faith, Life

Soul Searching the Empty Nest

When a woman is close to giving birth, she sometimes starts nesting. Nesting comes in the form of cleaning, organizing, reorganizing or more cleaning.

It’s all done to prepare for the new life she is about to bring into the world. Making sure everything is ready for that baby.

More often than not, nesting is at its highest peak when it is the first baby.


My daughter was born when I was still in high school at the age of 17. I can’t recall doing anything along the nesting lines back then. I had no clue as to anything back then.

By the time my first son was born when I was 24, I had a much better clue. We were moving into our first house when I was 7 months pregnant, so yeah, I nested.

When my last son was born another 9 years later, I nested some. But, being someone with a penchant for organizing, rearranging furniture, etc, it was hard to tell what was nesting and what was my Type A personality.

Organization is your friend, I say.

First kid in high school. Last kid nearly 16 years later. Here I sit, another 18 after that as an empty nester.

No more nesting for me. 


I didn’t picture my life like this.

Like so many other teenagers, I pictured college after high school. I wanted to be a lawyer or go into communications. I wanted to work in sports. I just wanted to get out of my house and go experience life.

Life was experienced alright, just not like I had planned.

I can honestly say that I don’t regret it. This life has made me a better person.

That doesn’t mean I’ve done everything right. Far from it. I’ve been hurt too many times to count. I’ve hurt others too many times to count. Abandonment, rejection, abuse, manipulation, betrayal, guilt are splattered throughout my life.

This so called empty nest phase of life is bringing everything of my life to the forefront.

Do I miss my kids? Well yeah. But, not like you would think. I am very much okay with them not being under my roof in the sense that they are adults. They’re not meant to stay in this house forever. 

I want them to go and experience the world. I want them to live lives that have meaning and be a blessing to those around them. I want them to seek God and find their own faith. God has so much in store for them than I could ever give.

This empty nest thing is not about my kids being gone.

This is all about me.


When I was 17, I had dreams for my life. Now that I am 51, I don’t have those same dreams.

Don’t get me wrong. I know I can still go to college, but I won’t get that college experience.

I could still earn a degree in Communications like I wanted, but let’s be real here. Not too many companies will hire a new college graduate in their 50s. That’s just the way of the industry. 

So what then? What is the rest of my life here on earth meant for? “Who am I?” is a question I have been asking for the past year.

Who am I?

Wrestling with this question has been a losing proposition. Last time I was without children in my life, I was still a child. I didn’t know anything about anything, let alone myself. As much we think we know a lot at 17, truth is, we don’t have a clue!

Yes, I can hear all the Christians now saying, “You are a child of God.” That is who you are. I know this. I know He loves me. I know that He has me in His hand and won’t let go.

That doesn’t help me answer the question at a deep level.

Who am I?

Yes. Wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, employee, church member, worship leader, servant, Latina/Hispanic.

Pick a descriptor and none will answer the question.

Who am I – as an adult? I never got the opportunity to figure that out.


Who did you create me to be, God?

Wrestling and yelling and being angry at God again a few weeks ago, I asked (yelled) the question to Him again.

No answer, of course. Except this time, I answered my own question with a different question.

Who did you create me to be, God? 

My ears perked up as if something monumental had been said. Monumental is an overstatement since I’m talking about myself here, but there was something poignant about this new question.

Stepping back and meditating on the question, I thought it was asking the same thing as Who am I.

I wasn’t.

“Who am I?” begs for an internal, earthly response. It’s the kind of question many of us ask at some point in our lives. Are we a doctor, lawyer, farmer, athlete? Am I a nice, good person? Am I a helper? Am I a smart person? Am I a (fill in the blank)?

That’s not what I was looking for. This next phase of my life isn’t a Who am I question, but I kept asking it. Although I kept directing it toward God – Who am I, God? – it begged more for an internal answer than one from heaven.

Who did you create me to be, God? 


Quite often, we Christians tend to speak what’s called Christianese. Christian lingo. Christian speak.

Just give it to Jesus. Pray about it. Cast your cares on Him. God won’t give you more than you can bear. 


Admittedly, I have often been guilty of speaking Christianese. There is a time and place for it – with wisdom, please – but I think we often speak it when we don’t have anything else to say.

In other words, BLECH!

I have given this struggle to God. I have prayed about it. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have cast my cares on Him. I am bearing this, but now what?

Prayer. Fasting (not always successfully). Seeking Him. Reading/listening to the Word. I have done it all.

Who did you create me to be, God? 

Full stop!

There is no Christianese-y answer to this question. If ever there was a true, deep-down, soul-searching question, this is it.

Who did you create me to be, God? 


My soul will one day reside in heaven. I will stand before God and give an account for my life. If I’m being honest, parts of it right now at this point in time won’t be pretty. Thankfully, there is Jesus. 

But, to answer my question now at this point in time, only a heavenly answer will do.

Only a heavenly answer will bring peace. Only a heavenly answer will bring victory in this internal struggle. To get that heavenly answer I seek will take time.

But, I hate waiting. 

Patience and I were born on opposite sides of the track. Patience, in this instance, means I need to wait on God to provide the answer. Yet, if I wait on Him and His presence to come to me, it might be a while. 

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  James 4:8 ESV

Draw near. Come close to God. Get in His face. Make a date with God, Sunny. Be intentional. Go after Jesus.

And he will draw near to you.

Seems simple. Go to God. He will meet you right where you are at. If only it were that easy. Life, people, jobs, our minds and even an empty nest, however, all stand in the way of drawing near to God.

Heavenly answers require sacrificial time in God’s presence.

Am I willing to sacrifice (let go of) my personal time – doing what I want to do – in order to get my heavenly answer? I don’t know the answer to that….yet. 

Who did you create me to be, God? 

And he will draw near to you.


Knees Down, Prayers Up