Women with Empty Nests, This is Your Time to Shine.

Empty Nester {noun} : a parent whose children have grown up and left home.

You bore children. 
You raised them. You loved them. 
Worried for them. Fought for them.
Laughed with them (or at them).
Cried with them (or for them).
Supported them. Challenged them. Encouraged them.
Celebrated them.

...and then they were off.

As a mother, you gave your heart and soul to nurture these babies of yours, and you sacrificed your life to raise them into adults.

In case no one has ever told you this - you're amazing.
You probably worked through blood, sweat, and tears to do the best you could at the time, and for that, you're a rockstar.

And now The Raising part is over, and you're on to still green, but different-looking pastures.
You get to enjoy your grown kids and the grandchildren they've given you, and you also probably get to be apart of other young mothers' lives in your community.

I am here to encourage you in how important you are right now.

As young mothers (young meaning any women who still have children living in their home, for the sake of this conversation), the value of having older, seasoned women in our life is immeasurable.

If you are part of any family or community, you most likely have women in your life, a daughter, daughter-in-law, friends; who are smack dab in the midst of The Raising and are quite probably exhausted and sometimes discouraged, whether they look like it or not.

These relationships are your opportunity to do some beautiful and important work.

Do you realize the power you have to breathe life and hope into another woman's heart with just a few words of encouragement?
And do you remember how badly you needed that at the time too?

"Take a deep breath. This is REALLY hard work. But you're doing a great job. And God has got this more than you ever could."

Words like these are light in what can sometimes be a dreary and dark place.
And YOU have that to give!
You are gifted with a grander perspective. 
To see which of the little things are important, and also the value of the big picture. 
To have experienced that a lot of the things you worried about would eventually turn out ok.
To know now which things at the time you WISH you would have made a priority.

This is wisdom worth sharing with the next generation.
But it must ALWAYS be shared in love and gentleness.
Otherwise no one will be able to hear it.

Don't waste this season of your life posting articles on Facebook about what parents should or shouldn't be feeding their kids, or how you think they should be disciplining, or whatever methods or traditions you deem to be The Right Way.
I understand the temptation, when you've been through and seen a lot, to wish that all the people around you would stop ACTING A FOOL and to just be as in the know as you are.
But I'm sure you can remember being in the trenches like it was yesterday. 
How you were just doing the best that you could, and that you definitely were not perfect by any means.
Don't make the sad mistake of forgetting
Forgetting how much grace you needed and now not giving any to the young mothers around you.

Instead, love on them!
Love on these women, lift them up with your words and your support, in the same way you needed when you were wearing these shoes.
Instead of blowing an airhorn in their face with all of your opinions and criticisms, put your arm around them. Catch these flies with honey, not vinegar.
Be a safe and positive place, earn that trust, and they will most likely be begging you to share your wealth of wisdom and counsel.

If you are doing a lot of advice-giving (whether in person or on social media), but you don't have many women coming to you seeking your counsel first (or at all), is it possibly time to consider a new approach?

This season you're in, being an Empty Nester, will be just as much part of your legacy as was The Raising. Maybe even more. 
Your work is not over. You have so much to offer right now.
So go for it!
Invest in other women. Invest in your friends and next generation of wives and mothers around you.
Build them up. Encourage them.
Ask them how they're doing. Give them the Atta Girl's that you know they probably need to keep going, just like you needed (and still do!).
Remind them, over and over again, how sweet God's amazing grace is.
And how His grace is more powerful than their kid's exhausting tantrums or how much sugar is the cereal they buy.
Speak beautiful truth to her. And help her find freedom in the Gospel.

What a blessing this will be to her life and to yours.

You, sister, have power.
Power to build up or tear down.
Wield it carefully and selflessly.
 Leave a legacy of shining a light into dark and hopeless places, and breathing life into every room you're in.
This is such a simple way to be like Jesus.

You are so important. This time in your life is so important.
And we need you.


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