By the time we moved at the end of 2020, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I’d painted three bathrooms, three bedrooms, the kitchen cabinets, and all the baseboards as we prepared to sell our home. Not only did our home hold a decade and a half of memories, it housed all the stuff we’d accumulated over fiftteen years and everything our older children left behind when they transitioned to adult life. I still can’t believe we finally emptied the unfinished basement and cleaned out the garage.
Although I was excited to be in our new house and neighborhood, and the winter months gave me a good excuse to stay home and settle in, it was slow going. The unpacking and organizing moved along at a snail’s pace; the preceding months had burned me out soul-deep.
Because I tend to be goal-driven, this breathing room honestly made me uncomfortable. Shouldn’t I be doing something important or tackling a big project? But all along, I felt the Lord offering a period of rest that I needed to accept.
Little did I know how that period of rest and space to breathe would prepare me for what was next.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the renewed capacity to open my mind and life to new opportunities and interests. I’ve been asked to speak out-of-state at two women’s events. Speaking is something I’ve considered for a while, and the invitations feel like a sweet confirmation. I also want to try my hand at writing fiction, which according to my new account at thestorygraph.com, is what I read 94% of the time. I’m listening to podcasts and reading books about writing fiction — it’s so fun! Later this month I’ll attend a writers conference with workshops on topics like point-of-view, story structure, and the art of storytelling.
I feel the Lord’s gentle nudge as He shows me fresh ways to use the gifts He’s given while glorifying Him in the process. It’s both exciting and scary.
My husband and I are inching ever closer to the empty nest years. At the moment we only have two daughters at home. Our 22-year-old works and is about to go back to school and our 17-year-old is a high school senior with a part-time job. After years of living with a full and busy household — and all the sports, classes, and sleepovers that eight children have brought into our life — now there are days the puppy and I are the only ones at home.
Some women look forward to their empty nest years but I have dreaded them. I enjoy my children and it’s nice they’re older and independent after years of being responsible for babies and toddlers. They run errands for me now instead of vice versa. They’re funny and delightful and we can have mature conversations. But they will leave someday and I need to be ready for it.
One day recently I realized how my new interests of speaking and writing fiction will work well with quieter days and I could envision a future shaped by them. Unexpectedly, a word came to mind: thrive. In that moment, I felt the Lord’s assurance that our home will not become lonely, but a place where I can flourish. It transformed my thinking. Slow, quiet days no longer feel empty but full of promise — I wish I could squeeze more hours from each day and fill them with all the things I want to do.
We often approach new life stages and paths we haven’t walked with apprehension and uncertainty, but we shouldn’t be afraid: God has a plan for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Do you ever resist areas that might be part of your calling because they feel uncomfortable or you don’t know if you’ll excel? I do. But this approach implies the strength for the journey begins and ends with us, and that’s not how God works. Where He calls us to go, where He invites us to try, where He leads us to trust, God will provide what we need.
Dear Lord, help me trust You to lead and support me through life’s changes and to recognize the guidance of the Holy Spirit you placed within me. Give me eyes to see and a heart to seek Your plan for my life and help me to thrive in it. Amen.