You can’t do this. You can’t do this. You can’t do this.

The words taunt, my eyes fill, heart pounding, red creeps up my neck.

A knock on the door, a lady presents a lapel microphone and instructs me like I’m Somebody. I push it away and ask to stand hidden behind the podium and the thousand eyes waiting for me to inspire them.

“I’m sorry, I’m not very good at this,” I try to sound lighthearted as she closes the door.

I can’t even breathe. My inadequacy fills the room.

My cell phone vibrates in my pocket, I crack at my husband’s calm voice more than a thousand miles away.

“I can’t do this,” I say it out loud, I’m holding back a flood.

“Why?” he says gently

I whisper “Because I have nothing left to give.”

He knew how challenging our week had been. He knew how inadequate we both felt during this season of hard parenting. He knew how exhausted I was, he knew he held me the night before as we prayed over our children and gave them back to God again. And he knew what to say:

“That’s exactly what you need to say when you walk out on that stage in the next 5 minutes. That’s why you must do this. These women don’t need to hear that you have it all together and have got this mothering thing down. They need to know you’re just like them. They need to see your struggle and know you’re real. They don’t need to hear from you; they need to hear from Him.”

He put me on hold and I took a long, deep breath. We ended the call with my children praying over me. It was a holy moment hearing their voices lifting me up to our Father.

And so that’s what I did: I gave them all I had, which was actually nothing.

It was in my emptiness that He moved. He encouraged thru my brokenness. He asked for my all and my nothing was enough.

It’s in our weakness, He is made strong.

Maybe when you reach down deep, you come up empty or maybe you give to everyone else and have nothing left for yourself. I’m willing to bet if you’re a mother, wife or a busy woman, wearing a multitude of hats, you have days where you run on empty.

So go ahead, give Him your nothing. His hands are open, ready to receive it.

But step back, girl, because when you aren’t enough, He is.

by Kristen Welch, We are THAT family

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  1. 1
    Ms. Smizzle says:

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder to focus on Him instead of myself & my exhaustion. Counting down the last few days of teaching school this year & I am tired!

  2. 2

    Thank you Kristen, for this. {tears….}

    I have nothing today, nothing to give after this past week of hubby on business, and dealing head lice, vomiting, meltdowns on the home front. And I am feeling overwhelmed by the most recent news of a move to another city, where I will have none of my support systems in place.

    Lord, I give you my emptiness… my nothing….

  3. 3

    Yes! Very good post! That’s right where he has me too! Thank you for your words! Have you heard the parable of the broken pot? http://www.word4life.com/brokenpot.html It’s a good one!

  4. 4

    Thank You for this Awesome devotion this morning <3 It spoke volumes to my heart! Have A Blessed Week <3. Love – Stacey

  5. 5

    I too am thankful for a husband who holds me up and reminds me what it’s really about!

  6. 6

    Beautiful! He always does his best work when we are totally empty. Thank you for the reminder!

  7. 7

    Wow……….wow. Just what I needed today. Just when we think that WE can’t……HE does! Thank you for sharing your emptiness with us unselfishly. And reminding us that it IS through our broken emptiness that He is made strong. And I loved the last line – “step back, girl” – how awesomely true! Sometimes it almost feels like His power can actually knock us off our feet.

  8. 8

    I’ve been through this recently… So good to not feel alone in the midst of coming up empty at times. Thank you for your honesty and your honesty as you spoke to the group. I’m sure it reached so many others right at the core of their needs!! Relating in the real is crucial.

  9. 9
    Jennie says:

    Thanks for this today. I’m feeling very “empty” as well and needed to hear this word from Him through you. Thank you for the blessings you continue to spread to all of us sisters!!!

  10. 10
    Charlotte says:

    ohmygoodness, to know we are not alone… and that He is enough when we aren’t… Such a gift, thank you <3

  11. 11
    Amanda says:

    I’ve felt empty lately. Disconnected. Confused and broken. I don’t know why I feel this way. I don’t know when it’s going to get better. Or I’m going to heal. I don’t know the purpose behind this. I just know there is one. God can have all this nothing, all this disconnect. Because I know that on the other side of it, I’ll be closer to Him. I already am.

