Many of my friends are experiencing empty nests as their adult children move out of their homes. While I understand some of their sadness since our daughter lived in China for 3 years and our son in the Air Force is stationed almost 2000 miles away, I don’t think we will ever have an empty nest because Joshua will continue to need care and live with us. The opportunities my friends are able to pursue once their children no longer need care seem like closed doors to me.
Before Joshua was born, I thought I knew where my life was heading. However, Jesus had another destination I had not I imagined or chosen. I was surprised to come across a similar situation in the gospels. In Mark Chapter 6, the disciples entered the boat to begin crossing the lake to Bethsaida. While they are in the middle of their journey, a storm arose, and the disciples struggled against the wind and the waves. Jesus came to them and said, “DO NOT BE AFRAID. TAKE COURAGE. I AM HERE.” The Lord entered the boat with them, and the wind stopped. Then they crossed the lake and landed (not in Bethsaida but) in Gennesaret.
Jesus is not always leading me where I think He is leading me.
So what now? How do I live in this different reality without losing my mind or my faith? I have to learn to manage expectations. I had hoped for exotic travels with my husband. Instead, we make the most of a night or two getaway as a threesome. I imagined long meals exploring restaurants of varied cuisine but instead find myself searching Google for outdoor seating and family friendly options.
Life may not turn out how we anticipate. No one can foresee their future or their children’s. When storms arise and I am tossed by the winds and waves, I remind myself God is not surprised by what I perceive as insurmountable difficulties. When the Lord drops the anchor and states, “This is our destination,” I take courage because He is with me, continually guiding me along His path to reach the destination He designed for me.
Along this path, He provides streams in the desert to refresh my spirit. I am able to enjoy intimacy with My redeemer as I await the fulfillment of His promise when He will give me beauty in exchange for ashes and strength to replace despair.