When You’re Stumbling into the New Year Empty and Drained

When You’re Stumbling into the New Year Empty and Drained

January 4, 2016

“Three days later, they all went to celebrate a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee … While they were celebrating, the wine ran out … [And Jesus said] ‘Fill each water pot with water until it’s ready to spill over the top.’” John 2:1a, 3a, 7b (VOICE)

We were sitting in the dimly lit corner of our favorite Italian bistro when my husband asked the question that made my heart lurch: “What are you looking forward to in the new year?”

The last hours of the last day of December stretched before us like a gift wrapped in moonbeams and grace, and I was grateful for time to connect as we bid another year goodbye.

I cast him an appreciative smile, knowing that my quiet guy would have been content to merely eat his steak and savor our momentary break from baby babble and toddler tantrums.

Normally, his inquiry would have aroused my love for conversation and undaunted dreaming. But as I sliced into my baked potato on that particular New Year’s Eve, I realized I was strangely devoid of words.

I felt more hollow than hopeful, more discouraged than dreamy.

I wanted to answer with expectancy and exuberance, to rehearse to my willing listener a list of grandiose goals and polished plans. But I was road-weary from a long and exhausting year. Unexpected disappointments had left me discouraged, and I felt depleted by the demands of the daily grind.

My husband buttered his roll and waited in comfortable silence. And I felt a cavernous ache rise from the tip of my toes to the corners of my muddled mind. I held his green-eyed gaze and wondered if my heart would split wide open if I put words to my unseen struggle.

I willed my tears not to drizzle, and I blinked long and slow in an attempt to hide the drops of watery despair.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” my husband asked, reaching across the table to lace his fingers through mine.

“I just feel so empty inside …” I cried, as I tipped my water glass to my lips and sipped the last drop. “I don’t how God can use me in the new year when I feel so depleted by the old one.”

Maybe you’ve been there before — too haggard to hope, too wary to wish, too exhausted to anticipate.

Maybe you’re there right now, toes tired from the journey, your heart feeling bankrupt by the barrage of life.

But if you’ve limped into the new year with muted hope and a poured-out soul, I’ve got good news for you. Our emptiness doesn’t disqualify us from Christ’s extravagance. Our weariness doesn’t exempt us from His wonder.

In fact, today’s key verses suggest that our emptiness might actually give us reason for expectancy in the new year.

After all, we have a Savior who delights in filling empty vessels.

If we read the entire account of Christ’s first miracle in John 2:1-12, we learn that Christ didn’t view those barren wine jugs as a reason for condemnation; He simply viewed them as a wordless invitation. A subtle summons to reveal His glory in a fresh new way.

Think about it, friends: if our lavish Savior can use poured-out pots to display His splendor, surely He can use poured-out people to do the same. We need only to admit our void and ask for His help.

A waiter lingered beside our table with a pitcher and reached for the glass near my plate.

“An empty one!” the waiter exclaimed as he held the fluted glass up to the light. “I can fix that!” he said with a silly smirk. Then he tipped the pitcher with a gallant swoop and filled my glass to the brim.

My husband raised his eyebrows as the young man waltzed away. “Maybe being empty isn’t so bad after all …” he said with a wink.

I took a long sip of water and let it wash away the lump of tears that had been sitting in my throat.

Then, I cast my husband a grateful grin and let an unexpected giggle spill from my lips.

After all, it suddenly seemed like I was in the perfect position to embrace a new year brimming with possibility.

Dear Jesus, help me trade my emptiness for expectancy. I invite You to do a fresh work in me this new year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 15:13, “I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NCV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Commit to filling up on God’s Word in the new year. Our free First 5 app can help you get into God’s Word with the first five minutes of your day.

Visit Alicia Bruxvoort’s blog for more encouragement and a special give-away today.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Invite God to do a fresh work in your life this year. Read Isaiah 43:19 and make it your prayer.

This week, prayerfully pour into someone who is poured out.

© 2016 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. You have perfectly described my heart right now. I spent much of 2015 caring for my mother during her final battle with cancer. God released her from her earthly bonds on December 23rd, and in so doing, freed up my calendar considerably. I’m rather at a loss of what to do with myself, although the to-do list is a million miles long. I’ve felt empty, hollow, and dry, and have been dreading the new year. Thank you for showing me that this is actually a great place to be.

    • Anni, I came to this Proverbs 31 devotional as part of my early morning routine, but also following a disturbing dream that I lost my mother in a crowd, Your comment and my dream remind me to treasure my time with her. And I know that God has a plan to fill your emptiness with joy. “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:5),

      Lord God, you know that Anni’s year is starting with tears. May those tear-seeds planted in faith bring forth a joyful harvest in your good time. May 2016 be a year of great growth for her. Fill her emptiness with open doors to new sensitivity, new relationships, new ministry. Amen.

