Empty Nest – The New Quiet

The silence within is asking “what now?” After 21 years of close-contact parenting and some admitted hyper-diligence, the immediate needs of our children no longer need to be the first thought on our minds each morning.

The new stillness within our home made sense, but the stillness within me was an uncomfortable blend of vacancy, loneliness and uncertainty. A kind of empty uncertainty about purpose and a discomfort about how to “do life” from here. I could also feel two pulls. One feeling is a positive potential about the next season of life, while the other is a pull toward regret for mistakes made in the last season.

To whatever degree it is experienced, this stirring void at the core of our conscious world is one of the most intolerable feelings we can have. It is “dis-ease” that few people will tolerate long without a response. The response we choose can result in one of many possible life-changing outcomes ranging from the satisfaction of greater fulfillment to the heartache from trying a succession of empty, purposeless pursuits.

The answer to filling the void is to connect with the divine purposes built into us by God. Raising our children is clearly one of those purposes, and the only thing that can replace it is another divinely implanted purpose. At these moments when a season of life passes and the silence touches something empty inside, it is time to consult the Author of our divine purpose.

Try a prayer something like this when the new silence hits:
Dear God, thank you for the purpose you have built into me. Thank you for Your strengthening grace that enabled me to fulfill that calling during this last season. Now that day-to-day caring for my children is less of my life, I seek to understand your will for my life focus. Please show me and through Your grace give me the strength to embrace it. Protect me from the lies of the world which seek to drag me down the road of false empty purpose. I reject any trap to critically mull over the past, and I accept the truth of Your will for me to look forward, willing to respond to Your call for the next part of my life.
I pray these things in the name of your Son Jesus.