We don’t like the idea of growing older. The hair turns colors that we try to hide, there is that tire that begins to develop around the mid-section, places in our body start to sag and there is the horrible wrinkles that begin to develop which change from ‘laughing lines’ to ‘crows feet’.
However, I determined years ago that I wanted to grow grey gracefully and while that was an inward desire, as my hair has transitioned over the years to a lovely silver grey I have indeed had the delight of a turbulently graceful transition.
The reality is no transition is easy. If you are reading this, you are most likely a mother who has experienced the transition of childbirth. You know that period when you would take it all back if you could. Your emotions are heightened because of hormones, the pain is almost unbearable and if it weren’t for the fact that you knew at the end of it all there would be a beautiful baby in your arms you might just quit!
This late in life transition is no different and we can embrace it with joy knowing that the joy set before us will be worth the momentary light affliction. I believe there are some key truths that we can keep before us as we move from a season of parenting 24/7 to an ‘empty nest’.
- You will experience grief, so give yourself time to grieve.
- I was shocked at the emptiness I felt when my last child moved out. I likened to that season to the emptiness and uncertainty that I faced when my husband left. Yes it was that intense. I think part of my problem was I didn’t think I was going to struggle with the transition; After all, the last 30 years of life had been about launching my children well. My desire as a parent was to guide my children into being healthy whole adults and I had done that. WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM I asked. I had to learn to embrace the season of transition and the grief of loss that went along with it.
- You get to choose.
- I love the passage in Song of Solomon where it says ‘night after night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him but I could not find him”. Well of course not. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]I have never found what I am looking for while I wallow in my bed of self-pity.[/inlinetweet] We get to choose to lay in the isolation of self-pity or get up and go about the city searching for what makes our heart alive.
- Revisit past passions
- So you don’t know where to start? Begin at the beginning. What did you enjoy doing before the challenges of being a single mom encompassed every breathing moment. For me it was dancing. I have always loved to dance; it makes my heart alive. For years, I danced in worship in churches but even that stopped when I began working more than full time and devoted myself to ministry. For 2 years, I have wanted to take ballroom dance. But I have remained in my pool of pity being without a partner to sweep me around the floor. Finally I grabbed a girlfriend and we are enjoying group lessons, being invited to dance and learn with others.
- Keep the end in sight
- Write out where you want to be in 5 years/ 10 years/20 years. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Over 3 years ago I made a 1 year goal for writing a book. I have kept that vision before me and by the end of summer I will have a published work. It may not happen right when you want it to but don’t be afraid to dream. And by all means write it down and keep it before you.
Michael Hyatt, one of my favorite speakers and authors on leadership, reviews his goals daily. He keeps them before him on his desktop and looks at them each day for about 2 minutes. This is focused vision. I am not there yet, but I am determined that you can teach an older dog new tricks!
There is a saying I have heard about people who have gone through life and are at that age of ‘retiring’:
It’s not time to RETIRE but to REFIRE.
I want to see a generation of fiery older women! Will you join in?Misty Honnold is the founder of The Single Mom KC. A single mother of four, her greatest life work has been loving and leading her family well. Misty is sought out for discipleship, advice, and inspiration regarding single parents. She founded Mountain of Myrrh in 2009 to professionally assist single mothers and their surrounding communities. Since that time, she has traveled domestically and internationally to train, teach, and equip churches and communities to love and aide single mothers. She has been featured in Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine and hosts Mocha Moments for Single Moms. She is a member and writer for 1 Corinthians Parenting and has also hosted KLOVE Radio’s Single Parents events with over 600 single moms. For more info, visit thesinglemomkc.org.
The Life of a Single Mom Ministries is a global nonprofit committed to seeing no single mom walk alone. Having served more than 46,000 single mothers and 1,500 churches, the goal of the organization is establish support groups for single mothers in cities around the world, while also empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, and parentally. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.
- Revisit past passions
- I love the passage in Song of Solomon where it says ‘night after night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him but I could not find him”. Well of course not.