Empty. Empty. It’s the best word I have. Poured out. Void. Done.
They seem to have it all together. Smiley. Happy. Pinterest perfect. Flawless.
Me? No. Not me. Not this. Not here.
There always seems to be a fire to put out. I’m not sure my heart’s hose can reach any further.
Every day my fuse runs short. How will these little people, entrusted to my care, ever emerge unscathed? My heart aches for a new tomorrow. I am growing weary. This flesh bag of mine is growing thin.
Empty. I am empty. Poured out, like a drink offering. Empty.
I hear my accusers so clearly in my head:
Too harsh, Julie.
Not patient enough, Julie.
Why can’t you be more like her, Julie?
Why would you think you have anything to offer to others?
There are so many voices now. Opinions. Judgments. And, oh, it’s just so easy to find them all. They are just SO easy to access.
The story of Elijah in the desert came to my mind today. Oh, the words that jumped out at me.
…He went a day’s journey into the wilderness.” – 1 Kings 19:4
Yeah, I know about the wilderness. Sweet God, yes, I know about the wilderness…
He prayed that he might die. ‘I’ve had enough Lord.’” – 1 Kings 19: 4
Oh, Abba, I know that prayer. Yes, I’ve had enough. I’m tired. Give me rest.
I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” – 1 Kings 19:10
Oh yes, the lonely walk. How much I can feel the sting of being the only one.
No rebuke came from Yahweh. No argument. No lecture.
He simply said, “Go.”
Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord…” – 1 Kings 19: 11
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.” – 1 Kings 19: 11-12
Oh trials. Painful, harsh, and devastating trials. Like when my son began to shake and his body began to fail him. Like when my daughter began to vanish before my very eyes. Or our last four years of uncertainty and manna eating as we transition from military to civilian life.
Storms. Big, scary, thunderous, BOLT-SHOCKING storms.
Yes. I know these.
My accusers have proclaimed so much in the storms. Generational curses. Judgments of God.
Oh, Abba, have these storms come because of our iniquity? My iniquity? Abba, how can we possibly be better? What can I do? We are doing all we know how….
The god of the storms is relentless. Harsh. Unforgiving. Blood-for-blood. Tooth-for-tooth.
My God, my God…why have you forsaken me?!
The noise is so loud. Crashing. Thundering. Booming. Within my heart, within my head, so loud.
My cries for help are many.
…And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” – 1 Kings 19: 12
He speaks. Not in the fire; not in the thunder; not in the bolts of lightning.
What are you doing here…?” – 1 Kings 19: 13
And my heart pours out all the hurts and pains and sorrows and miseries and struggles and and and…
And He listens. He hears me. Quietly, silently, He extends Himself to me with open arms and I cry onto the shoulder of my Abba. The tears, they flow, oh so hard. So heavily they pour out of me. My inner flood to cleanse my world. A mikvah for purity.
He feels my pain. He hurts because I hurt. And He loves. He loves me where I am, and uplifts me. He offers the Bread of Life to me and I eat.
My daughter, I am here. I am here. I Am here. I Am.
Slowly, painfully, my heart settles, the tears come to a close, my soul quivers and shudders, my lungs fill again.
The Breath of Life breathes into me, and a new day can begin.
Go back…I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” – 1 Kings 19: 18
I’m not alone. I thought I was alone. But, I’m not. Brothers and sisters, too, endure.
Though empty, I am filled up. As I become less, He becomes more. When I am broken, He shines through.
The noise is silent. The voices, quiet. The judgments fall. I am renewed.
A new day has begun.