or…What Empty Nest Looks Like to a Stay at Home, Homeschool Mother
What it Feels Like to Retire from Being a Full Time Mom for Thirty-Six Years
How Fearful is it Really to Lose Your Lifelong Dreams
How God Redeems Even in the Midst of a Great Unknown
It feels a bit like this big, endless, scary expanse of nowhere. Yes, loss and gain, fear and hope, dreams and death, all can and do coexist for those of us who choose to live a real life in a real world. I doesn’t get prayed away, wished away, claimed away, or declared away.
It simply is.
It’s not about how much faith you have a don’t have, how much obedience you have or don’t have, it’s not about being one of the called or chosen, or “blessed to your socks.” It’s about real life living out your life with all its mistakes, failures, pains, unmet plans, and loss of expectations before a very real God who is present through it all. It is about conforming to his life and his image and not our own.
It is about crying and yelling and swearing and laughing, and dancing – all in the presence of a God who laughs, cries, yells, (without swearing) and dances with us.
It’s about feeling his embrace when there is nothing left to feel, and reaching for his hand in the dark knowing he will grab it. It is about holding on with all your might knowing he is holding on tighter – and will never, ever, let go.
It’s not about sin or shame, or regret, or guilt.
It’s about Jesus.
It’s about redemption.
I’m reaching. I’ve been reaching for a while. He’s been holding even longer.
My mothering days are almost over and we don’t have roots anywhere. We’ve moved too many times for my kids to really call any one place home and so they are scattered. Vermont feels most home-like to me. The only job I’ve known is coming to an end without any children or grandchildren who will be close enough for a cup of coffee. This is not normal empty nest as most “normal” people either hold jobs, don’t homeeschool for over thirty years, don’t have children twenty years apart, and don’t move twenty times in thirty-five years. There is a lot of loss of dreams and expectations.
Then there is the loss of plans that Dave and I held for our beyond middle ages. We were going to be established enough that all of the sacrifices would pay off and his many weeks of vacation would allow us to visit the kids, even if he couldn’t retire for many years. Then retirement from IBM would give us enough to get by…
The dreams didn’t include job losses, IBM screwing their employees with retirement and an economy that produced layoffs. Or that retirement for thousands of Americans would be a thing of the past. All that’s OK – few countries have retirement – but with a tanked economy that makes life itself tough – this country aint what it used to be.
So today as I stood in the vast and endless Oklahoma sky waiting to see one of my kiddos tomorrow, I took pleasure in knowing that no matter how small and insignificant I felt in that endless landscape, the speck who is me was precisely located on God’s GPS.
Though the looming horizon was scary and bigger than life, it also seemed to speak of endless possibilities blowing in any direction with the power of the wind.
The power of the Spirit hovering over the land and beckoning it to grow, and move, and be.
We enjoy each moment as held by an infinite God; the future is his palette and Dave and I still have lots of bristles left on our brushes for laying down the colors of our lives.
The future is out there under blue skies and thunderstorms just waiting to be revealed. Just like this signs, I have a fixed position within the sprawling expanse called life and God is always fixed beside me.
When I stop, I can almost hear a still small voice rustling through the grass.