A few days ago, we packed up our last little chickadee and moved her to college. We’re now officially Empty Nesters, and I am not digging it. Somebody send a teenager or two to my house!!
Last night, I stood in her room and just looked around. There were no clothes on the floor, no homework spread out on the bed, or empty glass of water on the nightstand. Next week when classes start, I won’t walk up the steps and into this room to say, “Wake up, sweetheart. Time to get ready for school.” No, she will now get up on her own.
One minute they were babies, starting kindergarten. Now suddenly they’re all either in college or already graduated. I remember when Lindsey was born and we brought her home from the hospital, my Daddy said, “Hold her close. This time next week she’ll be graduating from high school.” Oh how right you were, Daddy. How can this have happened so very quickly?
I struggle with fear that I may not have done enough, or did the wrong things in the time I had with them. I only had them for a short window to care for them, nurture them, give them what they need to face this cruel world. Was it enough? Did I waste what little time I had?
There is only one miracle Jesus performed that is told in all four Gospels — the feeding of the 5000. The crowds had come to hear Jesus teach, and He was in tune with their needs. The people were hungry, so He told His disciples to feed them.
But Lord, where will we get food to feed that many? All we have is one little boy’s lunch of five loaves and two small fish.
In the little boy’s hands, five loaves and two fish could feed him and maybe his small family one meal. But five loaves and two fish are enough to feed 5000 when they’re in the hands of Jesus. More than enough, actually. There were twelve baskets left over.
What does this miracle have to do with fear of wasting what precious time I had with my children? One small little phrase. It jumped off the page at me as I was reading the passage, and it gave me great comfort. John records in Chapter 6, verse 12:
. . . He said to His disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
Why save those baskets? I mean, everyone had a belly full. It wasn’t like they could vacuum seal the fish and put them in the freezer. Were they taking it to the local homeless shelter? Why would Jesus tell them to gather all the pieces up instead of just leaving it all?
Because nothing is wasted when you give it to Jesus.
Tears blurred my vision as I stared at that verse in my Bible. God continues to comfort me that my time with my children wasn’t wasted. As I’ve shared in earlier blogs, I dedicated them to the Lord before they were born, and through all my mistakes and shortcomings as their mother, I have done the best I could.
Like the little boy with five loaves and two fish, I handed the Lord my babies, and said, “Here they are. They’re all I’ve got. Do with them what only You can do.” See, in my hands, I couldn’t do much more for my children than feed and clothe them, teach them the basics of survival. But in God’s hands, they can make a life, an abundant life, exceedingly abundantly more than I can ask or imagine.
Although I didn’t get my step-children until they were young teens, they’ve been placed in the same capable hands of a loving Father as I placed the three born to me. It’s never too late to hand your children to Jesus. He will do much more with them than we ever could, so much that there will be overflowing life to spare.
Yes, the house is deafeningly quiet. But I’ve either talked on the phone or texted with all five of them today. Thank God for technology. Here they are the day our family was beautifully blended into one. Be still my heart!
A Mama’s prayer is on my heart tonight. You can pray this prayer for your children along with me if you’d like. If you don’t have children, will you agree with me about our children as we pray? Jesus said if two or more agree according to His will, He would grant their request. I’ll agree with you about your children, too, no matter if they’re babies or all grown up.
Precious Lord Jesus, You have fearfully and wonderfully made each one of our children. You entrusted them into our hands for a precious little while, and now too quickly, they’re grown. We aren’t there to make sure they’re home safely, or that they get off to school and work on time. We can’t be there with them, but You O Lord, You are always there. May Your strong arms hold them as they sleep, and may they feel confidently loved beyond measure.
We thank You that You love them even more than we do. As hard as we try, we know we have failed them in so many ways. We are grateful that our efforts, as feeble and inadequate as they may be, are never wasted in Your economy. Multiply all our love, all Your love, all the prayers for their success, until there are baskets and baskets leftover!
We ask You to send Your Holy Spirit to guide each one of them in their choices and let Your love fill their hearts with joy and peace. Give them the strength they need to go about their work, whether it’s with their jobs or with their studies, and grant them success. Put those in their paths to guide them in paths of righteousness, and use them to bless others. Protect them from the evil one, and may their destinies be fulfilled for Your glory.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that You will let nothing be wasted.
In the precious Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen and amen.