  2. These words express how I feel and felt for quite some time now. Thanks for this post.

  3. wow- this is me exactly, right now, which is why i am reading it at 12:45 am. i was looking for comfort and thought that the day’s new devotion would be available around midnight – boy, am i ever thankful for this message. i don’t feel like the new year has started, since the old one doesn’t seem done with me yet.
    started a 21-day fast this morning… giving God the firstfruits of this year, praying it wont beat me up like last year did.
    thanks proverbs 31, your writers are true sisters in Christ offering hugs of encouragement and empathy through the Word.

    • Lisa, I’m starting a 21 day fast, too. And I am anxious to see how Jesus will meet me with MORE of Him in the days to come. May you experience His filling in new ways in 2016. Praying for you right now—

  4. Apparently your Proverb 31 posts!! Eternally grateful, thank you for you encouragement and definitely glorious love for Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!

  5. Julie Davila says:

    Thank you for this article. My family and I lost my mother to Cancer in Nov. 2015. Talk about feeling empty. Praise God that He is carrying our family through this difficult time.

    • Julie, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. That sure changes how a new year looks, doesn’t it? I am praying that Jesus will continue to carry you and hold your hurting heart. May that void left by loss be filled with MORE of His presence and a peace that can’t be explained or shaken.

  6. This is as if you have read my mind and feel bad about how hopeless and discouraged I have been feeling for months. Financially, I have been struggling and have exhausted my savings, I don’t know how I am going to support myself this month and onward.
    Thank you for your inspiring words, I will continue growing on my walk with the Lord and learning to trust Him.

  7. This could have been written about me. 2015 was one of the most difficult years of my life. Im worn out, emotionally drained and hurt, and feel inadequate in so many ways. As relieved as I am that the past year is over, I have little motivation as this new year begins. I am thankful though that my husband and I are closer thsn ever, by God’s amazing grace, and as I read this devotion tonight it gives me a spark of hope that the Lord will use all I have been going through to do a new work on me too.

    • Cammie, I’m praying that Christ will take your little spark of hope and turn it into a raging flame. May He fill all those empty places with His LAVISH LOVE and do something fresh and new in you and through you this year.

  8. Ooh,so timely. May our Lord Jesus Christ fill our emptiness both financially and spiritually.

  9. This is so good! May I repost to homeschool moms at Edmond Home Educators private forum today for our Monday Devotional?I will give you credit and a link to this site.

    • Absolutely! Please share. Blessings to you as you step into a new week of school and a fresh year of God’s mercy!

      • Thank you Alicia:) Blessings to you today too! I know many moms will be blessed by this post. I also read it to my husband this morning. Good timing for all of us. So excited for the year now and all that God will do.

  10. Amy Rhodes says:

    What an awesome and timely post! Thank you!

  11. Beautifully written! And just what I needed to read this morning!! Thank you for honesty writing the emotions many wives and mothers feel. I am encouraged.

  12. I need a band of sisters. I am walking the life of Leah, injustice in my marriage, I give most but I’m often loved less. I’ve endured quite a lot in a blended family but I have no voice here. I know God is making me resilient but weary right now. Feeling trapped, hopeless but holding on. This empty vessel really needed this.
    Blessings.
    Lisa

    • I’m with you Lisa. Maybe not the exact details, but I too am in a very troubled marriage. Add to that a budding toddler to care for, a full-time job, plus everything I do at home, and I am completely empty as well. On my knees at the end of the day last night, I prayed God would encourage me and give me the strength I needed just to get through the next day. And then I read this. Romans 15:13 is now my verse for 2016. God meets us right where we are! Let Him fill you with HOPE, JOY, and PEACE through the power of the Holy Spirit. I will pray that for both of us.
      Blessings,
      Rebecca

      • Rebecca and Lisa, I am praying for you both right now. May Jesus whisper HOPE in your ears as you step into the new year. May He show Himself mighty and strong on your behalf. He LOVES you!

  13. Brenda Pisco says:

    I need help with my sons’- one who feels that life is not worthy for him and the other is angry because I did not turn my face away from is younger brother, and because of this, he, my first born has not spoken with me since Christmas- why do I feel as if I have failed them and God, he gave me these children as a gift and I have messed it up. Lord, fill me with the grace and love I know you can only give me. blessings to all, Bren

    • Brenda, I think it is so easy for us moms to feel guilty when our children are suffering or going through their own problems. Nothing is accomplished when we blame ourselves. All we can do is pray for God’s wisdom to know how to make the right decision. James 1:5 ” If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

  14. Deidre 'Leota' Watson says:

    I been in this place before where I was afraid to be hopeful in the new year because of disappointments in the old. For years I have endured personal struggles hoping for change which did not come so for the last two years I just gave up on myself. However for this new year 2016, I have made the determination to partner with the Lord to bring about the changes I seek. I feel like that song about the woman at the well which says, “fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord, come and quench this thirsting of my soul.” I already feel Him pouring into my weary spirit.

  15. If Jesus can take an empty vessel, have it filled with water and turned into wine that was the best; Jesus can take my empty cup and fill it to over flowing with blessings. I just keep pouring out as a minister’s wife and a sister at end stage cancer. The worse part now is watching and waiting for God to bless my sister by taking her home. It will be a hard, sad time but how much harder than watching her be in so much pain. My heart hurts so much.

  16. Thank you

  17. I am so amazed about how many people feel the same way that I do. This post has been such a blessing in more ways than I can ever say. Thank you for your obedience, thank you for sharing, thank you for words of encouragement you’ve given to all of us. The blessing is that God is so great that it doesn’t matter how many of us feel this way HE has the power to fill each of us specifically the way we need to be filled!

  18. Lisa samford says:

    Praise God for the new perspective! So many mornings your devotional lifts me up because it is exactly what I need for the new day! Thanks and God bless!

  19. Thank you!!! You put into words what I have been feeling but had no idea how to explain. And the Spirit gave you the words to help us through this season and give us hope.

  20. I’ve downloaded four daily devotion apps starving for a word to fill my empty heart, all good but not touching my appetite for just what I needed for this season in my life. I clicked delete on my inbox, I just couldn’t muster up the emotional energy to leave hungry one more time. As I went to put all my unwanted emails in the trash I unchecked the delete box for this devotion. Definitely wasn’t me on my own, but a gentle reminder from God to give it one more shot. Parts of this devotion I feel like I could have written first hand. Really needed this word to chew on for a while. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Thank you for sharing this all so true glimmer of light on an all too real emptied out year of 2015.

    I am grateful our calendar gives us a cut off point where we can raise a glass and say cheers!That year is done!We’ve had our fill of its downs and the somewhat overshadowed ups!

    We can say to the waiter as we set our glass down,”Filler up afresh! Give me more of that living water that brings me forth to yet the end of another NEW YEAR!”

    I’m truly looking forward to Jesus’ return and the Grand Banquet HE is preparing for HIS bride!

  22. Kimberly Myers says:

    When we step out of ourself and lend a helping hand to others who need extra help and show them Gods love for them, our worries get smaller and the Holy Spirit will fill us with all the right words to encourage & help us share Gods love & in return we will feel blessed

  23. Keeping your mind on God, finding things to be thankful for will keep your heart from breaking beyond repair.

    Negativity and despair are not from our Lord – our feelings should be indicators, not dictators. Our disappointments can be new directions.

    Christ loves us so, He sacrificed Himself for us and the forgiveness of our sins – be thankful for His gift by giving Him yourself…allow Him to carry you when you can’t walk…never take your eyes off Him…He will fill you with what you need.

    Babs….I’m thinking of and praying for you to allow His love to fill you.

  24. This is where I am at this very moment. I did not know unite how to put it in words. I am weary and exhausted from the past year and feel as if I am running on fumes I am too weary to ven remotely think,of how God might use me this upcoming year. Lord, fill this dried up, empty vessel to fulfill the thirsts of not only myself, but with others you would have . Lord, may I look to you expectantly withngreatbenthusiasm forvwhat you will do in my life!

  25. Carol Cunningham says:

    I could have written every word you described about the emptiness. Only I could not have shared it with my precious husband because on New Year’s Day, he had been in heaven 8 weeks. My emptiness EVEN AS A CHILD OF GOD is beyond explanation. I know all the “answers” because he was a pastor. It does not stop the emptiness. Thank you for this devotion today. May God allow me to pay it forward and help someone else this year…

    • Praying for you Carol!

    • Oh, Carol, I am praying for you as you walk through this deep deep and empty cavern of hurt. I am so sorry for your loss. May Jesus tenderly carry you right now and may He give you HOPE- not because you have “all the answers”, but because His presence is undeniable in your grief.

  26. Beautiful & real, touched my heart with joy of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know how much I needed that until I read it, thank you! John 14:27 Peace

  27. Thank you for writing this. You put into words what I have been struggling with since New Yerar’s Eve. When I read your devotion I wept. I wept from relief to know I wasn’t alone in my emptiness and also from hope. Thank you for your teaching.

  28. Julie Norwood says:

    Thank you for this awesome devotion! I really needed it today.

