Monday, December 10, 2012

Playdates with God: Waiting

presbytery 003


The dark comes early and my body responds in kind. The wind begins to blow as I sit here on the couch in the early evening. I have turned on the Christmas lights and the room twinkles with warm. There is a soft blanket around my knees and a dog asleep beside me.

I don’t know what is wrong with the turning of the earth—well into December and 62 degrees outside. The birds linger in this mild. Just this morning I saw a flock of hundreds silhouetted against the burning sky—flying over the freeway. 

Where are you going? I wanted to call upward as they inked out the sky. But they don’t hear my heart-cry. They don’t look down.

I watch the trees surrender under the wind’s soft breath. The veriest top bends low and scrapes her branchy crown on the earth.

Sometimes He asks me to bend low too.

Philippians 2:5-11 says that Jesus made himself nothing. Being in very nature God…he made himself nothing. (NIV). The NRSV says he emptied himself. It’s the Greek verb form kenóō—“to empty”.

In Christian theology, we call it kénōsis—the voluntary emptying of my own will and allowing myself to surrender to God's will.

He cannot fill me unless I am empty.

The world empties me when I am too weak to do it myself. Circumstances steal joy, hope is squelched and love runs out the door. And I am empty…empty.

Sometimes Christmas does this to me. Empties me out as I grieve lost years, yearn for different stories, ache to let my roots tangle back into…something…else. But when I bow low, offer it up to the One lowered himself—the One who emptied all…

The Christmas lights wink at me and the rain mists down outside and I open my heart to this season. That empty inside is a tender ache—softer than before…sweet somehow. I let this mystery of my own becoming comfort and awaken the wonder. The wonder of waiting for a Lord who never leaves me.

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:


55 comments:

Marilyn Yocum said...

"...as I grieve lost years, yearn for different stories, ache to let my roots tangle back into…something…else." Ah, I've never heard this described better. Beautifully captured, Laura. Thank you for it.

Kendal Privette said...

i get the grieving christmas heart too. i remember the first time and i was only 17....your words, they ring true.

Jean Wise said...

This emptiness - coming to God with open hands, not clutching my stuff, my needs, my wants - you described it so well. Thank you for this insight today

kelli woodford said...

Oh, Laura. I feel the empty this time of year, too. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for writing again the promise of the empty places. I am lifted up by all this bowing low.

messymarriage said...

Thanking God along with you, Laura, that He fills the emptiness and awakens my soul to the wonder of this season. Beautiful post, as always!

Lisa notes... said...

Emptying ourselves sometimes comes without our permission; other times we must seek it. Either way, this is a beautiful reminder that it is a good thing. Thanks, Laura.

Linda Stoll said...

Thank you, Laura, for sharing your gently quiet evening and this discoveries that came to you ...

soulstops said...

Oh, Laura, I get that ache...this beauty in your words and the reminder:"He cannot fill me unless I am empty." Yes, I am realizing it is the gift of the aches that cause me to turn to Him, the only One who emptied Himself so He can fill others/ me...Bless you, my sweet friend :)

Megan Willome said...

Thank you for reminding me about emptiness this morning.

SimplyDarlene said...

to bend low so He can bestow...


been on my mind a lot lately too.


blessings.

Nancy Franson said...

Emptying = preparing him room. Come, Lord Jesus.

Laurie Collett said...

Every day before our dance rehearsal my husband & I pray that He would empty us out and fill us with the power of His Spirit, that all we do would glorify Him. Thanks for the beautiful post & for hosting & God bless!
Laurie
http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/2012/12/what-gifts-will-you-bring-him.html

David Rupert said...

Those birds know. And so should I. I feel the timing in the air, the expectancy is just around the corner. Come Jesus. Come.

Elizabeth Anne May said...

