.  If we don’t, our family will be taking care of us someday. We don’t want that.

Some grandmas dream of sitting in a rocker with their new grandbaby, looking at picture books and rocking the little one to sleep. But, the new grandbaby lives 700 miles away.  This is a limitation the grandma needs to work with.

It has occurred to me that healthy grandparenting is not only about knowing and accepting our limitations but also understanding what is limitless.

There is no limit on our ability to give and receive  love.

There is no limit on laughter.

There is no limit on quiet conversations.

There is no limit on our prayers for our family.

There is no limit on the generosity of spirit we can share with our family.

There is no limit on our creativity.

Most importantly, our God is limitless. He has given us our grandchildren as a gift and reward.  He knows our hearts and he offers us his limitless help as we work with the limitations of daily life.

He has limitless love for us and our children (Psalm 103:11).   He has promised us abundant strength as we wait on him (Isaiah 40:31). He has limitless ability to see us and our concerns for our family (Genesis 16:13). He has limitless resources for those who follow him (Philippians 4:19).

He also has limitless ability to help us with whatever obstacles we face.  In Psalm 18:29, David was being pursued by enemies.  His life was in constant danger.  In spite of the stressful circumstances, he was able to say, “With my God I can scale a wall.”  I love that little phrase from Psalm 18:29. With God’s help we can overcome obstacles.

My friend, Margaret, is a kind, generous and creative grandmother.  She is always finding ways to share cultural experiences with her grandchildren.  Like most grandmas, Margaret has to consider financial limitations.  She discovered that once a month a local community college has an “Opening Night for Artists”.  It is free.

Her two youngest grandchildren get dressed in their best and Margaret picks them up.  Once at the opening,  they enjoy classical music as they eat fancy hors d’oeurves.  They have learned to walk quietly through the display.  Margaret and her grandson and granddaughter discuss the paintings.  Grandma asks them questions about colors and shapes and how the painting makes them feel. On many occasions, the conversations turns to spiritual topics.

Margaret’s limitless creativity has helped her to overcome financial limitations and provide her grandchildren with a wonderful cultural and relational experience. Margaret has scaled a wall!

I could be wrong.  But, I believe our limitations are a gift.  I believe in the midst of our limitations God can draw from us the deepest things we have to offer to our grandchildren: our creativity, our love, our prayers, our generous spirits.

What do you think?

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7 Responses

  1. Judi Shisler says:

    Love this Kay, You must have written it just for me-it’s just what I needed today. Thank you.

  2. Linda Thomas says:

    You’ve written a beautifully crafted message, full of inspiration and practical ideas. I’ll read it again because it was such a pleasurable read. Thanks for your blessings.


  3. Judy says:

    Thanks, Kay, for this message. I’ve realized my limitations with 20 month old twins. But since I’m 500 miles away, I find that when I visit, I overlook those limitations. God has given those girls to us as a gift and feel truly blessed that He helps me get thru my limitations. Thank goodness for Skype!!!

    Blessings to you


  4. Margo Hutson says:

    It’s wonderful that you are getting thoughts from this article as well as from our argument made here.

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