My wife and I still have little children in our nest, but it feels as though we already are empty nesters. Over the last couple of years, we have willingly opened our home to family and friends. Recently though, it’s just been the 2 of us and our 2 daughters.
An advantage is that this creates opportunities for us to focus on ourselves as a unit (which we have not been able to do since we got married), further forge our identity as a family, and invest more in the children. Truly, you cannot give what you don’t have and it makes sense to fill up before emptying out again. A disadvantage is we don’t have all the people to do life with. All the bustling activity, the going out and coming in and yes, the conflict that sometimes emerges. We miss all of this and more.
This Empty Nesting experience gives us insight into God’s longing to call earth’s sons and daughters home. As though He lives by himself now but can’t wait to be joined by his sons and daughters. Yes, He is omnipotent and omnipresent but I can now slightly imagine the emotion He feels when He utters these words:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”- John 14:3
Perhaps, you are planning/ looking forward to your Empty Nesting days, or maybe you are there right now. 3 steps that will help you make the most of this are:
1. Understanding and accepting that a parent’s work is never done: Of course you can’t meddle in your children’s affairs but there still is a lot you can do to make their lives better. For example, you can leverage the authority you have with God as parents, to pray for them. You can give advice and yes, you can still give resources if needed.
2. Reacquaint yourselves to yourselves: Perhaps it’s been all about the children since they came to the world, but now its about you. If you’ve wrongly put your children first over your spouse, you will sadly discover, now that they are off and about, that you are stuck with that man or woman whom you placed second. Treat them well.
3. Use this time to propagate God’s kingdom on earth by giving according to the measure God has given to you: You’ve always wanted to build God’s kingdom in some way, but you’ve been busy. This is the best time to enjoy the benefits that come from giving and from giving alone. Giving is not just about money. Your time, prayers, company, wisdom and insight are invaluable to building God’s kingdom.
In all, use this time to remember that there is he who has gone to prepare a place for you and can’t wait to spend eternity with you. Isn’t that beautiful? Even so, come Lord!