Empty Beach, Koh Payam, Thailand

Empty Beach, Koh Payam, Thailand (Photo credit: Footprint Books)

I remember going on a walk, one sunny evening. My heart was tied up in a ball. My stomach was burning and tight. My physical body seemed to be crying out for release from its bondage. It was then that I acknowledged in my deepest being that I had a problem with anxiety.

I am positive that my parents knew this when I was young. I suspect everyone around me saw it written all over me.

Anxiety was eating me up. I don’t think it’s always been there in the state it’s been in the last year. But I know there have been moments all over the place where stress as taken its toll.

There was no specific reason that it stress should have been any more than the usual. In fact, life had “slowed down” some since all the kids were in school for some of the day. Then again, “slowed down” is relative.

And on that sunny day, I should have walked in peace, enjoying the warmth on my back. Smiling at the butterflies flitting through the air. Breathing in the sweet scent of harvest.

Instead, I cried to the Lord, and he heard me. I asked him if there were any sinful and anxious ways in me, that he would heal me. That he would show me what I needed to turn from. I know in my heart of hearts that being in a constant state of anxiety was not where he wanted me to be. I felt guilty for being so anxious for no reason. It was like it had taken over my body, no matter what my mind was saying. Even if I knew I had no reason to be distressed, it still filled my body with tension.

I didn’t expect the answer to come like this.

No, not THIS way, Lord.

to take me out of everything. To strip me bare. To lay me flat. So that I have nowhere to go but to him.

My ability to do almost everything is gone now.

I can’t take care of my children (like I want to). Yes, their basic needs are being met. they feel loved and they are fed. But I want MORE. They want more.

My house needed spring cleaning five years ago and it is not getting any better because I can’t even finish the dishes let alone pull out the stove to clean the freakish mess all under and around it. My storage room was a project I was going to tackle now that I have two mornings free a week…but now I spend them in bed. Or at Dr. app’ts. Or unable to move.

I am not great at keeping up friendships, but I’ve been even worse. Being on the phone tires me out so fast that I have avoided it. And I miss my long distance and local friends.

I am not the wife I can be, the one I should be. Instead, my husband is looking after me sacrificially. HE is laying down his life, in many ways, to serve me in ways no one will ever know about.

I had dreams of starting a women’s ministry to a young group of moms. I was eager to get to know them better. I had plans….but they are ashes. Unable to even get dressed I can’t plan and lead something  that I have nothing for. And I am lonely. I wanted to start this, not only to reach out to them, but to reach out for me.

I have big dreams. I have big ideas. But I have nothing. Nothing to give now.

He’s emptying me out. Stripping me bare. I lay naked at his feet and cry tears of pain and repentance.

I am seeing my sin. I am seeing his holiness.

I am feeling his grace. I living in his grace.

I have nowhere to go but to Him.

And that’s ok.

Psalm 40
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. 7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come– it is written about me in the scroll.8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. 12 For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. 13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me.14 May all who seek to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. 15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame. 16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “The LORD be exalted!”17 Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.

He will lift me up. HE will fill me. In his time.

Lord, fill me. Pour into me what you will. I am ready.


2 responses to “Empty

  1. I relate more than you can ever imagine. I have been emptied over and over for so long now that I have been WAY past where I thought you could possibly be, and still be alive. You’ll make it through this, my friend. The Job principle means that God is busy turning this trouble into beauty, even (and ESPECIALLY!) when you can’t see it. We will have lots to share in a few weeks – can’t wait! 🙂

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