Even In The Empty

Gwen Smith Blog, Family, Forgiveness, Grace, Gratitude, Parenting, Priorities 24 Comments

There was a time I would hide in the bathroom for an ounce of quiet and reprieve. An intense time when diapers drooped, binkies bobbled and toddlers toddled all over the busy, boisterous Smith house.

Those days are gone.

My husband and I got all three of our young-adult children settled into college a few months ago and are now figuring out how to settle into a new season with just each other. We left huge portions of our hearts in each dorm room and apartment.

Empty nest. I get why they call it that, but I don’t think it’s an empty season at all. On the contrary, it’s quite full.

Full of exciting dreams and complicated feelings.

Full of unknowns, uncertainties and unrest.

Full of stretching, stirring and stillness.

Full of loving and letting go in the most exhilarating and exhaustingly wonderful ways.

So, we release, rally and rest – knowing God goes before us, even in the empty. Often especially in the empty.

We step into the crisp newness of today confident that the Lord who satisfies us in the morning with His unfailing love (Psalm 90:14) pours comfort into souls swollen with sadness.

We’re thankful that our generous, faithful Father gives gobs of fresh mercy each morning and supernatural strength for each weakness.

We celebrate, convinced that our Everlasting Lord, El Olam, has a plan – a master plan of hope and of a future. And it’s not just for our children, but for us.

For me. For my husband. For you.

Psalm 90 reminds me to be mindful of God’s limitless nature and grateful for each sunrise. “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4)

Days and years… mornings and evenings… breaths, deaths and generations.

Each a treasure chest of minutes and moments that whisper the fleeting nature of humanity and the infinite hope of Jesus.

Everlasting Lord,
Please teach me to number my days and walk in Your wisdom. Establish the work of my hands today, Lord, as I celebrate the gift of now and the hope of tomorrow.

In Jesus’ name, amen



Read Psalm 90.

Grab a journal or visit the wall of my blog and write 10 things you’re grateful for. Celebrate today as a gift. Forgive what needs to be forgiven. Love well.

Hugs and blessings, fam! Love you guys!



PS. The time you spend wrapping presents will absolutely FLY if you listen to episodes of GRACEOLOGIE while you wrap!! Seriously. I’m a really good wrapping companion!



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Comments 24

  1. Gwen
    I am in a new season/chapter of my life. Retired and live far from all our children and grandchildren.
    I’m grateful for more time to be with God, and to focus more on HIS love for me
    Grateful to be with family today! A daughter and 2 grown granddaughters. One who just graduated from college and is an RN. One who is returning home from the Navy before she is shipped out to do service to our country in Japan
    Grateful that we will go to a Christmas Eve service with family tonight
    And grateful for God’s amazing LOVE
    Merry Christmas Gwen❤️

    1. Post

      I’m with you in a season of change, Connie. Savor every moment and each memory made! Also ask the Lord to give you fresh opportunities to connect with and bless those in your church and community now that you have more free time on your hands! Warmest love to you, friend.

      In Christ,

  2. 1.I am thankful for life
    2. Gods everlasting love
    3. For my family especially my mom who sacrificed so much for me
    4. A job that is not stressful
    5. My new church home
    6. For Not being in any financial situations
    7 MY PEACE
    8 Future business
    9 God sending his son to die for my sins so I would be forgiven
    10. Amazing friends

  3. I am thankful for ;
    1.My home and our dog Ezra who sometimes drives us crazy
    2.My husband , who works hard to provide for us and doesnt give up,even when things get hard.
    3. Our 4 grown children and thier spouses.
    4. Our grandchildren whose ages range from 3yrs old- 25 yrs old.
    5.Our new church that is differant from our old church and has taken me a while to get use to.
    6.My brothers and sisters who I enjoy spending time with when we can.
    7. Our piano that I enjoy playing when I have time.
    8. New dreams that me and my husband think about and talk about.
    9. Womens bible studies and my girlfriends .
    10.Gods unfailing ove and faithfulness that he has poured out into our lives thru the years.

