Every year, when school starts, homes throughout the city seem to quieten. That is, except early in the morning during the "beat-the-schedule" chaos. But once the traffic thins, the school bus pulls away and the working members of the family leave for their place of employment, the tranquility is sublime.
But, after years of this ritual, many women find themselves in a place commonly called "the empty nest". There's no "storm before the calm" to get you prepped for the quiet time. There's just quiet time...
The little ones are no longer little. They have grown and left, either for college, career or marriage. No matter the reason, they're gone and the house seems empty.
What Now? How do you fill the void? For the first few months, maybe you don't even want to. But with time on your hands month after month, you'll probably want to fulfill your life. Where do you begin?
A lot of what you do to fill your nest will depend on your abilities, desires and availabilities. A work for God doesn't have to be hard. It can be easy, simple, and fulfilling.
What are your hobbies? What are the things you have wanted to pursue and couldn't because of commitments to your children?
To start with, your prayer life could be stronger - longer. You could begin by asking God's direction and practice following his lead on the small things, so you'll be better equipped to see his hand in the big ones.
Get your daily chores done early in the day, so you won't be intimidated when you begin your ministry. If you are a procrastinator, write down your daily goals, but "pencil" them in, you may need to change them.
But don't idle your life away. If you're ever going to do something for God, now is a good time. Fill your empty nest with a ministry before you have filled it with trivial things that you can't seem to shake off.
The Devil knows you have extra time, and he'll waste no time trying to fill it with unimportant tasks so you won't be able to fill it with God's work.
There's a ministry called "helps" (I Corinthians 12:28 KJV) that many of us don't take seriously. We read it time after time, but it doesn't really sink in. It's really a very important part of ministry. Without it, many other ministries would be in vain.
So gather up your eggs (I mean abilities) and fill that empty nest. Start out by taking your pastor's wife to lunch. Then. maybe offer your services as a volunteer in a church project. The more you reach out, the more doors the Lord will open to you.
You might find that your nest gets so full you'll need others to help in the gathering. Many women have started businesses in their homes that have become big enterprises. Perhaps a small ministry would take such a turn.
Your new ministry will need forethought, just like a small home business does. Search out the need, apply your talents to that need and see where it will go. It might surprise you.
If you sit at home and become depressed because the nest is empty, it's your own fault. There are many places in the kingdom of God where you can be a blessing, but it will never happen unless you make the effort.
This will be "trial and error" time. But, after breaking a few eggs, you'll get your footing and find your niche. There's no end to where this venture could take you.
Jacquelyn Horne is a former newspaper reporter who has won various awards including two Delaware School Bell awards. She has poems and articles published in magazines and Christian publications. She moved from Delaware to central Georgia 13 years ago.