Monday, December 5, 2016

Love is the Answer




Do you feel like something just isn't right in your life?  Do feelings of discontentment, unhappiness, frustration and guilt plague you?  Do you feel like you fail at every turn in an endless circle of besetting sin?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, I would ask you, how is your love life?   How have you've been loving others - spouses, children, family members, friends, co-workers, church family, acquaintances or even complete strangers?

Could it be that your negative feelings are wrapped up in not loving well?

Think back to a time when you felt truly happy and content.  What was going on in your life to make you feel that way?

You were probably actively loving well, cheerfully serving all you came in contact with.  Putting others before yourself.  

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, 
but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3

I would imagine your life was free from strife with your spouse, your children, your co-workers, and your church family.   

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

Now think back to a time when you felt unhappy and discontent.  What was going on in your life to make you feel that way?

If you are like me, one of the things that can weigh heavy upon me is a relationship that is strained or broken; it feels like a dark cloud that follows me everywhere... Feelings of discontentment, unhappiness, frustration and even guilt become my constant companions.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember 
that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift
 there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 5:23-24

Or do you ever think to yourself, "I can't even stand myself right now!"  I certainly have.  I get in such a mood and behave in a way that I know I shouldn't.   I realize I'm acting selfishly,  I feel miserable doing so, yet I continue in that manner anyway!

  But she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.
1 Timothy 5:6

Although this verse is speaking about spiritual death and a heart hardened toward the things of God, it is sobering, none-the-less, to think that every one of our selfish acts contributes to a life dead in sin, a life that has denied the abundant life Jesus offers, a life of discontentment, frustration, unhappiness and guilt...

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest. 
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; 
for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls.…
Matthew 11:28-29


Oh what encouragement this verse offers!  Are you weary and burdened by discontentment, frustration, unhappiness and guilt?  Do you desperately want to feel content, happy and experience the freedom that is yours in Christ Jesus?

All you need to do is come to Jesus.

If you have never committed your life to Him.  Let today be the day that you surrender your life of sin for a freed life hidden in Christ Jesus.  Jesus' death on the cross satisfies the debt we owed to a just God for our own sins.  He paid the ultimate price by sacrificing His life so that we would gain eternal life.

For those of you who are in Christ Jesus, return to Him this day.  Cry out to the Lord to renew your mind in Christ Jesus to rule in your heart once again.

New Believers and restored believers will have a happy and content life by taking a lesson from Jesus's great life of Love.  A life lived and died for others.

Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God 
something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, 
being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.…
Philippians 2:6-8

I don't think we realize how much bondage we put ourselves into when we live only for ourselves.  I'm sure we can all admit those times that although from outward appearances we did something selfless for somebody else, there was a hidden selfish motive driving the act.

How do we truly live a life free from the bondage of self, by sitting at the feet of the Master where we will find rest for our souls...

God's Word tells us that when we love others we have fulfilled the whole law.


Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:8-10


I saw this verse in a whole new light recently as I deeply reflected upon how many sins are wrapped up in not loving others well.  In fact, I would say that every sin could be connected to selfishness and not loving others.

Why is it so hard for us to love others, yet so easy to love ourselves?

It all started in the Garden of Eden when sin entered the world because of the selfish choice of wanting to be like God rather than to obey Him.

But just as sin entered the world through one man Adam, forgiveness of sins entered the world through the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

We can break free from the bondage of self and all the negative feelings that follow by truly living an obedient life surrendered to Christ.

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40


I heard a sermon yesterday by Chuck Swindoll on Wisdom where he said something that I thought was so interesting.  He said that most cases of asking for Wisdom revolve around relationships - how to love well.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
James 3:17

Indeed, when God's Word speaks of wisdom, the attributes listed are all related to how to love well.

When we are faced with difficult relationships, we can ask God for wisdom on how to love that person, despite the strain.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, 
who gives generously to all without finding fault, 
and it will be given to you.
James 1:5


You might still be thinking, I understand all of this, but sometimes it is just hard to give more of myself when I feel like I am being pulled in so many different directions, trying to satisfy the needs of everyone.  I'm loving people, but still feel discontent, frustrated and unhappy.

That's where Matthew 11:28-29 gives us hope. Jesus teaches us how to love and find rest for our souls...


When you think of the many vignettes in the Bible of Jesus' interactions with people, we see first and foremost that He spent time with His Heavenly Father.  Even when people were clamoring and things needed to be done.  He took time away to commune with His Father.

