Give Me A Durable Joy

Give Me A Durable Joy

“Do you hear that?” he asked.

But I was in full stress mode, as a teacher coming back after taking three vacation days. The stack of papers to be graded was growing Everest size in my imagination, and I wondered what the subs had done versus the instructions I had left. So I wasn’t really listening to his concerns about that sound coming from down the way and something about machinery.

Then I got home at 2:30 and went to the sink to fill my water bottle, before tackling the lawn mowing.

Oh my word.

The overgrown row of shrubs that had bordered our back property line and that of our neighbors was gone, and an evil monster scoop with teeth was ravaging the last of it down the line. Farther back behind our property was a pile of bush carnage bigger than the pile of papers I had to grade, if you need perspective. A pile of growing things that probably will be set to burn, leaving its smoky scent as its only goodbye. We imagine that soon a nearby subdivision will extend to border our back yard.

“I’m sad,” Matt said when he got home and his eyes grew big at the empty space. “That’s where the pheasants lived, and I’m going to miss hearing those.”

Just a few nights ago we disembarked the plane that had carried us away from our son and our daughter-in-law, after we celebrated their college graduation and the beginning of their new lives working in the Austin, Texas area. My mother’s heart moaned at the empty space in our lives where the growing things had just been. Now permanently uprooted and transplanted, our boy will have no more spring break weeks and long summers spent at home, where I had a reason to buy a gallon of chocolate milk every week and trip over size 11 Chacos in the back entry.

Now I sat on the riding lawn mower, staring at our new back view and feeling the impact of our new lives, with kids settling elsewhere. Lord, I need a durable joy. Give me something wonderful and hopeful that can grow deep, deep, deep roots and never ever be dug up.

It’s me, He said.

Just like that. Worship on the mower.

Yes, I whispered back to him. And you are simply wonderful. Better than trees, better than the sound of pheasants in summer, and even better than children.

No offense to the children, if you’re reading this. Oh how we love you. What a joy you are to us. How very much we have enjoyed raising you and what delight we now have to see you be wife and husband and decorate your own houses and do your exciting work in your homes and outside of your homes. No offense.

But you have left the nest, and I simply need more. I want more. And More is there for me. You growing up and leaving is good for my soul, so don’t feel bad at all. In this new aloneness I see Jesus waiting here for me, and I can be all filled up and happy. His roots of love and beauty grow down, down, down inside of me and cannot, will not, ever disappoint.

So yes, tears. I mean, we have beautiful children and now they’ve married and have doubled our joy, but we just miss these stinkin’ kids like crazy.

But happy. Because Jesus is here inside of me, and I can walk along with him every day and be just fine. I can thrive up until my last breath, no matter what gets pulled up and transplanted out of my life that I had been enjoying very much.

Do you know Jesus? If you’re sad or disappointed about what you don’t have anymore, then this is absolutely the perfect day for you to turn your eyes toward him and get filled up in all the cracks of your heart. Filled to overflowing. He is so good, and he wants to show you how good. Open your arms to him.


  1. Christy,
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful words! I’m always blessed by your honesty about daily life. This post in particular was such a blessing to me today as our family is walking through the “emptying of the nest” season. You beautifully affirm the sadness and joy of giving our children wings, while pointing to the One who ALWAYS fills our hearts completely!

  2. Diane Nickerson says:

    Oh yes, yes, yes!!! I so agree and empathize!!! Thank you for the timely reminder that More is always right there with me, even when I am really missing those adult, far-from-here children of ours!

  3. Jeannette says:

    I am not completely on the same page as you, but we share some of the same words (mainly, ‘tears’).

    I have been divorced for 15 years, but my youngest lives with her dad and step mom in the same town; as a result, I see her quite a bit and she will often spend the night with me. I live alone. I do not have a tv (I like to read ), I rarely listen to the radio, I only leave the house to go to the grocery store and to church. I also don’t mingle with too many of the other tenets in the apartment building. In other words, it is very quiet in my house. When Stacy leaves, it’s like a cemetery in here; it seems quieter than before she came ! She is 23, so she does her own thing while here (reading or playing games on her tablet).
    I’m thinking it will probably be very hard when she does marry and come over sporadically. I will just get adjusted to the quiet and I will be doing my thing, then she (and he) will come over and change me up again! Change is hard sometimes, but how peaceful it is to know Jesus remains a steady presence.

  4. “I can thrive up until my last breath, no matter what gets pulled up and transplanted out of my life that I had been enjoying very much.”

    Needed that, today. Because some very important things are getting pulled up and out of my life just now….. Thanks for the way you share your journey with us all.

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