The Empty Nest…To God Be the Glory!

I remember holding my first born son, looking into his face and marveling at the miracle of life. How perfectly formed he was and just in awe that this child was a part of me and my husband.  It was pure love as God intended.  The same love He has for me. I wondered what his voice would sound like, what his personality would be and what would he like to do.  When my other sons were born I could see many similarities among them but also the differences that made them unique.  I adored being a mother and guiding these little boys into life nurturing them in the Christian faith.

Now years later in my empty nest I again marvel at each of their unique qualities that have formed them into the men that they are now.  My heart bursts with pride as I continue to acknowledge God who gave them to me for a season to raise.  They each went to college and are working in the field that they received their degree in which matches the personalities and gifts that God blessed them with.

My oldest is a personal trainer with a heart for helping people achieve weight loss and fitness and maintain a healthy lifestyle. He is passionate about his work even writing a work out for me to do at home as I am on the other side of the country from him.

My second son is an account executive for a major health insurance company. The knowledge he has acquired helps large companies offer health insurance and healthy incentives to their employees.  He has been a great help to my husband and I with questions we have about health insurance as we grow older.

My third son is a diesel and automotive mechanic.  He doesn’t hesitate to go out at night and other inconvenient times to help a friend in need with a disabled vehicle.  He comes well recommended in his field and is a source of help to his family as well when it come to car buying and repair.

My fourth son is a physical therapist.  He is passionate about helping people recover from injuries, surgeries, strokes and other health issues.  His greatest success story is helping an elderly man walk again whom the doctor’s had given no hope for that.

Although their vocations are different they all are similar in that they help others in a life need.  I look back to when I gazed into their eyes as newborns and just marvel at what God has produced.  My empty nest is blessed.  To God be the glory!

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Monday Musings….

I keep saying that I feel change is a foot in my life.  I feel in my spirit that I am on the cusp of something new but it hasn’t been revealed to me yet.  I had an inkling of it today at work but just an inkling.  Nothing definitive.  I spent much time in prayer today but no specific answer.  Although a peace began to pervade my being. It began slowly and now envelops my entire being. I rest in the presence of my Savior and wait on His timing.  I will walk into Tuesday expectantly.

What? I’m not Immortal?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”

All kidding aside, I think I discovered i wasn’t immortal when I was about 8 or 9 years old or so.  I had been attending Sunday school since I was at least 4 years old and heard the Bible stories about Jesus and heaven and accepted them with no question.  That was until that Sunday riding home from church with my Mom when I was 8 or 9 when I asked my mom who Jesus really was.  Her answer was that he was just a prophet.  Well that didn’t sit well with me.  So I asked her if heaven was a real place.  She answered that it wasn’t real but just a place they tell people about to make them feel good about dying.  I rode in silence the rest of the way home pondering what this meant because inside of me I felt there was more to this than what she said.

My child mind wrestled with this and i think it was because that was the first time I thought about the fact that I could die.  I couldn’t imagine not being here.  It became the stuff of nightmares or just bad dreams.  I would have a recurring dream that a tornado was coming and my mother left me behind in escaping the tornado.  Oh, wait a minute that was the dream caused from watching “The Wizard of Oz”.  Or was it?  Anyway I really wanted to believe that there was a heaven because I didn’t want to die.

Well that didn’t continue to consume my thoughts as I grew but it was in the back of my mind.  Fast forward to my college years.  I was walking out of a grocery store when I was approached by two students from another college.  They asked me if I was saved.  Saved from what I wondered aloud.  They answered that I needed to be born again or I would go to hell. How on earth could I be born again?  This was just plain weird. I quickly made my escape from them wondering how I would know I was saved.  All I could picture was a lighting bolt striking me like an aha moment.

Fast forward again to when my first child was born.  I felt the itch to go back to church feeling that my son needed that experience.  I spent some time thinking about that and wondering what church to go to when a neighbor invited us to a neighborhood Christmas party. While there they talked a lot about their church. Is this a coincidence or what?  So I asked them where they went to church as we were looking for one and they invited us to go with them on Sunday.  So we went and were warmly welcomed.  One Sunday I came home from church and read a Sunday school paper I had received that day.  There was a story about a truck driver answering another drivers questions about what it meant to be born again.  What?  That term again!  He told the man to read John 3 in the Bible.  So I pulled out my Bible and began to read John 3…

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night, and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’  Jesus answered and sad to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old?  He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

Wow there it was in the Bible!  My questions going back to my childhood being answered.  I continued to read and when I read the 16th verse it clicked for me.  “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  Jesus is the Son of God and heaven is real!  I prayed to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior at that moment.

33 years have passed since that day.  I am still walking with the Lord and love Him with all my heart, soul and mind.  My physical body is mortal but my soul is immortal.

The Empty Nest…Letting Go and Letting God

I read the post by hlhivy, Defeathering the Nest, last night and continued to think on that since.  It brought me back to the years I was raising my boys and in hind sight how quickly those years went by.  One of the hardest things I found in parenting was when the boys began to leave the nest. When they were teenagers and began to really stretch their wings and exert their independence I figured that I would be prepared when they actually took flight. Boy was I wrong!  I have 4 sons and each one left differently and it was very emotional.  The one that was the hardest was my 3rd son, Kevin.  He was my high maintenance child in the sense that I needed to make sure he had something constructive to do because when he was at loose ends watch out! He was born running and never stopped.  Toward the end of his senior year in high school he came home one day shortly after he turned 18 and announced that he had enlisted in the U.S Marine Corps.  Not a total surprise as he had talked about this often through out his high school years especially after 9/11 but now this was reality and it was war time.

