I once asked my grandmother, when she was 90 years old, what was the best part of her life. She said, without hesitation, “when I was raising my kids”. Grandma raised 8 kids, so I know her days were busy. She also didn’t have the modern conveniences that we have today. Despite her busyness, she seemed to love this time of her life.
I can empathize with grandma. I homeschooled my kids, so I was with them 24/7 most every day. I did work a little part time job on the side and my mother-in-law watched my kids a few hours a week. It was good for the kids and I to have a bit of a break from one another. I needed some adult conversations and they needed some “Mamaw time”.
Some people thought I was crazy to homeschool. Some would say, “If I was home with my kids all the time, I would end up killing them”. That was a little extreme. I actually enjoyed my kids’ company. Strange, I know. There were some stressful times, but for the most part, we had a nice schedule and I remained fairly patient. Most days.
When the time was drawing near for my husband and I to enter the empty nest stage, I was not looking forward to it. I could not imagine life without my kids at home. I didn’t feel like I even had an identity outside of “mom to 4”. These years, like my grandmother’s, had been the best in my life so far. I felt that once my kids were gone, God could just take me on home, because I had just completed the most important job on the planet. I raised and homeschooled 4 babies to adulthood. What was left for me to do that would top that?
It was so strange how God transitioned me at just the right time. I had started working full-time at a nearby college, when my last child was in high school. My role had changed a few times and I ended up in the academic center of this college.
I was meeting with several students a day, mostly athletes. To my surprise, I developed some very close relationships with some of these students and some even called me Mama Brenda. Some came in my office, shut the door and cried about struggles they were going through. Some flew in my office to tell me they had passed a test or passed a class. I ended up with more “kids” than my schedule would accommodate.
God taught me so much during the 3 years I served in this academic center. He taught me that everyone deserves and desires respect and until you respect people, you will never influence their lives. He taught me that even though my “nest” was empty, He had a whole world of needy people waiting for me to influence. He just transitioned that stage of my life so beautifully. I could not have done it any better if I had planned it out.
Until God takes me home to be with Him, I will continue to influence the “children of the world”, whether it be college students, women who need encouragement, mothers needing advice, or the customer service person in the checkout line. God still has plans for me. He still has plans for you. Trust Him to transition you and to continue to use you in this needy world. Your kids and grandkids will still come around and brighten your days, but they are not the only ones that need you.