Many women approach their empty nest years with mixed emotions as they think about future. If you’re entering this new stage of life, you’ve likely experienced questions including, ‘What’s next?

Barbara Rainey explains why it’s important for women to take a time of retreat to discover who they are and what God’s purpose is for them now that the kids have left the home.

“If a woman can take some time off, even if she’s working full-time, maybe take a weekend or take a single day, or in my case take even longer than that.”

If you are an empty nester, Barbara suggests you ask yourself a series of important questions.

“We agree that it’s really important for a woman to take some time away to reflect, pray and to evaluate.”

“What am I good at? What do I love to do? What have I put off during these years of raising my children that maybe now I can actually invest in? Should I go back to school and take some classes? Should I get some training on the skills that I’ve always wanted to be able to do?”

“I think that if a woman will take the time to sort of pull back as she starts the empty nest season, and not just jump into the next thing that someone suggests, but pull back, reflect, and pray; do some journaling, some praying, and maybe take some tests to determine what your strengths and skills are.”

By doing these things, you will be more equipped to handle this next season of life. Susan Yates elaborates on the importance of taking some time to discover who you are and what God has prepared for you.

“Our tendency is to jump in and volunteer for everything, because we are afraid of an emptiness. I agree with Barbara, don’t do that; take some time.”

She suggests reaching out to close family members and/or friends for their input.

“Ask your husband, where do you see me come alive in how God has packaged me? Ask your children, your children who know you well, what do you see to be my gifts and strengths? Ask your best friends, etc., because often that will help you formulate how God might use you in the future.”

“The exciting thing is life is just really beginning in many ways, and God has a plan for us and He wants to use us. He wants to use us until He takes us home.”

As you enter into the empty nest years, you no longer have to dread what lies ahead. You can embrace this season with passion and purpose.

Barbara Rainey is a frequent speaker and resource for FamilyLife Today®, the award winning nationally syndicated daily radio broadcast. She is the author or coauthor of more than 35 books, including the  and .

Susan Yates has written 13 books and speaks both nationally and internationally on the subjects of marriage, parenting, and women’s issues. Susan writes regularly for the blog, sponsored by Family Life and

A mom's guide to the empty nest
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