Facing the Empty Nest

Who is like you, O Lord? Your beauty is in all your creation. The words welled up in my aching heart as I sat alone outside my campgrounds tent.

No longer would I hold the hand of a small boy and guide him through life. My youngest son would soon be off to college. His whole senior year had been a series of goodbyes: his last high school drama, his last forensic competition, his last musical play, his last choral concert, his last prom. Then graduation. Would this be our last vacation as a family?

A Great sadness engulfed me. My life was changing, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to face the empty nest.

But somehow I sensed God reaching out to comfort me in the unfolding beauty of dawn. Dry weeds hugging the sandy soil like a delicate carpet of dusty rose. Oak trees standing tall against a blue sky, their leaves shining in the rising sun. In a flash of black and white, a red-headed woodpecker flew to a nearby tree, its busy rat-a-tat-tats echoing in the quiet of the morning. Below, a chipmunk darted across the campgrounds in bursts of quick rhythm.

Then I caught my breath. A small, fair-haired boy marched up the hill to the bathhouse, shouting, “I’m Jeremy! Follow me!”

His words hung in the air as I remembered a similar call years ago. “I’m Jesus. Come, follow me!”

I’ve never regretted answering His call. Through good times and bad, I’ve experienced God’s unfailing love. One thing will never change. I can go fearlessly into the coming years because my God will go with me. ¬†Therefore, today and every day …

Focus:¬†“My soul will rejoice in the lord and delight in his salvation. My whole being will exclaim, ‘Who is like you, O Lord?’ ~ Psalm 35:9-10, New International Version.

NOTE: This piece first appeared Sing a New Song, an anthology of devotions for women complied by Mary Beckwith (Evergreen Publications, 1991). Funny how, though I wrote it many years ago, its truth encourages me today.

How about you? What gives you the confidence to face uncertain days?

(The blog post adapted from a July 1991 piece published by Together in Faith in my ten-year column, Love With Shoes On.)