Empty Nest, Abundant Life

Nag Less, Pray More

What Compels You?

I remember mornings as a young child.  My mother would wake me up and tell me to prepare for the day ahead. Whether that was going to the beach or attending school, I wanted to please my mom, so I obeyed.

College was a new experience with nobody checking to make sure I was up and attending my classes.    I soon learned that one of the main keys to an A or a B involved actually attending class.  I made every effort to be at each class section because I was motivated by grades.

Within two years after college graduation, I brought my firstborn home from the hospital.  His piercing cries in the night and complete dependence on me jolted me out of bed multiple times during the night and early in the morning.  Less than 17 months later, his sister arrived, adding her voice and needs into the mix. The next 18 years with them were thousands of mornings of rising to tend to their needs and educate them.   My love for my husband and children and desire to be a great wife and mom got me out of bed morning after morning.

Then, the children grew up and moved out on their own.  They no longer needed me to take care of them.  My husband remained home, but he is better at taking care of himself than I am.   I floundered a bit, wondering what would excite me enough to pop out of bed with drive, energy, and purpose each day.  I wrestled with my identity and significance as a person.

My son moved out over six years ago, and my daughter has been gone for over four years, and I’m just beginning to get a more focused picture of what the compelling force in my life needs to be.    It can’t be based on shifting circumstances, but it needs to be based on the One who put the circumstances in my life and works all circumstances together for good.

The following verses have been rattling through my minds this week as I considered Christ’s death and Resurrection.  “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died.  And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15  NIV).   If I am compelled by Christ’s love, I have eternal purpose and endless possibilities.   Christ’s love compels me to get out of bed on Mondays to walk both physically and spiritually with other moms on the same journey and to visit a widow to compel her out of bed.  Christ’s love compels me out of bed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to be trained and to teach in Bible Study Fellowship.   Christ’s love compels me out of bed on Thursdays for a standing coffee date with 10 other women who sharpen me and point me to Jesus, to visit a friend’s mother who no longer drives, and to tutor reading at the local elementary school.  Christ’s love compels me out of bed on Fridays to mentor up to 30 moms in our church’s Moms group.  Christ’s love compels me out of bed on the weekends to spend time with my favorite person on earth, my husband.  Christ’s love compels me to share what He is teaching me with you.

What compels you?



  1. Thank you for sharing this, Julie. It speaks right to the heart of what I have been (slowly) learning these last 8 months. Having an empty nest, especially after taking care of Jon, our youngest son, during his last months on earth, has been very hard. I truly felt for awhile that my life had no meaning, and I couldn’t think of even one good reason why I should still be here. The only place I wanted to be was with Jon in heaven. But gradually as the grief has lessened I have been experiencing the Lord in a new and more personal way. It is His love and the desire for an even deeper relationship with Him that compels me to get out of bed each morning. I still have some bad days when depression tries to again gain the upper hand, but the Lord is always quick to remind me of who I am: His beloved daughter. And that makes all the difference.

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