Friday, December 4, 2015

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Empty Nest

I know that this title seems a little strange, but read on and it will make sense :)   Today was a weird and emotional day.  Has anyone ever had one of those?  You know the kind where you are happy and sad at the same time?  Excited but reflective too?    Those are the kind of days that I am glad only come around every once in awhile!    By nature, I am a positive person.   So these are not my fun days!   But I thought it was poignant to share because I know that someone is dealing with similar things and it is always nice to know that you are not alone in what you deal with right? :)

As most of you know, I went through a divorce around 4 years ago.   My life was turned upside down and I found myself in very unfamiliar territory.   My son and I moved several states, I found myself at a new job, in a new place with some family but nobody else that I really knew.   I threw myself into making sure my son was good.  He was half way through his 8th grade year at the time.   He was my priority.  Making sure he was happy was sure to make me happy.  I fought my feelings of sadness, abandonment, rejection with telling myself that I had my priorities in the right place at the time.   I was being a good mom!   At least that was my thought process.   We had been in Fort Smith for about 5 months when I was doing a devotional one day and I felt the Lord clearly speak to me.

I felt Him tell me that I needed to be very careful.  That I needed to watch and NOT allow myself to be totally absorbed in just taking care of my son, or 4 years later, I would be dealing with the same issues all over again..feelings of sadness, abandonment, rejection, etc.    In other words, God was telling me to make sure that I was having a life as well!! :)

Today I took my son to a university for a college day.  Watching him listen as they described different aspects of college life, seeing the excitement on his face as he went in the bookstore to buy a sweatshirt, hearing him dream about his life away at school next year,  I began to have so many different emotions!    How real it is becoming that my time "raising" him is quickly coming to an end I will always be his mom, but my "responsibilities" are changing.     I thought of how proud I am of him and what a great young man he has become.   But I could not help but have thoughts about how he didn't really need me that much anymore.   That soon I would be living in my house alone.

I left him at the school overnight with his cousins and I came back home.   I sat on my couch and just stared at my Christmas tree.  I felt emotionally drained for some reason.  I began to think about how quiet my house was, would he really need me anymore?  Then all of the sudden, the words that I felt the Lord speak to me all those years ago came back to me!   I began to remind myself of the blessings that the Lord had put into my life the last few years.   God had brought us to a place that was not just good for my son, but also good for me!   He has blessed me with a great church, a great job, the most fabulous friends AND so much more.    Even though God had spoken the words to me years ago, they were very relevant to the moment!

I share this story because I thought it was important to remind you that God will always prepare your way.  He will speak to you if you will listen.   Sometimes, He tells us things that maybe do not make that much sense at the time that He shares it, but always becomes real to you when you need to hear it the most.   God spoke words to me almost 4 years ago, but not until today, did I really understand how relevant they are.    He is always there for us.  Always there preparing the way for us.  We need to remember that HE sees the big picture and knows what our futures hold.

If I would have allowed myself, I could have stayed on my couch today and felt very sorry for myself.  But God in His goodness and grace, gently reminded me that He had prepared me for such a time as this.  That He had filled my life with great blessings. That not only was He watching over my son and helping him to find his purpose for his life, but that He was there ready to continue using me and bringing new purpose to mine.

Sure my son still has to finish the rest of his senior year and will be at my house for another good 7 months or so, but God is so good that He doesn't wait to comfort and guide us until we really need it, but He steps in early to prepare us for the next chapter of our lives.   He has been with me step by step in this journey of life!   Today, He reminded me that He has no plans of going anywhere.   That seasons of life come and go and things will always change, but His love and purpose for us do not :)

In this thing called life with you!
April Phipps