"Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come." (Psalm 71:18)
David only wanted to stay around long enough to be a source of blessing and encouragement to the next generation (and the next). Not until he had fulfilled all his dreams and ambitions; not until he had made a name for himself; only as long as it took to leave a vibrant testimony to the power and strength of God, to those who were stepping onto the stage to take his place. Gray hair is only a "crown of glory," says Solomon, if it is "found in the way of righteousness" (Prov.16:31); otherwise, it's just a sign of old age!
After all these years, my husband and I now have the opportunity to enjoy each other without the glaring (if glorious) distraction of children, and we take advantage of our unfettered freedom. But I am keenly aware that this does not mean our familial responsibilities have come to a close. On the contrary, when we laid down our mantles of teacher and nurturer, we took up the garment of intercession and selective, if limited, counselor. We can (or, at least, should) no longer interject ourselves into their lives, but we can stand in the wings and step in when called upon.
In addition, I think this time of life also affords us the unique opportunity to show our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that service to God is still possible when one is less active and less in demand. We may no longer be "on display"; but, to me, our testimony has never been more important.
Faithfulness to God can only be proven over time.
As far as I'm concerned, one of the great advantages with which the older generation is blessed is the ability to look back and see the hand of God in their lives, and the opportunity to display a measure of their own faithfulness to Him. After all, faithfulness is a choice. God may provide the impetus and the power, but He still said, through Joshua, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve" (24:15). [emphasis added] It is a blessing to hear a young person praise God for His faithfulness; but of even greater impact is the testimony of a "seasoned saint" to the faithfulness of God through many years of sickness and health, scarcity and plenty, hardship and happiness.
Like David, these are things I feel constrained to share with those who call me "Mom," "Mamaw" or "Granny," and "Gigi." I may not be able to pass along trendy ideas (Christian or otherwise); but from this vantage point of life, I can share those timeless truths that will suffice when the heart is broken and all hope is taken away. When those times come, I want this coming generation of "Sandlin" kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids to know—not just from the Word of God—but also from observation—that the God their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother loved and served all her life will be abundantly enough for them, too...no matter what.
"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare waht he hath done for my soul" (Psalm 66:16)