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You Have an Empty Nest – Now What?

Now that the kids have gone and you have an empty nest, you may not know just what to do with yourself. Since this is a time of great transition it creates a lot of emotions. Before you can truly move on to this next stage of life, you might need to spend some time closing that chapter and getting ready for the next one.

Wow! That was weird.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, year after year you took care of them. And now, they are gone. Doesn’t it feel strange, almost surreal? The silence in the house can be deafening.

The whole goal of raising kids is to produce healthy, well-adjusted adults that can care for themselves and live on their own. Everything you’ve done (okay, except for those mistakes you, and all of us, have made) has been about this. Now that they ARE adults and have moved on to start their own lives and families are you wondering what to do next?

You miss the great and amazing times with them

You first look at this little newborn face and amazingly fall immediately in love. This love carries you through nights of no sleep, changing the diapers, AGAIN, feedings, and astonishing growth. There are first steps and first words and so many firsts. There is “no” from you and later from them. They are grown and learn and delight. They start school and make friends and develop their own personality and mind.

Great stuff and you miss it.

Even with the hard times, you still miss them

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Our kids grow us, don’t they? They show us where WE are immature and selfish. We see our own failings and wounds as we raise them. We make huge mistakes with them that we swore we never would.

They, in turn, were challenging in ways we never expected. They could be so hard to live with – especially when they turned into teens. But you grew a lot then, didn’t you? And, even though your heart ached, the Lord was there with you, and with them, being a Father to all.

Cherish the memories but keep moving forward

We could talk all day about the kids and our lives raising them. And we should talk about them and, don’t forget, with them. But you have a life and it is time to start thinking about it.

Some of us put our own personal growth on hold while raising kids. They do take up a lot of time and resources, so that is understandable, but if you haven’t been working on yourself, it is time.

Depending on your age when you started parenting, you should have quite a bit of life left. That life, those years, is calling to you. What will you answer?

God still has a plan for your days. You still have gifts yet to develop and passion that maybe has been on the back burner. There is a place for you in this world and it is significant. Do you know what it is?

So, what do you do now?

Grieve where you need to. Celebrate what you can. Take inventory of what you’ve learned. Most importantly, don’t stop now. Determine to live a vibrant, meaningful life, and then do it.

If you really find yourself stuck in grief or are getting depressed, I encourage you to seek out a Christian counselor who can help you through this. If you are in the Phoenix area and would like to counsel with me, please use the contact form on the navigation bar. If you are not in the area but would like to counsel by phone or email feel free to contact me as well.

“I work with individuals to actually find themselves in Christ and have their lives truly function well in Him. Often I am serving those most hurt by the world – those who have experienced severe trauma and abuse and helping them to find complete healing from the pain and the memories.

I have seen the Lord heal hundreds. Nothing has been too difficult for Him.”