When you have nothing to give

IMG_2702Sometimes it feels like you’re not enough.

You don’t have anything to say, not much to offer.

You can’t feed crowds.

 

That’s when He calls you to offer your emptiness.

The God who poured the Milky Way and molded the Rocky Mountains – out of emptiness – can shape a kingdom out of your chaos too.

 

It’s also when he reminds you that faith is more about trusting him to use your five loaves than about trusting him for strength to bake twenty.

12 thoughts on “When you have nothing to give

  1. Thank you Carolyn.. so profound & perfect that it is short. so we can hear it & believe it. It is difficult to break out of our culture enough to embrace emptiness. Having nothing to offer always feels like failure to me & when it hits I want to run, withdraw, not give. Jesus always says come..trust Me. And I smile because I remember all the past times..
    blessings on you, dear one!

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Nancy, and thanks for your blessings. I was just thinking this afternoon how emptiness always feels like failure to me, and I felt God saying “Fatigue is not failure. Let yourself feel it. Don’t try to push it away. Let it press you into my hand instead. Rest there. Know I am pleased with you.” That last line was hard for me to accept at first. “Know you are pleased with me? But I haven’t done anything! How can you be pleased with nothing?” And the picture came of a master artist standing back and smiling at his painting (even when still incomplete) and saying “I like it. It’s turning out well.” He reminded me that He’s pleased with us because we’re His work of art (Eph 2:10), not because we’re doing a good job of painting ourselves!

  2. Amazing– emptiness and chaos, my two main words– did God use you or not? Chaos– as in trying to move all by myself with in a short lease of time imposed upon me by others– emptiness, as in feeling so alone and overwhelmed, nothing to offer to anyone as I struggle simply to be.
    Yet– Darrel’s sermon yesterday about the prodigal son coming home with nothing– and the Father running to meet him and putting on a feast for the empty handed child that returned, welcoming him home with all of His heart. Carolyn, your emptiness is His fullness in you.
    Your word to us today, is God speaking to all of us telling us it is okay to come totally empty so he can fill us with all His grace and love. When we have it all, it is so much more difficult to receive.
    All my love to you for these precious words.

    1. Dear Klara,
      Thanks so much for your words, and for reminding me of the truth of Darrell’s sermon yesterday. No matter how many times I hear it I always seem to need to hear it again: we’re welcome to come empty. Amazing grace!
      May you know yourself held and filled in your own emptiness and chaos.
      Love, Carolyn

  3. All I have is emptiness . How do I give nothing? A problem.Where is faith in this? I question so much.I find it hard to trust.Sorry, this has been a down day perhaps tomorrow will be different.You always give me something to think about. love you

    1. To Margaret,
      I do not know you, but you touched my heart– please read Isaiah 43: 4– and if so inclined read above and below. To Him you are ever so precious, honored and loved. This verse is my life line each time I think I have nothing— I have someone who cares deeply.
      Love Klara

    2. Dear Hannah,

      Love you too! Maybe a big hug matters more in this moment than answers. I hope so – because I don’t think I have answers. All I know is that we’re welcomed to come empty – in fact we have to come empty in order to understand grace. I think faith is just trusting God’s invitation enough to come back in our emptiness again and again and again and throw ourselves on His grace and know that He promises to be enough to make up for our nothing.

      I have these three quotes posted on my bathroom mirror:
      “I require nothing from you but you come to me empty that I may fill you.” (Revelation to Gertrude)

      “Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.” (Simone Weil)

      “Our emptiness will lead us more surely to our true purpose than our imagined fullness because God’s life and grace will flow so much more freely through empty hands.” (Margaret Silf)

      May you know yourself held and loved tonight in the midst of your emptiness.

      Love, Caroli

    1. Thank you, Janet. It’s so good that God lets us feel our emptiness. It keeps us aware of our inability to do anything without him. I want to live there – in that place of complete dependence where I know that I’m loved just because of grace, not because of anything I do. But, my, the process of reaching and staying in that place is sure uncomfortable sometimes!

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