Jesus always quoted Scripture for any given situation.  God's Word was hidden in His heart.
You never saw Jesus stressed about anything.  Even in the most dire situations, like learning of Lazarus sickness, He waited and did not rush.  I'm not sure we see Him rushing at any time in the Bible.  And why didn't He rush or feel stressed, because of His close relationship with His Heavenly Father and His Trust in God's will for all situations.

May the love of Christ rule in your hearts and may that love spill out toward others so that you can enjoy a life of contentment and happiness which will testify of God's great love toward you.


Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  
 1 Corinthians 13:4-8



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home

Monday, November 28, 2016

Great is Thy Faithfulness

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving enjoying good food and sweet fellowship.

Since I took a vacation from blogging Thanksgiving week, I wanted to write a post that was in the spirit of Thanksgiving.  A post to share how the Lord has recently blessed me.

I guess I could call it a  Gratitude  Daybook "Monthbook".  :-)



For those of you who don't know, my husband and I recently became empty nesters.  It will be three weeks this Friday.  If you'd like to read about how I processed the first few days as an empty nester, you can find that post here.

Praising God that I am doing much, much better, and although I haven't really had a second to sit down and enjoy the solitude, it is starting to feel normal, and I actually don't mind it.

My husband and I managed to paint both of the recently vacated bedrooms last weekend.  I agonized over the colors.  You know how it is, it looks one way on the paint chip, but then you paint it on the walls and it looks a different color.  So this time I hung the paint swatches on the wall and moved them around to get a feel for any color changes that might happen with different lighting.

I settled on a light silver grey for the guest room, and a warm, rich tan color for my office/#2 guest room.  And I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE COLORS ON THE WALLS!

I definitely don't have the gift for decorating, but I will put together ideas in my head and hope for the best.  lol.   I am happy to report that both of these rooms are slowly but surely coming together.

Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved curtains.  As a child, I would draw pictures of houses, in my own primitive way, and every window would have curtains.    I always loved when my mom switched the curtains.  To me they just make a house look so homey.

It's been a really long time since I have used tie backs for my curtains.  I went through the valance stage, and just recently the sheers phase, with the panels hanging straight down.

One day when I was walking around the block with my granddaughter, I noticed the curtains in my neighbor's windows and thought to myself, "That's how I want to do mine!"  Like I said, I get very excited about curtains.  lol.

So today, with my new curtains already hung, I went through the rooms and tied them back, AND I LOVE THEM!!

Forgive the dark lighting, but it is a rainy and dreary day out there today.  :-)







I literally walk into these rooms now and smile!

I will share more pictures of the guest room and office/#2 guest room once I have them completely decorated.


It's definitely not the same without my granddaughter living here.  I miss the closeness that I enjoyed sharing the same house.  But I still get to see her almost every day since she only lives four minutes away!  :-)

Just before my daughter, son-in-law and Lexi moved, which happened to be right before Halloween, I got to share a sweet and funny walk with Lexi around the block.

She's in a new phase now where she gathers up all kinds of random things and wants to take them with her.

As you can see, she was doing a rehearsal for trick or treating.  lol.






Here's my little Peppa Pig on Halloween night.






My daughter surprised me with an invite to join she and Lexi for a nice autumn walk at one of our great parks.

Lexi finds her first geocache!




My granddaughter seems to be growing up so fast!  She is so observant which adds to her fierce independence.

I was at my daughter's house standing by the kitchen sink and heard the refrigerator door open.  I turned around and saw the refrigerator door open, but no one standing there.  I walked over to the fridge only to see Lexi with her empty cup enveloped in her right arm and her left arm pulling the jug of apple juice off the shelf.  Apparently, she decided that she was thirsty and was going to help herself to a drink!  lol.

Earlier that day, I had plated her favorite snack, cucumbers!  A little while later, she was in the kitchen pointing up at the carrots on the kitchen counter.  I noticed a plate there, but thought it was from the night before.  I went to go retrieve the plate that I placed her cucumbers on only to find it missing.  It was then that I realized, Lexi had put her empty plate on the counter ready for carrots.  lol.

And one more story.  Let's face it, I could blog about Lexi all day!  Haha!

I was folding some of my daughter's laundry.  (My daughter has the flu and a severe sinus infection.   So I am trying to pitch in and help.)  When I picked up my son-in-laws work pants, a long drill bit fell out.  Lexi promptly picked it up and walked over to their baker's rack and placed the drill bit over the screw.  She's her father's daughter!  lol.

