If you find yourselves here from Encouragement Cafe: Welcome!
|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 family.
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 they need.
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 ourselves.
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.