  29. Thank you for this devotional! I am a homeschooling/work at home mother of 3 young kids and have been overwhelmed by my schedule and responsibilities. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even have time to think. This really encouraged me, thank you so much!!

  30. Waiting on God says:

    Oh my, oh my, oh my. It’s like you’ve peered into my very soul. God is speaking straight through you to me, Alicia. Good thing you were empty so that nothing else got in the way! Love this

  31. Thank you for the encouragement!! I so desperately want to be filled this 2016! Tattered, worn, and feeling depleted. I am offering my empty cup!!!

  32. Pam Backhaus says:

    Thank you for today’s word.

  33. Dawn DeArmond says:

    I love this! You have captured so many people’s thoughts! There is hope in Christ!

  34. After a stressful, busy Christmas week packing our lives into boxes with short notice, a rushed visit with family, a move on the 27th, followed by my husband starting a new job on the 28th…both of us with heavy colds and me pregnant…I have felt so empty over the past week so this word is perfect for me! Thank you for reminding me that Jesus is in the business of filling up empty to display His glory! :)

    • Sarah, I’ve done that “Christmas time move”– I totally understand that kind of weariness. It’s such a hard way to begin a new year. May Jesus meet you in such tender and treasured ways in the days ahead that you will be awed by His presence in your new place. And may our sweet, sweet Savior already be wooing your precious unborn baby to His heart! Blessings in the new year, Sarah.

  35. My siblings and I have been taking of our mom for the past fourteen months and she went to be with the Lord on December 30th 2015. I want to thank you for this devotion it says exactly how i feel”empty”. I am not looking forward to this new year at all as I am the personal representative of her estate. I know that God has a plan for me this year and I want to be filled with purpose again.

    • Linda, I am so sorry for your loss. Praying right now that God will give you strength to walk through the days to come and that He will show up even in your darkest hours of grief as you wade through the aftermath of loss.

  36. Anni,
    Your letter could have been mine last year. In 8 months I had lost my dear mother, our 16 year old much loved dog, and my sweet mother-in-law. We also had a daughter get married and move out of state. So much loss in so short of time it was heartbreaking. I have to tell you, even if it sounds cliche, that it does get better. Right now you are exhausted. Take time to grieve. Take time to share with others what you miss about your mom. I signed up for a Griefshare group at a local nursing home and it really helped. My husband and I also volunteered at a nursing home once a month and that helped us give back to another senior. You will be in my prayers. By the way, my mom’s name was Ann. Love and hugs to you.

  37. I am totally drained and depressed due to dysfunction within our family and my unacceptance of my husband’s five-year injury which has left him a quadriplegic. I cannot understand a purpose for something like this and cannot believe yet that we are living this nightmare. Holy Spirit, please fill my soul with acceptance and peace.

    • Oh, Chris, I echo your prayer. Holy Spirit, fill Chris with a peace that can’t be explained by circumstance or logic. Show her the fingerprints of your presence in this nightmare and shine your light into her darkness right now and in the days to come. Jesus, be her strength and her anchor.

  38. kathy wyg says:

    Good Morning….To Lisa & Rebecca….who are both looking for a band of sisters; i
    would be more than happy to be a part of your band of sisters..i am not in your positions that you are talking about…but i can pray for you as well as send you some very neat devos just like this one if you like to encourage & guide you if you would like
    just let me know……whatever i can do to help……ladies….

    i will include my e-mail for you 2 ladies…so you can let me know what you decide…

    have a blessed day……………….kathy
    bwygant@bellsouth.net

  39. Libby McRobbie says:

    Thank you for this devotional! I’ve never heard this particular miracle applied this way. What a blessing to realize being empty is an opportunity.

  40. Thank you for putting words to my feelings. I am praying to overcome the guilt that I feel for not being in a more spiritually vibrant place at the beginning of a new year. I am blessed beyond what I deserve though I am facing family and financial issues. It is a relief to know I am not alone in my feelings.

  41. Thank you for this encouragement. I have been hit with discouragement and just feeling hopeless but your words reminded me I am not alone. I am thankful for my Savior, my Prince of Peace.

  42. I am empty and drained when it comes to dealing with the relationships between my 3 daughters. I allowed myself to be put in the middle and, as a result, made myself a target. No more! My word for 2016 is “grace” and I am going to start the New Year by being “gracious” to myself….in my self-talk, in how I care for myself and how I react to others and situations. Only God can restore their relationship and it will take a lot of humility on all of their parts….I can pray and offer them grace and mercy when they try to blame me. Thank you for the reminder that God fills up empty vessels….be it our spirit, our hearts or our relationships.

  43. Thanks for this encouraging message . My prayer is to become closer to God and let him guide me in 2016 instead of me trying to handle all things on my own .

