Barbara & Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest: Discovering New Purpose, Passion & Your Next Great Adventure
Authors: Barbara Rainey & Susan Yates
Publisher: Family Life (2008)
Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Living
"Feeling unsure? Scared? Expectant? Maybe even giddy? Is your nest empty - except for a bundle of mixed emotions?"
Barbara & Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest is written by two women who have 11 children between them. After their youngest children left home, both women found themselves feeling sad, empty and unsure of what to do next. As they began to talk to one another and meet with other women, they realized they were not alone in how they were feeling. They wrote this book to help women navigate this new phase of life that isn't talked about much.
One of the things I liked most about this book was the acknowledgment that many of us have put everything we have into raising our children and when they grow up and leave home, we are not quite sure who we are anymore. The authors share their own stories as well as the stories of other women who have walked this path.
The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 is called, "We're In This Together", and is divided into two chapters.
Chapter 1: Who in the world are Barbara and Susan?
Chapter 2: Am I the only one who feels this way?
Part 2 is called, "Let's Get Honest", and contains six chapters answering questions that many women have at this stage of their lives.
Chapter 3: What do I do with my loneliness?
Chapter 4: What do I do with my disappointments?
Chapter 5: How do I relate to my husband now?
Chapter 6: How do I relate to my adult kids now?
Chapter 7: How do I care for my extended family?
Chapter 8: What do I do with me?
Part 3 is called, "Let's Move Forward". These chapters help us look to the future and suggest ways to begin moving forward in our lives.
Chapter 9: Take a break!
Chapter 10: Celebrate!
Chapter 11: Discovering your new purpose
Chapter 12: Changing your world
Epilogue: Barbara and Susan today
Part 4 contains the appendixes, including some helpful hints for caring for our parents and in-laws as they grow older.
Each chapter ends with a Bible verse and a section called "Take the Next Step" and includes questions to answer, recommended resources and endnotes. Following each chapter is a specific woman's story of how she felt when her nest emptied and what she did next.
Reading this book helped me to realize that I am not alone in feeling sad and out of sorts now that my children have left home. The authors suggest some great steps to move forward while also acknowledging that it may take some time. They continually remind the reader to seek God for his plan and help through this time.
If you are experiencing an empty nest or are anticipating the time when you will, I recommend this book.