Hi, my name is Linda and welcome to this blog. My motivation for this blog is that it may help others through some tough times of the Empty Nest. The thing I hope to help the divorced, single parent empty nester learn is that IT IS NEVER TOO LATE FOR HAPPILY EVER AFTER!!
Lately, I have realized ...
that it is not always the thing on the outside that crushes the heart but a heart can faint, fail, misfire because of what is going on inside. As a singled mother of many years to 3 sons, now grown, I have focused the majority of life on my sons. I spent much of that life keeping them involved in those things that would bring healthy growth and fill what could have otherwise been idle minds and hands. Organized activities of football, basketball, baseball, BMX racing, soccer, band, orchestra, choir and last but not least church involvement. AND oh yes I had a full time job and I served in my church as well. These were all things my sons needed to experience in a parent, even if there was only one of me!
In the midst ... of concentrated living as one who embraced motherhood responsibilities I knew I was the most important person in their lives. My life was full and I found self-worth and value in being their mother.
As my sons grew up ...
and into careers, wives and homes of their own my motivation for life began to drain. Being their mother had been the driving force in my life. Instead of maintaining a daily devotional guiding me through this difficult "empty nest", even my prayers seemed to wane. However, there was an ongoing conversation with God. He was still my Partner.
I no longer had motivation ...
to be my best. Every good thing I did in life had my children at the core. They were why I smiled in the mornings and prayer ardently that God help me to be the kind of mother HE would have me be.
Even though ...
God worked this in me I still made mistakes. In hind-sight I realize that painfully stumbling, failing and getting back up were also part of the whole picture. I learned in the process that I had a loving Father God who In His great mercy and compassion continued to bless me through and in spite of mistakes.
God is no respecter of persons ...
I tried unsuccessfully re-marriage, rather than concentrating on much needed healing within 3 years I had been married and divorce not once but twice!!! I was emotionally out of control.Too desperate for love and security. These things were there for me in a healing God I was too fragmented to fully embrace. It was a raw learning experience that God brought me through and in which He allows me to see that as it is written, "All things (not some) work for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose! The good that has been accomplished and is to be further accomplished as I continue in His love, walking according to His purpose.
I had never, ever learned to care for myself ...
This is painful to say. To realize. I am learning.
God so loved...
His love for not just me and mine but, His great love for all the women and the children of the Single Parent Nest. Those struggling little families without the protection and provision of an earthly father. I am thankful for God's love and His light in our lives. The reality of my imperfectness does not blot out what by His power alone was accomplished in our poverty of not only finances but of earthly care from a family unit. No thing or person can blot out the reality and beauty of God, in our lives through it all, even the mistakes.
To the leavers...left the Nest and the care for their children and spouse. To any father, mother/husband, wife who left
the responsibility of Their Nest whether it be many years ago or few, humble yourself to God and repent to Him if you have not done so, that you be made whole. I urge you in love, to confess to God who is the ONLY one we sin against. I direct you to a God who is beautiful in mercy and love, to Romans chapter 8 as follows:
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of LIFE in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You can go to this link for all of the chapter: http://biblehub.com/nasb/romans/8.htm
The four of us, however crippled by lack,
were rich in love. Our great love for each other and most importantly God's great love for us. A love that loved us back.
My life as a mother
and a good wife for almost 20 years, and then a single mom with an infant and toddler and adolescent son (all grown and married by now) has thus far been the pinnacle of true accomplishment in my life. Motherhood has been my greatest achievement and highest earthly honor.
To become the lone person left in that nest ...
has now become the great challenge of my well being. and the thing that was the source of my greatest strength has become the source of my greatest weakness. My Achilles heel.
Even my heart began to fail me
and I have wondered if this experience would be the end of my life on this earth so deep was the tear to my psyche. I have done, tried, all the goal setting, the positive life filling things I found to try but have only had periods of time I managed to stay afloat and then would go down for the count for longer and longer periods each time as the lone-ness of the empty nest covered me like a heavy unwelcome blanket.
Each time the onset of the holidays
brought deeper sinking. Holidays as you know are big family time, and with the many wonderful years of celebrated Thanksgivings and Christmas and birthdays shared in my nest I soon went under for another struggle with depression. Last season proved my lowest point, and I managed to make it to January, when all the tears had been cried and all the private pain of the Empty Nest had been experienced. I was left a shambles physically by the tole of a sort of grieving.
And my heart truly failed me...
