Testimony Tuesday. Norming and Storming Brings Unity.

In earlier years some children left home for university and others were still at home.  At holiday times those at university would return home to Ireland with their luggage.  They would have to find a spare bed or share with others for the duration of the holidays.  We all had to adjust to being in close proximity again.

When children leave they have more space in their new surroundings.  So returning to a confined space stretched their patience and they had to sacrifice their own comfort.  They usually were stressed out after exams at university and tired after all the activity student life demands.  They would crash in bed and sleep late.

I had other expectations.   I looked forward to their company and some help to give me a break from working in the home.  Instead I had more work to do, more cooking and shopping.  Home was somewhere for them to get their batteries recharged.  My batteries were running out.

In my dilemma I would get frustrated with the children and made demands they were not able to meet.  Children would get frustrated with each other and disputes would have to be settled.  All this was too much for me.  I would call on my husband to talk to any child  who was misbehaving and settle disputes between me and the children, or between each other.

Brendan had his work cut out.  He called these times “Norming and Storming.”  The children were disciplined and reconciled.  Often I felt disciplined when I had to be reconciled to my own children.  The father has the ability to do this for his family.  He can bring unity.  While living together as a big family we had to get on with each other and forgive each other.  We had to go through the process each time we were together.

Despite all the Norming and Storming at the beginning, holidays always turned out to be refreshing times when we could spend time together at meals and at play.  My husband and I were stretched at these times.  When everyone left we needed to take a break ourselves to forget about our troubles and spend time together.

When any group of people get together to do a task, they have to take time to know one another.  Each one’s skills and gifts are needed in the Christian life to help each other.  I needed others to help me get healed.  Someone with the gift of healing helped, another with the gift of prophecy encouraged, a deliverer, the doctors, nurses, family and friends were all needed to love me back to health.  God works through people.  We are his hands and feet.  That is why it is important to get on with each other and forgive each other.

We make up the Body of Christ.  Where brothers dwell together in unity The Lord commands a blessing.

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭133‬:‭1, 3‬ NIV)

What it is like to be going through Empty Nest Syndrome!

I wrote about our present home before.
It was the provision of The Lord fourteen years ago for us and the nine children who still lived at home.
We now have an empty nest!  There are no more fledglings left!  They are grown up and have moved on from their parents.  Yes, it is lonely after all the activity of a full household.  Instead of children running up and down the stairs all I hear is the timbers creaking.
Many of the seven bedrooms are empty.  The heating is turned off in the rooms.  Where there used to be life, chatter, laughter, lights on and essays being written, there is silence and a chill in the air.
There is no one to call to make a cup of tea and have a chat.  There is no news about what friends are up to.
There are no cries of “Who touched my Razor.”  “Where is my toothbrush?” “Who used my hair jell?” “Dinner is ready!” “It is prayer time.  Come down for prayers.”
I do not have to check the rooms to see if everyone is in bed.  My boys and girls slept in peace in their warm beds.  They were always well rested to face all the activity of their young lives.  He gives his beloved sleep.  Psalm 127 v 2
There are five levels of stairs in my home so one had to shout loud.  Even then everyone did not hear the call.
An African man came to visit.  He enjoyed all the buzz in our home.  It reminded him of his own country where there is plenty of activity and noise.
The jam in the cupboard grows mould because there is no one to eat peanut and jam sandwiches.  I throw out vegetables and leftovers in the fridge because there are no hungry boys coming in from football to eat them.
The washing machines are silent.  I would have two washing machines on the go to wash towels and all the jeans and socks.
The house was warmer then with all the bodies in the house.  There was help to keep fires lit and logs cut.  I loved the sound of the Hoover on the landing.  I knew the carpets were getting refreshed.  Now the dust gathers and we don’t see it.  Cobwebs grow on the shutters.
A proverb says “Where there are no cattle the stall is clean but with increase of oxen there is strength.”  There always was help to keep the family going.  The children did their chores.
There are no football bags in the corridor to trip over.  I don’t have to replace many toilet rolls.  There is no smell of burnt toast.  The kitchen sink is not full of dirty saucepans.  All the signs of life are gone.
The grass is beginning to grow in the spring sunshine.  The plant pots need refreshed. Hedgerows need pruned.  The work is too much for two of us.  Reluctantly Brendan and I have agreed to downsize.  We have to leave this Old House that has lovingly protected us and our children for fourteen years.  It has been a shelter from the wind and rain.  It’s gardens provided play areas for our children and their friends and grandchildren,  soil to grow my vegetables, trees to climb and swings to dangle from.
Take a look at this video on YouTube:
Brendan and I and the children have enjoyed many times of tea on the front garden where the morning sun shines.  The children come down one by one to sit with us and enjoy the moment. We enjoyed many barbecues and conversations around camp fires.  It’s hedgerows provided homes for blackbirds, doves, robins and sparrows.  Blossoms on the Laburum, Magnolia and Rhododendron tress signalled spring.
We had champagne on the lawn for our son’s wedding.  That was a great success.  And the birthday parties?
We are moving on before all the spring activity starts and I will be tempted to stay.  We will keep the memories in our hearts.
Thank you God for providing this house in which our family flourished.
video of This Old House by Shaking Stevens With thanks.