When You Are So Empty, Your Heart Hurts

When you are emotionally and spiritually spent--so empty that your heart hurts--where do you go? What do you do to recharge? God has a plan ...
I had one of these days recently. My personal schedule was set aside to handle something for one of my kids. It took much longer than anticipated. By the end of the day, I felt completely drained, and so empty my heart hurt.

My son’s wallet was stolen, and he experienced the loss on many levels. Lost cash, lost Drivers License, lost time with his girlfriend. Lost time for me, too. Hanging out at the DMV all day is pretty much the opposite of how we wanted to spend one of our last days of summer. Standing for hours, sitting for hours in chairs that make your tush go to sleep, engaging (or trying not to engage) with people who are looking for a reason to argue. Just ugh! The trip to the DMV turned into two trips to two different offices. In all, we waited over 5 hours…for 3 minutes of service.

With that task complete and most of the day gone, the rest of my household responsibilities awaited. By the time I bought stuff for dinner, prepared it, and cleaned it all up, all I wanted to do was decompress. I headed upstairs to take a hot bath. My husband suggested I listen to some music. But I wanted to watch synchronized diving. He reminded me that I could do that with my iPad. So I set out to make that happen. Technology is awesome–when it works … but it wasn’t … and that was it for me.

I tried to relax. Thinking over the day, I tried to capture positive moments. Empty and numb, little was coming to mind. I needed an infusion of Something! Instead, tears streamed down my face. I thought about getting out of the tub, and going to bed. But my body and mind wouldn’t let me.

I was glad we got my son’s Drivers License. I was glad my family had a good dinner and there were no leftovers! But there was nothing of me left over, either.

Switching Gears

Finally … the Lord spoke to my heart, and I listened. Worship Me, He said. So I did.

As I let the music soak into my heart and my mind, I felt immediate relief. I continued to lie there while my body, soul, and spirit recharged. Finally, I was able to relax and go to bed at peace.

I was looking for peace in my bathtub and watching the Olympics. But that’s not where God wanted me to find peace. Jesus told His disciples …

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

My husband knew what I needed. It took me a while to realized it, though. I’m so glad I finally did.

But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.” (Psalm 59:16-17)

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” (Psalm 23:1-3)

Round Two

M&R ToesClose on the heals of the Driver’s License snafu, I had another one of those days. This time I spent chunks of time in two different urgent care facilities. My son’s ingrown toenail needed serious attention. As I was preparing to leave from his appointment, I received a call regarding his twin sister. She lacerated her foot with her color guard sabre.

Four stitches later, along with a good deal of laughter (praise the Lord!), she was back at rehearsal. When everything was said and done, however, I felt that familiar sense of emptiness creeping in. It was different this time, though. Early on, I recognized what it was. I thought about the day and was able to identify the good things.

  • Time with my almost 18-year-old twins (Time with them together is almost non-existent. This was a gift!)
  • Watching my son be strong for his sister when it was her turn to be on the other end of a needle
  • Seeing my daughter take everything in stride

Then I put on one a worship playlist for my drive home. I was feeling empty again by bedtime, so I pulled out my Bible and simply began to read. Before long, God showed me a beautiful gem I had never seen before! My heart was full. (If you want to hear about it, you can check it out on my Facebook live video here.)

God Wants To Fill Our Empty Hearts With His Strength

Sometimes our emptiness is a result of our own choices. Other times, however, God interrupts our lives with strength sapping events. He brings us to the empty place where He shows us His strength.

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) 

God brings us to empty places so He can show us His strength.Click To Tweet

When we are physically depleted, physically ill, or otherwise physically compromised, our bodies need physical rest. Sometimes God takes us a place of physical emptiness as well.

Once again, however, if there is more He wants us to do, He will work through our weakness.

God wants to fill us completely with Himself. It is only in Him and through Him that we are able to effectively accomplish the things He wants us to accomplish. (Hebrews13:21)

When you’re so empty your heart hurts, slip away to a quiet place. Let God fill you with His Presence as you worship Him. Pull out your Bible and simply read. Let Him speak a fresh word to your heart. It doesn’t have to take a long time. He’ll fill you with His peace and give you strength for the tasks at hand.



Image: Pixabay (Mohit Mourya)

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32 replies

  1. Amen! Your title caught my eye because I can totally resonate. As an introverted, internal processer, I sometimes find it isn’t even events like these that leave me drained- it can be the fun of a vacation or lots of time with friends. Thanking the Lord HE replenishes our energy levels physically, emotionally, and Spiritually. He is the healer, the filler, and the fulfiller. Thanks for sharing these encouraging stories (and glad everyone was alright in the end!)

  2. Wow, you have had some difficult days, Dianne! I know the feeling of being so drained that we just don’t know what to do. It’s easy to look for comfort in all the wrong places until we finally realize that what we need is time with God.

    So glad you were able to remember that when the next hard day came so close on the heels of the first one! Thanks for sharing and for being so honest. I’m sure most everybody can identify with you. Thanks also for the encouragement and inspiration!

