When the Empty Nest is Full

IMG_5562“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6: 25-26

My husband and I have been semi-empty nesters for nearly two years. My daughter comes home from college every three to four weeks for a visit (and, of course summers), and my son stops by when he’s coerced (lol). In all seriousness, my empty nest and its former and present occupants are both full and fulfilled. And I find “meaningful moments” in that every day.

To see my children, Jarred and Faith, begin to realize their dreams is so gratifying. I know that the Lord watches over them, and is working in their lives in ways still unknown. There’s no doubt that I miss them, and often long for the days that their presence would fill every corner of the house. At the same time, I find such joy in seeing the wonderful “adults” that they are becoming.

God does have to remind me at times though, not to hover too close. Sometimes the “helicopter” parent in me starts to fly a bit too low. It’s then that the Lord reveals a meaningful moment and I know that He has them in His wings! I’ll get a call or text, or see a Facebook or Instagram post that shines a momentary light on both their struggles and accomplishments. I love that they are traveling, nurturing friendships, finding their passions, and simply, figuring life out (as best as any of us can do). There is no better reward for a parent than to see happiness and fulfillment in their children.

And for those still in the nest (me and my husband)—it’s also full, even without its fledglings. The Lord has blessed us with activities, new projects, rediscovered hobbies and desires, and even a “soon to be” new nest. I would be remiss if I didn’t confess that my nest isn’t always orderly or pretty—though it may appear that way from the outside. There are challenges, fears and setbacks, and times when I don’t know if my nest will withstand the winds, rain and other “elements” that life throws at us.

In these times, God reminds me to look right outside on my front porch. Every spring for as long as I can remember, we have had birds build their nests in our hanging baskets. Robins, finches and doves have all made their homes there, nestling down in the ferns for shelter. I’m still “inspired” to this day, as I watch what great parents they are—delicately building their nests, protecting their eggs, and then caring for their babies. And then one day, just like that, the young birds have departed. And again, the nest is empty, but new lives are full.

I am convinced that God uses nature to show us His ways. Just like those birds do, we build our nests, nurture those we love and then release them to take flight on their own wings. But the real magnificence is that God does this for you, for me—for anyone who will answer His call. He lifts us up from our nests on His wings so that we, too, may live lives that are are full and fulfilled.

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