The Sigh of Empty

by | Mar 9, 2012 | Uncategorized

We sat together among the aftermath.  Empty boxes, shards of shiny paper, and lime green curly ribbon strewn on the floor of the living room. She looks up at me from her spot on the couch and sighs deep.

“What’s wrong,” I ask.

“It doesn’t feel like my birthday,” she replies.

I warned her days before that this might happen, that she might feel this way.  We celebrated two days earlier with dinner out and presents over red velvet cake with the gooey icing that makes the eyes close and the mouth exclaim yummmm, when you swallow. 

Her Dad had a trip on the actual day and our celebrating milestones together, it is more important than the calendar or the clock.

On the heels of anticipated celebration; triumphs experienced after the long haul; winning the prize upon days of disciplined training; comes the ache of empty.  The let-down after anticipated joy celebrates her glory.

This empty ache cloaked like a blanket the day I carried her home from the hospital; after the last person left the wedding reception under the luminous tent in the back yard; when I moved the tassel to the other side on my graduation cap; and after the new year with all her confetti  promise ebbed mundane.

And I realize that the ache of empty will never be truly satiated until we fall into the embrace of the one who fashions us with love and celebrates over us eternal. Jesus, the one who knows how to fill up the secret longings of the soul, so that we never have to know what it means to be empty again.

 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:23-26 ESV


Joining Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday community with the one word prompt: Empty.



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  1. Nikki

    “fashions us with love and celebrates over us eternal.” this is what I’m taking away with me. that and the verses you shared. thank you!
    Fill me, Lord….
    beautiful, Shelly. just like your heart…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think He is filling you, I can hear it in your words. But we never get too full do we? Have a great weekend Nikki.

      • Heather from CT

        Shelly, I couldn’t agree more that you can hear Him filling up the empty in your words and in Nikki’s. ‘We never get too full.’ I’ll be pondering that all day.

  2. roseann elliott

    well…look who is my neighbor today:)…shelly what you can do in 5 minutes……this is beautiful…and yes…He alone can truly fill our empty spaces…and won’t we always live with a little ache in our hearts until we are fully united with Him.
    Blessings and have a wonderful weekend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Well maybe a few more than five *wink*. I think we will never be truly satisfied until we see him face to face. Good to be your neighbor today.

  3. dianewbailey

    Okay that gets a big, WOW! I don’t know whatelse to say. Great take off on Empty!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Diane. I do think and pray about the word for a few minutes before I write. Hope that is “legal” on fmf!

  4. Robin

    Shelly… five minutes and you gripped my heart and soul.

    “And I realize that the ache of empty will never be truly satiated until we fall into the embrace of the one who fashions us with love and celebrates over us eternal. Jesus, the one who knows how to fill up the secret longings of the soul, so that we never have to know what it means to be empty again.”

    I am so thankful He knows those secret longs and that I can trust Him to fill me when I am feeling empty. Have a wonderful time as a family celebrating life.

    Love you friend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So thankful with you over the knowledge that our filling up comes from him, even when we don’t feel it or understand. I am in the back seat of the car while murielle drives. Pray for this mothers heart to rest.

      • robinwalling

        Praying for you all and your safety. LOL

  5. tara // pohlkotte press

    that is a hard birthday. when you wake up and it doesn’t have the same zest as it did the years prior. I still feel that tinge every birthday of mine. even with the sweet moments that fill it. even when I am loved on far greater than I deserve…that magic, it left. You describe it so well in all of those what I call “breath out” moments. When you shut the door on company leaving. packed into a car after a wonderful trip. Those moments when your eyes well because you feel in that moment empty. And you know what? it feels that way because we were stretch just a little wider for the living right before then. It will be filled again.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think your right about being stretched. And you reminded me about the empty feeling after trips. Last year while we packed up at our cottage I cried the entire time. Didn’t want to leave.

  6. Heather Kopp at

    Ah, I loved this. The title caught my eye. I think a lot about emptiness and it’s spiritual value, probably because I’m an addict. I love your writing and your words and thoughts always bless me. Thanks!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So glad to have your thoughts in the comment conversations. And I often agonize over titles because I know how important they are so that comment means a lot.

  7. C.Allyn

    Five minutes and I am connected to your heart.
    Five minutes of reading and a days worth of thinking.
    Thank-you Shelly. Yet again, you have spoken into a necessary time for me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Ah, Celeste, it is all grace that he would connect us like this. I am so grateful for you friend. Have a great weekend of pondering.

  8. Denise J. Hughes

    I so get this. There is always that moment of “letting down.” All the anticipation of a certain event eventually culminates to the moment it is over. I felt this each time I finished a degree. I worked for so many years to accomplish it, then when it was over, I felt empty. I must continue to look to Him as the only source of true fulfillment.

    “Jesus, the one who knows how to fill up the secret longings of the soul, so that we never have to know what it means to be empty again.” ~ I love this.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      For me, the empty feeling is my reminder that I cannot be fulfilled by anything outside of God. And I need reminding often.

  9. Maureen

    So true, life will never be “enough.” We still expect it to be, though, don’t we? Good reminder.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Maureen, yes we do. It becomes even clearer as our children grow up and I watch their choices. And we are his children, learning as we grow too.

  10. alex

    I loved this….the emptiness…the let down. Ah, to never have the let down…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Wouldn’t that be fabulous? And then we will be in heaven.

  11. Jody Collins

    Shelly, I think of the song, “Hungry, I come to You (for I know you satisfy)” when I see these photos of places giving water. Beautiful weaving together of the Father’s reminders through the every day that yes, only HE can fill us, with Living Water.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Beautiful song, thanks for that analogy and for your kind comments.

  12. Amy

    Oh, this is so true. There always does seem to be that let down after any big, much-anticipated event. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but perhaps it really is a reminder that we won’t be completely full this side of heaven.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      At least that is the way I see it Amy. Thanks for joining the conversation here.

  13. Elizabeth

    Your writing is beautiful, and so true. There’s an emptiness only He can fill.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My humble thanks for your kind words. All inspired grace for which I am thankful.

  14. Michele @ A Life Surrendered

    “…until we fall into the embrace of the one who fashions us with love and celebrates over us eternal. ” I love this picture here… if only I had enough wisdom to let go of all of the things that steal me away from His feet in this life… I would never be empty… but too often, I find myself depleted, only to desperately come to His feet bringing my crumbling world with me to discover, this is where I should have been all along… this is where I should have come before seeking for answers in all the wrong places… thank you for your words stirring my heart…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Michele, I think you have a lovely heart that longs for him in all areas of life. And I do this too, seek answers somewhere else before asking the one who has all the answers. We are learning together.

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