  44. This! This is the word I needed today. Thank you.

  45. Thank you for this post! It was exactly what I needed to hear!

  46. so needed to read this today.

  47. Clay Parton says:

    Alicia, your writing brought me to tears. Although I am full right now, you painted the scene so perfectly that I was literally in it. You are gifted, and I thank God that you are using it this way. And I will always view the empty wedding vessels in this new, beautiful miracle-creating light.

  48. Michelle Tuel says:

    Thank you Alicia. This past year was a better one for me. However, like you described, 2013 was a very tough year for me. I had several unexpected disappointments that left me feeling helpless and empty. Also hopeless. With the help of some dear Christian friends and a great new church I was able to work through the struggles and pray even harder. Thank you so much for sharing.

  49. Denise Yates says:

    Thank you for this post – your words are exactly what I was feeling. 2015 was a hard year, and 2016 is starting out the same. I pray that God will heal and bless and give us strength for the journey.

  50. Alicia-you are an amazing writer! I could have been a fly on the wall in that restaurant!

    Life can be exhausting at any stage of life. Mine has included one, sudden and totally unexpected death of a dear sweet mother of young children. We rejoice in knowing her name is written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life!

    The next was that of my beloved uncle who became the wise, loving, patient, and supportive second dad after my own father’s death.

    Now we are dealing with another family member whose destiny is in our hands. Our elderly dog is in the last stages of her wonderful life. But as the primary care giver, I’m tired of following her around when she’s awake. It’s like I have a toddler all over again. However, this toddler weighs 60 pounds. Putting a diaper on her is like wrestling with a live alligator.

    So, I thank you, Alicia, for being honest and open with your lack of joy at the start of 2016. I can now admit to the Lord my own neediness. As a result, I will pray daily that God will fill me up. Only His water will quench my thirst.

    • Thanks for your honesty, Claire. Exhaustion can dim our eyes to God’s good gifts, can’t it? Praying with you and for you today. May Jesus who is the FOUNTAIN OF LIFE fill you with His unending supply of joy and strength this year.

  51. the emptiness is very realized too. I have been in a very empty time for several months now with fear, depression and anxiety. It has been almost crippling at times. I “know” God he a bigger and better plan, but I just don’t “feel” that always. I am asking God to deliver me. I have never been one to handle change or difficulties well. I feel that I am so weak sometimes.i just want strength to persevere in the hard moments until the good ones come around again. I want discernment on whether I am supposed to be taking meds or not; I want peace in the midst of distress and joy – real joy. I’ve walked through some times like this before and seen God’s deliverance to an even greater place. This time it is just lasting a LONGER time and is more multi-faceted. I know all the right answers, but just have a hard time applying them. I’ve always struggled with doubting my salvation and especially in times of emptiness or crisis. I just want peace and confidence. I am a minister’s wife, with an awesome church family and a precious, loving husband. I am blessed. I am just broken too

    • Blessed and broken. I think that describes every believer I know. I am praying for you right now, JK—asking Jesus to give you HIS JOY and to deliver you to a place of peace and confidence this year. Thanks for your honesty.

  52. Wow….incredibly timely. As I was trying to fall asleep last night, I was pondering how I have become so critical and skeptical. The past 7 years have been a struggle….divorce, my children growing up and leaving home, one son battling addiction and the spiral of jail time and lost hope that has accompanied that, and just the every day struggle to get up and face each day without a life partner by my side. I was determined at the beginning of these battles to not let the world harden me and make me bitter. And while I put on a happy face, I know something has shifted deep inside me…I’ve truly lost hope that life will ever be “better”. I feel incredibly tired and defeated. Thank you for your post.

    • Kelly, I’m praying right this minute for God to infuse your heart with hope, to lavish His love on you in a way that reminds you just how treasured and adored you are by the LOVER of YOUR SOUL. May 2016 be the year when Jesus does “immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine” as you trust Him with your hurting heart.

  53. Beautiful story. I love how you paint such a detailed picture with your words. You really are an artist. I was also thinking that their was no greater purpose to be poured out for Gods purposes. It is better for us to be empty so that he can fill us up with his. Oh glorious day, when we see him, and his words are, “We’ll done my good and faithful servant.” I for one, am also grateful for what you are doing for Gods kingdom. Thank you very much!!!

  54. I have never been so empty and drained in my entire walk with the Lord. I didn’t even realize this until…I read this devotional this morning Thank you I will cherish Isaiah 43:19…I am so ready for a new beginning.

  55. Wonderful post.

  56. I desperately needed this today, thank you. The last year was the most difficult of my life with chronic pain, losing my job and feeling like a failure as a wife and mother. I praise the Lord for his healing me but live in fear of it returning. I feel like my husband has such animosity towards me for not being the woman I was before although he has been so patient and took good care of me. I know fear does not come from the Lord but I’m struggling to reclaim his joy.

