For months before both of my children left home, close friends would joke with me and ask how I planned on spending my “empty nest” time. I really didn’t have an answer. All I knew was, I would be mailing care packages to Ian in Chicago, and looked forward to dropping little surprises off at Rory & Holly’s place. Oh, I entertained the idea of dating. Okay, I’m still entertaining that idea, but not too, too seriously, to be honest. Maybe I’ll start a new hobby – Join a gym, start working out.
Within a few weeks of the kids being gone, I completely re-did my basement, washing walls, moving furniture, cleaning carpet, and made the cutest little bedroom for 2 down there. I’m not sure who it’s for. Oh, but it is so darling!
I had the spare room upstairs painted. I bought new blinds. I’m looking for some hand-me-down furniture to put up there, to make it a fun room for Ian to hang out and play video games or watch TV with his friends when he’s home for the summer. I can watch TV there, while I iron. I love to iron.
I still haven’t figured out how to be an empty nester. I’m just enjoying the fact that there are still lines in the carpet from the last time I vacuumed, the garbage doesn’t need to go out so often, laundry is done once a week, and I’m not scrubbing the kitchen floor twice a week. Oh, and I can have cereal for dinner, and NOT feel like a lousy mom! 😉
But it sure is quiet.
I thought my world was going to change, and I thought I WAS GOING TO BE THE ONE to change it. But within a week of the boys leaving home, when I returned to Bible study, day one of the semester, I couldn’t sit still in my seat. All I knew was – “Not this semester.” It was pretty doggone clear. So clear, in fact, that I left.
A few more opportunities arose – Invitations to join different small groups, take some local trips for fun, and opportunities to be involved in some pretty cool stuff – even serving opportunities. But you know, I just kept hearing the Lord say, “Not now.” And He said it loud and clear. Sometimes, I’d make a decision on my own, even without praying about it. (I’m stubborn like that sometimes, you know). So He would then wait a while, and stop me in my tracks and say, “Why? Why did you say yes to that? For me?? Or for yourself?” And I’d find myself back-tracking and having to change my plans. He wants me examining my motives behind everything – The activities I’m involved in, the things I say “yes” to, as well as those I say “no” to, and even just the “things I say” in general! The world, AND the most genuine and well-meaning friends can wind up filling so much of your time that God only gets what’s left. And once I began to say “no” and had some quiet time to just “listen,” that’s what I realized I had been doing – staying a little bit too busy.
And I am convinced that because I was never going to figure that out on my own, He had to take this pivotal time in my life, at the end of one very long season, and the beginning of another, new, potentially long season, to sit me down and prepare me. I don’t know yet what He is preparing me for, but He has ASSURED me, He has plans for me. This I know.
I was wondering what I was going to do as an empty nester, and never imagined for a minute, that perhaps the Lord was making plans for me being an empty nester as well. And maybe, just maybe – His plans were different than mine! (Gosh, THAT’S never happened before!) BA HA HA!
So He keeps telling me, (even as recent as today!) – Be still.
That’s it. That’s all He’s given me right now.
Be still. Camp HERE for a while.
I love my boys. I do. And there are days I miss them so much that I send out the nerdiest of texts to them. But I AM enjoying the lines in the carpet from the last time I vacuumed. And I am enjoying the quiet. And you know what? You wanna know something that is really, really cool? My Father is enjoying the lines in the carpet too. You know why? Because I’ve finally run out of household chores to do, and finally learned how to successfully use my “NO” muscles a little more often than I’m used to, and He is camping out right here WITH ME.
Just me, and Him. Camping. Being still.
There is a new season coming. But for now, we’re just camping in this one. And I’m LOVING it……..
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” Psalm 62:5
If I may share something very, very valuable – I would challenge YOU, to question your motives – ALL of them. I’m surprised, disappointed at times, and most of all convinced, that we (not only me, but probably you too), find ourselves seeking the approval of the world a lot more often than we realize, and that we enjoy bringing glory to ourselves a little bit too much. I would encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to reveal those times to you. He may just tell you, too, to sit still awhile, and be quiet.