It’s like a “Graduation Explosion” at my house this spring. Our twin boys are graduating from College and our daughter is about to graduate from High School.For my husband Bob and I, this means in a very short while we’ll be empty nesters. It’s a difficult season of letting go. I keep reminding myself that this is truly a season of celebration and new beginnings for us all.
This morning I gave thanks to God for our blessings. While my Husband and I have made every effort to provide our kids with every tool they need for success, I know it was truly God’s Hand providing for them. Yet behind all of my thankfulness, there is still a touch of sadness in this life transition and sometimes it feels as though my heart is breaking. But, if I’ve learned anything in life it’s this.
When God is shaking things up and stirring/breaking my heart, there’s a lesson to be learned or a message to be gleaned because God is doing a new thing. This scripture immediately came to mind.
This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland…
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
This week Forever Fed has had the privilege of serving sack lunches to an adorable group of children and their families at Northwoods Apartment Homes. Check out these pictures!
When we are done serving the kids each day, we always take some additional lunches to the small homeless camp. Here’s a picture of Edgar whom I’ve known for 4 years now who “hangs out” in that camp.
Yesterday I asked, “Edgar, How are you doing today?” His reply was “Not so good, I’m only doing OK”. We hugged and soon parted ways. All I had to offer Edgar was a prayer, a hug, some food, and some new clean socks. Perhaps those things brought some light into his dark day, I may never know. However today I am praising God for this homeless man I’ve come to know and love over the years. I tearfully looked up at the sky and asked, “God why did you bring Edgar into my life?”
It was then God clobbered me in the head with what I call “a brick of knowledge” and He connected the dots to form a crystal clear picture of His message for me today, I’m sure you are ready for me to wrap this blog up! LOL
Those kids I loved on and hugged on and played with yesterday presently have shelter and loving homes and families but many are living in food unstable homes. Well that’s where Forever Fed comes in. We are doing what we can to assure this group of children received proper nutrition so their little minds and bodies have a chance to develop properly. I noticed yesterday many of the teenaged boys are already taller and larger than their parents. Why? They’ve probably received much better nutrition at a young age than their parents received as children. This is a really good sign. I’d like to think Forever Fed was a teeny tiny part of their physical growth.
But God is showing me now that food and love sometimes aren’t enough. He’s pointing out the HUGE gap between the tools these children have and the tools my own children have been given.
So I asked myself some pretty difficult questions.
- What factors will lead to these impoverished children to be as successful as my natural born non-impoverished children?
- What tools do these kids lack for success?
- When these kids get to high school will they be able to compete with their peers with the tools they have right now?
- What can I do now to make sure these kids, some of the “least” of God’s children, don’t end up like Edgar, homeless adults and living in the woods?
Forever Fed has served these families at Northwoods for 18 months now and they are no longer “Clients” or “Guests” to me, they are extended family. Over time we’ve hugged, prayed, cried, and grown to love each other in many ways.
That Brick of knowledge God sent me was the realization that my nest isn’t empty at all, it’s actually overflowing. It’s scary because it’s way bigger than just feeding and loving on people, it means caring for them and worrying about the future of their children in the same way I worry about my own.
God is making a way in my life and my husband’s life for a completely new season. The powerful and almighty God who parted the seas and snuffed out the Israelite’s enemies– is making a way in the wilderness of my community. Don’t get me wrong, Bob and I are not Moses and Aaron. We are only two of God’s children who have identified a need in our community and we serve God we know has the power to provide. Do we have everything we need to provide for our new extended family? Yes we do. We have faith in a Big God and we have love. We also “Know in our Knower” God will fill in the gaps and provide for what He has designed.
And once again, it’s time to get to work!