It miss-fired, trotted like a runaway horse. My blood pressure soared and I felt helpless. Powerless. I had always been active visiting the gym daily but now reduced to a flailing victim of the Empty Nest! I reluctantly endured the repertoire of tests a cardiologist deems vital to find that I had a good heart that somehow had lost its' path, its' rhythm. He further added that it is unexplained by science. I took a newly developed beta-blocker with something included for anxiety and after a few months realized the life changing situation that had developed.
This was not the way I wanted to live my life!
I grasp for the one thing that could save me from this storm. I returned to the one thing that always saw me through. A love that loves us back. I prayed earnestly. I confided in God that I did not want to live my life this way. I wanted to be healthy again and that I couldn't afford the medicine I would have to take till I left this earth. I confided to God's heart. "I know you can heal me if you will,"
I proceeded with life...
As well we should. The new motivating factor was now to preserve my life and to not allow my heart to remain in that confused condition constantly beating out of rhythm. I didn't realize that Jesus the Mender of Broken Hearts was at work.
In a blog entitled ONE MONTH TO LOVE by Kerry and Chris Shook (same authors as New York Times' Best Seller ONE MONTH TO LIVE) I began to search for direction. Jesus was aleady carrying me. I went back to week one to begin at the beginning and learned about the ancient practice of Electio Divina. The Holy Spirit used those simple living words to speak and give me much needed guidance.
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.“ Psalm 46:10 (NASB)
In other words the Holy Spirit spoke to me, 'Doesn't what you are experiencing lead to strife inwardly and outwardly leaving you miserable and sick in heart? '
YES! YES IT DOES!
I humbly admit...
I confess, that after so many years in the exalted role of mother and sole parent and care giver it was that importance, that deep feeling of love and worth that women need, that I desperately held my 3 children in that same place...as I did in the delivery room of my last born son who I carried through and during the separation before our divorce.
Through much despair It reminds me of the time ...
of dealing with a continually unfaithful, unloving spouse and parent, who could not even bring himself to be present at the birth of our precious child.
As the doctor lay OUR newborn on my chest I wrapped my protecting arms around him. I must not let him go. The nurse tried to take him from me and that was not happening. He was safe in my arms. It was only with my doctors wise coaxing that clarity broke through and I released my careful grip. To allow the nurses to do all the post birth things they do.
Only now as I write this blog ...do I realize the parable ...
The comparison speaks as a parable of the loving grip I have held within myself of my nestlings. It was time to release that which I held dearly. Protectively. And this time for my own well being. Let go of my dear birds to the ONE who loves them more than I do. Into His loving care and protection I have released them, to do the things that are best for them. I happily trust God.
Now, this day is my hearts time to beat ...
in harmony. And now is my time to LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER! And I can, and it's not just in the movies! I will take care of myself. I will care about myself.
Having wealth in life or a full nest is not what will ever bring us happiness ...
Learning to love yourself unconditionally, the way God loves you... and bringing it right to my nest, to your nest, left empty or not, feathers out of place, crows-feet, and muffin tummy... any or every other thing that you think could possibly render you unloveable ...loving and accepting yourself as you are. Then and only then and only then can we love our neighbor, our fellow inhabitants in earth suits as we love ourselves. That is living happily ever after.
The bible speaks ...
'Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due time'. This speaks to, Quit STRIVING for honor or to be exalted by your family, or with your friends and at your job. STRIVING is a word full of negative meaning. Strife is what is brought about through striving and I am thankful to be guided by the word of God and the Holy Spirit and a faithful pastor's teaching of how to develop that communion with a Holy God through Lectio Divina. The teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit., it is the power of God working in my life.
If you are interested in learning more about the ancient method of meditation to receive Holy Spirit guidance not hocus pocus here is a free website to help you know how to do that plain and simple.
God's light to me:
CEASE STRIVING -- Know that I AM GOD! And--
"Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due time."
Through devastating trials...
God brought me to this moment. I am strong in Him alone for in Him the weak are made strong. I am healed. I no longer take any medication and my heart has regained its' rhythm. I realize my heart is sensitive and I am kind and caring to myself. I am thankful that God is faithful. God is greater than my heart. All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
I give thanks to God if anything on this blog helps even one person. God is love and in Him we move and breathe and have our being. I pray God blesses every person who visits this blog with understanding of His ways...His ways are higher than our ways.
If Jesus were to write a resume' the business of binding broken hearts would surely be on it. Jesus came to serve, not to be served and He still serves on the earth binding broken hearts with the Divine Helper, the Holy Spirit! Beautiful. Growing in God's love ~ Linda LaVerne Dulin
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, ~~ Jesus even cares about broken hearts.
Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For all of Romans Chapter 8. you can go here: