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Prayer from an Empty-Nest Mom

Posted by on January 8, 2016 in Pray, Uncategorized | 14 comments

Knott's Family 2002Dear God,

I said lots of goodbyes this past year. And this year has started out much the same.

I guess that’s the way it’ll be from now on, won’t it, Lord? Goodbyes with the start of every new college semester and the end of every college break. Goodbyes with summer mission trips, internships, and visits to faraway friends. Goodbyes with new job opportunities. Goodbyes after holiday visits. Goodbyes as more of our family moves out of state. Goodbyes as they start new jobs. Or marriages. Or other adventures yet unknown.

When our five were younger, our house overflowed with shouts and giggles and messes and dirty clothes. And those times late in the evening when, for what seemed like the first time all day, no one was moving or crying or needed me to do something RIGHT NOW? I lived for those.

And yes, God, I confess that I didn’t always appreciate the constant pressing-in, the rounds of questions, the brother-sister and sister-sister bickering. The coughing, nose-running, feverish-and-miserable trips to the pediatrician. The difficulty of navigating a grocery store with three or more helpers. The effort it took to buckle and unbuckle carseats. The challenge of keeping a newborn and toddler quiet and happy in the library while the older three made their choices. (Yes, for a few years, we brought along a double stroller to fill with children and books). What burdened me then has become cherished memories now.

And so in this season, God, as my nest grows more and more empty, will you teach me to cherish the hellos? Because if they didn’t come home, I wouldn’t get to say goodbye. If they hadn’t wanted to see us for Christmas, I might not notice my empty bedrooms today. If they didn’t love our family traditions, I might not have a home to undecorate.

If I didn’t love them so much, I wouldn’t miss them the way I do.                                                                               11406726_10207183283808614_2994923198507520586_o

So in this time and at this moment, Lord, I thank you for the goodbyes as well as the hellos. I thank you for the silence. The peace. The ability to work at my desk uninterrupted. The ease of considering the likes and dislikes of only two people when planning dinner or a trip to the store. And I thank you for the promise of so many more hellos and goodbyes in the days and, as you allow us, years ahead.

My focal word for this year is treasure, God. Help me, like Mary, to treasure these family times in my heart. Allow my aging memory to hold onto the tender and true as I gently release anything else, anything less.

Help me look to you to fill me up whenever I feel a lack. And please, dear Jesus, make me more ready to serve them, to love them, to care for them when they come back again—and even when they don’t.

In Your name I pray—



  1. Tears…along with gratitude for your tender and transparent heart.

    • You’re kind as always, Ava. I’m grateful for your words as well.

  2. Just what I needed.

    • I’m so glad. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. I’m with Ava! Of course I’m farther down the road than you, with daughters 37 and 33 and four grandchildren. One thing the experiences of the past 15 or so years have given me is a greater appreciation for my own mother.

    • I think about that (appreciating my own mother) all the time. Thanks for taking time to share, Diane.

  4. Marti, I loved what you shared. My children, too, are growing up and moving out, though we still have a few at home between jobs and school. Last September looked like an empty nest time with my 2nd daughter finding her own place and moving out, but October brought our oldest home after completing her Master’s. Now our youngest is back home after one semester of college – unsure of her calling. I must say I was looking forward to it just being Paul and I, but I am treasuring the time with adult children and a new relationship with them. God holds all in his hands and gives new blessings with all the changes.

    Thank you for a beautiful prayer and many good memories of raising my children.

    • I wish we had lived closer to one another while raising our kids (and even now). I’m sure we would have shared many special times! Thanks for your words.

  5. This is perfect and true. I’m missing my two and find myself looking forward to the next visit the day they leave. Lots of tears have been shed on my end. I’m thankful to know other moms feel the same.

    • You’ve had lots of goodbyes, Michelle. So glad you’ve had some amazing hellos as well. HUGS!

  6. Oh…oh…my… I love you, Marti Pieper.

    • Same back atcha, sister. <3

  7. You could use this in the book you should write.

    • Hmm, I’ll have to think about that. Thank you!

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