When the Empty Nest Ain’t Empty

I mourned my empty nest when the last chick flew from home.

Veteran moms told me I’d adjust to the empty space. The solitude. Cooking for two.

They were right.

Bedroom walls—once plastered with posters and youthful fingerprints—were painted and turned into guest rooms.

Beds were always made because no one slept in them. Bath towels hung on the rod like soldiers in formation. Ready for inspection.

A tidy way to live.


No dirt. No drama.

Living in that sterile environment fooled me. Made me think I had my act together.

Then all my chicks arrived—temporarily filling up the nest. Bringing their smiles. Their baggage.


Suddenly, SELF is tripping over shoes. Cooking when I’m not hungry. Stepping on sticky floors. Washing dishes I didn’t use. Just like the “good, old days of child-rearing.”

And I’m aghast!

Not with my guests, but my SELF.

Accustomed to being in control, there’s nothing like sharing and serving others to realize—maybe I’m not as patient and selfless as I assumed. 

In self defense, my family becomes a handy excuse to NOT meet with the Lord. I’m on vacation.

Then wonder, “Where’s the fruit of the Spirit like self-control and joy?”

Only this time, praise God, I’m proactive. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

I may roll my eyes when someone leaves the light on, but I refuse to nag or stuff negative thoughts inside of me and look as though I’ve eaten sour pickles. Don’t want to implode.

Like the Proverbs 30 woman, I rise before my household. Not to meet their needs, but my own because it’s imperative to put on my oxygen mask first!

Alone with the Lord, I relinquish yesterday’s mistakes, disappointments, and small annoyances. Why give Satan the victory?

Then I ask God to show me how to be more like Christ while my empty nest ain’t empty.

However, I can only do what Jesus would do when I heed His words, “Come to Me” (Matthew 11:28). And then abide in Christ throughout the day, mindful of His presence, knowing….

Even in this—bustling nest filled with human bloopers and blunders—God will accomplish His predestined will in me as well as others.

“Molding us into the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29)

One dirty sink and shoe-tripping day at a time.

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

10 thoughts on “When the Empty Nest Ain’t Empty”

  1. That was awesome. I also love that last line about the dirty sink and shoe-tripping. And yes, I do agree, old dogs can learn new tricks after all….just not sure I want either of us to be compared to an old dog! ; )


  2. You’re so funny. The same thing is happening over at my house – I love the constant companionship and excitement and fun, but what’s up with people not putting their dishes in the dishwasher and leaving their stuff all over the living room?! 🙂 Where did our nice clean not-too-much-work empty nester lifestyle go? I guess that’s a good sign that we’ve adapted. 🙂


    1. I KNOW I’m not alone in this. I’ve heard several women vent about these same issues. HA Given the choice, I’d rather have wind back the clock and have all my chicks under one roof rather than live in a sterile environment. So I think I’m getting lazier as I get older. Enjoy YOUR family this summer. Perhaps you should renew their minds about putting dishes in the dishwasher. 🙂


      1. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in this – I have renewed my mind about it a couple of times. 🙂 But overall it’s pretty wonderful having them here. I think the empty nester life must make us lazy. 🙂


    1. Yep, it’s amazing how little things can trip us up. HA But isn’t it wonderful that we can grow through those tiny annoyances as well as personal catastrophes.


  3. Just returning from family vacation, I’d say you hit the nail on the head! No matter how good my intentions are, I somehow fall short of where I should be…putting Him first! I feel like a kid at Christmas time who gets the present they begged and begged for…only to neglect the Giver. So thankful for His unconditional love and patience. Like the song says: “He’s still workin’ on me, to make me what I ought to be!” Love my Lord!


    1. Cathy, I hope and assume you had a marvelous time with your family. I KNOW the Lord is gracious when we have a houseful of family or friends. I’m not trying to guilt others into spending time with the Lord each day. I’m just showing WHY I NEED to spend time with the Lord. Otherwise, my flesh gets tired of being nice and accommodating others. My blog post link on the words “Don’t Implode” reveals my past mistakes and limits. 🙂


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