“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NKJV)
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)
As of the middle of last week, my husband and I are now officially “empty nesters.” We moved our daughter, Hannah, into her new apartment, along with her two cats, and enough of our “late relative, early attic” furniture from upstairs to leave a fair amount of open space in several rooms. The house has a certain eery emptiness about it that is taking some getting used to. Now, Hannah has been gone more than she has been home for the past four years during her college experience, but we always knew that, at least for short bursts of time, she would return home. Not so now.
In a recent post, “Losing A Daughter,” I related a humorous conversation between my husband and Hannah about this very topic. Hannah has, admittedly, had a mixture of excitement and nervousness about the moving out process. She is a responsible and capable young lady who understands some of what awaits her in the adventure called “adulthood.” Like most, she is not entirely sure that even though prepared, she is prepared quite enough.
It seems that parents run the gamut of how they relate to this expected event in the lives of their children. Some can’t wait for the door to slam that final time, as their son or daughter eagerly throws off parental authority and involvement. On the opposite end are those parents who can’t (or won’t) let go, seeking to stop time and keep their children from growing up and away from them. Obviously, neither of these is the ideal way to cope with what inevitably must happen: our children grow up and lead a life separate from our own.
Admittedly, from conversations I have had with other parents, I am struggling much less with this change than most I have talked to. Whether it is because Hannah maintains a very close relationship to us, calling daily, or because this is what I have been preparing for since she was small, I don’t know.
We are blessed to know that Hannah is exactly where God wants her to be, doing exactly what He wants her to do. And each day God will reveal to her the next steps she must take. God has planned a bright future for her, one which she is determined to walk into with an obedient heart. She can have confidence that He has ordained those friendships which will sustain her. She can have confidence that He is preparing a young man to share her future. She can have confidence that He will guide her to where she can serve Him best, using all the gifts, talents, and abilities He has so graciously bestowed on her. God’s Hand is resting on her as she enters this new season of her life.
And even though she is gone, she is most definitely not forgotten.
Copyright © 2012 by Susan E. Johnson
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