A wonderful friend gave me a gift.It was a gift that touched my heart.For she knew the pain that I carry,and wear so well.The gift was a book about empty nests,and my little nest is getting smaller by the day.Your never really prepared for what your heart will endure when your nest is almost empty.As one child leaves there is a room that is empty.Our five are now down to one.No one prepares you for the pain you will feel as you walk by the rooms that were filled with so much care.When my husband and I got married,we decided I would stay home and be a mom.I cared for all of our children,and homeschooled three.As your children are small you tuck them in at night,give them a kiss,and listen as they say their prayers.You watch them pick up frogs,claim land for Columbus,dance in the family room,and play together like the moment will never pass.You watch them at each holiday,not thinking really how fast the year has passed.You watch them with all their firsts,and watch them grow into people you are so proud of.You get to see them learn with each step,pick them up when they fall, and hold them ever so tightly,hearing them say,"I love you mommy." As my nest is smaller,I miss my children so very much.They are a part of you,they are who you are.For me,I was a Mom,a very proud mom.I loved being here each moment with my children.Loving them,and teaching them.Praying over them while they sleep.Saying goodnight to each one,and waking with a kiss,and a big hello are times that go by so quickly.I have to be honest and say this is a stuggle for me.It is so very hard to get used to,and move forward without always thinking back.Some days the tears just fall. I look at old videos,pictures,and scrapbooks,and look with wonder at our beautiful kids.When our kids were small they really were great,they were never in trouble,they had so much fun being together,the laughter filled our home. It gets really hard when people ask what do you do? I have always said I am a mom.That was who I was,and when your children start leaving you question who am I really now? You have spent so many years being a mom,that is what you know,its your life. I have always defined myself as a mom.So when our children started leaving home, I think I lost myself,not quite sure of who I was. What is my purpose now? As women we are nurturing,loving,and want to tend to things,and fix the things that are broken. I am finding myself all over again,learning new things,and growing closer to Christ with each day. My walk with Him has become more meaningful, and knowing He is with me gets me through each day.I have learned its okay to hurt,its okay to miss your children,but life hasn't ended. A new life is just beginning.I have to remind myself of that each day.When my girlfriends are all talking about their little ones,or talking about their family events,or how they cannot just leave and go out to lunch at the spur of the moment, those are the moments that you tend to feel out of place. But although I may be out of place sometimes,I am growing in other places. At times when I started to feel down,I would call a friend.Most of the time the Lord would send a friend just at the right time to lift me up when I was about to fall again. Being a mom is not easy.It is the hardest job in the world,but the best.Nothing can compare.But as those little feet started walking,they were learning to walk on their own,and with each step,they were walking away to be on their own. We are here to teach them,love them,and guide them so they can learn to take care of themselves in the world.It was never meant for them to be at home forever,its just you never realize when that moment comes how hard it is to say goodbye,and let go.Life is an adventure,full of many things for us to learn.God makes it possible,He leads us,and guides us as parents. I am so thankful for the Lord,my friends,and most of all my husband who is at my side always. At first I was so confused and didnt know what my next step was,but I believe the Lord has wonderful things in store for me, I have a hope that my relationship with my daughters will be healed, and our children will grow and come to know just how much they are loved.The Lord has His hand in everything,and has a plan for all of us. I am praying,sitting back,and excited to see what He is going to unfold before me and fill my nest with next.