Eventually it happens, ready or not. One by one, our children will move on. It’s a part of life but that doesn’t make it any less difficult. I hope you find encouragement through my lessons, prayers, and scriptures. May they strengthen and encourage you as your own children leave and you deal with the effects of an empty nest.
Today my daughter leaves.
She’s the second one to leave in two weeks’ time.
Moving out, the normal ritual that is supposed to happen, the rhythm of life. We know the moment they are placed in our arms, a screaming bundle of wet, squirming and you fall in love with a love so fierce it scares it you.
And every day marks one day closer to their leaving. To us having to deal with the empty nest.
All of those little, nothing moments become your life with them and it’s all wrapped up in years. Time.
When we’re new moms we don’t understand this.
The days are long and we long for the days when we can stop with the messy buns and yoga pants and put on some makeup and maybe wear a shirt that doesn’t have any spit up on it. And then somehow, in some magical way, it starts to happen and you find some freedom in your time but it comes at a cost.
They stop crawling into bed with you at night.
They stop asking to be picked up.
Then they turn into teenagers who need you more than they know but they can’t admit it to themselves and they want to pull away because it’s natural but it hurts your tender mama heart.
And you have to let them go, they have to explore the world, find that job, learn that life lesson.
Learning the Lessons to Deal with an Empty Nest
You have lessons to learn too, like how to stop looking at them like a 5 year old, how to hug a teenager because they still want it but won’t say it, and how to pack a bedroom up to move them across the country to college.
These are lessons life has taught me and I don’t want this wisdom. I want to go back to snuggling newborns in the rocking chair, smelling their soap and baby smell, feeling their perfect round heads on my chest as they lean in hard. When you’re their whole world and nothing else matters in the whole world than that moment.
Time stops, or so you think, but the cruel reality is that it doesn’t. It marches on and you love watching them grow, learning, opening their eyes, but then it happens. They reach the moving out age and you sit wondering where it all went.
This is the moment you’ve been practicing for, all for the leaning into Jesus moments that got you through parenthood, this is the culmination point of that practice.
And He is here, in this painful time, this time you never thought would come, but it snuck up on you when you were thinking you had more of it. All the moments you took for granted, all the times you said no when you should have said yes.
And don’t let go of Jesus.
Hold on tight because this storm needs an anchor and the only one that can truly keep you from riding away on the waves of all these emotions is Jesus. All of the letting go you’ve done over the years, this becomes the ultimate letting go. Now, truly, you’ve transferred this child into Jesus’ arms, who loves them more than you do, hard to believe because the love that is wrapped up in this life you’ve spun together haunts you.
But God also wraps you up in His arms and rocks you, holds you, whispers sweet nothings to calm, just like you did with your babies for all of those years. Lean on him, run to him, cling to him and He clings back hard.
Lean into His Word, His entire Self.
Learn more about him, use this time you’ve longed for all this time to restore your Father-daughter relationship, to grow it, plant new seeds, water and tend to it. All relationships need to be tended to and this is the time to clear the weeds, set fire to the old sins and bad habits and sit at your Father’s feet.
There is so much to learn.
And I think there is life after children, although my mama heart hurts so bad I don’t want to know what it is right now. There may be more lessons to learn, more chipping away at this sinful woman to become the woman God is trying to forge.
I’m sure there is, but for now I’m sitting in His arms and holding on tight. And He is there, like he always is, holding fast while I deal with the effects of my empty nest.
Prayers I Pray Over My Children as They Leave:
1. Lord, she is in your hands now. I know you love her more than I do and I trust that you will take of and provide for her. Please Holy Spirit, tug on her when she’s walking off the path you have laid out for her and discipline her according to your love and wisdom in order to keep her safe and secure.
2. Lord, comfort her when she feels homesick and help her know you are near. Draw her to yourself and flood her mind and heart with you.
3. Thank you for giving me the chance to raise this little baby into an adult. It was a privilege and the grace you have given me as we did this is something I am grateful for. I am thankful you saw fit to give her to me and that you trusted me with this human life. I am thankful for the years we had together and praise You for the time we had.
4. Lord, show me how to parent her and mother her well in her adult years. My job is not over but it’s changed, please show me the way, as you have always done. Stay close to me as I walk this new path. Help me to be patient with those around me when I’m struck with grief and remind me to run to you when I am. Help me to be a good mother to my adult children and give them what they need, even if I don’t know. You do. Help me trust You in this new chapter.
Verses to Deal with the Effects of an Empty Nest:
1. Matthew 10:29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
(This reminds me that even this seemingly “unimportant” season is important to God.)
2. Colossians 1:11: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,”
3. Deuteronomy 31:8-9: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
(God is already there, at college, or in your child’s future, protecting them, guiding them. He already knows and is already 1,000 steps ahead paving the way. Trust Him.)
Guest Blogger Bio.
Amber Stephens is a homeschooling mama, entering into her 19th year of home education. Her husband is the love of her life and a 29 year military veteran. He is hoping to retire in a few years. They make their home on a few acres in Nebraska, surrounded by corn and football and their daughters. They have 5 of them, and 1 son, but a few have wandered into adulthood, leaving only a couple left. Some are adopted and some are bio, but all are loved. Together, they run their little homestead that consists of goats, chickens and a beloved horse. Amber writes about homeschooling, one-income living, homesteading, and finding balance in life. Join her at Live Life Homeschool or any of her social media pages. Facebook Pinterest Instagram Twitter
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