A sweet moment between Lexi and her daddy at their new house.




My first text message from Lexi.  :-)  Haha.



My son and daughter-in-law recently went on a much deserved vacation to Punta Cana.  My son brought this back for me.


My son said he picked it out because he knew how much I would love it.  AND I DO!  It's perfect as I am in the process of looking for functional but decorative pieces for my new desk, and I LOVE OWLS!

And finally, as you may recall, we lost our beloved German Shepherd, Dakota, this past May.  He is buried in our backyard under a newly planted dogwood (fitting don't you think?) and beautiful perennials that my son-in-law picked out.

Despite having some colder weather in the evenings, the Lord has blessed us through October with continual blooms.



Amazing, amidst the fallen dead leaves, these beautiful purple flowers have been blooming since May!

It brings our family comfort reminding us that although Dakota is no longer with us, his memory will ALWAYS live on in our hearts.  How blessed we were to have such a sweet and very special dog in our lives.






Every Thanksgiving, I am always so grateful for the perpetual flowers of God's grace that bloom because He died for my sins and rose again that I may live with Him eternally.

The grave could not contain my Lord and Savior.  My victory over sin and death was accomplished by Christ rising from the dead.   He set me free!  


As I reflected upon 2016 this past Thanksgiving,  I had found God faithful.  He ALWAYS is...

And the promise God proved to me over and over again was...


Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5b



Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassion's, they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see. 
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, 
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above 
Join with all nature in manifold witness 
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see. 
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Chris Rice



Heavenly Father,

 Thank you Father, that no matter what kind of year I have had, on Thanksgiving and every day of the year, I will always find you faithful and always find you to be a promise-keeping God who deserves my praise and gratitude.

  Thank you dear Lord for all that you have done for me and all that you continue to do for me.

In Jesus Precious Name,
Amen


Which of God's promises has been meaningful to you this year?  I'd love to hear about it.




You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving Well-Wishes





Hello sweet friends,

I will be taking a blogging break to enjoy Thanksgiving week.

I hope you all have a very blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.  May God's abundant Grace be near and dear to your heart as you celebrate Thanksgiving with gratitude for all of God's provisions.

I will see you the Monday after Thanksgiving with all new posts!

Blessings,

Karen



Monday, November 14, 2016

When Trials Become Temptations...




When I first embarked on this blogging journey, my main desire was to share lessons the Lord had taught me.  In so doing, I was hoping to fill a void that was created when I stepped down from several ministry positions due to circumstances beyond my control.   I admit, my view was narrow, but having never blogged before, I'm not sure I really knew what the whole package would entail...

These past 22 months, I have been able to see just how far my words could go.  I never imagined that my blog posts would be read literally all around the world. The enormous responsibility to rightly handle the Word of Truth was not taken lightly by me.

I have learned that Spiritual Warfare will increase when the audience is as widespread as blogging platforms afford.

Of late, the spiritual attacks seem to be increasing for me.  I am becoming weary and thoughts of  giving up on blogging have been entertained.

As the trials have increased, I am unfortunately allowing Satan to hurl accusations.  "You are a poor representative of Christ.  You hypocrite! You Pharisee!"

What's worse is I have adopted an attitude that I am being punished by God and deserve the trials I am going through.  Where is that coming from?!?!?

I think I shocked myself the first time I uttered those words under my breath during testings and trials.

I am spiritually spiraling, becoming too focused on the things I'm not doing, but should be and on the things I am doing that I shouldn't be rather than focusing on the Grace of God to work in and through me to do His good pleasure.


I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, 
I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do. And if I do what I do not want, 
it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.…

Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God, 
who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:19-20; 24-25

Instead of remembering what Christ has done for me; that He died for my sins past, present and future, that He always provides a way out from temptation, and that when I confess my sins, He is righteous and just to forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness, I am allowing my trials to turn into temptations.

For me, my trials are coming in the form of nuisances, multiple nuisances.  It seems that the little trials in life are the very ones that turn into temptations.  Temptations unfortunately that I succumb to...

Hissy fits, murmuring, complaining, anger, blaming others and worst of all I find myself angry at God for the testing...

Whether trials are a result of a spiritual attack OR chastisement, NOTHING touches us without our Heavenly Father's Divine appointment, His Divine Love...

