Have you ever tried holding your arms up for a long period of time? Not just at a concert or in a worship service. I’m talking hours or even an entire day. It is difficult, if not impossible to maintain. Your arms grow tired and scream for relief.
Moses, Aaron and Hur
I started the new year reading through the Bible again. It’s something I try to do each year. It’s good to immerse myself in the story of God and his people again and again. Familiar stories are like old friends, but, sometimes a familiar story will spark different insight. One such story is found in Exodus, Chapter 17.
Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt. After some time of wandering in the wilderness, he sent Joshua into battle against Amalek. Moses went and stood on a hill and held the staff of God up. As long as he held his hand up high, Israel prevailed. When his hands grew heavy and he lowered his arms, the enemy prevailed.
His brother, Aaron and friend, Hur took note of this. According to the scripture, they found a stone for him to sit on, then they stood on either side of him and held up his arms for him. They were able to do this until the sun set and the children of Israel won the victory.
The story of Moses, Aaron and Hur, is such a good reminder for us. We face many battles in our lives, not the kind with swords and armies, but battles nonetheless. We all need people who will come along beside us and lift us up; to be strong for us when we feel hopeless.
I thought about that with the empty nest.
Hopes and Dreams
When we became parents, especially us mothers, we didn’t think about all of the things that could go wrong. We didn’t hold our precious newborn and think thoughts like I wonder if one day this child will move hundreds of miles away from me, I wonder if they will struggle with mental or physical health issues, I wonder if this child will walk away from the faith we teach him, I wonder if she will marry someone who mistreats or abuses her, I wonder if he will become addicted to drugs or alcohol, I wonder if I will have to bury this child. Those are not the thoughts we had when we first held our babies. The future looked bright and the possibilities, limitless. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world and things don’t always turn out the way we expected.
One thing I have learned in my years as an empty nester is that you never stop being a parent. Even though your children are grown, and may even have children of their own, your concern for them never ends. I mistakenly used to think that once my children were raised and on their own, everything would be ok; I could rest easy. A conversation with anyone who has adult children will tell you otherwise.
Stand By Me
That’s where Moses, Aaron and Hur come in. We all need others to stand beside us and hold us up while we’re in the battle, especially us moms. I’m becoming more and more aware that many of us have hearts that are aching for our grown children. We may look fine on the outside but on the inside we’re concerned about so many things, from what job our adult child will take to watching them struggle with life-threatening issues. There’s not much we can do, after all, they are adults and on their own. But, one thing, the most important thing we can do, is hold each other up in prayer.
Remember that when you see friends and acquaintances with adult children. You can be certain there is a need they may or may not express. I pray for my empty nest friends and I know they pray for me. Sometimes we just need to know someone is standing beside us ready to hold us up.