Empty nester. It seems this terminology often comes with a negative connotation. Kind of like, my kids are grown, my life won’t mean as much, I certainly won’t have a purpose now, and I might even get this crushing sense I can’t be joyful during this time of my life. UGH! It is a hard season for sure, but let’s give God the green light to show us the beauty found in this season of letting go.
Now, don’t hear me wrong. My husband and I love and miss our two daughters every day. They have been out of our house for a few years and I still hear their footsteps coming down the hall. It can be unbearable how much I long to hear their laughter and even wipe their tears. I understand the emotions of sadness and the void associated with empty bedrooms. Scripture is clear that children are a gift, but, there is a time to allow them to spread their wings.
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3 NLT)
When we look at our empty nest, some may choose to be somber, even heartbroken. Let’s choose JOY. Joy because our children are ours to care for, nurture, love, teach and adore always. As they experience their own adventures, in fresh places, under different roofs, we still rejoice because we have been a part of this journey. Now, they live the life God has prepared for them since their first breath. We must renew our mind regarding this season. Instead of an empty house—see a place that was lived in and loved in well.
God’s word clarifies our role as parents:
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NLT)
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NIV)
In this time of transition, we fully grasp the joy stored up in our heart; the memories created that linger; the prayers we’ve been praying answered. Because of the empty, we see new beginnings. Our children fly equipped, ready, eager, and able. They need OUR empty to create THEIR full.
We can’t promise that we will be here for the rest of their lives, but we can promise to love them for the rest of ours. Let them fly, soar, climb, jump, run, and enjoy this life created for them while we watch and cheer them on! Let joy fill you, peace keep you, and may your pantry and fridge be full when those birds fly by for a visit.
Holding Fast to Hope,