Recently, I was talking with a friend who just finished her first year as an official empty nester. In our conversation, I was questioning her about how the year had passed: How did you handle it emotionally? What did you do to fill the time? Were you bored? She explained some of the activities that filled her hours each day, and I nodded along, inserting an "Oh, I would enjoy that" or "I could do that!" as she spoke. Finally, she looked at me quizzically and asked, "Don't you still have kids at home?"
Yes. Yes, I do. My oldest daughter is away for college. But my other college student is local and thus still lives with us; he works fulltime during the day and attends college at night. My oldest son is a senior at the local public school, and my youngest just began high school there as well.
So technically, I am not an empty nester.
However, for the last 20 years, I have had at least one child here at home with me 24/7. Now I don't homeschool.
I most certainly feel like an empty nester this year!
And I dreaded that first day of school - the first day I would sit in my house all by myself, not knowing what to do - for days, weeks even, before it actually happened. And I grieved for what I was losing.
But then the day came.
And it was OK.
The day came, and I began to realize the biggest gift I had been given was sitting right there for me to unwrap. That gift has been almost unlimited time for me to spend getting to know God - studying the Bible and praying. What a difference this has made in the life of someone who always heard about but never experienced a hunger for God's Word, who has never been able to concentrate to pray longer than five minutes.
Now I sit down after everyone has left, in the silence of the house, just me. And before I know it, an hour, two hours, have gone by. This is a time I look forward to, long for, every morning.
And I know this is where God wants me for now. I know this because I have pursued two opportunities for Things to Do, and the people on the other end of both options have not even contacted me.
So I am here for a reason. To learn. To grow.
I am so grateful to my husband for allowing me this time. For not pressuring me to get out there and pound the pavement. For just letting me be for now.
Certainly this is a season because I know God wants me to get out and do something tangible for Him, and He is just getting me ready. And I am ready...whenever that may be. As for now, I relish my empty(ing) nest, the quiet of each morning, and the time I get to spend, just God and me.