My life is changing, my days are becoming less and less stressed, there is two less to cook for, not as much laundry to do and no dishes piling up in the sink. Yep, you guessed it; I am becoming an empty-nester. Many of us are experiencing this transition period in our lives. The period when the kids have grown, and once again it is just you and your husband. For me, this was scary at first. My whole life was wrapped up in my kids. Every day I was up early to take them to school, to pick them up from school, to run them here and there and everywhere. But now, I find myself asking the same question that many other moms’ are asking, as we face an empty nest. “What do I do now?”
When the thought of my daughter turning 18 and heading to college first hit me, I was devastated. My son was preparing to move out, he was packing up boxes, and my daughter was telling me of her plans in the upcoming fall; I have to admit I broke down. I cried like a baby. How could I let them go? A flood of emotions overwhelmed me, and I am sure my husband thought I had finally flown off the coo-coo’s nest! But, there it was, deep in my heart, a fear of “what do I do now?”
As I prayed and sought the Lord through these tough days, He spoke to me words of encouragement, words of hope and love. The void that I was feeling was normal, He said, because my whole life had been wrapped around my children and their every need. Now, those needs were gone, and a void was left. So I asked Him, “What do I do now?” His reply to me, “What have you always wanted to do but never could because of the kids?” A list of things popped off into my head. There are many things I have wanted to do throughout my life, but never had the opportunity to do them because of the time I have dedicated to my kids. But now, hmm, now may be the time for me to spread my wings and fly as well.
This period of our lives that we find ourselves in is bittersweet. We have trained up our children, we have given them the tools they need to live in this world, and now we have to let them go, we have to let them spread their wings and fly, this is sweet to behold. But what do I do with all that is left? How do I fill the time voids, how do I adjust? This can leave a bitter taste in our mouths if we do not see this time in our life for what it is, an opportunity to draw closer to God and to sit at His feet for as long as we desire, as long as He desires.
For some of us who have dedicated our lives to caring for our children, the thought of going back to work makes us cringe. This is a decision that you and your husband need to discuss and pray about. Is this what the Lord has for you? Is this what He wants you to do? Don’t just assume that since the kids are gone you should go back to work, that may not be what the Lord has for you. The question the Lord asked me, “What have I always wanted to do but never could” rolled around in my head for quite a while. This was a time for me to seek His desires for me now, not what they once were, because that has changed, but what He has for me now. He has a plan and purpose for this season of your life, so take some time to seek Him and see what He desires for you to do.
For me, I know what He wants me to do with this time of my life, do you? I have sought, prayed and sought some more until He showed me what He has for me. He has a plan for you; He has a purpose for you. This is a time where we need to seek the Lord with all we have and allow Him to pour into our hearts the plans He has laid for us. There is no easy answer to the question, “What do I do now?” there is no easy quick fix. This is something you need to seek out with your Lord and Savior and trust His answer when He gives it to you, and He will give it to you. He will show you the way in which you are to walk, all we have to do is walk in it by faith.
This is also a time in your marriage that is precious to the Lord and to your husband. He has taken that back seat many times because of the children, and the care you have poured into them. Take this time in your life to pour into him the same adoration that you gave to your children. Take some time today to list off some ways you can pamper and spoil the man who adores you. Perhaps it is breakfast in bed, or taking the time to pack him a healthy lunch. Your husband loves you so much that he was willing to take the back seat many times so that you could be the mother you always wanted to be. Isn’t it time we pour back into them and show them how much we love and appreciate their patient waiting for us?
Make some plans for you and him, plan a date night each week, or pack a picnic lunch and take him to the park. Go for walks together, play together, do something together. Start collecting change and plan for a weekend getaway. There are so many opportunities for us “empty-nesters” to really be the wives God desires for us to be. We have allowed our children to encompass our days, and now that they are leaving, we look for ways to fill up that void. Turn to the Lord and seek His desires for you, pour into your husbands the way you did when you were first married. This time in your life could be your “honeymoon” years all over again. How much would your husband enjoy that? I know mine would, I used to spoil him rotten until the kids, and then he gladly stepped aside and let me make them my world.
This time in your life is YOUR time. You finally get the opportunity to go and be whoever you want to be. This is a time in our lives where the Lord God gets to recreate us, renew us and make us more like Him- unhindered by distractions. Take a walk with the Lord, fall in love with Jesus all over again, and then pour that back into your husband. Go to the park with your bible and sit in His glorious light, read, study, allow Him to show you what He has for you. Ask the Lord what He wants to do with you in this season of your life, and let Him do it. Be confident that it will be okay, know that your kids are in His hands, and He will care for them. They may have left the nest, but you still get to swoop from time to time.
A wise woman in the Lord (my Titus 2 mamma) said to me that an Eagle mom when she lets her children fly the nest, still hovers over top of them and swoops down to pick them up when they start to fall. You get to swoop, mamma's; you still get to swoop. This time in our lives can be scary, we can wonder and worry over what is to come, but let’s not look at it as a void any longer, let’s embrace this time in our lives to be all that God desires us to be, and to draw closer to Jesus, and to pour into our husbands the wonder of His love through each of us.
If you want to do something, go and pray and seek the Lord for His direction, and then rest and wait upon Him to show you the path He desires you to take. Use this time to draw closer to God, to the Father who loves you, to the Jesus who adores you and to the man in your life who has patiently waited for you to come back to him. May the Lord God bless this season in our lives, and through the valleys and the mountains may we draw closer to Him as He molds us and shapes us into the women He desires us to be. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.