|Image by Laura Hartog, Empty Nest Syndrome|
https://www.flickr.com/photos/starwillowstudio, CC BY ND 4.0
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Sitting across from old high school friends, we caught up
on all the years we’d missed between our daughters’ fifth grade graduations and
weddings. Fifteen years later, we no longer sip a cup o’ coffee during their
play dates, but instead we share similar experiences from our empty nests, now
three thousand miles apart.
“What fills all your time, now?” I asked. And immediately
I felt her embarrassment. I’d asked that dreaded question which plagues any
stay-at-home mom and twice over for the stay-at-home-empty-nester. It’s the
question I stammer to answer myself, as if staying home needs justifying.
While I couldn’t always afford being a full time
stay-at-home wife/mother, I cherish the season I’m in now, where I’m not
juggling office and home and church on the same plate. That doesn’t mean my
plate isn’t full, but I’m now working for those that matter most—my God and my
I no longer run around like a banshee slapping four
lunches together while gulping down a breakfast shake, or hunt for misplaced
car keys while snapping at my kids to hurry out the door for school. Rather, as
a stay-at-home-empty nester, I’m afforded breakfast alone with my husband every
morning and uninterrupted candle-lit dinners. I can drive two towns over to sit
in sweaty school auditorium and beam proudly up at my granddaughter singing a
dramatic rendition of Disney’s newest theme song, or just lend a hand when my
kids need help.
Staying home hardly means sitting around eating bonbons
all day; although there are moments when I find myself in the empty nest
talking to the cat curled up on my lap. But those days are rare. Often my days
are spent caring for our aging mothers, helping them remain dignified,
independent and healthy. I might drive them to doctors’ visits, pick up
groceries, do their banking, mow their grass and rake some leaves; whatever
And what about ministry? This…these words you’re reading,
that’s part of my ministry. I felt guilty about it for quite some time. How can
something I love, something I do in private, alone be ministry? Because when I
hit that “publish” button on my blog, it sends my words around the world. The
other way God uses my words? Children’s books. Silly little stories based on
healthy family and moral values. And, when I walk into a school to present
these books, or I’m at a fair signing these works, God’s right there, sending
those who need these messages the most.
God presents each one of us unique opportunities to share
Him with the world, no matter our circumstances or life season we find
If you feel you are insignificant, know this: God
sees you and He wants to use you right where you are to make a significant
impact on those around you for His Kingdom.
Father, when we find ourselves feeling
insignificant, especially in our family or ministry, show us how you want to
use us. Help us to see that everything we do, how you’ve created us and the
season we find ourselves can be used by you to make a mark in this world for
Your Kingdom purposes.