Oh, so very lovely! I've been thinking of emptying too. How I'm often so full of myself, like a vessel filled to its brim, that when I try to add God, I spill right over. But, If I come to God empty and willing, He stays with me. {It's the getting empty and willing I need help with!}

Alicia Bruxvoort said...

Empty--yes-- that's the paradox of Christmas, isn't it? As we fill our time and shopping carts we realize that the only fullness we really need is HIM. And a Savior who empties Himself for us? That's the stuff of crazy stories. Amazing Grace. Oh, how I loved this post. You met me right where I'm at today, friend.

Hazel Moon said...

Fill my cup - I lift it up Lord - Fill me until I want no more! Pretty full to want no more!
Lovely Post!

Christina Fox said...

He cannot fill me unless I am empty--empty me Lord, of everything that competes with you. Thanks for this, Laura!

kingfisher said...

He cannot fill me unless I am empty.
.
How often we forget that. Don't want to hear it, in fact. We're admonished so often to follow our passions, chase our dreams. That this is the way to become the one God fully wants us to be. But often, they're our dreams, not his, aren't they?


That the Lord of the Universe would consent to have our baby-fingers mixing his concoctions, and love us for our humanness instead of scolding us for meddling in affairs too large for us to understand! How incredible, how miraculous!


I'm so glad you're letting the Lord empty you and fill you with himself. That you may become the person he meant all along for you to be. Blessings, gentle Laura. And praising you for your dear words and being a dear person, valued in his sight.

Laura Boggess said...

Thank you, Hazel. And Amen :)

Laura Boggess said...

This season always takes me to the end of myself, Alicia. Every metaphor for our Lord comes to me and becomes real. Bread of Life, Light of the World, Wonderful Counselor...

How He fills...

Laura Boggess said...

These are deep and tender thoughts, Marilee. Thank you for always blessing me, friend.

Laura Boggess said...

Blessed by your visit, Christina.

Laura Boggess said...

Yes, Elizabeth Anne! It is the getting empty and willingness to do so that I need help with too. But something about this Advent waiting makes it so inviting...

Laura Boggess said...

I'm still seeing these migrating birds, David--and I keep thinking, "Why are you so late?" But God's timing is perfect, no? And so we must be content with this emptiness that fills in the Advent waiting.

Laura Boggess said...

And what a blessing your dance must be to all who are privileged to see, Laurie. This sweet surrender makes the offering much the sweeter, I imagine.

Laura Boggess said...

Maranatha! Yes, come, sweet Jesus.

Laura Boggess said...

It is the message of Advent for me. Always. How humbling this helpless way he came to us, wrapped in human skin. The ultimate kenosis.

Laura Boggess said...

I'm guessing you do not need reminded of the emptiness, my friend. Much love to you.

dukeslee said...

Never leaves. Never leaves. No. He never leaves.

Thank you.

Jody Lee Collins said...

Nothing to add but a sigh.......and an amen to everyone else's thoughts. Oh, Jesus, help me empty myself. This is a different Christmas season for us this year and you said it so well-- "But when I bow low, offer it up to the One lowered himself—the One who emptied all…" He give us the something else we need.
Always such beautiful words.

Jacinta said...

:) God bless your Christmas with more of His joy and peace!

amyscanderson said...

Philippians 2 is what we chose for our wedding:) I thought of you as I decorated for Christmas, Laura. We just decorated over the weekend (seem behind comparatively to others and most years past), and I changed things up. I remembered some interaction about traditions with you. I like traditions, but too many weigh me down. So as I read this I realized the emptiness needed allows space for a fresh joy. Christmas loses joy for me, sometimes, because I'm overwhelmed by all I imagine I'm supposed to do. If I'll let empty happen peacefully, He'll fill it so much better. I am sorry about the grieving, but the way you're becoming shines beautifully of Him.

Amber @ beautifulrubbish said...