    • Heather, I’m joining you in the fight for joy. May 2016 be a fresh palette for God to write His new mercies upon your life, your marriage, your faith-walk. May Jesus guard your heart and mind with perfect peace as you fix your eyes on Him.

  57. Michelle Bills says:

    Thank you so much for this devotional. 2015 took everything out of me and has left me broken hearted. I lost my mom, two babies both in my second trimester, and my beloved cat. I stressed and worried so much about hard things that made myself sick with shingles. And it was a struggle to keep our bank account anywhere near positive. I am numb,weary, and heavily grieving all at the same time and I just don’t know how to plan or look forward to a new year. Through it all though my trust and love for Jesus grew. He is my best friend and my constant confidante. I know He poured his blessings out last year and He is the only reason I made it through. Thank you for your words and the reminder that this feeling of emptiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Happy new year to you.

    • Michelle, I am so sorry for your losses…. big, big losses. I am sitting here praying for you and crying out to God on your behalf right now— asking Jesus to write a new story of hope and redemption across your life this year, to show Himself mighty on your behalf.

  58. Thank you for these words of encouragement. The last 16 months have been exhausting – the increased needs of three elders I care for, culminating in coordinating hospice care for my mother-in-law for over four months. I’ve had two new bosses at work this year. In December my mother-in-law, my former boss and our dear friend’s son passed away; also my son lost most of his belongings when his off-campus apartment caught fire. I am striving to be thankful, but it’s a struggle right now, when the demands on my time are unrelenting. i am empty, I know that He has carried me through these circumstances; thank you for the reminder that my merciful God will fill me again.

    • Susan, what a hard, hard year you’ve left behind.Oh, may Jesus, in His tender mercy, pour fresh strength into your worn-out heart. May He show up in a way that speaks loudly to your soul of His love and His presence.

  59. My son surrendering to God so he may be free of a life of addiction

  60. On my way home from my sister’s memorial service….completely depleted, emotionally and physically. This message was a blessing to my heart. Thank you.

    • Bonnie, I am so sorry for your loss. Jesus, wrap Bonnie in your strong arms and provide her with everything she needs to walk through this valley of grief. Be tender with her hurting heart. Be lavish with your love. Fill her as only you can. Amen

  61. Thank you so much for sharing this. I thought I was the only one who might feel this way and felt guilty about it. I feel like I let God down when I am not on top of the world and cannot handle everything that comes my way with a smile on my face and undying hope. I was deleting pics off my phone this morning and as I went through the pictures I was reminded of all the fun things that I got to do in 2015. I am grateful and looking forward to being filled again. God is not out of ideas and I look forward to seeing what He will do in this new year.

  62. Thank you for these words of encouragement. I just sent out two emails last night to some friends that I would love prayers of hope. Not to excited about the new year and feeling as though some things will never change. We have had such Financial hardships over the past 21 years of marriage, I was so depressed the week after Christmas. It was so wrong on my part , I was struggling with such discontent feelings and just poured myself out to the Lord. It has been so hard. Thinking if this burden will ever be taken from us. Also I have been having such a hard time with my parents. The relationship is so broken and it weighs so heavily on me and my husband. They said some very harsh words a few weeks leading up to Christmas, I did t even want to go. They claim to be believers but I can’t see it. Their actions just do not match up. It’s so painful. I am having such a difficult time extending grace and forgiveness. Thank you for your encouragement, so wonderful they be reminded of these truths.

  63. Thank you for sharing this. It was an encouragement to me as I begin this new year.
    I know that this new year is full of new possibilities. I want to embrace it with expectancy and a fresh start for what God wants me to do during this year. I am seeking God’s face, trusting the Lord Jesus Christ and hoping the Holy Spirit will be with me during my daily life.

  64. Echoing what so many others have already said this morning… beautifully written and completely on time for my life. I am a master at allowing myself to get to the point of empty. 2015 was a year that started with much excitement as I made a huge move in my career that I had been praying for over two years about. As I’m sure many of us can attest, when you venture into the deep waters of God’s calling it never comes without tests and opportunities for growth and stretching. I started last year with a full tank of faith and if I could describe myself as I enter 2016, it honestly would be the exact word you used – hollow. Weary and skittish from major changes and storms over the past year, I find myself struggling to embrace the new year with excitement and hope. I have been blessed to be a part of many amazing God-orchestrated moments over the year and I know God’s promises are true and He has been SO faithful throughout everything in my personal life, but that also leaves me questioning what’s wrong with me for feeling this way. Sigh… an empty vessel, for sure! Thank you for this devotion, and for an awesome way of looking at that passage!

