Roots and wings. It’s what we planned for, but I didn’t realize it would hurt so much. Empathy and encouragement for parents of college students and empty nest mothers. Paradoxes from Scripture, biblical wisdom, and inspirational quotes.

Empty Nest Hope for Parents of College Students

Roots and wings. It’s what we planned for, but I didn’t realize it would hurt so much. Empathy and encouragement for parents of college students and empty nest mothers. Paradoxes from Scripture, biblical wisdom, and inspirational quotes.I kissed my husband this morning and asked him, “Will you love me through the crazy?” He laughed. Crazy is no stranger to him. This isn’t the first set of roller coaster colliding emotions he’s witnessed in our almost three decades of marriage. It probably won’t be the last.

But something about this version of crazy is different. You see, we’re approaching the
… wait for it …
empty nest zone.

In just a few days, we’ll be waving goodbye to our baby as she turns to go back into her dorm and start a whole new chapter without us. We’ll drive for six hours and return to a house where supposedly we can now run around in our underwear. (Seriously? Why is that such a thing?)

And just like that. This season of parenting will be finished.

I know I’m not through being a parent.
I know they’ll still need me. My older two have shown me that.
They’ve also shown me how much fun grown and flown children can be.
Yes, this is an exciting season ahead with so many new adventures and opportunities.
I know it’s going to be ok.
In fact, this is how it’s supposed to be.

So why does it hurt so much?
And why won’t the truth in my head win the wrestling match with my heart?
There should be an Olympic event for all the emotions jockeying for position inside of me.

Hope for parents of college students and empty nesters when their adventure is calling

 

Paradoxical Dance Partners

My friend wrote a guest post last year about the experience of letting grown children go. She described the internal pull of emotions as a dance of two partners: joy and sorrow.

“Make no mistake. It’s a dance. Beautiful or terrible. In sync or out of step.
There are two polar opposite sets of emotions that are trying desperately to reach some kind of peace.
One pulls against the other, creating a swirling activity of emotion and unpredictable responses.
Hopefully they work with — and not against — each other.
If you’re like me, you might not be a great dancer.”

Those words have been living on my blog for a year, waiting for me to reread them as I stand here on the roller coaster dance floor. Yep. I’m not a great dancer either, friend.

This entire parenting thing is full of incongruent, conflicting, discordant strains that are supposed to combine in one masterpiece harmony.

God gave us these people, but they aren’t ours.
He destined us to receive them with open arms but hold them close with open hands.
He shaped us to love to be needed and yet commissioned us to train them to need us less and less.
He wired our impulse to scoop them up when they fell and also instilled the intuition to show them how to stand on their own.

And so, if we’ve been doing our jobs, we’ve been teaching them how to walk away from us since we taught them to take their first steps.
It’s what we planned for.
I just didn’t realize it would hurt so much.

Roots and wings. What a paradox.

When I can’t make sense of life, I turn to the one who can. God is the original Author and He has an affinity for the element of irony. The record of Scripture is full of seemingly incompatible themes and paradoxes.

And that’s just the top ten. The more I contemplate the unfathomable wisdom and providence of our sovereign God, the more I ease into this season of life. It doesn’t hurt less, but I’ve learned that leaning into the pain is the only way to get to the other side.

So I’ll keep dancing.
I’ll see this coaster to the end of the hill.
I’ll give God my crazy chords to compose a new harmony.
And when we get to the end of this ending, I trust there will be a beginning, with more full than my empty could ever have fathomed.

 

P.S. Get your FREE mini-eBook!

Parents need encouragement on some of the deepest levels.
This short guide 5 things Parents of Teens Need to Hear is the launching manual I wish I had and it’s free for my email friends. Click here or below.

Free ebook for parents of teens

Encouraging You as You Inspire others,

Christi
Learn more about the author or other popular posts.

Read the guest post from my friend here: When Parents Dance with Joy & Sorrow ~ The rhythm of letting go


Let’s Connect!

Email: (I promise to treat your inbox like I want mine treated.)
Podcast! Subscribe and listen using your favorite device.
Facebook: The Cheerio Trail has a page and a growing community.
Twitter: Join me there for quotes and daily inspiration.
Pinterest: I publish all original artwork as well as associated quotes over there.
Instagram: Truth in View!


Other Parenting Posts

Do you ever feel like you are always fighting a battle? It’s because you are! ~ Mothering is suiting up for combat every.single.day against an enemy who contends for your children. Take heart and take hold to the ONE who can equip you for the war.

In the pattern of "If you give a mouse a cookie," this cute post travels the journey of motherhood and reminds moms everywhere that God sustains you in each season of parenting. Mothers need encouragement and hope more than anyone!

 

Free ebook for parents of teens


Copyright © 2017 Christi Gee and TheCheerioTrail.com. All rights reserved worldwide.
No part of this material may be reproduced or used in any manner without the prior written permission from the author, except for brief excerpts (100 words or less). In the case of these allowed brief excerpts, full attribution must be given to Christi Gee and a link back to this site (TheCheerioTrail.com) must be included.
For more information or to request permission to reproduce, email: Christi {at} ChristiGee.com.

