Do you ever wonder if we women spend our entire lives vacillating between feeling too empty or too full? Or at least “we women” that live fairly comfortable lives in first world countries?
Maybe it’s just me.
I ask because I had an empty house this weekend. Some of you may remember my conundrum from a few weeks ago and my eventual decision was to agree to Bray’s generous offer to take the kids to the farm for the weekend.
This is the first time I have been alone in my house since the trio came home from the hospital. Almost three years ago.
I loved it. I slept past 9 am both mornings. I had a fancy dinner out with my best friend Friday night. I used my spa gift certificates on Saturday. I cooked all day Sunday, since I truly love to cook and miss cooking dishes from scratch. I never wore a stitch of make up. I did not see a single soul I knew for over 24 hours. I ate a meal out by myself and read a book as I indugled.
I found myself thinking a lot about empty and full during this time. How a meal alone takes on different dimensions depending on where you are in your life. How an empty house can replenish you or compound your aching isolation. How a day without another soul you know can be a reprieve or a harsh punishment.
I didn’t meet Bray until after I turned 30. I think I struggled with my 30th birthday so much because I had hoped I would be in a different place with relationships and family at that crossroads. I remember weekends stretching on for what felt like forever because my girlfriends were busy with their husbands/boyfriends and I had no one to spend time with on Saturday evenings. I remember sometimes making foolish decisions out of that loneliness. I remember moving into a two story townhouse and rattling around, wanting to cook a gourmet dinner, but not having anyone to eat it when I finished.
Then, after getting married, I remember eventually boycotting Saturday afternoon baby showers because one season I had over a dozen to attend. Everyone asked if we planned to have kids, innocently enough, and I would fight to keep my composure as I smilingly replied, “God willing,” because it is bad form at a baby shower to say that we tried everything and it turns out we can’t have kids. I could not sit through a baptism at church. If I ate dinner out, the boisterous table next to me with harried parents and mischievous children looked like the best Christmas present you could receive.
Yet, here I sat, reveling in my solitude. The people and chaos and schedules and messy busy lives weighed me down. I longed for the quiet townhouse. For the dinner alone.
Empty or full? Why do I resist finding satisfaction?
God gave me each season. I found joy in each season along with the heartache and struggles. Those single days were filled with career successes and travel opportunities I could not have imagined. Those married years without children were filled with freedom and a learning of one another that would have been lost if children came sooner. And these years, ahhh these years with toddlers soon turning three, are filled with first words, and first plane rides, and first experiences, and first days of school. While I have not experienced it, I would expect the next seasons, teenagers, empty nest, and so on, are also filled with the same highs and lows.
What if we could find fullness in each place? In each space? In every season? What if we allowed Christ to reveal to us a tiny portion of the reason He has set us in the seat of today? What if I did that?
Philippians 4: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,P)”> whether living in plenty or in want.Q)”> I can do all this through him who gives me strength.R)”>