Monday, April 21, 2008

A New Season

My mom wrote this beautiful "post" even though she doesn't have a blog, and e-mailed it to the family, and I thought it was so great that I wanted to share it with you all. It's kind of long, but worth the read!

Our Quiver was Full, but Now the Nest is Empty

Psalm 127: 3-5 "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."

Our Quiver was very full. We were blessed with four beautiful children, two boys and two girls. Last week we helped our 20 year old son, the youngest, move into his own apartment. We helped him sort all his belongings in three groups - throw away, give away, and keep. He's a keeper, so not much went into the first two piles. He borrowed a trailer from a friend, and hooked it up to his monster truck. Thankfully he had friends to help him load up, sparing his mom and dad from the heavy lifting. It would ultimately take two trips with a full trailer, truck and car to haul it all to his new place. He, and all his things, are gone. The nest is indeed.... empty.

After we arrived at his new place, I soon busied myself unpacking and setting up his kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. I didn't mind the the back-straining work too much, it was a welcome distraction from all the sadness I was feeling in my heart. As I progressed through all the boxes and bins, I found myself re-living so many memories in my mind. First, I thought about when we moved our first child out of the house, to a college dorm two hours away. I remembered experiencing the deep, heart-aching pain, and non-stop tears for an entire week. I grieved not for her leaving as much as for the end to that season of life we had with her.

What I ultimately learned though, was my life with her was not over, but that a new adult relationship with her was beginning. My sadness for losing what we had as a parent-child relationship was soon replaced with the joy and challenge of a new relationship with a wonderful adult woman whom we loved very much. That lesson served me well, so as each successive child left the nest, I soon was able to replace my sadness for their leaving with great anticipation of the new adult relationship that we would be developing. As each child left the nest, it did get easier for me to accept.

As I finished unpacking the last of my son's kitchen boxes, I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I felt God speaking to me in a voice that was certain, "You and John have done a wonderful job, you gave your children everything you could, you loved them unconditionally, you taught them to know Me, their heavenly father, and accept my Son, Jesus, as their savior. Well done!" We were affirmed!

As I put away all my son's clothes, (which took a while, since he refuses to part with any of his favorite t-shirts!), I was able to recount in my mind, all the major events in his life, from birth up until now. I felt so blessed by those memories, since lately my memory is definitely not what it used to be. I've read that when we get older our problem is not lack of memory, but lack of recall! Everything that we have experienced in life is stored in each of our massively underused brains, if only we knew how to access it. Somehow, the simple act of unpacking gave me unlimited access to so much detail of my memories of his life so far. And when my thoughts reached our current point in time, the unpacking was done. How perfect!

For about a month now, friends and family have lamented to us, "With the last one leaving, your nest will be empty!", they seemed concerned as to how we were going to fare through it all. I wondered why an empty nest has to be such a negative time in our lives? It occurred to me that if we believe what God's word teaches us In Psalm 127 - that children are a blessing from God, and that a "full quiver" of them is also a blessing, then shouldn't their eventual leaving the nest, as independent adults, also be a blessing as well? Yes, we will miss seeing them and living under the same roof with them, but I hope we will also be thankful for those many blessings, and see the empty nest as part of His plan for us.

As a little girl I remember each spring, watching in wonder,as a couple of birds would build a tiny little nest up high in the eaves of the front porch of our family home. We watched them use small twigs, leaves, string, and anything else they could find in our yard. One time they even used a broken shoelace discarded from my brother's shoe!

Eventually, we would see one of the birds just sitting in the nest and not leaving. We knew it must be the mom sitting on her eggs, because she never left, and the other (daddy) bird would bring her worms to eat. We anxiously watched and waited (what seemed like an eternity!) for the baby birds to hatch. Finally, the day would come, and we would hear very loud chirping coming from our front porch, The babies had hatched!

Both mommy and daddy bird worked feverishly, day and night, taking turns leaving the nest and returning with food, and shoving it down their baby bird's throats with their beaks. The babies grew quickly, and soon, could barely all fit in the small nest, until one day, sadly, they were all gone. The little birds left the family nest! But guess what, so did the mom and dad!

The parents had stayed with the little ones until they all grew too big for the nest, and wanted to go out on their own, and so they left. Mom and dad, having completed their task, were now free to leave the nest too, free to set new goals and discover new adventures for them both. God's perfect plan.

I decided this week, I want to be like the birds. Our little birdies have grown too big for the nest, thanks to all our hard work and dedication to them, and when it was time, they left. I want to feel like the birds, free to see the world, free to pursue new goals, and discover what new missions God has in store for my husband and myself. I look forward to all the blessings we will have with our adult children and now their children, and so on. Hopefully they will remember the good things we did in our little nest, and pass those on. It will be our legacy.

Our quiver was full, the nest is empty, but now, these birds are ready to soar!

posted by Olive U.

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To Think is to Create said...


The Flip Flop Mamma! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

Oh, I loved it! Why doesn't she have a blog?? I see where you and Arianne got all your wisdom!

Erin said...

I now see where you get your way of writing. What a wonderful post!

Anonymous said...

I told Arianne your mama needs a blog! This is beautiful! Left me sobbing twice now!

Mandy said...

That is so well written. I often think with sadness about the day my children grow up and move out. This gives new perspective to that day! I read your blog often. :)

It's a Beautiful Ride said...

As much as I don't look forward to standing on that side of the fence, how proud she is for the nest she tended to...... I look forward to being able to smile in amazement.........

Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Just wonderful. I have seen this in my parents also. Their last child moved out last year and its difficult a interesting period in your parents life. She wrote a wonderful letter. She does need a blog.

Savvy Auntie Melanie Notkin said...

Now I see where you and Arianne Get your talent and compassion from!

Mimi's Toes said...

What a great post...pass the tissue please. I wish I could write like that.

Jordan said...

That was beautiful. Your mom and dad have accomplished the ultimate goal, all 4 of their children know the Lord. What a blessing!

This Military Mama said...

I love your mom. She is such a great example of an excellant womane, wife, and mom.

She taught you and Arianne well!

~love said...

what beautifully inspiring words from your mom. i'm going to print them out and put them in my bible. i will not truly need them for almost 2 decades....but my heart has already been burdened by the thought of this time eventually coming. and i don't want to be burdened. i want to be grateful, proud and ready to soar, too.
thank you.