Laura, this is a lovely reflection, indeed. As someone who readily,
deeply identifies with your words here - "Sometimes Christmas does this to me. Empties me out as I grieve lost years, yearn for different stories,
ache to let my roots tangle back into…something…else" - I just want to
say thank you. You put into words the ache and grief I feel around
Christmas, and yet, we don't have to stay there. We can be filled with
so much more, more of his life... bless you.

Deidra said...

This Advent season, I've been paying attention to the waiting. Sometimes, waiting feels empty. And full. At the same time.

Michelle Eichner said...

I so love your way with words, Laura! I never thought about this season as one of waiting. Wonder, yes, but not the waiting. Thanks for your perspective, and for the reminder that He can only fill what's empty. Hugs to you, Michelle

Laura Boggess said...

Bless you right back, sweet Dolly. I am praying your Advent fills...

tinuviel said...

"He cannot fill me unless I am empty." My thoughts have been traveling the same direction. The yearning for happy endings comes so strong in Advent that it feels like grief. There is the grief of empty chairs at the table, too, and stories still awaiting eucatastrophe, but the poignant longing for the Second Advent is the strongest ache for me this year. May you know the nearness of your indwelling Comforter, as soothing as that warm blanket and dog alongside.

Laura Boggess said...

Yes. It's what Christine says--that yearning for the happy ending is so strong it's like grief. I'm going to steal her words. I just did, in fact.

Laura Boggess said...

Thank you, Michelle. Hugs back at you!

Laura Boggess said...

It is such a tender feeling, isn't it, Amber? Sometimes I feel like I can touch it, this ache. I think we have many soul-sisters who share this grief. May the Love that fills keep you company on your Advent journey, my friend.

Laura Boggess said...

Philippians 2, really? Perfect. A perfect verse to start life together with. Thank you for thinking of me, my friend. This time of year is always bittersweet for this heart, but the sweet gets sweeter with each passing year. Love to you.

Laura Boggess said...

And You, Jacinta. God bless your Advent waiting.

Laura Boggess said...

You are so kind, Jody. It's my heart speaking on this one. It's such the journey, isn't it?

Laura Boggess said...

And thank you for sharing this space with me, Linda. Praying sweet Advent-ing to you.

Laura Boggess said...

Yes, I have learned this over the years, Lisa. Always, it's about the open hand. Empty to fill. A good thing, yes.

Laura Boggess said...

The wonder of the season has a way of ministering to that ache, doesn't it, Beth? I pray you are enjoying all the delights of Advent!

Laura Boggess said...

Bless you in the empty, Kelli. It's where He pulls us close, isn't it? Love to you, lady.

Laura Boggess said...

It's so hard to open the hand this time of year--for me. So much to do...I'm so grateful for the ways God reminds me to surrender--for the tenderness of those reminders. Always nice to see you here, Jean!

Laura Boggess said...

Hello, my friend. Praying an extra sweet Christmas for you.

Laura Boggess said...

Yes, you would get this, Marilyn. And you inspire me so with the way you live to the full and embrace all the blessing of today. I want to do that better. I do.

Donna said...

I know this bitter-sweet Christmas too... although I think it might be a little easier for me because I have no Christmas traditions with my family to remember. They don't do Christmas in any way, so my first Christmas celebration wasn't until I was 23! Thinking of you these days, as my kids play outside in the sun on the waterslide, and most of the rest of the world seems to be in the depths of a snowy winter. Praying for a blessed and happy Christmas for you!

Laura Boggess said...

This is how it is for me too, Donna. And so it is that ongoing chasm that I continue to grieve. It gets easier...when I focus on the love of the season. Love to you!

Laura Boggess said...

Love you, Jennifer.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm thinking about the "birds" part . . . the traveling group and their not looking down at you. This is a visual wondering and pondering! Tracing the sky with you in my thoughts, sister.

peace~elaine

Jennifer 'Miner' Ferguson said...

Jody was right -- we honed in on this same thing, this longing to be emptied and refilled, this going against society, and this deep need to press in fully.