The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job?
Job 1:8a

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.
Hebrews 12:6


A couple of weeks ago, I was pouring my heart out to the Lord in anguish over my besetting sins and my spiritual state, even doubting my own Salvation.  Afterward, I read from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotional and THIS is how the Lord answered my cry!

"Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?"
— Luke 24:38

When is the Christian most liable to sleep? Is it not when his temporal circumstances are prosperous? Have you not found it so? When you had daily troubles to take to the throne of grace, were you not more wakeful than you are now? Easy roads make sleepy travelers. Another dangerous time is when all goes pleasantly in spiritual matters. Christian went not to sleep when lions were in the way, or when he was wading through the river, or when fighting with Apollyon, but when he had climbed half way up the Hill Difficulty, and came to a delightful arbour, he sat down, and forthwith fell asleep, to his great sorrow and loss. The enchanted ground is a place of balmy breezes, laden with fragrant odours and soft influences, all tending to lull pilgrims to sleep. Remember Bunyan's description: "Then they came to an arbour, warm, and promising much refreshing to the weary pilgrims; for it was finely wrought above head, beautified with greens, and furnished with benches and settles. It had also in it a soft couch, where the weary might lean." "The arbour was called the Slothful's Friend, and was made on purpose to allure, if it might be, some of the pilgrims to take up their rest there when weary." Depend upon it, it is in easy places that men shut their eyes and wander into the dreamy land of forgetfulness. Old Erskine wisely remarked, "I like a roaring devil better than a sleeping devil." There is no temptation half so dangerous as not being tempted. The distressed soul does not sleep; it is after we enter into peaceful confidence and full assurance that we are in danger of slumbering. The disciples fell asleep after they had seen Jesus transfigured on the mountain top. Take heed, joyous Christian, good frames are near neighbours to temptations: be as happy as you will, only be watchful.

Charles Spurgeon

The Lord met me right where I was at!  He was not punishing me.  He was loving me!!

And then in the next night's evening's devotion, The Lord continued to reassure me...

We are all as an unclean thing."
Isaiah 64:6

The believer is a new creature, he belongs to a holy generation and a peculiar people--the Spirit of God is in him, and in all respects he is far removed from the natural man; but for all that the Christian is a sinner still. He is so from the imperfection of his nature, and will continue so to the end of his earthly life. The black fingers of sin leave smuts upon our fairest robes. Sin mars our repentance, ere the great Potter has finished it, upon the wheel. Selfishness defiles our tears, and unbelief tampers with our faith. The best thing we ever did apart from the merit of Jesus only swelled the number of our sins; for when we have been most pure in our own sight, yet, like the heavens, we are not pure in God's sight; and as he charged his angels with folly, much more must he charge us with it, even in our most angelic frames of mind. The song which thrills to heaven, and seeks to emulate seraphic strains, hath human discords in it. The prayer which moves the arm of God is still a bruised and battered prayer, and only moves that arm because the sinless One, the great Mediator, has stepped in to take away the sin of our supplication. The most golden faith or the purest degree of sanctification to which a Christian ever attained on earth, has still so much alloy in it as to be only worthy of the flames, in itself considered. Every night we look in the glass we see a sinner, and had need confess, "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Oh, how precious the blood of Christ to such hearts as ours! How priceless a gift is his perfect righteousness! And how bright the hope of perfect holiness hereafter! Even now, though sin dwells in us, its power is broken. It has no dominion; it is a broken-backed snake; we are in bitter conflict with it, but it is with a vanquished foe that we have to deal. Yet a little while and we shall enter victoriously into the city where nothing defileth.


Even though I felt so wretched, My Lord and Savior comforted me through the words of those devotions, reminding me that everything that touches me comes through His loving hands, to draw me closer to Him.

If you could have saw my face as I began to read and hear God speaking reassurances to me that I am still and always will be His beloved child.   I felt profound awe and complete joyous relief!  My God heard the cry of my heart and indeed showed me a way out of my temptation;  the temptation of focusing on self rather than on the Grace of God.

I felt as though I had entered into the very presence of God, a sinner, clothed in white, cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb.

Who has not in moments of meditation and prayer caught a glimpse of opening gates?    
Who has not in the secret place of holy communion felt the rush of some white surging wave of emotion - a foretaste of the joy of the blessed?
The Lost Art of Meditation


Had I not spent time in the valley of trials and temptations, I would not have experienced the mountaintop joy of blessed communion with my Lord and Savior.