  4. This resonated with me so much because lately I’m been feeling so grateful for each sunrise, for being relatively healthy, including husband, adult kids & a grandbaby! To be able to get out of bed & see the beauty that God has provided. Than you for putting it into words.

  5. I needed this devotion today. Am getting ready to head into a similar season, and have been thinking on it.

    So I am grateful for….

    God’s gift of forgiveness

    God’s wisdom that He shares


    My talent of resilience

    Quite time

    The gift of living in a peaceful home

    God’s armor

    Fruit of the spirit

    God’s protection over me

    Good health

    1. I needed this devotion today. Am getting ready to head into a similar season, and have been thinking on it.

      So I am grateful for….

      God’s gift of forgiveness

      God’s wisdom that He shares


      My talent of resilience

      Quiet time

      The gift of living in a peaceful home

      God’s armor

      Fruit of the spirit

      God’s protection over me

      Good health

  6. Wow, this hit close to home, we have 3 great children and all are gone , but ! he is about to be 17 and will graduate in a year!

    I am grateful for
    -Gods endless love and grace
    – my new found relationship with God
    -My husband, who sacrifices so much to provide for his family and his love for God
    -our 3 kids who are amazing in their own way
    our sweet granddaughter who is 5 1/2 months, she lives 4 hours away and I’m grateful for face time.
    -for my parents who still move mountains for our kids and granddaughter
    when we can not be there
    -My new job position (way out of my comfort zone)
    – My eagerness to start working on my Masters degree in Jan. 2020
    -I can be some sort of support for my cousin who lost her dad recently, I lost my mom 6 years ago, bittersweet, i know the roller coaster ride, so its nice to just be there for her
    -finally being happy, most of the time and not angry ALL of the time
    -That I get to go home at the end of the day and relax!

  7. So many things to be grateful for!
    The gift of salvation through Jesus
    My husband who works so hard to provide for us
    My children & their spouses
    My 9 healthy grandchildren
    Our good health
    The means to being able to help others in need
    Good neighbors
    Prayer partners
    Church family
    The list goes on & on

  8. I am grateful and thankful for:
    God’s Love
    My children and grandson
    Wonderful boss
    Church family
    Ocean, Beach, water-gives me peace-I love being around the water
    A few close co-workers
    Being able to Become debt free.

  9. I am grateful for Gods provision, for His unfailing love, mercy and kindness, that he never leaves us where we are in our sin, that he pulls us out, calls us forward and leads us to His truths, his vision, His mission through His strength, wisdom and courage. I thank God for His purpose for my husbands life and that He is leading and showing him His way, His purpose through Gods strength, wisdom, courage and love! I thank God that there are FAR better days ahead for my husband and that He is revealing Himself to my husband and healing my Husbands mind, body, heart and soul through His great mercy, grace and loving kindness – He has NOT forgotten him and God is close to the broken-hearted!! Hallelujah!!!

  10. Thank you for this article. My daughter and her family just relocated to Southern California, and my heart was broken to see my two grandsons leave. Through much prayer I am seeing that God has a plan for me in all this. I don’t know what it is yet, but I know it’s all in his hands. This is another season of growing for me. And I have comfort knowing this.

  11. I’m thankful that I awoke up clothed in my right mind, that Jesus died for me & that He chose me. Thankful for God loving family & friends, a job. I’m really grateful for be able to share the love of Jesus, to be an encouragement or help someone in a kind way no matter how great or small.

  12. 10 Things I am thankful for:
    1. My son and his wife- They have given me a home to live in after a tumultuous break-up.
    2. My 3 loving grandchildren, who give me daily joy and are helping to ease my silent pain.
    3. My 2 wonderful Golden Retrievers who have accepted this change way better than I have.
    4. My horse whom I hope is happy in his new open pasture and way of life.
    5. My Mom who, at 91, continues to love life and care for her family from a retirement home.
    6. My good friends- all of them, who have stuck by me, supported me and encouraged me to put one foot in front of the other.
    7. My car that after 126,000 miles, continues to be my wings!
    8. The beach- I know you are still there, waiting for me to hear your voices.
    9. The woods calling me to walk through slowly and take notice, the next time.
    10. Gods grace and knowledge of my forever partner, who he will reveal to me when I am ready.

