Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Who Am I? The Empty Nest Syndrome



Free stock photo of forest, trees, fog, foggy

I spent the first third of my life searching for my identity as I grew from an infant into an adult. After high school, I married and had three children, about eighteen months apart.

I served my husband as Sarah served Abraham (1 Peter 3:6), centering my focus on him and his needs. In the churches in which he served, I taught in the children’s ministries, and discipled and mentored the women.

Although years earlier I came to understand my need for a relationship with the true and living God through Jesus Christ, presently my obsessive busyness pervaded every moment of my life. I busily served God vicariously through my ministry to my family and our church.

I knew God; yet, I did not know how to be one with Him. I loved Him, claimed His promises for my life and spent my days trying very desperately to please Him. I knew my eternal Salvation was guaranteed by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

However, I was so active for God that these distractions prevented a qualitative relationship with Him.

I stayed at home with my children in their toddler years, then home schooled them through part of their elementary years, and centered my life around my husband’s and children’s needs, activities and interests during their high school years.

I went to every ball game, band concert, art exhibit, school function, church program and Martial Arts event they participated in. I taught them to cook, keep up their own laundry, clean a home and balance their checkbook. Then, they launched out into college, one right after the other.

One day, I came to the sudden realization that they did not need me any longer. They had lives of their own. The empty nest took me by complete surprise. My identity disintegrated. My husband resented me for clinging to him to fulfill my ravenous need for focused attention.

I was alone for much of the time. I had no idea what to do with myself! I still read my Bible, went to the church activities and volunteered in the community; but I was not used to receiving so little attention on a daily basis.

With a melancholy personality, I battled depression and aimlessness. The empty house and the barren loneliness haunted me. I spent most of my day in quiet contemplation of God's Word in an attempt to find His will for the rest of my life.

One day during my quiet time, I thought about the disciples in the upper room. They waited for days for the Holy Spirit of God to come to them, as Jesus promised (Acts 2:1-6; Luke 24:49). During this time in my life, I decided to wait quietly on the Lord too.

This became my own personal Pentecost: a time where day after day I stayed in my prayer closet, until the Lord revealed Himself to me more intimately than ever before. I totally surrendered my will and my life to Him. I truly felt like we were one, just as He and God were one (John 17:21).

As I continued to sit quietly at Jesus’ feet over the next few days, weeks and months (Luke 10:42), God required that I completely empty myself of all of my negative thoughts and feelings. He taught me how to stay connected to His Holy Spirit throughout the day (Galatians 5:16, 25; Ezekiel 36:27; Romans 8:1, 4).

I realized from that moment on that our ministry to our family, our church, our workplace and our community should flow out of this intimate relationship with Christ, rather than out of our human gifts and calling.

The hollow place within me eventually filled with His peace and joy that transcended all of the circumstances in my life, which gradually deteriorated over the next few years (Philippians 4:6-7; Ephesians 3:16-19 Amplified Bible). I am eternally grateful for these silent moments alone with God, who led me to a whole new satisfying life in His presence.

Prayer:
Father God, Your Spirit within us allows us to ride serenely in the wake of every storm in our life. We are never alone or lonely, because You live within us. You fill us and fulfill us and make us complete in You (Hebrews 13:5; Colossians 1:27, 2:10; Romans 15:13). Your love pours over us like a waterfall, if we will quiet our soul – our mind, will and emotions – long enough to experience it (Psalm 46:10; Isaiah 58:11).

Even when we are alone, we are never lonely. Your unconditional love, Your presence within us, and Your Spirit's guidance transcend any lapse in the circumstances of our life. You are truly all we need. Thank You that as we abide in You, we have Your love that surpasses anything available to us on this human plane. Each and every day, You fill us through all of our being with all of Your fullness and You give us the richest measure of Your Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible).

Thought for the Day:
We are complete in Christ, lacking nothing; even to the point of traversing our various trials with His joy in our heart.
- Colossians 2:10; Psalm 23:1; James 1:4


No comments:

Post a Comment