Heavenly Father,

  Help me to not allow trials to become temptations, but instead to continuously seek your Divine Presence and Mercy to walk in the way of obedience by the Grace of God.  Help me to consider it pure joy whenever I face trials of many kinds, and to know that the testing of my faith produces perseverance, and that perseverance will finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

  Holy Spirit work in me to create moments every day where I can catch a glimpse of opening gates, you seated on Your Throne, beckoning me, "Come here my child.  I will never leave you nor forsake you".

  I love you Lord God.

In Jesus Precious Name,

Amen

Have you had moments in prayer where you have caught a glimpse of opening gates?  I'd love to hear about it.



High King of heaven, my victory won, 
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun! 
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, 
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. 
Be Thou My Vision



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home

Monday, November 7, 2016

Navigating Through the Grief of an Empty Nest



He will cover you with his feathers, 
and under his wings you will find refuge; 
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Psalm 91:4


Almost three years ago, due to circumstances beyond my daughter and son-in-law's control, they had to find a place to live in very short order.  As a result, they moved in with my husband and I.

I remember as my kids were moving in thinking, I need to cherish this season because it will be fleeting.   In particular, oddly enough, I found myself cherishing the metal shower caddy they bought, necessary for keeping the tub supplies of four adults.  I literally thought to myself, "I'm already not looking forward to the day that the shower caddy will leave signifying my children's departure.

And there were many other additions to our home to make it work for all of us.  The towel rack hanging over the bathroom door to give additional space for the extra bath towels; the rickety rolling wire shelf in the kitchen to make room for the kids extra food stuffs; my son-in-law's kayaks, canoes and all his stuff outside.

Not to mention the fact of a surprise addition in my sweet baby granddaughter complete with a nursery once again in our home, and a living room eventually filled with toys.

There was also reconfiguring that had to be done like the way our bedroom had to be rearranged to make room for my desk.

All of these additions and changes I truly cherished.

I never thought that my daughter and son-in-law would be living with us for almost three years, but I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father that they did!

As I embark on this journey as an empty nester, a journey which began just five days ago, the joys of having the kids live with us has actually added to the profoundness of my grief...

My house literally echoes now.  We have two rooms that are completely empty at the moment.

It dawned on me that one of the reasons you feel grief as a new empty nester is from the void left behind by your children no longer living with you.  Much in the same way a void is left when a  loved one you have lived with dies.  The emptiness of the space those special people once filled in your home amplifies the grief.  You keep expecting them to come around the corner, but they are not there anymore.  The pain washing over you once again...

When my daughter left for California years ago, I experienced a similar grief.   But at that time my son still lived at home which helped to temper my pain.

It was then that I discovered how I deal with this type of grief. I redecorate!  Yup, you read that right!  It wasn't a way of forgetting my daughter, but a way to cope with the painful memories that her room invoked when it looked exactly as it did when my daughter occupied the space.

Because I have been so busy helping my daughter get settled in her new home, I haven't even had a chance to start working on my own house.  And as painful as it is to still have these rooms empty.  {I know you are probably thinking, "Still empty?!  Karen, it's only been five days!"}  it may actually be a good thing, even though it runs contrary to how I grieve...

Just a few days before the kids flew out of the nest, which, by the way, was felt more profoundly because my spunky 20 month old granddaughter was part of the flight, I had read a blog post where the writer shared the following quote.

"The only way to get past the pain is to walk through it."

So the empty rooms allow me to walk through my pain - literally.  When the busyness of the day is over and the darkness settles in, that is when the sadness returns.  So I walk through the empty rooms and let the tears flow as I allow the memories to flood my mind...

Memories from my granddaughter's room... my family excitedly setting up the nursery; myself in the rocking chair, Lexi just days old; Lexi on the changing table, her happy place when she was months old; walking into Lexi's room after nap time seeing her sitting up in her crib; and coming in to get her first thing in the morning to see her standing in her crib bouncing up and down, chatting away, as she flashed me her cheeky smile; such cherished memories...

Memories from my daughter and son-in-law's room... sweet talks with my daughter; the many times my son-in-law walked out of their room just as I walked up the hall and I would jump because he scared me - he thought it was so funny; hearing my daughter and son-in-law laughing so hard as they watched a funny movie; watching my daughter's belly grow with my precious granddaughter, just to name a few... 

