"To everything there is a season, a time, a purpose under Heaven." ... Ecclesiastes 3:1
Well. Bonnie asked if I could write another post about the 'empty nest' soooo here you go.
Releasing Naomi to be the grown-up she'd become was probably the hardest thing, ever. Yet after I finally let go (it took years), it was also the most rewarding, exciting and freeing thing.
When Naomi was 14, God dropped a certain book at my feet (literally, kinda), one which basically said, "Parents! When your children hit the ages between 18 and 21 you must give them the freedom which you wanted at those ages. The freedom God gives each of us, a freedom it would be wrong/ungodly to deny them. So begin preparing yourself emotionally now while they're young and start creating a life for yourself now, as well. Both are vital."
That book haunted me.
Well, I did prepare myself emotionally and I did create a life apart from mothering--but even so--oh dear. Still, when Naomi hit 19 and 20 (especially) it was like agony not giving her unasked-for advice and double agony trying not to worry when she'd come home after midnight (or 2 or 3 a.m.) after waitressing or playing drums in her band(s).
"Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be drummers." Heh.
But oh... God nagged me big time. He reminded me that raising my daughter had, mostly, reached its end. And He also said (over and over) that my worry was sin, an obvious sign of a lack of trusting Him and not giving Naomi her adult freedom was sin, as well (ouch).
More? He said there'd be no more sleeping on the couch until Naomi arrived home nightly. "From now, go to bed, Debra. Go to bed and sleep and trust that I'll bring her home safely." (Gah. What a test.)
Something else He
There was more, like, "Let go of that grip!", but if you're a mom of at least one adult, you've probably already heard it all. :)
Well, obeying Him helped a lot (funny how that works). And these things, below, made the separation easier because they were firmly a part of my life before Naomi left home:
1.) I developed a great love for God, which changed my head and heart like you wouldn't believe. I spent much time getting to know Him better and letting Him remake what I'd made all wrong.
2.) God showed me how exciting it can be to use the gifts He'd placed inside me to help others. He reminded me (still does) how it matters that I find ways to improve upon those talents.
3.) I began learning new-to-me subjects, practically did college at home my own way. This helped expand my mind and stretch my creativity. Shortly before Naomi left home, I finally went online and discovered ways to encourage and teach and write here (and have never looked back).
Then after Naomi officially left home? Tom and I felt like newlywed kids again. Free to go where we wanted, when we wanted and to do what we wanted. I even repainted both of Naomi's rooms and made them my own in which to create and dream and entertain and sleep.
And you know? The world, my world, suddenly felt new and huge and not empty at all, but stuffed with adventurous possibilities not available to me with a daughter at home. As though a brand new season had begun, one with a doorway not large enough for me and the old child-rearing season. No, all I could bring were empty hands and a willing spirit ready to create and live inside sunny seasons yet to come.
Raising Naomi was a marvelous, rewarding season for me, unlike anything I'd ever done or will do again. But so is this empty nest season as God and I pour just as much creative energy into it day by day.
"But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." ... Genesis 19:26
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
One of the posts I shared yesterday goes along well with today's: The Necessity of Your Own Life.
This one, also: Just Doing It ... And Changing The World
Free Kindle books: