I’m reminded of the story of Jacob in the OT. Recently I read this as it relates. . .
“A long time ago, a preacher named James H. McConkey asked a friend of his, a doctor, ‘What is the exact significance of God’s touching Jacob upon the sinew of his thigh?’”
“And the doctor told him, ‘The sinew of the thigh is the strongest in the human body. A horse couldn’t even tear it apart.’”
These are the words I’ve never forgotten, what preacher McConkey said. “Ah, I see. The Lord has to break us down at the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing in us.” (One Thousand Gifts– Ann Voskamp)
God breaks us in order to give us the greatest treasure—the blessing of Himself! He desires that we be filled with all the fullness of Christ.
I had no idea that when I began praying over 7 years ago to experience a deeper fullness of Christ that I would have to visit so many empty places along the way. Nothing could have prepared my heart for the way it would bleed. For the many sleepless nights that I’ve spent wrestling with God. For the valleys of doubt and faith I would go through along the way. For the distance I would feel from my God. For the endless well of tears I would cry.
Many of you know that I watched my mom walk through her own season of empty as she struggled with depression, anxiety, along with physical and emotional struggles. As I was nurturing the growth of my twin babies, Elysabeth and Elliot, within my womb, I was witnessing the slow decay of my mom.
On Feb. 21, 2013, I was thrust into the deepest empty and brokenness I could imagine when my mom chose to end her own life. No one wants suicide to be a part of her story. Messy doesn’t begin to describe what I’ve experienced. (I know some of you have walked this empty too. . .and I’m sorry. No one should have to go through that pain.) Deep grief leaves you in a place of complete emptiness.
In May 2014, my husband and I went through a painful church situation. We walked away from that church with broken and confused hearts. I loved many of the people there very dearly.
In July 2014, my dad moved to the other side of the world—Kampala, Uganda, Africa. Four months later he remarried.
In January of 2015, my best friend in Greenville moved to WA. She was my dear friend who had ministered to my hurting heart in countless ways as I grieved the loss of Mama and the church situation.
In March 2015, I experienced an unbelievable weekend where on Friday night my Greenville mom and dear friend Jenny experienced a grand mal seizure in our home. Jenny had a large blood clot on her brain and endured a life-threatening surgery. She survived by God’s grace, but has never fully recovered.
On Saturday, Elliot (our youngest son) fell and ended up at the ER with a deep cut on his face. He had fallen and his teeth went completely through his lip from the inside out.
As we drove into our driveway that night after leaving the ER, I was greeted at my house by at least 12 firetrucks and EMS vehicles. Smoke billowed from our large outdoor storage building. We lost everything in our shed due to extensive smoke damage. It housed all our tools, yard equipment, outdoor toys, bikes, clothes, my dad’s storage, seasonal decorations, many of my mom’s things that I was holding onto, and all my children’s memorabilia.
In the last 2 ½ years, I’ve experienced my own share of emptiness and loss. I’ve wrestled deep with sharing so much of my own emptiness with you all. I’m not ashamed by it. I just don’t want you to look at me and feel sorry for me or think I’m a superhero because I’ve survived it all! I realize that none of us are exempt from empty and broken places in our lives. You have your own stories of empty—when you’ve been stripped of things and people so precious to you. It’s no fun being empty. It hurts. . .alot!
I share my own emptiness because I want you to look at me and see Jesus. In my brokenness and the hard, messy story of my life, I am slowly being filled with the fullness of God. Jesus Christ is becoming my greatest treasure. The process of being emptied and stripped bare has been excruciatingly painful and almost unbearable many days.
And through all of this, He has been filling my heart with Himself! Ps. 107:9 says “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Jesus is satisfying my soul. He is filling my hunger to know more of Him.
I am a testimony that He leads us into empty places but in His love, mercy, and grace, He then begins to fill us with more joy and trust in Him than we could imagine.
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
(If you missed part one, you can find it here-)