Tuesday, July 3, 2012

When you face the empty nest for the last time...

We have three children... Our first son, Tommy, turned 35 this year! Wow, how did that happen?!!! He is married to Rebecca and they have our first grandson, Heston. They live here in Birmingham so we are able to see them often. Our second son, Brent, just married Lacy, last February. They also live here in Birmingham and I am loving that they chose to live in my Mothers house after she passed away. It is great to see my growing up home, turn into their new home.

 I love having my boys and their families in town with us. When they left home and went to collage, it was a new chapter in our lives. I missed them terribly and the growing up chapters that we had with them... But our house was still busy because Lara was home. She is 12 years younger than Tommy and 8 years younger than Brent.  Empty nest?.... not quite yet... we still had years before Lara would be venturing out on her own. Right?   WRONG!!!! It came overnight!! All of a sudden, she was a senior, then the next moment, she was heading off to Baylor... way out in Waco, Texas!! The next four years, she was gone but still came home. She didn`t make it home often, but she did come "home" several times a year then for the summer.

Now, she has graduated, moved to Knoxville to work and I am experiencing the empty nest syndrome for the first time.. This last year, it has become so clear what that means.. No more children home... our job of raising them, from infant to young adult... is over. It just happened. Life happens...
I heard yesterday that you have a relationship with your children for much longer as an adult than you did when they were children... Never really thought about that in that way, but it is true. Now, it is time to sit back and see if what you did was enough. Did you teach them enough when they were in your care?. Did you show them by example, what to do in situations? Did we show them how to be there for others, how to be respectful to others, how to be good listeners, how to show compassion to others as God does for us? Did we teach them how to handle the hard times, how to manage finances, how to make priorities, how to love,? Did we teach them how to always do their best, how to never give up how to fight the good fight, how to run this race of life? How to put God first? Did we do enough?

Those are all thoughts that run through my mind, but at this point, it is no longer in our hands to go back and wonder. The best thing we can do now, is to turn them over to God each day. They are in His hands as they always have been. What a blessing that is for this Mother to know that I can`t be there with them physically like when they were small, but He can and He is.

 My heart is happy when one of them calls to tell me something that happened or just calls to say hello for no reason. God is good like that... to still shower gifts down with your children`s actions....
As I am looking at pictures that Lara took last week on her trip, it makes my heart happy to see what God is doing in her life.

 She is an intern with the senior high group at Two Rivers Church in Knoxville and last week, the youth, went to Jacksonville to do Bible School and work for a church there. She was in charge of much of the activities and it was a big challange to get it all done. She loves mission trips but has never been on one where she had helped plan, like this one. As I looked at her pictures each day, it brought back memories of old high school trips that I went on. Those trips are still a huge part of my memories. I know this trip made memories for all of those who went. Seeds were planted and some may not grow for years, but the Word was taken and shared to these precious children there by all of these precious young people from Knoxville.

I feel so blessed to know that as my house is empty of children, God has taken each one of mine and placed them exactly where He had planned for them to be. He is in control and that makes my heart smile....

  Ready for worship in Jacksonville, where they are sleeping in the gym!

"I am God`s artwork"!!!

Their days were filled with construction and Bible School for the children.  I love this chalk picture they did on the street with the children...

Chris, Lara`s boss! He is one of the reasons that I love her job!! To be working along side this awesome man of God, is a great place to be. He is so "on fire" for God and these young people. They are all blessed to have him there at the church with them. He has just been called to be a church planter in Chattanooga for next year. I know there are exciting things waiting for him and his family as they contemplate moving but those who he is leaving, will be missing them terribly!!

The last day, they drove early in the morning to Disney!! It was a great day for them to have fun and enjoy each other after their busy week... After Saturday ended, they got on their buses for an all night bus drive back to Knoxville. What a week they had!  This is what it is all about. With all the negative we hear about children getting into trouble, this is what they all should have the opportunity to be involved in.

So, empty nest? Yes... but new chapters that are so exciting to be opening and seeing what He has written for each of us.... I always told my Tom that it was a good thing we liked each other since we are the only faces we see each night when we are home!!

Have a great day! If you still have children  still at home, enjoy every minute with them. The years  go by so quickly!!


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