Easter has evolved from overflowing gatherings at grandmas to just me and my husband and maybe a kid or two. It’s been a big change from how my husband and I grew up. There was once a time when you expected to see all your cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings. That’s just not the case now. This weekend we’ll celebrate without the large gathering.
THE GLOBAL SWIFT
There were very few people that left the small town I grew up in and when someone new moved in, everyone knew right away. Towns were assimilated around an economy that could support families or farms that were handed down from one generation to the next. With the globalization of the world market, jobs carry family to larger cities or keep them on the move. The family isn’t as compacted into one little area anymore.
DREAMS OF FARM LIFE AND A FULL HOUSE
For as long as I remember, I wanted a family. Not just any family, I wanted a house full of kids on a farm, living the life I grew up with. But that didn’t happen. I married a mover & shaker. We’ve traveled and moved our entire marriage. Rarely staying in one place after 4 years, we’ve left more seeds along the trail than developing roots. Don’t get me wrong, I was a stay-at-home mom that enjoyed every second I had with my kids and the dream of living on a farm faded away with the many adventures we encountered.
WHEN CHILDREN GROW UP
I didn’t miss an opportunity to teach my children valuable lessons as we home-schooled for 15 years and I also didn’t miss a minute of enjoying them. My grandmother was such a huge inspiration in my life. I wanted to be the same to my children. Though my mother worked and felt very distant most of my life, my grandmother always had time for me. I realized I needed her all the more as an adult. Now that my children are adults, I try to be available no matter how far away they are. Being available instead of demanding your way will produce much fruit in your relationships as time passes. Children grow up and they need our respect. You may realize they need you more as adults than they did as children.
HOW TO HANDLE A LONELY HOLIDAY
The first holiday without all my children was in Birmingham, Alabama. We had moved from our home state of Mississippi after many years. It was one of the hardest things I had to do. I left a child in college, left friends, family, everything I knew behind. I felt lost and lonely. I felt even lonelier when I encountered my first holiday. Our house was empty and quiet. My husband and I decided to venture out instead of staying in a quiet house by ourselves. That’s when we began having all of our adventures.
GET OUT AND ABOUT
Since then, we’ve decided to never let our circumstances steal our joy. We’ve visited caves, underground lakes, museums, beaches, and trails. We keep a log of restaurants and events, documenting what is unique or most enjoyable about each. We’ve stepped out of our comfort zone and we like it. Though we don’t have the large family gatherings that were once such an important aspect of our lives, we decided to create something new. We visit our kids, now adults, but we have taken a fresh new look at our relationship. It’s become fun and exciting.
DON’T LET YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES DETERMINE YOUR JOY
There were plenty of days during the first few years when our grown kids wanted to spend their time with other friends instead of spending it with us. We both felt abandoned and taken for granted. But it’s a choice you make to allow your circumstances to make you miserable or create an opportunity. We decided that we would make every minute count. It’s not your circumstances that make you miserable, it’s your attitude.
LOOK BEYOND YOURSELF
The world around you is filled with lonely people. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, look for those you can be a blessing and inspiration to. STOP MAKING EXCUSES! Just because your world and how things once was has changed or your dreams haven’t really come about or what you thought your life would look like by now isn’t that at all, none of these are reasons to give up. Don’t give up your joy, your gifts, your abilities, your time and feel sorry for yourself or sink into “What-about-Me!” depression. Get out and look for opportunities to be to someone else what you are looking for. You’ll be surprised at how many new friends you will make and how busy and full your world will become.
IT IS A HAPPY EASTER
Most importantly, you need to realize that you are never alone. Once I grabbed onto the concept that Jesus died so that I would never be alone again, it changed my life. I didn’t feel abandoned or washed up as mom anymore, I felt alive. I looked at my future with expectancy. I believe that there will be more “Better Days” ahead than those I’ve left behind. You may be asking yourself “What does God really want?”
Your children may be grown, you may feel alone, but you aren’t. Don’t allow the devil to lie to you or steal your joy. Today is a day to rejoice. You have a future, you will have better days ahead and it’s never too late to accomplish those dreams. Get out and be a blessing to someone today!
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THIS WEEK’S HELPFUL LINKS
IN CASE YOU’VE MISSED A FEW, HERE ARE THE HELPFUL ARTICLES I’VE FOUND THIS WEEK TO SHARE ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE. TO KEEP UP, YOU CAN LIKE IT HERE:CINDYJONESWRITES.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
When was your first holiday without your kids? How did you handle it? How do you find joy as an empty-nester now? What’s the best tips you can share for someone that’s about to enter into this season of life?
Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY EASTER!
Also published on Medium.