Proverbs 31 Womans Devotional - Encouragement for Today

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Encouragement for Today - September 21, 2012


Van Walton

September 21, 2012

Emptying and Filling My Nest
Van Walton

"For everything there is a season ... A right time to hold on and another to let go ..." Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 (MSG)

This spring I watched two cardinals build a nest, nurture their eggs, and feed their young. Then one day, with an encouraging chirp, mom and dad "talked" their three tiny birds out of their crib. I'd documented each step with my camera. Studying the final picture—an empty nest—brought pain to my heart as I reflected on my own empty house.

Memories of time gone by brought extreme sadness. I felt an acute loss of purpose as the dam behind my eyes broke. There was a crushing stillness.

Now what?

I thought I could just get over it. I could not.
I thought I could ignore it. I could not.
I thought I could talk myself back to life as usual. I could not.

Eventually I went to a counselor to get help with the empty nest sadness that was paralyzing me.

Through the tears, my counselor coaxed a few words out of me. He asked about my passions, joys, and dreams. "Your dreams have all come true. Your sons graduated, left home, and began the new lives for which you prepared them."

Hmmm ... there was no consolation in his words.

He also reminded me that I had not changed. I still had the same talents and gifts to be used and could focus them in a new direction.

At first I didn't accept his advice. I found it hard to understand how a fresh focus could bring me as much joy as my boys growing up in the shadow of my wing.

Yet my counselor continued to encourage me through the sadness. I had a choice: I could concentrate on my perceived loss or I could center my attention on God's perspective and His purpose for my life.

You see, God's plans for us do not include looking back, longing for the past, or wishing for days gone by.

Instead we can ask our faithful Father to point us toward a new purpose. He'll give us His perspective on our future where our children are not the center of our life.

I asked for God's perspective. Through His Word He reminded me that life is full of seasons and I was in a new one.

"For everything there is a season ... A right time to hold on and another to let go ..." Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 (MSG)

Next He reminded me that I had been a good mother.

"Well done ... You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities." (Matthew 25:23 NLT)

Finally He reminded me that my role as a woman was to step out and use what I had learned as a mother to help others coming along behind me.

"She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy. Strength and dignity are her clothing. She smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom. The teaching of kindness is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:20, 25-26 NAS)

As mothers, we move through different phases of life. Let's never forget there are others besides our children who need our love and talents as we ask God to show us the next step in His plan for our lives.

Dear Lord, please guide me through open doors to new opportunities. Remind me to celebrate the past and smile at the future. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Van's blog for a peek insider her "Empty Nest."

From the Pound to the Palace book and DVD by Van Walton

God's Purpose for Every Woman: a devotion book with writings from various P31 authors

Reflect and Respond:
Choose to look forward, not backward. There are truly many more wonderful memories to be made!

Rejoice in your children's current accomplishments. It's difficult for them to celebrate amidst our grief of letting them go.

Decide to get involved in a new outreach before the end of the month.

Power Verses:
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3b, 4, "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to plant and a time to harvest ... A time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance." (NLT)

Psalm 138:8, "The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me." (NLT)

© 2012 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616G MatthewsMint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

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