The Birds Have Flown the Nest, Now What?

In the August of 2012, my husband and I moved our youngest son, Tom, into college to be roommates with his older brother who would be a senior. Now they were both gone and I felt like my whole life purpose had just walked out the door with them. As a stay at home mom, I poured my whole life into those boys. It was a very rewarding and enjoyable purpose in my life.

Now I was lonely. The house was quiet. Friends weren’t coming through the door at all hours and staying for dinner anymore. As a people person, having others around energizes me. Now what was I going to do? What was my purpose now?

When my father passed away, I watched my mother whither away with him. She had been an empty nester for about 15 years already and now she was completely alone. She spent the remaining 17 years of her widowhood sitting on the sofa, waiting for her friends and children to call and visit her. She did nothing with her remaining years. No amount of coaxing or encouragement could convince her to volunteer, take classes or do anything. She had died on the inside. I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. Folks, the Lord made us for a purpose. When one is finished, we need to figure out what the next one is. There is another purpose. We are never finished serving the Lord on this earth until we take our last breath. We have value at every part of our lives. Not just while we’re raising children or married to our spouse. When the children leave, we need to figure out what new thing we can now bring to the table for Jesus.

Listen to the Holy Spirit then Take That Step of Faith:

The only one who can tell you what your new purpose will be is the Holy Spirit. So it is very critical that you are listening to Him because this is a unique time of opportunity to be in the service of the Lord that you have probably never had before. I’m not just addressing stay at home moms here. Dads, if you are retired or semi retired from your career and the kids are gone, whatever the reason, you have time on your hands. What will you do with it? Retirement is never mentioned in the bible. I believe everything we own is the Lords. Including our time.

We need to make sure we are not just doing what we want or what someone else wants us to do, but staying in Gods will. Be careful. There are plenty of people who will be all too willing to help us fill our void by helping them further their cause. It’s ok to say no to them if their passion isn’t yours.

My Story:

In the fall of 2013, the Holy Spirit was nudging me to go back to school and take Theology classes. I thought about getting my masters but really didn’t think I had what it took to do it, I didn’t want to give up my free time and didn’t think my husband was up for the sacrifice. So I kept ignoring God’s whisper. But the Lord kept stirring my heart and spoke to me in different ways: Through my bible study leaders lectures, Christian talk radio, books and scripture. I had been reading John Ortberg’s book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. On spiritual gifts, Ortberg writes,

“We are all equipped and expected to contribute. All humans give their lives to something. What will you give your life to? Will it be worthy? The opportunity to use whatever gifts you have in the service of the Lord of the Gift is the chance of a lifetime. But it will slip away from you unless you are very intentional. The time to respond is at once.”

In Matthew 14:26-29, Peter walks on water with Jesus at Jesus’ command, “come.” Think of what this means. Peter had the chance to do something extraordinary with the Lord and he took it. This was the chance of a lifetime. Peter didn’t say, “Hmmm, well, let me think about it. Are you sure Jesus?” Jesus is offering him the chance to walk on water with Him! Who gets to do that? He jumped in and obeyed. He only had once chance. If he missed it, it might never come again. In fact, it never did. There are no more accounts in the bible of Jesus or anyone walking on water after this. This is what we need to do as Christians. When Jesus calls us to an opportunity to walk with Him, we need to take it and do it at once. That opportunity may never come again. Or, Jesus may use someone else. That would devastate me. That’s all I needed to hear. I knew I might never get this chance again. I applied and was accepted to Biola University to get a Masters Degree in Christian Apologetics.

My boat was my free time. What is your boat? What are you not willing to give up to be in the service of the Lord? Are you willing to miss the opportunity of a lifetime to let the Lord show you what you can do through Him? Is the cost too high? He has the power over all things. Jesus can calm whatever storms come our way. The Lord has been holding me by my right hand all the way through this program. I try to remember Philippians 4:13 whenever I feel overwhelmed: I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Oh, and those fears I told the Lord about? We take plenty of vacations, my husband not only approved, now we are doing the MA program together, and our marriage has been so blessed by it. Not only can I do this, but the Lord has allowed me to do very well. We are now half way through the program. That is how God provided for me. He took my fears away, took care of them, and then went one better when I stepped out of the boat. I am not looking back. What an adventure! God has shown me that I don’t need to be afraid of anything when I step out of the boat in His will.

What is it that the Lord is calling you to do in this phase of your life? What is your boat that you’re not willing to get out of? Is it your time? Comfort? What are you not willing to give up to serve the Lord? Listen to the Holy Spirit’s whisper to you. There’s no need to fear when you step out of the boat in His will. Then when the Lord calls you, get out of your boat, take Jesus’ hand and follow Him to an adventure that will test your faith, show you His glory and change your life forever. You will then see Him for who He really is and you will never be the same.