As mothers and nurturers, we can find it very hard when our children grow up because we derive so much of our self-worth and value from our roles. Let’s face it, we are mothering for a long time before they all leave home.
Raising children can be such a wonderful season of life. While it is not without challenges, we may grieve deeply when this season of children at home comes to an end.
Here are some things I have learned through navigating my empty nest season. I hope those of you coming into this season will glean some hope and comfort from what I share.
Be okay with the ache in your heart and the fact that it will never fully go away.
- thank God for the ache as it is a reflection of His goodness in your life, and the joys you experienced raising the children along the way
- don’t allow the ache to cripple you, move on through the pain
- remember that not everything that is hard is the result of something bad happening to us, sometimes hard can come from something very, very good
Work on re-establishing your identity in Christ
- if your children have become an idol in your life, repent and realign with God
- get in the Word and remind yourself of who God is, what He created you for, and who you are in Christ
- a new season of life often requires a revisiting our faith foundation, and making repairs to any part that has been eroded
Invest in your love for your husband
- your husband’s role probably hasn’t changed much (unless he retired), so it’s hard for him to fully understand our forced retirement from first-line nurturer, to second-season motherhood. Give him grace in this.
- don’t redefine your husband’s role from husband to counselor
- while your husband may be able to comfort you, he likely won’t be able to counsel your heart in the areas that need it most
- look to the Holy Spirit to be your Counselor
- find other women in your life stage to talk about this struggle with
- if your marriage has been damaged by the change in your family dynamics, then ask the Lord to begin rebuilding your marriage
Re-visit your calling as a wife
- for example can you get up with your husband (because with no kids home it would be easy to just sleep in every day) fix his breakfast, pack his lunch, and see him out the door with a kiss
- pray for your husband every day
For more tips on Navigating the Empty Nest Season please see the Part 2 of this blog.