As I reflect on the last 18 years and realize my nest is quickly becoming empty, I am reminded how God uses His creations to teach us the most valuable lessons. Bailee is my baby. She is 18 and graduating from high school today. It’s here, whether I like it or not. The truth is, she was a happy surprise. I didn’t really plan or not plan for her. But I was happy when I found out she was coming. And I was so happy, after having two little boys, that she was going to be a girl! And she has never disappointed me. I have always said, and I believe, that she was the gift God gave to our family because He knew the battle we would all face one day. The relationship she has with her now grown brother warms my heart like no other. He is loving and protective and there for her…and I absolutely love that. He makes me so proud.
When I think about my quickly approaching empty nest, I am reminded of the role that God’s little creation, the birds, have played in my life. I am reminded of the lesson that God taught my baby girl when she had to face the loss of her brother…and how brave and how strong her faith was, even at the tender age of 5. It was mid-afternoon, and the doorbell rang. As I opened the door, she came running up and scooped up a bird that was sitting on the doorstep. It had apparently flown into the glass front door and was injured. Before I knew it, she had the bird in her sweet little hands; and she wanted to take care of it. It was sick, just like her brother. We placed him in a shoebox, and off she went to her room to care for her injured little creature.
About an hour later, she came in with tears streaming down her face, with the bird in her hands. Her patient had died. She was so sad. We took him to the flower garden, and we buried our little feathered friend. As we went through the whole funeral process and told her he had gone to Heaven, she just quietly listened and observed the whole process. God was teaching her through His creations.
Later that evening, as I went to tuck her in bed, I found her laying in her bed with little tears on her face. She was so sweet. She said, “Mommy, that little bird was sick, huh?” And I said yes, that he was and it was his time to go to Heaven. She said, “I bet his mommy and daddy are in heaven, too.” And I told her yes, they would be and that they would all be together. I told her how wonderful Heaven was and how happy he would be in Heaven with his family. She said, “Corbin is sick, just like that little bird, huh, mommy?” And now, as tears rolled down my face, I said, “Yes, baby, he is.” She said, “Is he going to go to Heaven, just like that little bird?” What a tough moment for a mom…but what a wonderful blessing God gave me to help her during this heartbreaking time in her life. I said, “Yes, baby, he is…BUT remember, WE WILL SEE HIM AGAIN. Corbin is going to love Heaven, just like that little bird, and we will all be together there again one day.”
Just a few days later, God’s lesson with his little feathered creation became so important for her as her brother went to that glorious place He has prepared for each of us who believe in Him. Bailee’s faith as a child and her acceptance of the Lord has always been a source of strength for me…in Matthew 18:3-4, He says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” And in Luke 18:17, He tells us, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
She knew that morning, just like with the bird, that her brother was in Heaven. She believed it with a child-like faith that was so inspiring. God didn’t just use that bird for her, but for each of us as we faced this overwhelming challenge.
My nest…it is quickly becoming empty. But he has given me so much to be thankful for. My children here on this earth are finding their way in this life…and I am grateful for the way they have adjusted and to their outlook for tomorrow. At the same time, God is filling my new nest with such hope and promise for the future. This is just a chapter for me, and for each of you, my friends, as life moves forward and takes another turn. But it is not over. As God tells us in Psalm 128:2, “You will eat the fruit of your labor, blessings and prosperity will be yours.”
For those with me facing an empty nest, I believe this is a time for each of us to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. I know it may not all be enjoyable…but I do trust the Lord. He will be with our children, and He will never leave them, nor forsake them. He will be with each of them as they figure our their way in this life. If we don’t let them fly, we will be taking His job away. I want to make sure He stays in the driver’s seat. He is our Savior. I want to let Him do His job.
I love my Bailee girl…and I am so thankful for the sweet gift of her life. She has been one of my greatest joys ever. And I am looking forward to a beautiful friendship with my grown-up daughter. Go fly, my Sweet Baby Girl. And remember what God tells us in Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.”
All for Him.