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Empty Nest

It's the first day of my empty nest.  

Richard and I are accustomed to finding ourselves home alone.  My son Davy, 21, left Labour Day for his 4th year of university.  We expect to see him occasionally on weekends.  Last Thursday at Toronto Airport we said goodbye to our 23 year old daughter.

Katherine, who was at Bible school in Germany for most of the year, after graduating university, returned in mid-April to pursue gainful employment. She did a dance between two jobs, serving gelato and helping her Dad with mission projects in Africa.  

Davy juggled three diverse jobs—lifeguard at a provincial pool, and both landscaper and junior waiter at a fine restaurant, all made possible by the takeover of my car!  We also had lots of visitors this summer, so without a doubt there will be mixed emotions as Fall unfolds.  Moms… you know what it means to get your home back—perhaps your car too.   Shoveling and cleaning have begun in the reclamation project in this nest!

Whether it has gone quiet on the home front, or you are riding the roller coaster of new beginnings, you need to be resilient and lean into the One who provides the resources and has the plan! 

Discerning God's will can be a stressor for all of us through the seasons of life.   For students investing thousands of dollars in a university education, finding the best path can be a major challenge.  Recent statistics reveal that only 25% of university graduates are working in the area of their studies.   From earliest days, parents have the radar up as we do our best to help our children discover their bent—the gifts and talents that will take them to their destiny purpose—God's unique, special plan that was wired into them in the womb!

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."   Psalm 139:13,16

At the beginning of his third year of university specializing in psychology, Davy realized that he had a keen interest in business.  By mid-year he was miserably trapped and desperately seeking direction.  He consulted with trusted friends, and sought God's wisdom.  The process revealed an ideal course that he could take after earning his psychology degree.  He could continue to co-habit with six other guys without the disruption of changing universities and his study path.  The peace of this happy resolution was wonderfully evident in our son.

(Katherine, Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese and Victoria Shaw)

Friends also played a role in the wonderful opportunity that opened for Katherine.    For the next 8 months, she and Victoria Shaw will be interns at Uganda Christian University in Africa with Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese of SAVE THE MOTHERS.   Crossroads partners with Jean, (a recent recipient of The Order of Canada,) and the ministry she founded, that is saving the lives of mothers and babies in a country where 6,000 women die every year in childbirth.  

The faithfulness of God in connecting the dots in our kids' career paths is sweet to celebrate.

Katherine was a preschooler when she boldly declared: "Mommy, I want to live in a hot country with poor people."  

When we travelled to Africa in 2004 on our first family missions trip, it was evident that Katherine was right at home in a different culture and climate.  Her love of the people there has taken her back four more times, the last trip as team co-leader.  And now, my mother's heart wonders how the Lord's purpose and calling will be illuminated by this adventure.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" is the assurance of Psalm 37:4.   Clearly, our Heavenly Father plants the seeds of desire and destiny when He is forming our treasures.  David said, "You hem me in, behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me."  (Psalm 139:5)  Now those are comforting words when children are out of sight.   And here's a powerful encouragement they may need right now:

"The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you."   Psalm 32:8 NLT

Hey Mom, whether you are so busy you hardly have time to read this, or you are wrestling with direction and purpose because your nest is now empty, let me hit you with my best shot!  As I take stock of my new year, amidst ever changing seasons of life, my favourite confidence is articulated by David:

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me."  Psalm 138:8

PS: Thanks Davy for returning my car clean!

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