What made it difficult for me was that I would have absolutely no control over his life at this time.  He was now government property so to speak and he had made this choice on his own.  Not that I should have had control over his life.  He was 18 and an adult in the eyes of the world.  But after 18 years of monitoring his life it was like an instant cut off.  So I did the only thing I could do which was let go and let God take him from there.  The only contact I would have with him during boot camp was through letters so I wrote a letter to him every day and prayed. It was a long 13 weeks and then we got to see him graduate.  That was a proud day.  He was a U.S Marine!  He survived it without me and had grown from a boy into a man.  He then went off for training and was gone for another 4 months.  I breathed easier during this time I guess because he was okay and I could have phone conversations with him.  He graduated from training and came home for a week before he had to report to his assigned base.  No amount of foreknowledge prepared me for what happened next.  He came home the first weekend after reporting for duty.  He looked me in the eye and said, “Mom, I’m going”.  I didn’t even have to ask I knew what he meant. Fear gripped my heart but I looked him in the eye and said, “Iraq?”

He said,  “its going to be okay Mom, I am ready and willing to do this.”

I won’t lie.  I was feeling a gamut of emotions from being terrified  to being so proud of him to feeling the peace that only God could provide.  Again I knew all I could do was let go and let God take this.  I couldn’t watch or read the news.  Instead I prayed and wrote letters.  I was comforted knowing he was well trained.  He was always extremely loyal to his friends and family so I knew he had the inner strength to tough it out and to accomplish the goal and he had the loyalty to his fellow Marines to watch their back and to his country to want to protect it.  My husband and I had nurtured him in the Christian faith, taught him, disciplined him, and prayed for him as instructed by God.  So, train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6)  Now it was time to really let him go and let God take him from there .

He served 8 years with 2 tours in Iraq.  He was fortunate not to have lost his life or suffer any physical injury but as I now know first hand no one comes home from war unscathed.  He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress and his fiancee broke their engagement when he returned.  He is doing better now, working and living on his own in another city but will never be the same as he was before war.

I have learned so much as a mom and grown as a person from this experience.  I know that we all change due to circumstances and choices and that is life.  God will use these experiences for His glory if we let Him.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Chapters of Life

A new chapter to my life story is being written. It has only been within the last decade that I have thought of my life in chapters. That is when I surpassed the half century mark and could look back and see my life in chapters.

CHAPTER 1: CHILDHOOD:  That carefree, no real responsibility time of life that feels in some ways it was just yesterday but  in others like it is someone else’s life.  Childhood was also what began to shape who I am today.  The good and the bad.  There was the painful part like being the last person chosen for a team in gym class which spiraled my self esteem into the toilet.  My father was of the old school thought that children should be seen not heard so I learned early on to keep my  mouth shut. I was painfully shy so I never participated in classroom discussions. Hmm…seems I am focusing on the negatives.  I know there were positives.  There had to be as I am here today.

CHAPTER 2: TEEN/YOUNG ADULT: Tumultuous teen years. No need to say anything else.  The teen years ended with a fantastic college experience.  I loved being independent and felt so invincible.  I felt as though I would be young forever and had so much to look forward to.

CHAPTER 3:  THE MARRIAGE AND CHILDBEARING chapter came next with responsibilities and busyness that I barely had a chance to contemplate the passage of time.  In that chapter there was a sub chapter as various memories and insecurities that started in the childhood chapter began to surface resulting in a time of deep depression.  Looking back I learned so much about myself, my faith and life during that depression.  It was something the Lord used to draw me closer to him.  So yes a very significant chapter in my life.

CHAPTER 4: MIDDLE AGE: A busy time with children growing up learning to drive, going to college, serving in the military, getting married.  Also a very busy chapter although with this one I began to notice the passage of time.  A few gray hairs and the thought that “hey, wait a minute where did the time go?  Weren’t my parents just this age?”

CHAPTER 5: MIDDLE AGE PART 2: kids are grown and out of the house, hair is mostly all gray. New freedoms although still busy.  How is that?  I thought my busyness would subside when the kids left but I’m busier than ever.  Working full time does that I guess as we try to work in household chores and fun stuff on the weekends. Oh and the grandkids!

CHAPTER 6: WHERE I AM NOW:  This is currently being written. I am running 5k’s and power walking half marathons.  I am learning the violin and discovering that I can do so much more than I ever gave myself credit for. BUT  I am also facing a decision that needs to be made.  Is it time to r-e-t-i-r-e?  Am I really at this point in life already?  I feel that I am facing an insurmountable wall.  There are so many things to think about.  So I wait on the Lord.   “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)  More on this chapter in future blog posts….

Who I am and why I’m here

Ok, I signed up for blogging 101 to help me be better at blogging.  I am hoping to learn how to make my blog more presentable and interesting looking.  I have been keeping a personal journal for decades and will continue to but that is for more personal stuff that isn’t for all eyes to see.  It is my inner soul. I’ve chosen to publicly blog so I can write about things I am passionate about or write about things I’ve learned from life that may be of interest to others.  I’ve found that I learn a lot from others experiences so maybe others will learn from mine.  I hope to continue blogging regularly and maybe by the end of the year I will have enough material to write the book I have always wanted to write.

I am 62 years old and still wonder where did all the years go? But then I look back at my very full life and see some amazing accomplishments.  I’ve been married to the love of my life for 38 years, we have raised 4 sons, I’ve over come depression, I’ve done some traveling and most importantly of all I love the Lord God with all my heart, soul and mind.