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Filling the Empty Nest
By Jacquelyn Horne

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 places 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. If you would like to write to Jacquelyn, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.
A Woman's Toolbox
By Cassie Memmer

There's something every woman carries, and little girls do too.
Made of plastic, canvas, leather, straw, lots of other things too.

It may have zippers inside and out, or fancy, shiny snaps,
And almost always somewhere about, it has hand or shoulder straps.

It comes in many colors and shapes, multitudes of purposes it serves,
And you, I'm sure, have guessed by now, what I'm referring to is your purse.

Some may call it a pocketbook, handbag, or even suitcase,
Whatever it's called, it's filled to the rim, to meet every need you'll face.

There's tissues for your little girl's nose, and a comb for windswept hubby,
A jingling toy for your tiny babe, and some gum for little Bubby.

You may need scissors, needle, and thread, to rescue someone's shirt,
Or ointment, wet-ones, and band-aids, after someone's fall in the dirt.

You need a book to read when waiting; hairspray on a windy day,
And don't forget that piece of mail, it's a bill you need to pay.

There might even be a small flashlight, for when a tire goes flat,
And of course you need a camera, when your daughter goes up to bat.

As time goes by you'll find eyeglasses, amongst your treasures and stash,
You'll need them often to find your pills, pictures, license and cash.

You'll need quarters to feed the mechanical horse the kids ride in front of stores,
And tweezers for the splinters, from that kiddie park outdoors,

Something your purse may never have, when you need them, are your keys,
Though anything else, but the kitchen sink, you can always find with ease.

A woman needs these things and more, for her roles as Mom and wife,
For all come to her for this or that,
From her purse...
Her toolbox for life.

Cassie Memmer, April 30, 1998
CASSIE MEMMER is a writer from southern Indiana, who is married, with one daughter. For years Cassie felt she was meant to write, and God prompted her that she had been burying her gift and was to use it to lift those who are hurting and adrift from Him. Cassie says she procrastinated as long as she dared, and then finally started putting pen to paper. If you would like to write to Cassie, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com