    • 12

      Love it, Amanda. We already are…
      I find that hard. In His eyes, we already are. He sees the finished product that is ‘me’ and knows how I’m going to get there. I need to lift my eyes and extend my vision and pray His peace into this situation.
      I don’t know how else I’d survive.

  12. 13

    So beautiful! So true!

  13. 14

    I am grateful God can do something with my nothing, and that His Enough makes me enough.

    Thanks for this encouragement, we all need it at one time or another!

  14. 15

    Way to go Kristen, you just doing it ‘poor’ spoke volumes to me!

  15. 16

    So true. I’ll be thinking this over for awhile. I’ve been trying to be enough for Him and needed this powerful reminder…thank you.

  16. 17

    It is hard to be everything to everybody all the time and still stay true to yourself and to God. (I wouldn’t have been able to stand up there, kudos to you!)

  17. 18

    This was absolutely beautiful to read. Thank you for your transparency and willingness to share

  18. 19

    I burst into tears long before I finished reading. I’m.so.THERE. Not in parenting, in ministry. Thank you for being used by God in my heart today.

  19. 20

    We all hit that nothing-left – brick wall, and times of feeling like we can’t get past it. It is good to remember that it is “not by might, nor by power, but by His spirit” that we are empowered.

  20. 21

    Beautiful. Thank you. Exactly what I needed to read today.

  21. 22

    This was just for me today. Not just the blog, but all the responses. Having a son with Asperger’s who is acting out aggressively towards me and my other children has me tapped out and empty. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! The other people understand where I’m at. That I’m free to “go through the motions” of being a good parent during this time and let God be the one to do the actual work.
    Somehow my emptiness feels lighter now.

  22. 23

    Oh, true, true!
    Chelle I hear you! For me it is my father, 81, who lives with us. He has parkinsons, so lots of doctor trips for me, and now that his meds are making him alert and more himself, his Aspergers is coming out! My mom always said he had Asbergers, now I’m seeing it. So, with you and it’s my dad whom I should honor.
    I have been not writing on my blog, it’s been all I can do to get through my day and keep my commitments. But I am seeing God be more than enough when I am empty and call to him. We studied Ps 118 on Saturday: the Lord helps me! In his name I cut down my enemies (fear, impotence to discipline another’s child who leads mine, etc) and God acted while I calmed my heart to wait on him. Now to apply it by not scrapping with my dad! And to thank God for him, still here with us. My husband is a gem, giving me hugs.

  23. 24

    I feel completely empty today, like I really have nothing left to give to anyone. I needed this message more than you can imagine. Thank you.

  24. 25

    Just wanted you to know.. this moved me to tears. Thank you…its what I needed to hear today!!!!

  25. 26

    God moved through your offering at LightBearers Conference…I know because He challenged and encouraged me! Thank you for serving from your lack, Kristen!!
    Lauren

  26. 27

    Just the words needed for this day. Thankful for your transparency, and for our Father who always shows up!

  27. 28

    So true! I think often as wives and mothers, we just need the encouragement from someone else that doesn’t have it all together. We are drawn to realness, because we can relate to it. We’ve all had those days, even though I find myself looking at everyone else and thinking they appear to actually have it all together and never have those days. If we could do it all perfectly, then why would we need Him? And having Him is so much better.

  28. 29
    Michelle says:

    Thank you so much! I needed to hear that today!

  29. 30

    I love that last line. When we aren’t enough, He is. We had a battle with one of our children this last yr. Dont be fooled. The enemy is after our children. To kill, steal, destroy. And we entered a spiritual battle like nothing I had ever seen. There was a point when I was helpless and had nothing left to give. And I took my empty broken heart to Him. He pointed me to exodus 14. He says I will fight for you if you be still. Deliverance comes from His hand. And I watched the power of the Lord come upon me and my family. He delivered my daughter. He brought freedom to our entire family. He is enough.