    Thank you for allowing me this acknowledgement of wonderful things I will be forever grateful for, instead of wallowing in my emotional pain.

  13. I’m grateful for:
    1 morning quiet
    2 hot tea
    3 inspiration to write
    4 legging that are cozy
    5 my wedding rings that need adjustment that remind me that marriage is the same
    6 my children
    7 my spouse
    8 my extended family
    9 my friends
    10 my clients

  14. 10 things I am very thankful for:
    1. the unfailing love and grace of God
    2. our salvation through Jesus Christ
    3. my loving family
    4. good health
    5. good food
    6. a shelter
    7. friends
    8. nature
    9. opportunities
    10. time

  15. This really hit home for me. We’re also at the empty nest stage of life.
    With 2 grown sons, one happily married with a child on the way following the Lord.
    And one son who has chosen to leave the comforts of Jesus to embrace the LGBT+
    lifestyle and belief system. So we have amazing joy and happiness for our older son, and heart breaking angst for our younger son. who is dealing with severe anxiety issues. However, through it all, we’ve remained in very close contact with our younger, troubled son. We love him unconditionally and still spend quality time together almost every week since he lives in the same town with us.
    1-I am thankful for close contact with both sons
    2-Christmas traditions that we’ve held on to.
    3-Becoming healthier in my relationship to shopping majorly downsizing our Cmas expenses this year
    4-Beautiful nativity on our piano with its outreaching meaning to those who visit here.
    5- Home -made ceramic ornaments made by my Mom who has now passed
    6-Wonderful memories of family times in my childhood
    7-The gift of music God gives all of us .
    8-The gift of a piano teaching career to teach music to children and adults of all ages.
    9-A wonderful church family who have embraced us as we ventured out where God called us away from our former church.
    10-God’s call on my husband’s life to become ordained as an Anglican deacon.
    there are so many more things but you asked for 10. lol

  16. 10 thankful things
    1. Our God who always wants good for us and extends his arm of mercy and grace, to bring us nearer to Him.
    2. My husband who loves me better than I deserve.
    3. My children and grandchildren who keep me young and on my toes and bring us unending joy!
    4. The ocean, the beach…so restful, relaxing, yet invigorating.
    5. The mountains…the place hubby and I enjoy exploring and relaxing together.
    6. The people that have helped me find and grow in my relationship with God.
    7. Books. I love books, i love to read.
    8. Cats. So sweet, fluffy, friendly but not needy.
    9. Tea. I really enjoy a cup of tea, best enjoyed while reading a book with a kitty close by.
    10. Lights…I love all the lights everywhere at Christmas time, sunrises bringing the beautiful light of a new day, candlelight to make a room cozy…

  17. I am grateful for:
    1. God’s love
    2. Jesus sacrifice
    3. The Holy Spirit’s guidance
    4. Family
    5. Job
    6. Health
    7. Home
    8. Car and safety in travel
    9. Creation
    10. Me

  18. I am thankful for:
    1. What God is doing in my life to enrich our relationship.
    2. The desire, health and stamina to do what needs to be done EVERY DAY.
    3. My beginning of the day quiet time with God; and the desire he put in my heart to do this.
    4. My beautiful daughters and granddaughter.
    5. My job teaching and the patience God gives this 71 year-old to chase 3 and 4-year olds.
    6. The new ideas and reflections that GIG brings me .
    7. My home that shelters and helps to ground me.
    8. My small, but powerful support system.
    9. My family of origin and the blessings I still get from them. Thank you that my mother is still on earth.

  19. 1. House to live in
    2. Immediate family that cares and loves
    3. Jobs to do/money that pays bills
    4. Car that runs.
    5. Food that comes weekly
    6. Birds to feed
    7. These bible emails to keep me going
    8. Energy to do all daily stuff and jobs

  20. 10 thins I am thankful for
    1 Health
    2 my don and daughter
    3 my husband
    4 out house
    5 God have always provide for us
    6 God compasión
    7 God mercy
    8 God new opportunities every day
    9 God love
    10 God challenges in life

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