Nurturing Your Nest
If you build your nest, they will leave it. I know. I know that is supposed to be the goal. But let’s be honest. When we are newlyweds and new parents, –especially new Mama’s… an Empty Nest is not so much our goal. We want a full nest, a life filled with love and Littles and lots of laughter. We build a nest… a marriage… a life… with these goals in mind. And that is fine and good… but somewhere along the line, we forget.
We forget that…
…if we do this well, eventually our nest will be empty but hopefully our lives will be full!
My Honey and I find ourselves now in the midst of an empty nest and while we miss our Only, we are loving the roominess and freedom of this new season. We’re still adjusting to the empty nester life but it’s been a fairly smooth transition because of how we sowed into our marriage, friendship, and romance all the way through the parenting years!
We had an only child and so for all of her life, we were three. We were close knit; tight; Gilmore-Girls-ish – only in a less dysfunctional, more Christian way. Everyone sort of assumed that when she grew up and moved away that I‘d be left in the fetal position somewhere in her empty room, falling apart. I will admit to only a few days like that, spread out over the first few months. The house seemed too quiet. My days, too free. The Dinner table too hard to gather around with her chair sitting empty in between us.
But through all of the years that we were three, we were always two first.
We purposed to love each other out loud and on purpose. So now, as a young adult, our girlie jokes about how she’s always been a third wheel. She was loved well and knew that she belonged, but there was never a doubt that we were two before, and would continue to be two during and after we were a family of three in this nest.
We did movie nights, coffee dates, after dinner talks… we went on just-us-two-overnighters and on vacations with friends – sometimes with the Littles, and sometimes without. We behaved the same in the house and out of the house. We loved and laughed, yes – but we argued too! (This is real life, right?) But when we fought, we tried to never go to bed angry. We didn’t always succeed, but that was the goal. We were exhausted, exasperated, and at the end of our rope some times.
Because, you guys, parenting is hard. And also this: marriage is work, too.
Both of those relationships won’t just happen and they won’t thrive unless we’re willing to put in the effort.
We pitched in, prayed up, and powered through –side by side when we could, and in shifts when we couldn’t. But always, at the end of the day, it was just us two. Side by side, or face to face… whispering truths and dreams as our eyelids grew heavy. We laid our hurts down and our hearts wide open, drifting off and letting go, ready to face a new day together.
As we watched our girlie grow up, we were laying down roots. We took time and were intentional in continuing to grow our friendship and try new things… to explore new places and dream of possibilities we would want to do in the future.
We learned early on what our Love Languages were and we speak them on purpose. We made it a goal to laugh out loud every day together and to be willing to cry together, too. We decided to honor each other and to lean in to that whole two-becoming-one deal and oh my goodness, how sometimes those growing pains can stretch us!
We realized that as our family grew, we were building a nest for the three of us that would fit just right when we eventually found ourselves back to only two. We discovered that as we nurtured our nest through every season of parenting… as we held on tight when our family was young, and slowly let go as our family matured… -we found that truly, home is where the heart is, and as long as my heart is at home in his… our nest is never really empty!
Love lives here. No matter who comes and goes, Love remains and grows as long as we make room for Him.
So no matter what season of life or parenting you’re in, let me encourage you to nurture your nest in a way that invites Love in and makes room for you to go (eventually) from multiples, right back to just the two of you!
Karrilee is a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. She’s a writer, reader, pray-er, photographer, artist, beach lover, laugh seeker…serving God to the best of her ability. She lives in the PNW with her husband where they are new empty nesters to an only, as well as co-leaders of Dad’s House church. She’s passionate about going deeper with the Lord and inviting others to discover His love. Her life message is: Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On. Karrilee loves to share what the Lord is speaking to her heart over at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!