    • 31

      I concur that the devil is seeking to destroy and distract our children. I have seen this in my own home and in the home of my friends and family as well. Sharing your family’s deliverance gives me hope

    • 32
      Anonymous says:

      I needed that Scripture reference. Thank you for letting God use you.

  30. 33

    Such a great post!! Thanks for reminding me that when I am weak, He is strong.

  31. 34
    Karen Alderson says:

    Thank you so
    Much, your words have allowed Him to bless me and others!
    I too am at a very low point, my husband is still sick off work after a cycling accident in January and is suffering from depression, which makes me feel inadequate as I’m trying so hard to keep him and our daughters happy, whilst working extra shifts to supplement his reduced income. He needs to realise God is in control and our very lives are in His hands, but I also forgot that, I was trying to do it all in my own strength, but my Lord is full of powere and love enough for me.
    May you and yours be blessed a hundredfold as you have blessed me x

  32. 35
    Karen Alderson says:

    Thank you so
    Much, your words have allowed Him to bless me and others!
    I too am at a very low point, my husband is still sick off work after a cycling accident in January and is suffering from depression, which makes me feel inadequate as I’m trying so hard to keep him and our daughters happy, whilst working extra shifts to supplement his reduced income. He needs to realise God is in control and our very lives are in His hands, but I also forgot that, I was trying to do it all in my own strength, but my Lord is full of power and love enough for me.
    May you and yours be blessed a hundredfold as you have blessed me x

  33. 36
    Susanne says:

    Uh oh..I was a little confused by this post. I found myself uttering hmmm? out loud while reading. Reading the “comments” or rather words of everyone has helped to clarify my confusion. Maybe I am so proficient at living with nothing left to give, that I didn’t even recognize it in myself. Going through the motions, unhappily until “that feeling” can be labelled and categorized. Thank you everyone for helping me to understand. The strength I pray for is really a prayer that is backwards sideways sort of..lol. God is already there helping me all along. Blessing to all of you.

  34. 37

    Thank you for sharing your emptiness and the hope that comes from taking it to a God who already knows. I have been encouraged to keep pressing and battling, but not in my strength in His.

  35. 38
    Sherry says:

    Your “nothing” has filled me today. Thank you for being a messenger for God. I pray that you have learned that we can never have “nothing” if we’re a child of God. I frequently feel like I have nothing. I’m disabled and seriously have nothing. I had a very successful career that I loved when I became disabled on 1997. Lost my health, my career, my savings, my finances, my friends, my new home, and much of my belongings. To this day I still say to myself, “I am nothing, I have nothing.” But I know in my spirit that it’s not true. When every hour of every day is such a struggle, it’s hard to feel like I have something to give. Thank you for reminding me that in spite of my “nothingless,” I will always have something to give (from God) as long as I have breath. May God bless each and every one of you!

    • 39

      Sherry I loved your post! I am disabled as well…nothing left and im only 58. But after reading this post today I know better. We can offer something to somebody. People like us need moral support. You gave to me today. Thank you! God bless you.

      • 40
        Susanne says:

        Hello Susan,
        After reading your reply and Sherry’s I was touched. You do indeed have much to offer others. You are teaching me humility and most importantly to be thankful for all that I do have. I have a little trouble with that concept due to the fact that I guilty of living under the thumb of “comparison” and always feel that I have come of terribly short and failed to reach society’s idea of “success”. At the moment I feel a bit ashamed, because what I perceive as “hardships” are merely petty inconvenieces. In ending my note, because of you and Sherry, I am inspirered and reminded to appreciate all the good things in my life. I thank you both for the courage it took to share your selves with us. Blessings to you.

      • 41

        Susan, nothing left and I’m barely 60. Though in my “previous life” as a loving nurse, I had the ability and great joy to affect many others. Now I barely affect even one. God reminds me that my previous life is not what’s important. He says the first importance is to love Him and to do His will. It doesn’t matter what I feel I have lost. He is also sad for me. But He says to me that my love and devotion trump everything else. Yes Lord, I know that’s true. My losses should truly have little to do with my joy. That I’m still able to devote my life to Him – that’s what matters! Thank you for your moral support. It helps to lift me up. In this world, I firmly believe that we march through life together, hand in hand. And when one of us trip or fall, the rest must lift up the fallen one. May you feel me tug on your hand. May God continue to carry you through, and may we both keep our eyes on the prize and remember what’s truly important to God. Blessings to you, my dear friend in Christ.

    • 42
      Susanne says:

      Good Morning Sherry,

      After reading your post and Susan’s I wrote a reply to Susan that is addressed to you both. If you get a moment to read it, you will find that I you have touched my life with your words. As I said to Susan, I thank you for having the courage to share your self with us. Blessings Sherry.

      • 43

        Susanne, thank you for your kind words. I encourage you not to feel ashamed that you have not reached society’s definition of success. It’s normal for humans to look around at others – as long as the only opinion that seriously matters is the one from above! I was indeed “successful” before disability and now I barely even have enough to compare – lol! And, yes, I’m always very aware of where I would or could have been. And honestly, I do miss my “things.” I don’t think God minds us checking out our society and seeing where we “fit” in the scheme of things. As long as the most important comparison is to see if we are moving forward to becoming what He desires for us. I didn’t say if we ARE what He wants us to be, because we aren’t capable of being perfect in His eyes. If our goal is to be continually yearning and learning then we can ONLY be successful! We must remind ourselves how very precious we are to Him. I encourage you to look vertical and not horizontal. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that God has blessed me so very much, with blessings I both can and cannot see. That’s what is so meaningful to me. Precious child of God, I pray that you are covered in bruises – lol – from all those many blessings from heaven falling all over you. May God gently and lovingly lift up our chins. And when He does we’ll only be able to see one thing – Him! I pray that God touches your life today and that it brings a deep felt love down in your soul. A gift and a blessing, may you have that every day of the rest of your life!

  36. 44

    Kristin, thank you so much for this post! I was struck by the verse from Romans12:1 “Place your everyday life before God as an offering”. It hit me where I needed it. Some days the physical pain is so great that I can barely walk and others I do ok. So that emptiness is a part of me from time to time. I will from now on offer it to God. I know He can do good with it even if I cannot see it at the moment. I just know you will do fine at your next speaking engagement. It’s scary to do that. I shared my story with a group of fellow alcoholics in March. I was shaky and frightened and afterward I felt so clean and light. My message reached younger women who needed to hear that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a freight train! Kristin God bless you.

  37. 45

    Thank you for these words of wisdom. God is so good to bring to us what we need at the time we need it — as you served Him today He saved me today.

  38. 46
    Mama Nellie says:

    I stumbled across this blog on a link-up (i think). I am an encourager. The task of encouraging can be a divine calling, however if i dwell in the flesh it empties me. If I listen to my Lord, and open my soul to Him, He fills me full-to-overflowing with the things that truly matter: with the fruits of the Spirit which flow out of a heart that is faithful to its God-given purpose. The things of this world, the weariness, the worry, the day to day of the day to day are flooded out with the filling of the Spirit.
    Thanks for the perspective shift & reminder.

  39. 47

    Kristen, thank you for the reminder. Sometimes I feel like…if I’m depleted, then I was doing it wrong. Managing my time wrong, my energies, boundaries. And, while that might be all true…I guess it also might be God’s way of once again reminding me that I can’t do it all. But, all things are possible in Him.

  40. 48

    Yes! That’s exactly how He works! Maddening, isn’t it?

    A couple of my favorite quotes on this subject…

    Nicki Koziarz:
    God qualifies the unqualified…. Never think your inadequacies are too much for Him.

