April 3, 2012
An Empty Nest
"I will never leave you nor forsake you." Joshua 1:5 (NIV)
Does a rose bush have thorns or does a thorn bush have roses? It really is all about perspective, isn't it?
My perspective on my upcoming empty nest is full of thorns. I try hard not to think about the fact that I will be alone (except for the cat!) when my son graduates and leaves for college this summer.
It has been just Nick and me for the 15 years since my husband died. Life as a single mom has been rough. But watching my little boy grow into a godly young man has been my greatest joy. I've loved every moment of his sweet toddler giggles, little boy vroom-vroom truck sounds, and even the sounds of video games that come from his room now.
I've tried to distract myself from thinking about the day we will pack the car and head off to college by watching mindless movies, serving others, and keeping extra busy. But I fail miserably and end up crying myself to sleep.
Why? When Nick leaves, I'll be cooking for one. Cleaning for one. Doing everything for just one. There will be no sweet sounds to come home to. No one to help me unload the groceries from the car. No stories about what happened in school. No fits of laughter as he plays with our ornery cat.
The thought of letting go and being alone brings on the tears and my pillow gets soggy. It isn't pretty.
On those days when I get bogged down with thoughts of my impending empty nest, I'm never in a hurry to jump out of bed. I just want to lie there and wallow in self-pity for a little longer. What's the rush to get on with another day? It means one more day closer to his leaving.
And then a little ray of light sneaks into the bedroom. The cat cries because she wants to go outside. The teenager who is still mine to take care of decides he's hungry. Life returns.
I have to function. I want to enjoy every moment of the time I have with my not-so-little boy.
No time for soggy pillows, half empty days, or rose bushes with thorns.
It's time to get out of bed and face the new day and the changes coming. It's time to remember that even in my loneliness, I am never alone. It's time to relish the beautiful roses on those thorn bushes.
• I am loved with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
• I am the apple of His eye. (Proverbs 7:2)
• My name is engraved in the palm of His hands. (Isaiah 49:16)
• I am carried through every storm. (Mark 4:35-41)
• I am wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
• I am watched over day and night. (Psalm 121:1-8)
• I am forgiven. (1 John 1:9)
• I am rejoiced over with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
My life is more than half full. It overflows. I just have to be willing to see, and enjoy, who God is and the beautiful things He's given me.
Thorns are painful, but the world is filled with many roses. My prayer for each of us dealing with or facing an empty nest is that we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the Lord's goodness and the sweet fragrance of all He is to us. Though children will eventually leave our nest, God never will.
Dear Lord, help me to see the roses among the thorns. I want to see that You're always with me and that You watch over me every moment of every day. I love You. I am grateful to belong to You and that I am not alone. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
Reflect and Respond:
An empty nest is hard. Take some time to sit down and make a list of everything that is good in your life. When we start looking for the roses instead of letting the thorns overwhelm us, we are surrounded by His sweet aroma and reminded of who we are, Who we belong to, and all He can do in and through our lives.
Psalm 73:26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (NIV)
© 2012 by LeAnn Rice. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 03 April 2012.