Seasons of life march relentlessly onward. There is no stopping them, slowing them down, or reversing gears. Truly, time is the most precious commodity. You can’t sell it, trade for it, or buy it. When it is gone, you can’t get more of it. You simply have to accept that it is gone, and move forward. (This is easier said than done, my friends!) When you are in specific seasons of life, they tend to define you. Much like winter, spring, summer, or fall, the transition from one season to the next happens gradually, yet that doesn’t diminish the extremity of each specific season. Transitions are not effortless.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” Ecclesiastes 3:1
After twenty-three years of parenting, the transition to the empty nest did not come easily or seamlessly for me. I struggled in those first days, weeks, and even months. My brain kind of got stuck on the refrain, “Nobody’s home. Everybody’s gone.” It played in my mind over and over and over again. At the same time I was grieving the end of one season, I was full of anxiety about the next season. What would I do? Where would I invest my time? The very plethora of options only served to overwhelm me.
If you are feeling this way today, know that what you are feeling is normal. Give yourself permission to slow down and grieve the close of a season that was significant and defining in your life. Don’t feel that you have to move on quickly or decisively. If you don’t give yourself the appropriate time to process the transition from one season to the next, you may never be able to move forward in a healthy way. If you need to get professional help, please do it. (Lots of people do.)
Slowly and gradually you will find yourself able to think about moving forward. Take time with this too. After years of laying down your life for your children and considering their needs above your own, it is going to take some time to feel comfortable thinking about yourself. What makes you excited? What are your passions? What do you love? Take the time to reconnect with yourself. Explore your options. Talk to friends (or even friends of friends) who can help you. Delve into resources that can help. Planning your next steps will take time. Give it the time it is due.
Deciding to start Empty Nest Blessed was a journey that stemmed from five years of prayer and searching. As I’ve shared before, when my first child left home, I saw that the end was in sight and began thinking, praying, and reading about the next season of life. (I’d like to tell you that when the actual empty nest came, this made it easier, but that would not be the truth! The grieving process still had to be given its due.) For me, a big part of deciding to start my blog was my life-long passion for encouraging others. I wanted to encourage other women on the journey through this transition and beyond. One thing I knew? I didn’t only want to write about the actual transition to the empty nest, but instead to focus on coming alongside other women who were struggling with what life would look like beyond the season of mothering. Once I was ready to move forward, I spent a great deal of time researching and learning. I met with other bloggers. I took classes. I learned how to build a website and navigate social media. Honestly, it was (and sometimes still is) daunting.
Choosing to learn and grow in the empty nest season has not been the easy path. Growth is hard, and it takes courage! It is often uncomfortable, embarrassing, and even scary. Not really a fearful person by nature, I think I underestimated the fear I would feel by choosing to put myself out there in such a public way! (My new refrain that plays on repeat: “Fear is my friend. Fear is my friend.”) Choosing to stay in my comfort zone would have been easier and safer (We do love comfort, don’t we?), but I am so glad I didn’t.
Thank you for encouraging me on this journey. I am truly grateful. Know that I want to encourage you on yours. I’d love to know your hopes and dreams for the empty nest season of life. If you’re feeling brave, leave me a comment, okay?
RESOURCES THAT HELPED ME ALONG THE WAY
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