    Or as Alistair Begg puts it:
    Gideon says, “But Lord, I’m so inadequate.” And God says, “Okay. That’s good. Now we’re getting somewhere.”

  41. 49

    I LOVE Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me ;) :) My dad and always pray together every night…and he was gently reminding me to say this verse every night because I’ve been experiencing some discouragement in my life..At first it was really hard…and now if a discouraging thought enters my brain, literally the next thing I think about is that verse…and it reminds me that with God all things are possible :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  42. 50
    Beth Williams says:

    Kristen,

    I love hearing from women about how they handle the “frazzled female” lifestyle. Don’t want to hear that they have it all together–want fresh honesty that it’s ok to not have much left to give or feel just a bit overwhelmed.

    I don’t have children, but was the one closest to help my father with my ailing mother. Each phone call was a bit of a dread–what happened, what they need, etc. Add to that working full time & you get the picture.

    Loved the post!

  43. 51

    Beautiful.

  44. 52
    Debra Stanley says:

    WOW!!! Thanks for sharing and “being so real!” I have nothing left in me. Life is full of stress, financial disaster, raising boys, dealing with blended family issues, on and on…. I just feel like I have NOTHING and honestly have given up on trying. But this moves me to tears and drives me back to the foot of the cross. Thanks Kristen again for being real! God bless!

  45. 53

    Thank you for this perfectly timed post! I’ve been going back and forth with God about how little I have to offer to those around me, and I often run on empty when it comes to parenting a 3 and 1 year old at home, full-time!! I also just “jumped” in faith as a new consultant for Blessings Unlimited and despite my excitement, I have NO IDEA what I’m doing. I need God, big time, to keep doing what I do… as a wife, a mother, a daughter, and now as a consultant for Blessings…. I’m trusting in Him alone. Thank you again for this encouraging post.

  46. 54

    Thank you for being real. I too, feel like I have nothing left to give because I am so broken.

  47. 55

    Please allow me to remind you that being broken doesn’t mean you have nothing to give. It means we, as your sisters in Christ, need to reach out and help you heal. God has given all of us special gifts and tallents that make us unique which remains with us for our entire lives. God is reaching out to you to give you rest. Feel Him embrace you with a perfect love. Feeling broken means there are many pieces. That happens when something harmful or hurtful has gone straight through us all the way to our very heart and/or soul. That’s where breakage occurs. If you’ve ever dropped and broken a glass then you know how difficult it is to find and clean up the entire mess. I usually continue to find chards even days later. Have I ever collected all the pieces and glued them all back together? Of course not! For one thing I could never fit them all together, and even if I could I would never trust it to work properly. And even if I did I would never give a previously broken glass as a gift to someone. But guess what? God does, for He is able. He takes all the many broken pieces of our lives and mends them not only good as new, but better than new. And then He gives us as gifts. Godly gifts to our family, friends, neighbors, and guess who else…. people with broken lives. What an amazing God we have! LLMom, I gently and lovingly ask you to bow your head. Pray earnestly that God will take all your brokeness and heal you, put you back together even better than before. He can and will do that for you. But you must trust Him to do just that. Trusting Him means to allow Him to guide you on that journey. And He will! You will visit places you’ve never been before and what a wonderful journey it will be. Now take the first step to your new life. It’s there, waiting. Good luck and may God richly bless you!

  48. 56
    Alecia Gale says:

    My husband is in kidney failure. We found out today he has approximately five years and no more with us. My children are teenagers (enough said). We have financial issues. Work is overwhelming and we are trying to put in a yard. I really have nothing left. I started to cry as soon as I read that I could give Him my nothing and it would be enough. I never thought that would be alright. I’ve been trying to “endure it well” and be everything I need to be. Thank you for the reminder. He is all we need.

  49. 57

    That was beautifully written and another reminder from God, just for me, that where I am weak, He is strong. Thank you for sharing your heart!

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