ChristiEmpty Nest Hope for Parents of College Students

Comments 21

  1. Jennifer Clarke

    Christi, this resonates with me in a different kind of way, as I sent my kids off for their first day of Christian school after homeschooling them for eight years. And in yet another way, the truths you share here make me think of our journey as a foster family, a calling which – by its very design – is a “love them and let them go” type of endeavor. I think this is a key truth that’s easy for parents to miss: “God gave us these people, but they aren’t ours. He destined us to receive them with open arms but hold them close with open hands.” I’m so thankful for His grace that follows our precious ones as they leave the nest, and for the same grace that stays behind with us. Taking some time now to pray for you, friend. Thank you for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!

    1. Post
      Author
      Christi

      Thank you for those prayers, friend!

      I have been thinking about Hannah ~ who gave up the child God gave to her ~ so young. She immediately launched into a prayer of praise after letting Samuel go. May I follow in her example!

      Appreciate you!

  2. Lori Schumaker of Seaching for Moments

    Christi,
    I love this post, and although I am not yet there, it still resonates with this new season of parenting a teenager. As he spreads his wings and acts in independent ways, it is both wonderful and sad. I want to cheer him on, but at the same time hold and snuggle him just like I did when he was a baby. I am so glad I had the chance to stop by here today. You blessed me!

    I’d also like to invite you to my Monday link-up, Moments of Hope. It’s just a few months old and one I want to keep a bit smaller to build a community of hope. Posts all offer and point to the hope we find in Christ. Your posts are always beautiful and filled with hope, so I would be honored to have you join in!

    Sharing this post for sure because Mamas with aching hearts need encouragement and hope!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    1. Post
      Author
      Christi

      I totally get those thoughts you are describing, friend.

      I will definitely consider anything you have arranged. I’m sure the community you are building is a blessing to be a part of. Let me get this baby bird out of the nest and I’ll check in with your space. Thank you for such sweetness and kind words!

  3. Crystal Twaddell

    Watching them walk away is such a mix of joy and pain, and I too have been on that crazy roller coaster as I said goodbye to my oldest as he moved to China for the next 4 years teach. We raise them in the Lord to be grounded and independent and unafraid, and then when they fill those God-pleasing shoes, it is almost too much to think of letting go. God has awesome plans for our kids, and as we watch the many ways He goes before them, it is such balm to our mama heart! Crystal~

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  4. Dawn Boyer

    You know I love to spend time here, with your words… walking with you and cheering for you from the sidelines. I have not released a child into the world quite the same way you have and I agree with Michelle, above, that every single experience with our kids is different for each child. Our oldest has had to be released in different ways and with each new turn on the journey, I still feel the same apprehension, like you are sharing, with the ‘what is ahead God’ discussion on the forefront.
    And as per His usual answer… trust me… becomes the echo of His grace for me.
    Praying for the blessing of His gentle echo in your beautiful crazy!
    Love,
    Dawn

    1. Post
      Author
      Christi

      And you know I always love reading what you have to say. Sometimes I think you write on your own blog just to have a launching pad to go around and encourage others. You have made a ministry out of commenting and inspiring others in their own space. I hold your words in such high regard and thank God for what He does through you.

      Thank you for the transparency and sharing about your journey with your children. You are a treasure.

  5. Valerie Sisco at Grace with Silk

    Hi Christi,
    I always read your posts that arrive in my in-box but sometimes I don’t make it to the comment box or see you in the link-up :) I’m not a mom but I can relate to your feelings of change and ends and beginnings and I’ve decided to believe that all endings just make space for something new to arise in its place. So I’m hoping for you a new adventure, new art, new creative — something to make your heart sing that God reveals to you, just as your words echo that sentiment!

    1. Post
      Author
      Christi

      Valerie — your blog name is so appropriate. You leave grace that just slides in and smoothes rough places for people. Every time you comment or reply, I’m encouraged. I hope we get to meet one day before heaven is our home. If not, let’s do coffee on God’s porch :)

  6. Katie

    Beautiful words, Christi. That struggle feels like it’s a long way away for me and yet life is proving to me that time slips by faster than I ever plan for it to. I hope I will remember this wisdom for that moment.

    1. Post
      Author
      Christi

      Thanks again for the trail of grace you left in online spaces for me this week.

      You are wise to remember it does go by fast, but I try not to say that to another young mom any more unless they say it first :).

      I can remember being at your stage of life and wishing for time to myself. Now, I’m about to have more of it than imaginable and all of the sudden, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be!

  7. Michele Morin

    Christi, I feel your pain! When our first son left the nest it was to a wife and a totally independent life. (Gasp! At 18!) Boy #2 is in college here in the state, so we see him quite often, but not regularly so we’re in an in-between state with him. I think it’s interesting that every single child will leave in a bit of a different way, and so there’s no track record to prepare me for #3 and #4. It does make me thankful for the strong relationships we have with our boys, and I think that’s a good foundation to lay in preparation for the empty nest/transition years no matter how they play out!

    1. Post
      Author
      Christi

      Thank you for sharing. The struggle is real!
      And you are so right … they each leave in a different way. But they leave. This is one of those situations where we wait for the truth in our head to catch up to our hearts.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author

You have something worth saying!