Shannon here: Jennifer Slattery shares life in the empty nest plus a chance to win an e-book copy of her latest Women’s Fiction title, Healing Love. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Deadline: July 22nd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jennifer:
Everyone said I’d hate this phase. That I’d grow listless, depressed. Perhaps even lose my sense of identity.
That, after eighteen years of parenting, when our daughter moved out, my world would shift so dramatically, I’d flounder and fidget and mope. And maybe buy an obscene number of cats. Or chocolate.
The latter part might be true, but I no longer have to hide in the pantry to enjoy it. In fact, I can have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if I choose. We can eat reclined on the couch, or go out, or do whatever else dating folks do, because in a way, it feels as if that’s what we’ve become—the dating couple. Or maybe the newlyweds, only better, because we have twenty plus years of pushing through the hard.
That kind of love doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come over night, but once it comes, man is it sweet. And I’ve determined to enjoy every silly, giggly, slightly-cheesy drop in this new life stage.
A couple months ago, my husband and I cleared our schedule, left all the boring aspects, like laundry and cooking, of our marriage behind for a weekend, and took off for the windy city. We chose not to rent a car and would instead travel wherever we wanted to go, whenever we wanted to get there, by foot.
It’d be so romantic. We’d stroll hand in hand through the art museum, watch the Cubbies land a win from our rooftop seats across the street, and we’d end our weekend with the best, gluten free dessert imaginable!
It rained. And not just a little. I’m talking near Noah-caliber. (Have you seen curly hair in 100% humidity?) The Cubs game was canceled, and that rooftop experience we’d paid so much money for was filled with loud, beer-sloshing drunks.
We didn’t get to do anything we planned. Except eat. We did a lot of that. And I suppose, sitting in a busy coffee shop watching the sky quite literally “rain on our parade,” I could’ve been upset. Could’ve made us both miserable in fact.
But I learned something early on in our marriage, something that’s carried me through countless moves, change of plans, and canceled events—life, and romance, is what I make it. More than that, as fun as the Cubbies and museum would’ve been, those things have nothing on my man, and when it was all said and done, I got to spend two full days and nights with my true life hero, God’s gift to me.
Perhaps this applies to empty nesting as well. Life is always changing, and our roles will constantly shift, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. To the contrary—our next role or mishap or season could be the most romantic yet!
About Jennifer: Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.
Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com
About the book – Healing Love:
A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.
Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.
Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.
When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?
Question for Readers: What has been your favorite stage of your life so far?
Come back July 14th for Jennifer’s except!