The drive was so familiar that, as I turned the corner, I was on autopilot. There it was. Our old house.
As I looked at the house, a feeling of melancholy came over me. It wasn’t about the house, really. The house had a kitchen that was too small and a basement that wasn’t finished. There were three bedrooms but just one full bathroom. Imagine that with three teenagers, two of them girls! No, it wasn’t about the house. It was about all the memories of our children growing up there.
As I drove slowly past, I could almost picture them, hanging like monkeys from the bars in the backyard. I remembered nightly dinners around the dining room table and Saturday night picnics on the living room floor when we ate pizza and watched movies together. I was flooded with thoughts of precious moments when they were little and trying times when they were teenagers. Now they are gone and have homes and families of their own. All of it swept over me with a wave of nostalgia, and for a few moments, I wanted it all back. I missed those days.
Living with an Empty Nest
When you’ve spent decades actively parenting, it takes some adjusting to settle into the new lifestyle of the empty nest. Transitions are hard, aren’t they? I found myself asking, Now what, Lord?
When I went to God’s Word, I found Isaiah 43:19 and it reminded me, “Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already – you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.”
Sure enough, new paths were opened up for me to explore. My husband and I moved into an even smaller place on the other side of town, the perfect size for the two of us. Our empty nest years have given my husband and me time to reconnect and discover things we can pursue together. These days, my relationship with the kids is one where I listen more than I talk, and together we look for ways to mutually support each other. I also have more time for personal friendships and new interests.
God took the emptiness I felt and gave me fullness.
If you are struggling to see your empty nest as an opportunity for something new, consider meditating on these promises from God’s Word:
- And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs. — Philippians 4:19 (GNTD)
- You have done many things for us, O Lord our God;
there is no one like you!
You have made many wonderful plans for us.
I could never speak of them all—
their number is so great! — Psalm 40:5 (GNTD)
- I am your God and will take care of you
until you are old and your hair is gray.
I made you and will care for you;
I will give you help and rescue you. — Isaiah 46:4 (GNTD)
- We know that in all things God works for the good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28 (GNTD)
- Your rule is eternal,
and you are king forever.
The Lord is faithful to his promises;
he is merciful in all his acts. —Psalm 145:13 (GNTD)
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