When the Nest Empties: How to Walk Hand-in-Hand on Mother’s Day

My husband and I are in the in-between season. With one child starting college and one leaving in two years, our party is slowly shrinking in size. That’s what happens in the empty nest, right? After years of raising children together, you find yourselves back at your Party of Two.

Everything seems familiar and new all at the same time. For me, thinking about Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) already feels different–not bad–just different. In His gentle way, the Lord prepares all married couples for each new season by declaring in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

And, yes, eventually, for those couples with children, the season of parenting with a full nest transitions to a season with fewer mouths to feed but not fewer hearts to love.

A Mother’s Day with a nest full of memories.

When you’re married long enough, you can more easily look back and see the ebb and flow of your relationship, not just the one you share with each other and God but the relationship you share as parents with each of your children. The high tides and the low tides. The moments where God’s glory and provision left you in awe. The storms blowing through and the restoration God brought to the damage. In fact, you can probably make notes of memories using Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 as a framework.

So, why not pause and do that hand in hand with each other?

In honor of Mother’s Day, read through these verses slowly and see what recollections the Holy Spirit stirs up in your mind. Write your memories in a journal. Then, invite your spouse to read through this passage with you and look back together over your nest full of memories. It’s part of your love story with each other and part of God’s love story with you:

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

God’s plan for remembering.

In scripture, God often tells His children to look back and remember. It’s a good thing, too. After all, we tend to forget most things unless we write them down and then remember to read what we wrote. That might be why He made sure the Bible made its way into our hands. We needed His written Word to help us remember and recognize who He is and what it means to be called a child of God. (Thank You, Lord!)

When we look back, we can clearly see God’s faithfulness and overflowing love for us in a way that we might miss in the here and now. In the looking back as a couple, your trust in God can grow because you see evidence of ways He provided for you in the past. And, you can move forward into the future, trusting Him to care for you whatever this new season holds.

Resting under His wings.

As parents, we raise our children to leave our homes but not our hearts. And that’s what’s at the root of Mother’s Day, whether you’re walking hand in hand through the newborn stage, the empty nest season, or all those moments in between.

Maybe this is your first Mother’s Day with a nest less full. Or maybe you’ve been here awhile, and your children already manage full nests themselves. One thing is certain: God’s nest is never empty. He always makes more room for new children and welcomes back those who fall out. So, in this season, rest in comfort under His wings and allow Him to lead your marriage through whatever comes next.

A Mother’s Day marriage prayer for the empty nest.

Father, thank You for blessing our marriage with children. I can’t help but think of Psalm 127:5, which says “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!” And, yes, Lord, we had such joyful moments raising our kids together. And we definitely grew in our dependence on You and each other. Now the nest isn’t as full as it used to be, Father. And, I admit, on Mother’s Day, part of me misses what used to be. However, I ask that You strengthen our marriage so that our love for each other grows in ways only You could orchestrate. Amen.

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