Many women experience empty nest syndrome after the last of their children have left home. It has many symptoms like; sadness, loneliness, depression, the blues, emptiness and a sense of lack of purpose. But I have good news for you. God loves empty nesters. He has a new purpose for you. He is going to help you build a new nest overflowing with new purpose. I’m going to give you five ways empty nesters can enter into a new nesting season filled with new purpose and joy.
1 – Keep Perspective
What do you think Momma and Poppa bird think when they see their empty nest? Are they sad? No. What they feel is a sense of tremendous satisfaction. The mamma bird chirps to her man bird, “That was a job well done. All those worms and grubs have paid off. My purpose and identity are realized.“ When I see an empty nest left behind by the birds I admire their handiwork, the love and skill that went into their nesting. Then I think, now there is a happy bird flying off somewhere and singing a new song of joy.
This is the perspective we should have when our young ones grow and leave the nest. I can hear God calling to you like the chirping song of the Wood Thrush, considered by many to be the most beautiful bird song, “Look at the empty nest with satisfaction, not sadness. You have done what I called you to do. Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Take this time to admire all the handiwork and hard work that has been done, grubs included. In the cycle of life we have prepared our children to function and fly in life, to hang out in the trees where it’s safe, and to make melodious music.
2 – Grieving Is Part Of The Process
If you feel sadness overwhelming you, it’s alright. Grieving is a part of the process of any loss and empty nest is a type of loss. However, don’t discount the many years you invested in your children. It matters! As you made many choices for your young ones, continue to be intentional and choose further success for your family. Remember, parenting is never done, even though the house may seem quiet now. You have much to do yet. Place your identity and purpose on firm footing and a solid foundation. Jesus is the rock that will not be shaken. He provides stability, success and sustaining power during this time of empty nest.
3 – Put Your Eyes On A New Beginning
The empty nest is not the end. It’s a new beginning that can be just as rewarding. Remember this in the quiet moments when the house seems so empty; you never stop being a parent. You never stop being needed by your child. My husband has two hour conversations with our younger daughter almost every week, and she is in her late forties. She continues to need her father’s wisdom, humor and the sound of his love. I talk to our oldest daughter two or three times a week and continue to encourage her about her life, and her kids.
4 – Keep Your Eagle Eye On God’s Greater Purpose
I have great news for you! The next cycle of life some declare as the most fantastic; grandchildren. This statement comes from one awesome Grandmother who has experienced the empty nest and the great joy of coming alongside my children and helping them parent the next generation. Your impact on your kids kids is absolutely essential, fun and enduring. I still think and dream of my granny and grandpa with much fondness. Often times little birds experience challenges as they build their own nest. If you keep an open door they may fly back to your nest and you will experience great fulfillment helping them. And, they may soon be bringing those precious grandchildren with them. This is an amazing opportunity to provide encouragement and love and to help the next generation build their own great nest.
Sometimes life doesn’t pan out like we planned. I have experienced the great sadness of having a baby bird fall from the nest. If this has happened to you, allow time to grieve. If a child dies, or simply doesn’t fulfill the expectation you had for them, trust God, for He will sustain you. In time, you must move on and press on despite the pain. You have to do it not only for yourself, but for the rest of your family, and those around you. You can’t control what life hands you, but you can control your reaction. I have the promise that my son, Zachary, is more alive in Heaven than he ever was on Earth. There he experiences the love of his earthly father who passed on before him. And, he also experiences the love of his Heavenly Father, who has prepared a special, eternal nest where our little chicks will always be loved and safe. I have the hope and promise of seeing him again.
5 – Start Preparing Your Next Nest
Many birds build a new nest for every new birthing season. If you have an empty nest right now use the down time to begin building your next, new nest. You will find purpose abounding as you focus on your marriage, family, relationships, finances, and encouraging others. You have to spend the empty nest time preparing a new nest for the next generation. I now have twelve grandchildren and I confidently tell you this; before you know it your nest and your life will be fuller than ever. Meanwhile, have a date night with your husband and renew that great love affair that started it all. Then look forward with anticipation to the next great nesting adventure in the cycle of life; grandparenting and great grandparenting. You have much to live for my friend, so take flight!
Sam is a businessman, writer, entertainer, speaker, husband, father to six children, grandfather and great grandfather. Sam graduated from Huntington University with a B.A. in phychology and drama and pursued a degree in Broadcasting from Illinois Central College with graduate level studies at Christian Leadership University. Sam is the creator of Granpa Cratchet, one of the most successful touring shows in the history of the live events industry. Millions of people see Granpa every year all across the United States at fairs and festivals. His characters have appeared on every major network: Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show (4 times). Sam and his characters have made over 500 local appearances and on all the major networks; NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, PBN, The LeSea Network, The PTL Network and Praise the Lord. They currently appear all around the world every week on YouTube and Facebook, and on several satellite networks via the Kidz Television Network and The Captain Hook (children's) Show.