Drew . . .
. . . is twelve years old today. How can that even be possible? He is named for his dad, his granddad and his great granddad - Andrew Thomas. I think his mom and dad just liked the name, Andrew, and they had already decided that three Thomas Henrys was quite enough. Actually, there are at least two other Andrews: one a beloved professor of Agronomy at Mississippi State and his son, Drew, who was a physicist who did cancer research. Both were brilliant men. Our Drew is a gifted student with a natural sense of rhythm and a love for baseball. Today Elisa, Meredith and I have made fruit kabobs and created a special red velvet cake to celebrate. It has a chocolate ganache filling, buttercream frosting, covered with chopped nuts, all to his specification.
Drew was the first of our grandchildren that I was privileged to baptize. I finished the first regimen of chemo for the ovarian cancer in April; Tom had been diagnosed with Parkinson's and we were anxious to come home to Mississippi for some R & Rand to meet 10 month old Drew. What a humbling experience to hold a grandchild and welcome him into the family of God, to hear the professions of faith from his parents, the promise of support from his church family and to realize what I, as his grandmother and a pastor, am professing. Being privileged to baptize five of our eight grandchildren has made my daily prayers for them even more real.
Children today are faced with so much more evil than their parents were and certainly more than their grandparents. I often wonder what goes through children's minds when they learn of school shootings. Do they wonder if the same could happen at their schools? Do they feel safe? I think of parents in the middle of the crisis in Israel and the Gaza Strip and wonder if I could put my little ones on a bus, send them off to school, not knowing if they would make it to school. One of my daily prayers for my own grandchildren is for them to be kept safe: safe from the threat of violence, safe from drugs, safe from sexual predators. Those prayers are no different from parents around the world; I just live in a safer place. As I am convicted to pray for children in my family, I am also convicted to pray just as earnestly for children around the world, particularly those in the Middle East and the Ukraine; the young girls in Africa who were kidnapped; the children on the streets in Brazil. Instead of lamenting how terrible the situation is, I urge you to pray for all these children as if they were your own.