    Blessings to you!
    Gayl Wright recently posted…Team Up to Demonstrate Love and SupportMy Profile

    • Thanks, Gayl. Sometimes I’m slower to catch on … but I was glad I was listening! It makes such a difference when we catch on earlier than later.

  3. Love this! So honest about how God sometimes leads us to emptiness for us to know His power. Praying you continue to find time and remember to be filled with Him.

  4. I love how you searched for God in your challenging, stressful days. He’s always there, wanting to teach us of His goodness and provision. I especially enjoyed your tweetable, “God brings us to empty places so He can show us His strength.”
    Sarah Koontz recently posted…Better than Restored: Hope for Hurting MarriagesMy Profile

  5. I’d venture to say every mother / parent on earth can echo, “I’ve had days like this.” And, didn’t our mama’s tell us “we’d have days like this?” 🙂 xo
    SUSAN SHIPE recently posted…five minute friday: teamMy Profile

  6. Usually after a stress-filled day like you describe, I pick some mind-numbing activity to decompress but how much better would it be to get your praise on!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Jerralea recently posted…GratefulMy Profile

  7. Sounds like you have a couple of eventful and enlightening few days Dianne! Always a blessing when our Savior reveals Himself to us especially during those moments of feeling helpless and empty. Such an encouraging story you share here! I love that verse in Hebrews 13… I may have to add to my memorization list. Thank you for sharing your heart here today.. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and may God richly bless you and yours!
    Horace Williams Jr recently posted…The Best Birthday Gift in Recent Memory!My Profile

    • And God’s got me in the middle of another one of these days! (But this one doesn’t involve my kiddos.) So I’m “tuning in”! Thanks, Horace.

  8. Wow, Dianne!
    What a week you have had!
    Found your post today on Grace & Truth.
    Can’t wait to meet you tomorrow night!

    • I’m so sorry I missed meeting you, Melanie … I was so disappointed about that. But I’m thrilled that God used your time so sweetly. 🙂

  9. I know this feeling. And trying to fill the emptiness with lesser things… Netflix, ice cream, a hot shower… Not at the same time. 😉

    Choosing praise can do amazing things. I was glad to come across your post on Grace & Truth today. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I loved reading how God filled your emptiness, and I know how frustrating these situations could be. I’m facing a new emptiness in my home as my youngest just left for college. I am praying God will fill that sense of empty quiet with Himself.
    Ginger Harrington recently posted…9 Good Reasons Why It’s Okay to Cry When You Leave Your Child at CollegeMy Profile

  11. Oh Dianne, your post resonated with me so much I can’t even describe. The last weeks we’ve been renewing our residence permits and registering our phones from America with the government, countless trips to wait in lines. Then yesterday e-parenting and telephone parenting from afar for my 19 year old. (I also didn’t want to spend an afternoon calling Verizon and Baylor University!) Oh, I’m ranting here maybe???

    But you’re reminding me that God’s resources of peace and joy are always available, even when we feel depleted by “going the extra mile.”
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…How to Connect with the Faith Sisters You NeedMy Profile

    • These busy seasons are exhausting! God has gifted me with another one of these precious days! But yes … He is enough. Worship brings us right into His Presence.

  12. This post reminded me of this verse from the poem “He Giveth More Grace” by Annie Johnson Flint:

    When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

    Psalms 107:8-9 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

  13. “God interrupts our lives with strength sapping events…brings us to the empty place where He shows us His strength.” Yes, yes He does. I’m sure not always pleased when it happens, but I’m trying to learn to rest in the moment and trust Him more. Visiting from #RaRaLinkup today.

  14. Dianne, empty places and His promises seems to be a theme for me today… thankful for your words. He is faithful to use even the most exhausting of circumstances to reveal Himself and be our perfect supply! Amen!
    Christine Duncan recently posted…The Life We Find Ourselves InMy Profile

    • Amen, Christine! Sometimes, like today, I feel that He relishes showing Himself sufficient! But then … of course He should! That’s what the world needs to see!!!

  15. Life can be plain ol’ messy, can’t it?! Throw in the DMV and you deserve a medal! I can relate to so much of what you’ve written here, Dianne – and hot baths and worship are such a sweet remedy. It’s amazing what God can do when we give ourselves permission to lean on Him. So glad to visit you today from #testimonytuesday.
    Tiffany Parry recently posted…The Purpose of PainMy Profile

    • You know, Tiffany … sometimes it is hard to give ourselves permission … responsibility demands that we be responsible … But then… taking that time to wind down and rest … is often the responsible thing to do … And God honors it. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Thank you for being so candid with your storytelling. You really drove it home for me. I also feel empty after a long day. I pour out and out and out…then it’s not uncommon to be near tears by bedtime. I know that about myself and so I make provisions: Plan to spend time with God and wind down, never make big decisions in the evenings, and really work hard to capture my thoughts…the emotional/mental attack is real when I’m tired. I’m so glad you got to enjoy your children, even under crazy circumstances! We’ll just all be praying for those folks at the DMV hahaha! Blessings Dianne.

    • I love that you make provision for these times of weakness … of vulnerability. That’s a good lesson, right there! Thanks for coming by, Meg!

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