  65. Gayle Worden says:

    Loved your words, Alicia. I needed that. Practical encouragement as I go into 2016. Thank you!

  66. Jaira Aragon says:

    Thank you so much fot this!
    Found me because a friend shared it,
    you are a great blessing, keep up the great work
    P.S. I don’t speak good English, but I think I found 2 typing mistakes 😁😊

  67. Thank you so much for the reminder that being empty is ok!! God can work mightily in our emptiness….

  68. I prayed today for a word from GOD for my troubled heart, and I know this story was meant for me to read. Thank you for sharing your beautiful soul with us….

  69. This was great. I was feeling guilty that I am so weary after a season of heart wrenching challenges. But I will not wallow in it! And even if I am not sure if it all over, I will open my soul to Gods mending. I have acknowledged my weariness and laid my heart at His feet of protection and healing. Goodbye to the strife and hello to Gods grace. “Turn my eyes on Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.”

  70. Shannon Kittle says:

    Thank You! This was exactly what I needed to see at this very time. I exhausted and empty. I pray that Gpd will fill me to my brim. I find myself often in that place of willing back the drips of water from my eyes. I know Gpd is gpod! I know He will never leave me, yet sometimes I feel very alone.. This reading reminded me that sometimes it takea me being completely empty to turn to Gpd and trust and rely on him for my comfort.

  71. This devotion was truly written for me today. I had a nervous breakdown last year and have been struggling to recover since. I have been battling anxiety/depression and know it won’t be like this forever and that God has plans of hope for me but at times I struggle through each day and want it to go away. Thank you for the wonderful devotion. I needed that.

  72. You don’t know how much I needed to read this today. I have spent the last couple of days in sadness and tears. I did not realize i could cry so much. For the past few years I have battled depression/anxiety off and on. I can’t seem to make decisions on anything and if I do then I second guess my self and it puts me in a tail spin. I can’t even seem to make decision on picking out furniture for our home. One would think that would be exciting and fun and it overwhelms and stresses me. I use to not be like that. I have no idea what has caused the anxiety i feel. I feel like I am going crazy. My husband told me he wants his wife back. I just don’t know how to get me back. I really needed to read this today. Thank you!

  73. I waited many years to find the Love of My Life. I have cherished every moment I have been with her. In a short period of time she touched my heart and my soul. She has left me to appease her family. MY emptiness grows each day. I am lost without her. I pray that God can show me the way to continue…..

  74. I had to take a “pass” when my husband asked me the exact same question as we neared the end of 2015. The year had included highs and lows, but the loss of yet another of my brothers to alcoholism, had clouded my joy.
    I was empty of hope for the New Year. This devotional was God timely and so helpful.

  75. Thank you so much…I Am not feeling very hopeful at this moment and new year, but I know it is another layer of pain and trauma that I need to work through….only with the grace of God can I do this and the help of my therapist and sponsors…God can heal and give us hope….

  76. Joan E. Jones says:

    I love Proverbs. 31. I just heard of it when I joined a new church yesterday. It is a wonderful !ministry and I want to say Thank You so much for this website. I know it will help me to grow Moore in my Christian life and in my role of wife.

  77. This helped a lot…I left my dad to go back to work and school soon and I won’t see him for six months. The day I came back, my boyfriend or a year and a half (I know that’s not a long time but he was my first relationship) broke up with me so he could focus more on God so if in the future Gods plan is for us to be together, he can properly lead us in a successful God honoring marriage… I know that is supposed to be a good thing…however…it is still very difficult for me…I was very suicidal through my high school years and he showed me how special I was to him. And I know he broke up with me for spiritual reasons…I have just been hard on myself lately thinking it’s my fault he left cause I could have helped more…I want to have hope for the future but with my past, I am expecting nothing less than disappointment…ill trust God with his plans though…

    • Kara, I’ll be praying for you as you walk this path – that you will (as you said) trust God with His plans, that you will continue to seek Him and will do your very best at school & work. I’ve been in similar situations over the years and tried to handle them on my own, change God’s timing or force a situation to be what I wanted – made a huge mess of things every time. Praying you will walk in God’s will, surrounded by supportive Christian friends. My niece made some great friendships through a Christian group at her college – that might be a place to consider if you haven’t already.

  78. I feel like my vision for my life is being blocked by something. Im praying God will remove the blockage so that I may see and plan accordingly.

