The Empty Nest As Wilderness

Don’t remember the former things, and don’t consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing.  It springs out now.  Don’t you know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:18-19

Wilderness — wil der ness — noun

an uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region

I can relate to the children of Israel.  Sometimes life in this empty nest is like being in a wilderness.  Thankfully, the scriptures show God’s promise to be near his children while we are in a wilderness.

Don’t remember the former thing, don’t consider the things of old.

It did not take long for the children of Israel to begin complaining once Moses led them out of their slavery in Egypt.  They complained about the food, they complained about the water, they basically complained about everything.  They even went so far as to wish they were back in Egypt, even if it meant a return to slavery. 

They were unsure of the future and terrified of the wilderness even though God provided for all of their needs.  They did not trust Moses and they did not trust God.  Their disobedience and lack of trust earned them forty years of wandering in the wilderness.

Frankly, I don’t have forty years to wander.  I need to get a grip on this empty nest wilderness thing.  Fast.

As much as I long for the days when my children were home, I know I can’t go back.  It’s impossible.  And there are some parts I would not want to revisit — sleep deprivation, potty training and adolescence to name a few.  Can I get a witness?

Alas, the child-rearing chapter of my life story is closed.  I am past the age of childbearing and my husband and I are not home long enough to foster or adopt.  Even so, like the children of Israel, I’m tempted to focus on the past and what was rather than looking ahead to the promises of the future.

I will do a new thing.  It springs out now.  Don’t you know it?

Can you feel the sense of excitement and anticipation in these words? Who doesn’t love something new?  Sure, it’s hard to leave what is comfortable, familiar, but we can’t stay where we are forever.  Life is constantly changing.

I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

The wilderness can be a scary place — unknown, dark, difficult.  God promises to make a way for us in the wilderness.  He is not going to present us with a detailed, printed map with which to navigate, but, I believe He will illuminate a way for us.  Even if it is only one baby step at a time.  

I love being a mom and I will always treasure the memories of when my two were babes, toddlers, children and yes, even teens.  But, I will turn my face forward in anticipation of the new thing God through His son Jesus, has planned for me.  I will watch for the path he has cleared for me in this empty nest wilderness.

How about you?  If you’re an empty nester, do you ever feel like you are living in a wilderness?  Do you find yourself looking back at what was or are you looking forward to what new thing God is going to do in your life?Wilderness Pin 2


3 thoughts on “The Empty Nest As Wilderness

  1. So true! God continues to mold us, stretch us and make us new if we let Him! He has a new way for each of us no matter what stage of life we are in…..I don’t want to miss it!

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  2. I find myself looking back a lot, as an empty nester. When my children come to visit, I’m so sad when they leave. Even a little depressed. Whatever I did with my life when my children were living at home, they were part of. Even my career and outside interests involved my children…they were always part of the process. It’s hard for me to steer that process now without them.

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