Am I the only one who feels this way? Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates recall how they felt when they first entered this confusing, liberating, and emotion-packed stage of life called the empty nest.
After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Barbara joined the staff of Cru® in 1971. With her husband Dennis, whom she married in 1972, the Rainey’s cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry committed to helping marriages and families survive and thrive in our generation.
Barbara is a frequent speaker and guest on FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s award-winning nationally-syndicated daily radio broadcast. She is the author or coauthor of more than 35 books, including Moments Together for Couples and Moments With You marriage devotionals; Growing Together, a series of books for families; A Symphony in the Dark; and her most recent, Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife.
After faithfully served alongside Dennis, both in ministry and at home, Barbara launched a new endeavor called Ever Thine Home®. This line of home décor with interactive content helps families express faith at home in a way that is both biblical and beautiful. Her heart for Ever Thine Home is based on the familiar Old Testament instruction:
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, ESV)
Dennis and Barbara live near Little Rock, Arkansas and continue to serve with Cru, FamilyLife’s parent organization. They have six children and an impressive number of grandchildren.
Susan Yates has written 15 books and speaks both nationally and internationally on the subjects of marriage, parenting, and faith issues. Her books include And Then I Had Kids: Encouragement for Mothers of Young Children; And Then I Had Teenagers: Encouragement for Parents of Teens and Preteens; Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest (with friend Barbara Rainey) and Raising Kids with Character That Lasts (With her husband John). Her two new books are Risky Faith, Becoming Brave Enough to Trust the God who is Bigger Than Your World and the One (Devotional) Book.
You can read Susan’s blogs on a variety of topics at susanalexanderyates.com. She also writes for Club31Women.com. For 11 years, she was the Parent child Columnist for “Today’s Christian Women” magazine. She has also written for other publications including, “Thriving Family,” a magazine published by Focus on the Family. She’s the mother of five children (including a set of twins) and the grandmother of 21 (including a set of quadruplets!). Susan and her husband John have been married over 50 years. They live in Falls Church, Virginia, a Washington D.C. suburb where John is the Senior Pastor of The Falls Church Anglican.
But what is she really like? Her blood “bleeds blue.” She’s a Tarheel, a graduate of the University of North Carolina. She loves Monday night football, ACC basketball, shooting hoops with her grandsons, hiking and riding horseback with her husband, running-especially on country roads, eating chocolate, playing practical jokes on folks, walking and talking with girl friends. You are not likely to find her at the mall; she’d rather be at the farm. You won’t find her in the kitchen by choice; she’d rather be outdoors with her golden retrievers. Her favorite time of the year is June when all her kids and grandkids are together for a week of “cousins and family camp” in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.