It is a common story in our family that our father knew every plant in our mountain region by name. That was part of his job as a Naturalist – to know and share the names of the plants in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Now he was humble and quick to deny that he knew the name of EVERY plant, yet I never remember asking him the name of a plant he did not know. We frequently went on hikes with our father as children and after he retired and came back to live permanently in the mountains he continued to share his knowledge of plant names. My older brother Garry and I have often said we wished we had paid attention when Dad was sharing his vast knowledge. Our younger brother, Gregg, has a son who has an immense knowledge of his own in plant taxonomy. Our Dad was SO proud of this grandson and enjoyed “talking plants” with Evan.
We have planted a tree in honor of the birth of each of our grandchildren. These trees are growing just as our grandchildren are growing. They also remind us of several truths in grandparenting.
- each child/tree is unique
- they grow at their own pace (as with trees – some are taller/shorter, bigger/smaller than others)
- environmental/nurturing conditions affect growth
- some “bloom” every year, some do not
- some struggle at times and need extra attention
- there are times a tree/child needs pruning (discipline) to ensure greater growth
- adverse conditions greatly impact growth
Each of our grandchildren has a name. I sometimes call them the wrong name – just as I did their parents. Their names are unique just as they are. Looking at the trees planted in their honor reminds me just how different and special each grandchild is.
Our Heavenly Father looks at us the same way.
Psalm 139:13-15 N L T
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
Just as we know the names of our grandchildren or the trees around us, God knows us by name. He does not forget who we are or call us the wrong name.
I love that God tells us, His people, that He has called us BY NAME.
He knows us,
He formed us
We are His.