When my youngest child left for college, I was a wreck. I had dreaded the emptying of my nest. It wasn’t that I didn’t love the idea of spending more time with my husband, but rather that I would miss time spent with my child. I love being a Mom! Jody and I have three children. Actually, we had three kids in three years – 37 months to be completely accurate. When you hear me say that my children hijacked my life, you may think this a bit severe. But, it is accurate. I guess that in the midst of raising my children, I developed a Stockholm syndrome – I began to love the chaos and adore my captors. Crazy, huh? Deep down, I loved the juggling of work, soccer schedules, dance practice, and washing wrestling singlets. I loved the sound of my three beautiful children and their friends as they laughed, played and grew up under my careful watch. I loved that I was forever out of milk, doing massive amounts of laundry and solving childhood problems. As I look back over those years, I realize that one of the reasons why it was so special is that I couldn’t have accomplished it on my own.
Jody and I clung to Jesus! Raising children with the goal of the Gospel was challenging. It also kept us on our knees. For my husband and me, it was a time of spiritual growth and a melding of our hearts. So, when my youngest son’s senior year of high school arrived, my heart began to ache. I tried to enjoy this chapter of his and my life, but I was reminded with every passing event that this would be the last prom, the last late-night study session and the last time that I would ground one of my kids😊. All who did life with me during these months heard me obsess over all this. Sorry. I was probably on every prayer list south of the mason Dixon line.
After my youngest son left the nest, and with the help of my patient and sometimes offended (that I wasn’t thrilled with the empty nest prospect) husband, I survived. Actually, WE thrived! I loved being a full-time Mom with children under my roof, but I came to love my life with only Jody and me under the roof! The house stayed clean, I stopped buying milk and I found that I only had to do laundry once a week! Nothing can diminish the treasure I have with the memories of my children. Memories of vacations, breakfast rituals and deep conversations at bedtime will always keep my heart warm and put a smile on my face. But, these memories testify to God’s truth that the seasons of life are every changing. Only God’s unchanging love lasts forever!
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Change is a part of life. Ecclesiastes tells us that changes are always happening all around us – changes are a natural part of life! Changes are best navigated with God’s help and with the help of a supportive spouse. Why, you ask? I believe that God provides the answer in the first book of Scripture – the book of Genesis. In Genesis and in one of God’s first comments about man, He says that it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). God designed us to be joined with others. He built us for community. And in His institution of marriage, He intends for marriage to reflect the Triune God in the three-in-one relationship between God, husband and wife. So, when change drives over your life and exposes cracks and crevices like only the weight of a Mack truck can do when driving over an old bridge, take comfort in knowing that that your spouse, with God’s help, can patch the cracks, help you over the bumpy parts and assure you of a smooth transition. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself without a spouse, do not fret. Jesus is more than capable of stepping into that role. And, true fellowship with a Gospel-believing community will help you too!
For me, this post is very timely. Tomorrow I come face-to-face with my next big change. Tomorrow I will retire from my 32-year career as a speech-language pathologist. Cue the Hallelujah choir! Work as a speech-language pathologist has been part of my identity. It has been a big part of who I am! I have held various titles in my career: staff speech therapist, pediatric director, private practice owner, and my last and favorite – Director of Therapy Operations for a wonderful rehabilitation hospital. Over the last 16 years, I have loved treating people, working with families and leading a great group of therapists. But nothing on earth can last forever. About 18 months ago, God began to make this nest uncomfortable. Actually, God, ever changing government regulations and a cranky boss😬, to be totally transparent! As I began to pray about how and when to take the next step, God began to deal with my heart and the heart of my husband. Saying no to a secure income is tough, but saying yes to unlimited possibilities with God is always a win!
Despite knowing this about God, I still battled doubt the closer I got to my retirement date. This change has caused me to take a close look at my heart and to reevaluate what I really believe - a worthy endeavor which has been good for my soul. Because my job always provided me with more than enough human contact, I found myself battling with an insecurity of potential loneliness. But, I thank God that He has faithfully reminded me that He is the one who orders my steps and that He will bring people into my open home and life. So like Paul in Acts 28:30, I am preparing and eager to be used, my home and heart are open!
Thankfully, I have a husband who marches through life with iron-clad feet. But Jody worries that I will be too busy with a host of new activities that leave him left all alone. An understandable worry, but not going to happen! I will continue to make my marriage a priority, and together Jody and I will faithfully serve God together!
My most surprising insecurity has been my uncomfortable thought about being financially dependent on Jody. He is my kind and faithful husband, but I have had to resist the urge to stockpile items and shop for the next few seasons as if I’m expecting a drought. Perhaps over the last few decades I subconsciously decided that I was self-sufficient. Who knew? God knew! I thank God that He has taken this crazy worry and has yet again shown me and Jody that He is our source! And, this is one more reason why God authors change! God is the best parent, and like my desire to grow my children up in the Gospel, He desires the exact same for us!
I am not sure exactly what the next chapter will hold, but I am confident that God is plotting our path. The next chapter will surely be brimming over with Bible study, prayer, gospel conversations, blogging, discipling my sisters in the faith, playtime with my beautiful grandchildren, caring for aging parents, tons of travel, and possibly the writing of a book. Hey, and on second thought, pray for Jody. His worry may be merited. ☺️
Thank you for reading today’s post. As you also weather the next change in life, grab a hold of your spouse’s hand and together cling to Jesus! Allow God’s word to wash over your life and reveal to you the areas that need cleansing so that growth can occur!
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.