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Posts Tagged ‘Empty’

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*A re-post from a year and a bit ago, and a reminder of the barrenness of a busy life, as the calendar begins to fill.

June + kids + church + school = busy … and I cannot wait to do a little bit of subtraction!

I have been longing for the end, counting down to the end, all the while it seems as though there are stretches of days when every time I open my email inbox there is another ‘end of year’ event to be attended.

Don’t get me wrong … I love celebrating year ends, graduations, retirements, partings and weddings! They are each, on their own, most delightful events to be invited to, to witness, to attend. It is when they come one after another, with no pause for refreshment, for refueling, that they begin to extinguish the candle of my days, making it too dim to see the light of blessing that each one is.

I yearn for refreshment … the kind that comes from being home from waking until sleeping (maybe even with a little sleeping in between), the kind that comes from not one phone ring, the kind that comes from just us five being home, with no knocks at the door, no invasions of anyone or anything from the ‘outside world’ … except maybe a parcel delivery … and not one with an invoice to be paid!

Socrates was right, the busy life can be barren … lifeless, empty. It can be life-sapping rather than life-giving. It can leave us with little to give.

We need Sabbath rest!

But, do we make that happen? Or do we constantly add more to fill our days (and nights), rather than make time to rec-r-ate?

In Psalm 39:6 we are given the reminder that, “all our busy rushing ends in nothing.”

Is there a barrenness to your busy schedule? Do you, like me, get to a point where the calendar is so full, you refuse to add any more to the daily boxes?

Barren means not reproducing, not productive, it is a ‘lack of’ …

Busy means active, occupied, it is ‘full of’ …

How can we be both busy and barren? How can we be both full of and have a lack of at the same time?

God, in His process of creation, chose rest a feature of the seven day week. One-seventh of life is intended for rest. And this is not just Old Testament theology, because in Mark 6:31, Jesus reminds us that busy needs to be balanced by rest, when he said to his disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

My you and I find the will to omit something from our calendars this week, and go to a deserted place, and rest a while … and become, once again ‘full of.’

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Some days the inspiration to share does not come until I remember that if I am feeling something, maybe there is someone else out there who feels the same, and needs encouragement.d2e18a1cc7aed9173af847f95e4a3385

Each and every woman reading will understand what I am about to say …

This particular day I felt … un-beautiful … you know ladies, the kind of un-beautiful that you feel more than beauty you might see. It seemed that I could not remember when I last communed with my God … the God of the Universe. It seemed that the conversation stopped, and it wasn’t God’s silence …

it was mine. and I was left feeling like a guilt-ridden, un-beautiful, hardened shell.

Like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, it felt like I had no heart. I was just a human form of a bucket of bolts.

There are times, in every woman’s lives when life is just a full calendar … just laundry growing in the basket … just another meal to prepare … just the needs of loved ones that we cannot meet … just …

no dream to dream.

I am a dreamer, and I need goals, pursuits … dreams … to keep my focus on the purpose behind the little details of life and living.

But, earthly dreaming is not necessarily going to fill the empty feeling inside.

That is an empty that is part and parcel of being made for more … being made for living in another vessel altogether … and that future home is often what causes our homesick, empty feelings.

So,

step aside
bend a knee
bow a head
and lets pour out our hearts to the one who made them.

It is by pouring them out to God, that we become full, fueled and the empty is filled by His beauty.

“Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:30-31

Brokenness Aside’s title track was born of this broken world and a time when Leslie was reminded we are never really whole until Heaven.”

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“I have nothing left … not for work, not for my kids, not for my husband, not for any part of my life that demands something of me. I have no more strength, no more energy, no more solutions. I am at the end of myself.”

As I listened to those words, I heard her heart … she had reached the end of her solutions, her strength, her abilities. She did not know what to do, nor did she have the energy to fake it any longer. She was desperate, in a position of having to rely rather than having anything to offer to others.

As I shared in her sorrow, I soon realized that, although my heart and desire was to help her ‘fix’ her woes, I was not her solution, I was not her Savior. I was simply ears to hear, and arms to hold. With that realization, I felt the immensity of the weight that she was bearing. After all, haven’t we all had moments at the end of our ropes … at the end of us?

Certainly it would seem that we mere mortals periodically get to the end of our ropes, with no hope in sight, yet hope is always there in the form of God.

The problem is, that when we are at the end of our ropes, at the end of ourselves, we sometimes need an intervention, we need one to step into our moccasins, and carry us to the one who CAN fill our empty spaces. To hold a lethargic, emptied soul and lift them to the God who strengthens, who fills, is the greatest of honors, the greatest of callings.

Writer, Ann Voskamp (and Dietrich Bonhoeffer) has said, “blessed are those at the end of their rope because they can be tied to God. Blessed are the broken for they can be gathered into belonging. Blessed are those who find themselves wholly empty, because they have space to be holy filled with God.“Only he who cries… is permitted to sing…” is what Bonhoeffer said.”

“In you I rest,
In you I found my hope
In you I trust
You never let me go
I place my life
Within your hands alone
Be still my soul”

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Ugh! No milk. There are five teenagers in our house, it is breakfast time on a school day and we are out of milk. Not only that, but there is no bread either! Then, I get into the van and see the gas gauge on empty!

Some days it seems as though we are constantly running out of the things we need most to survive. We awaken with too little energy. We have tasks to complete in too little time. We have bills with too little money to pay them. “Is there anything that does not run out?” We cry!

Dealing with life, means realizing that there will be times when we are running on empty. When we are students, it is our money that runs empty. When we are newlyweds, it is our adjustment to change that leaves us on empty. When we have little ones in our houses, it is our sleep need that is on empty. When our kids are older, it is our lack hours in a day that leave us on empty. When we get older, it is our physical limitations that leave us on empty.

This is life!

If we do not recognize that empty, in some form, is part of every stage of life, we are going to be miserable.

So, how do we survive a life of ’empty’? We plug in to the resource that is never on empty. For me, this song reassures me that there is one thing that remains …

(love the name of the church too 😉 )

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