  79. Thank you for writing this. You have a gift with the written word! I could feel myself fighting back the tears as if sitting in your chair but honestly feeling envious of you sitting across the table from your husband on New Years Eve. In April of 2015, I left an abusive marriage after 28 years and 6 days. My husband was two different people, the one I love with all of my heart and vowed to be with for life and then someone who was cruel and evil, and from one minute to the next, we never knew which one of him to expect. He was physically abusive early in our marriage and once he determined I would not stand for that, it turned to verbal, emotional, psychological, financial, sexual with his addiction to pornography, and even spiritual abuse. I did everything anyone could ask. I audibly heard God’s voice release me from my marriage three years before I finally left, and even then, it took my husband using his shotgun to manipulate me. The abuse had come full circle. Immediately, my husband moved a woman in with him. She has two children, although her ex-husband apparently has primary custody. My husband has made them his new family. We have two adult daughters who were both married in the fall of 2014. My husband is making it clear on Facebook that the woman he is living with and her kids are his family now. I am devastated for my daughters. My divorce was final 10 days before Christmas. The day after Christmas, I found out the woman he is living with has multiple felony convictions. I don’t even know who this man is anymore. He professes to be a Christian. He was a leader in the Church. We led Christian marriage conferences. I always hoped he truly was repentant. He talked a good talk. I am completely empty inside. I am exhausted. I truly care about him and will continue to pray for him. I care about his eternity. I hope he will turn and run toward God instead of away from Him, but I know that will hurt me even more because I will always wonder why he wouldn’t do that before now. Satan has been working on me this evening. God’s timing is so perfect and His provision through your writing is amazing! God bless you!

  80. Thank you for sharing your heart. I am exactly there this year. I have had a tough 2 years, but with Gods help am praying to overcome them. I sat here in tears reading your devotion, it is just what I needed. God Bless!

  81. OMG! This devotion expresses EXACTLY how I felt going into this new year! I went to bed early on NYE and have experienced no expectancy about “things to come”. I’m so grateful for the reminder of God’s ability to fill those dry places in my heart, mind and soul. Thank you for your transparency!

  82. Thank you for sharing! Like so many others, 2015 was full of changes. My husband is in the Marine Corps and we are stationed in Japan, very far from family. My sweet momma was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2014 and it’s so hard to be so far away and definitely leaves me feeling empty and helpless sometimes. I had a baby this year too. Praise the Lord for that blessing! We traveled back to Texas for Thsnksgiving so my parents could love on their first grandbaby! It was a very sweet time. Now I’m back in Japan anxiously waiting for my husband’s orders to see when we move back stateside. I will definitely be praying my way through 2016!

  83. Hi! I finally read your devotional from Proverbs 31 a few minutes ago….you pretty much described the feeling I had this New Years. I absolutely know that I am blessed and I am normally always looking forward to the new year…but this year….I felt, and still feel, empty. Empty on expectancy, empty on hope, empty on patience, empty on goals….and I am known as a glass half full kind of girl. It shocked me this year to feel this way…and almost worried me like I wasn’t grateful for the life I had…which I am very much blessed to live the life I have. I guess for me, unanswered prayers in the previous year haunt me in the new year as well. And then I feel selfish for even praying those prayers….I live in a vicious cycle. But reading your devotional really helped me understand….girl, I am not alone! And my emptiness may be exactly what the Lord needs me to hand Him. I am embracing this devotional and it is overwhelmingly brightening my day….and dare I say, my new year ahead of me! Thank You, Thank YOU, Thank YOU for sharing….I am so happy to find a friend in your writing! =)

  84. I was so unprepared for the tears that just flowed from my eyes just now as I read this. I knew something was wrong but I did not realize until now that my problem is that I am empty, running on empty. Thank you for the reminder that I need to invite my Heavenly Father to fill me. I’ve been unconsciously trying to do it all by myself. Foolish.

  85. Yvette Williams says:

    This was so timely! I want to start this year filled with His promise like those mentioned in Isaiah 43:19.

  86. Yes! I echo both the thanks to Alicia, and the same feelings of hopelessness and depression this past week that our sisters on here have previously posted. With ISIS seeming pushing us all into fear and and another “political year” for the USA. This morning our pastor declared over all of us “Expectant Hope” for 2016. And I declare that over all my sisters in the Lord in Jesus Name!!
    Love and hugs to you all!

  87. Yes.. I am empty… Exhausted and weary to a point my only prayer is to go home to rest eternally. I have 2 children and husband who I feel I cannot be there for. I don’t enjoy being in this world. Too many who claim to be Christians who feel self entitled to boast about themselves and simulteanously Mock others… Happening in Christian Schools, Churches, secular schools, facebook.. Leaders in schools choose to look the other way. I do not believe it’s a privilege being in this world as a wife, mother and as a woman.

  88. I am just now getting around to reading this – thank you for being transparent to share your experience with us. I love the perfect timing of God and how He really spoke to you through an unlikely source – your waiter! Such a beautiful, encouraging devotion – thank you!

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