Posted by: liturgicalyear | July 25, 2013

An (almost) Empty Nest

In my last post, I pondered Moses’ parting of the Red Sea and the faith it requires to continually say “Yes” to God without knowing what’s ahead.

At this moment in time, I, personally, find myself at the edge of the Red Sea in  my own life with God asking me to trust him.

One month from yesterday, the younger of my two daughters will leave for college for the first time.  We’ll have an “empty nest”, as they say.  After 20 years of being home, I face the task of finding employment, ending a life I’ve known and loved, and standing before a sea that appears at times daunting and impassible, not knowing exactly what’s ahead.

Last night during my weekly holy hour in adoration, I placed myself at the edge of that sea knowing three things:

  1. That God has a plan for me, “’For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord, ‘plans for good and not for evil, plans to give you a future and a hope.’”
  2. That God has prepared good works for me in advance of my knowing and doing them, “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Eph 2:10)
  3. That God asks me to love the dreams that He has dreamed for me.  (Not scriptural, but a lyric from one of my favorite songs.)

So as I prayed before the Blessed Sacrament last night, I reflected on God’s faithfulness to Israel during their journey through the desert.  He freed them from slavery and brought them to a new life (Ex 12:31); manifested his power in parting the Red Sea (Ex 14:21); guided them with a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night (Ex 13:21); provided for their daily needs by feeding them with manna each morning and quail every evening (Ex 16:12); and slaked their thirst with water from a rock (Num 20:8).  Moses didn’t know what God was doing or where He was taking the Israelites, but Moses knew that God was God and Moses was not, and thus, placed all his trust in I AM.

I called out to God and asked Him to part the Red Sea for me.

I know God is faithful, and He will provide for all my needs.  “I will call this to mind as my reason to have hope: the mercies of the Lord are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; they are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.” (Lam 3:22-23)   My task is to trust and follow.  I may not see a pillar of smoke or fire along the way, but by virtue of my baptism, I have something greater: the Holy Spirit living in me. In this God’s grace suffices.

After a time of meditation, I opened to July 24 of a daily devotional given to me while on retreat in February.  It’s the first time I’ve opened the book, and I actually pulled it out by accident, thinking it was St. Faustina’s Diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul.  Here’s what I read:

We read of the children of Israel, “Then they believed his promises.” They did not believe until after they saw – once they saw Him work, “then they believed.” They unabashedly doubted God when they came to the Red Sea, but when he opened the way and led them across and they saw Pharaoh and his army drowned – “then they believed.” The Israelites continued to live this kind of up and down existence, because their faith was dependent on their circumstance. And this is certainly not the kind of faith God wants us to have.

The world says that “seeing is believing,” but God wants us to believe in order to see. The psalmist said, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps 27:13).

(Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman, Zondervan, 1997)

Psalm 27 holds a special place in my heart.  The final verse of the psalm was my prayer while awaiting the adoption of our second child who now leaves the nest. “Wait for the Lord with courage, be stouthearted and wait for the Lord.”

So now, I wait for the Lord with stouthearted courage, as I, too, leave the nest because I know that God will free me, will manifest his power to me, will guide me by day and by night, will provide for my daily needs, and will slake my thirst.

What about you?

Jesus, I trust in you!  Anne

“Faith is believing what we do not see, and the reward for this kind of faith is to see what we believe.”   ~Saint Augustine

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