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What Fills the Quiet After Children Move On

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Packing up memories. Packing up years.

The girl entrusted to us. Never ours to own. Only shared for a time. For raising, nurturing, teaching, praying over, loving, then releasing.

Releasing into the future God has for her. Releasing her to follow His lead.

Four and one-half years of college life begun in a foreign place. A big place. 52,000 students big.

Bravely making her way. Walking through doors God opened for her even though she had no friends or family members anywhere near that campus. Completely surrendered. Depending desperately on God. Clinging to the one who held her, guided her, strengthened her, shaped her. 

Her loving Jesus. Watching that relationship intensify.

Her representing our family, her Savior, and organizations she was a part of so well through strong moral character, faith, and her sincere and compassionate heart. 


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In December, the culmination of this season with a grand ceremony, the diploma hard-earned, a final Aggie war hymn belted out in unison with her fightin’ Texas Aggie class of 2013. Huge accomplishment.

Then the surprise . . . the heart-gift for the parents.

The reception for graduating teachers in her area of study . . . the visit to the class where she spent her days as a student teacher . . . the meeting of the school’s office staff.

Hearing her praises and in each place tears – actual tears – spilling from moist eyes and full hearts as mouths spoke of her love for the children . . . her heart . . .her kindness . . . her willingness to open her soul wide to these children.

And we knew . . . she and I . . . it wasn’t her.

She had wrapped her whole life around Jesus . . . took him in . . . allowed him to dwell deeply in the center of her soul.

It was his love they saw. With praises, she pointed the attention up to him.

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” Philippians 1:9-12

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

Three weeks at home together over break.

Chaos and clutter everywhere – and our home filled with noise and life and energy again.

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And I loved it. 

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Every bit of it.

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Savored and cherished it.

Now they’re gone. Son at school and daughter in a new job many, many hours away.

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House is clean again. 

And I miss the clutter and the noise and the energy and the life and the faces and the laughter.

Spent a precious week helping daughter decorate and prepare her new classroom. 

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And she anticipates the arrival of those precious special needs students she will love as her own. God has truly designed and destined her for this work.

Sometimes I question why we allowed them to go to school so far away where they built new community and now chase new dreams.

Then I remember. Our children are God’s – only entrusted to us for a little while. He is writing their story. It isn’t ours to write. I want them to find their place in his beautiful story.

But I miss their daily presence and struggle with the feeling that the best is behind me – not ahead. Will God have something good for me down the road? How will life look with them so far away?

And I wonder. How do I move through this new season? How do I fill the quiet places?

Then I remember as the house becomes quieter, God is still with me.

“In His presence there is fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11)

And I focus on the years and memories I was so undeserving of.

And I am thankful – so thankful for the good things – and the family – God has filled my life with. And even the tough things that brought us closer.

I’m learning to look to the future with hope. Chasing new dreams, developing new hobbies, hosting college students from a school nearby, looking forward to new memories with our kids.

Life with God has always been a great adventure. I suspect the grand adventure will continue regardless of where our children live . . . because he is good.

Have you struggled like me? How have you filled your quiet after your kids moved on?






  1. Right there with ‘ya, sister! It’s a constant “letting go” process… and it doesn’t get any easier for this Mom! http://wateringcanblog.com/2013/06/21/this-day/

  2. Jim Stephenson says:

    I always enjoy your writings, Lisa – and this one hits a bit closer to home than most, as our “one” and only child moves back and forth between being “home”, and finding her place in the world. The winds of change are indeed beginning to blow! Thanks for sharing

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