I recently redecorated the guest room in our home. It’s the first time we’ve had a real guest room, and the only reason we have it is because our oldest daughter graduated from college and moved out.
There’s a void here now.
A room sits empty.
So, with a little physical and financial effort, I have transformed that empty room into what we hope will be a space of refuge, retreat, and rest for those who need it. (In fact, it turned out so great that I might want to claim it for my own!)
With one daughter gone, another right on her heels, and a third almost finished with high school, I’m feeling the soon-to-be empty nest. Sometimes the void feels like a tsunami washing over me, leaving me standing on shaky ground looking around for an anchor to grab on to.
And so, by decorating our guest room, I’m hoping that the empty place in our home will be filled with people. People who need a peaceful space. People with whom we can share the overflow of the love we’ve received.
I know, however, that most days that room will sit empty, quiet, unused, and that leaves me feeling . . . unsettled.
The days of tying shoes and making lunches is long gone for me. I no longer kiss boo-boos to make them better—the boo-boos are less visible these days. I don’t even have to drive anyone anywhere (!)—they can manage on their own now.
And if I take an honest assessment of my life stage right now, I do have to ask myself, how will you fill the void?
Here’s what I don’t want to do: fill my life with meaningless tasks as I wait for my kids to need me. That’s not going to happen. Their lives are their own to live, and I will happily watch, pray, and be involved as they want me to, but my job as mom, in its most physical sense, is over.
I need to let go and move on.
Here’s what I do want to do: to use the gifts God has given me to pour myself into the people He has placed right in front of me. I want my life to reflect the openness, the peace, the availability of our guest room.
How can I do that when the void feels so real some days? I can walk with God through all of it, knowing that He is completely trustworthy through every life stage. I can pour myself into others, inviting the weary into my restful space. I can choose to move on, move ahead.
A few weeks ago I spent the weekend with my oldest daughter in the city where she works. We had an amazing time seeing the sights, eating delicious food, and talking for hours on end. When it was over, I flew home, reflecting on our time together and thanking God for the opportunity to be her mom.
Despite some very sharp pangs of missing my daughter deeply, I realize that this new stage of life, of having adult children, is actually fun. I choose to revel in it rather than regret what is gone and cannot be.
Maybe that’s what the guest room is all about—celebrating a new stage of life, sharing God’s blessings with others, and trusting that He will bring just the right people to fill it at just the right time.