The fog had just rolled out to sea and left a misty veil over the rocky shore as the girls and I arrived for our picnic. We could see dolphins playing in the sparkly surf and the sea gulls were racing the pelicans as they dove down to the swelling waves for whatever food they could find.
We found our favorite picnic table, actually the only table in the area, to sit and enjoy each other’s company while we munched on sandwiches.
We didn’t talk much….just watched the ocean and contemplated our lives.
Of course, Savanna soon started entertaining us with her theatrics and imitations of Jim Carey, and Katie and I laughed.
She always makes us laugh.
It is the end of the school year. They are 17 now. My mind whirled back to days gone by when we were sitting at this same table doing our bible studies for young girls. Then I went way back to when they were 5, sitting at my dining table along with my first grandchild, Christopher, who is a couple years older than the girls.
Christopher is now 19.
I had been having bible studies with them for most of their lives but now, Christopher is on his own, and as teens, with the girls it is more of a discussion about what they want to do with their lives and how God has a plan for them.
Gosh, I loved those days. They asked so many questions about Heaven and hearing God’s voice. They would write prayers to Jesus and we would all just sit and listen to His voice.
Some of their prayer requests were so funny….like the time Katie asked that we would pray that her dog wouldn’t slime her leg anymore.
And they would thank God for Disneyland.
And the time Savanna said she couldn’t wait for the big sweeper to come. I asked her who the big sweeper is…she said it was when Jesus came and He would sweep us all up into the air to go with Him. Chris said no, it was called the rapture…and Katie said, “You know, when He wraps us all up and takes us to Heaven?”
They would draw pictures of the armor of God, with Jesus in the middle and great warrior angels, and swords, and shields.
Their Papa and their Dads baptized them in a friend’s jacuzzi, where they made their first public dedication to Jesus with family and friends.
Whenever we would go to the beach I would pray for a parking place and God always gave us one, and now they think I have an inroad with God.
Well, I do…
But as I continually taught them, they do too!!
We spent many years coming to the beach together. With the girls, because they were born on the same day, an hour apart, first cousins, they have always been more like sisters and very close.
Now they are approaching the end of the school year, and soon to be out of high school to follow whatever God has planned for them.
I couldn’t shake a kind of nostalgia that day…my mind flashed back to so many days of fun and delight with these two. I knew that soon they would have their own cars and would bring themselves to the beach and my times with them will change drastically. Would they invite me? Perhaps. But it would be different. They will be different.
Did anybody ever think of Nanas and Papas going through empty nest?
I thought once was enough with my two children. Now, here it is again.
There needs to be warnings about this!
I know I am so blessed to have lived so close to my grandchildren all these years. It has established a wonderful bond. But I did have to work at it. I gathered them up every week and made them a priority. I brought them to my house to learn about Jesus. There are so many fond memories and laughs. I made the time and effort and made them a priority and now I see the rewards.
Wow, is it ever easy to let go and accept change? It is just something I feel in my bones. I know it’s coming and I can’t help but wonder…
“But, what about me?
What will I do now?”
After eating, the girls went down on the beach to search the tide pools and wander around looking for anything moving….just as they did when they were little girls. I sat on the steps overlooking the beach and just watched. I felt sad and wistful as I watched them and just loved them and prayed for them as I sat there.
I began to talk to Jesus.
“Lord, how do I rejoice at their growth and change when I know it won’t be the same with me and them. I don’t want to let go.”
“Watch them,” He whispered.
“Now, watch the waves coming in and going out”, He said.
So, I did. I watched the girls clowning around below on the rocks, and then I studied the sea.
“Well, I see beautiful young women who You are leading into womanhood, free enough to still be girls. And I see the waves coming in and out, as always.”
“What is the contrast?”, He asked.
“They are changing. The sea does not. Year after year the sea is always the same.” I contemplated.
“That’s right Dixie. Your girls, my precious daughters, will proceed in life walking on the years of prayers you and their parents prayed for them. They will walk right into my plan and purposes for them. Yes, they will change as they grow up. Letting go is My way, and though it tears at your heart, it is a good thing. As you look at the sea you see unchangeableness. That is who I am in your life. I am always the same. So, as you move through life’s seasons of letting go you can know that I never change and I will always be with you and I will fill those empty places that letting go brings to your heart. I am your constant. Look at the sea. It is still the same as it has been since it’s creation. I am still the same. I will live through Katie and Savanna too. They will know Me as you do, because you took the time and made the determination that your offspring, your generation will know Me. I love them even more than you do. Because you learned to let go of your concerns and surrender them to me, I have been free to work in their lives and will continue to do so.”