As I watch her excitedly climb the ladder to slide down the other side, I’m gripped with the knowledge that this is a fleeting moment. I see the joy in her upturned face as she talks to the trees, the birds, the flowers, asking them to play. Once again, I experience the firsts, the lasts, the growing, and the changing. I tell her she’s a “big girl” as she carefully, determinedly tries to put on her shoes. I remember this all so well, an echo of what was and what is again.

What a blessing to experience childhood a third time. First, for myself all those long decades ago. The memories are faded as to be almost imperceptible now. Faint, sepia-colored days spent in the sun, carefree and loved. I wished away the years. All the milestones came one after another—the first day of kindergarten, junior high, and high school. I was rushing through it all, always reaching out for my independence. 

I relived it all a second time as a young mother, scared and unsure, not realizing how quickly those moments would pass. The exhausting days seemed so long, but the years were slipping through my fingers like grains of sand. Finding joy in the simple things but also consumed with doubts. Was I doing all the right things, reading all the right books, making all the right decisions? Finally, realizing how resilient and perfect children are, each becoming their own person with unique gifts given by God, I prayed that Jesus would perform His perfect will in their lives. I placed them in the hands of the One who will take every step with them, even when I cannot.  

All these years later, I again feel a precious small hand in mine. A sweet little voice asks, “Hold your hand?” How could I say no? In that face, I see glimpses of what once was and what will be. As we walk, I slow my pace to match her short steps. We joyfully notice every fallen leaf, every little crawling insect. We spend time contemplating in awe the spider spinning its web delicately from branch to branch, creating a beautiful piece of artwork. So intricate but oh, so temporary. These short days, so full of wonder, quickly blow away like dandelion wishes.

Hebrews 1:10-12 (The Living Bible):

Lord, in the beginning you made the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will disappear into nothingness, but you will remain forever. They will become worn out like old clothes,  and some day you will fold them up and replace them. But you yourself will never change, and your years will never end.”

My beautiful sisters, the seasons of our lives come and go. The book of Ecclesiastes is filled with verses about the temporariness of this life. But it also reassures us that God is faithful through every moment, and we can find joy on our journey. We are so often drawn into the stresses and cares of this life that we can lose sight of the big picture. It’s okay today to just let all that go….breathe….and embrace the blessings you have been given with open arms—children, grandchildren, lifelong friends, and new opportunities.

This life, with its joys and sorrows, may only be a temporary home, but we are walking through holding onto the hand of the One who is eternal.


Shelly Stringfellow is the blessed wife of one husband, Roy, for the past 38 years, proud mother of two exceptional adult children, Candace and Jordan, and Mimi, to the two cutest grandbabies ever, Ellainya and Selah. She loves reading and writing but is not a fan of ‘rithmetic! She attends Lighthouse Church in Princeton, Texas, where her son-in-law and daughter pastor.


  1. Rebbecca Horner

    Just what I needed to hear. I have four little one and I’m having a difficult season. Yesterday, my little girl, asked me to lean down and she kissed me on the cheek. That one act of love, changed my sadness into joy.

    Thank you for your beautiful words.

    • Shelly Stringfellow

      Those little moments are priceless for sure! 💕

  2. I can relate to this article as I’m a new empty-nester. I was so sad that I cried out to God for help, and He heard my cry. It’s bittersweet letting them go. I don’t have any grandchildren yet as they’ve all only moved out in recent years; but I look forward to it if the Lord wills.

    • Shelly Stringfellow

      Marie, I so understand. It is a tough adjustment! I’m still working part-time so I have that. But I now have time for writing, contemplating, etc….. the “me” time that seemed in such short supply in earlier years! Oh, and grandchildren are such a joy…..just indescribable! You will find your way and I’m sure you are and will continue to be a blessing in whatever you are involved in.