I will most especially miss hearing my granddaughter making her sweet, funny noises when she wakes up, hearing the pitter patter of her feet running all around the house, watching her walk past my room while I'm sitting at my desk and her saying "HI!" and the sweet leisurely mornings with my daughter, hanging out and talking while Lexi played.

The house is now deafeningly quiet, but the memories echo on...

Right after my my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter left to stay overnight in their new home for the first time, I did, in fact, rearrange furniture in my living room, and in the guest room where my kids stayed. I don't think they were gone more than three minutes and I got right to work!    I just couldn't bare seeing the living room empty of all the toys or the kids room set up the way they had it.

I don't think I realized that you can feel physical pain when you grieve, but I most definitely have! The first few nights I felt grief and a feeling inside of me that I can't even put into words.

Last night I seemed to turn a corner; starting to get used to the house as it is now.  The new normal...

Weeks before the kids left, I tried to comfort myself by coming up with pros and cons of them leaving.  For me, of course, I had a lot of cons about them leaving.

I teased my son-in-law and said, "All the pros I've come up with for you guys leaving begin with Garrett".  lol!  All kidding aside,  I love that boy and all his stuff!  He has helped my husband and I so much with things around the house while he lived here, and I will be forever grateful.

So tonight I'm off to buy paint and supplies. I've already picked out my color schemes and bought some new curtains.   I also got a great deal on a corner desk with a hutch that will work wonderfully for my new office space.  It will be the perfect set up for blogging!

My dad keeps teasing me asking if I've got the room ready for he and my mom when they come visit from New Jersey. lol.

My husband now has the space to rearrange his office.  It came out great!  We are still trying to figure out how we will set up the family room.

I actually  laughed at myself the other day because by nine o'clock in the morning, I was already dressed, make-up was on, the dishwasher was running, the rooms were picked up and my bed was made.  I've turned into a cleaning freak!  Oh and right now I have pork chops cooking in the crock pot!

Who knows, this Empty Nester may become June Cleaver!

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The Lord has been so gracious to me during this time.  Showing me again and again that He truly understands all that I am feeling and every tear that I am shedding.

I felt prompted to buy the devotional Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman, to begin reading on the very first empty nest day, and look at how the Lord ministered to me!


"There is a patience which I believe to be harder--the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: It is the power to work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily task. It is a Christlike thing!

Many of us would nurse our grief without crying if we were allowed to nurse it. The hard thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in bed, but in the street. We are called to bury our sorrows, not in lethargic quiescence, but in active service--in the exchange, in the workshop, in the hour of social intercourse, in the contribution to another's joy. There is no burial of sorrow so difficult as that; it is the "running with patience."

This was Thy patience, O Son of man! It was at once a waiting and a running--a waiting for the goal, and a doing of the lesser work meantime. I see Thee at Cana turning the water into wine lest the marriage feast should be clouded. I see Thee in the desert feeding a multitude with bread just to relieve a temporary want. All, all the time, Thou wert bearing a mighty grief, unshared, unspoken. Men ask for a rainbow in the cloud; but I would ask more from Thee. I would be, in my cloud, myself a rainbow -- a minister to others' joy. My patience will be perfect when it can work in the vineyard.
--George Matheson

When all our hopes are gone,
'Tis well our hands must keep toiling on
For others' sake:
For strength to bear is found in duty done;
And he is best indeed who learns to make
The joy of others cure his own heartache."


My Heavenly Father never ceases to amaze me!  Here was an entire entry about grief!  There I sat on my deck, on an unusually warm late October morning, feeling the warmth of the sun, and the warmth of my Lord and Savior envelope me while He said, "I hear you, see you, know your thoughts, AND I understand your feelings, better than you understand them yourself."

I felt such encouragement because the Holy Spirit was already leading me and strengthening me to run with patience as I served my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in any way that I could during the move and unpacking process, despite my grief...

Oh what a merciful and gracious God I have!

I know that in the weeks and months ahead, life will seem normal again in this our empty nest.

In the meantime, I am so thankful to the Lord for answering my prayer in raising up a house for my daughter's family that is local - just 4 minutes from my own!; for a gracious daughter who has been so understanding during this time of adjustment always with an open door for me to come and see Lexi whenever I want; for the pride I feel in watching my daughter manage her own home; for a son-in-law who has offered to help us paint our newly empty rooms; and for time spent at my daughter's home enjoying her new cozy, sun-filled, cheerful place.

New normal yields new blessings...


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