When Your Emptiness Aches

by | Aug 21, 2013 | Uncategorized


I see you Mom, hunched over your tepid tea flipping through yesterday’s mail while voices from the television echo from across the hall. Strewn socks leave trail marks of your children’s once overwhelming presence, now vacant in the room. The quiet void, the empty stillness, it reveals your soul neglect, the way you’ve pushed off self-care and over compensated for love, because you want to. Now it’s time to think about you.

Sure your mind is swirling with questions; worries about how they’ll manage navigating without you, the unknowns of new friendships, and their feelings of frailness among the overbearing in the room. But let me tell you something.

The Cross towers over it all.

I see you Dad, staring into space while the car idles, avoiding the truth and expressing emotion, the scabs of your wounds thick with disappointment and regret. You think cracking it all open will be the end of you; the sight of your vulnerability too ugly; the aroma of re-opening festering heart lacerations too repulsive for those who know you. Don’t believe it. That’s a lie. Let me tell you something.

The Cross stands above it all.

I see you, young life, walking down the halls worried and winsome, trying to fit in where you already belong. Looking for love and acceptance from the broken, lost, fearful and timid wearing social graces like a crown. You’re about to trade who you are for who you think they want you to be and let me tell you something. Don’t do it. The world needs what you have.

The Cross towers over it all.

I see you friend, in your private loneliness sipping your second stemmed glass of white, last night’s bottle of red hidden under the trash in the kitchen. Your pre-disposition toward numbing – scrolling through news feeds and status updates, mindlessly channel surfing and shopping – with the hope of validation or a good laugh to gloss over the ache. Mostly you’re longing for someone or something to tell you, “You’re enough.”Let me tell you something.

You are. You’re enough. Because He is enough.

The Cross stands above all the ways you doubt yourself.

He is abundantly with you, filling the emptiness, even now, making all things new.

This post inspired by the lyrics of The Cross Stands by Tim Hughes for Worship Central on many tear-filled walks for the glory of it all.

Linking with Jennifer and Emily.


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  1. Lynn Morrissey

    I love your voice, Shelly. I read this, and I thought: “But this doesn’t sound like her voice.” And then I realized why: Because God is speaking straight through you to me. I am hearing *His* voice through you, and He is speaking the syllables of the Cross. The Cross makes no sense to the world, because dying to live doesn’t make sense. But He died so we might live, and His death is enough (more than enough), as you suggest–enough to take the pain, the emptiness, the fulitiy, the failure, the disappointment, the doubt and to cancel and redeem it. He took it all upon Himself, and in exchange, He gave us life–life to the full, to fill us up to overflowing. Keep sounding like Him, Shelly. We need to hear it.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh wow Lynn, your discernment is uncanny. I heard these words on my walk while in deep conversation with God. And you actually got that. I’m sort of stunned and glad all at the same time. It means you really know me well.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Oh wow! I just *knew* it…..that it was He who was speaking deep into you, and you were listening, and He gave you these insights. THis train of thought is echoed, too, in Elizabeth’s comments. Lean into this, Shelly. There is a memoir lesson here! =]
        Love you, dearest one!

        • dukeslee

          I echo Lynn’s remarks! You were a God-stenographer here. I so needed to hear these words. Divine.

          • Shelly Miller

            Thanks Jennifer, you are such an encourager. I appreciate you so much.

  2. DeanneMoore

    Sometimes I go there…let myself sit in the agony and the beauty, the piercing reality of His death for me…I need to because I need perspective when I have made life too much about me and what is just right here in front of me. The cross stands at the point of Hope for those before and those after…we need it to remember the Cross most in the ordinary times and the numbing times…yes, the “Cross stands above all the ways ( I ) doubt myself.” Thank you my friend.

    • Shelly Miller

      Perspective is the key word Dea. The Cross gives me perspective, pushes away all the minutia and brings clarity and hope in a way like nothing else. I’m so grateful for it.

  3. pastordt

    Gorgeous, Shelly. Heartfelt and beautifully said. Thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Diana, for being here.

  4. Ceil

    Hi Shelly! What a beautiful study on need. We all need each other, that is true. But we really need people who can see that need. And you have done that. You have such a tender soul, and a heart to encourage. Thank you for a beautiful post today!

    From Tell His Story,

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m so humbled and honored by your comment Ceil, thank you.

  5. Elizabeth

    Shelly, amazing how Creator God, Maker of All Things New God and Artist, Lover of Our Souls God is sculpting your words, your moldable maleable voice in a delightfully soulful new way. Shelly here as always He is using you to reach His people with Truth.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks for being here Elizabeth, your comment has me a bit undone . . . in a good way.

  6. Karrilee Aggett

    Sheer Beauty here! I love this… and for years, I have heard this whispered from His lips to my ears and I have repeated it over and over, over others too… He is Enough… and yes this. You are enough because of Him!

    • Shelly Miller

      Enjoyed your post to Karrilee, still thinking about it.

  7. Kristen Michelle

    So beautiful and truthful, Shelly. I’m enough because He’s enough. So needful for me today. Thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Kristen, I’ll check it out.

  8. Lisa notes...

    The Cross stands above it all. Amen. So glad we can rest on that truth when doubts try to storm into the castle. Thanks, Shelly. I’m off to listen to that song now; new to me.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, I hope you listened to it Lisa, its so good, every track on that one is fabulous.

  9. Jillie

    Oh Shelly, This is so beautiful. Straight from the Spirit of God to your heart, to my heart. Your words have been a balm for me today.
    So many lonely, broken souls in this world who need to hear these words, and believe them, and take them to themselves, and find some measure of assurance and healing. May they be a balm for others as well. Thank you, Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, I’m so glad to know that Jillie, what amazing grace. Love your heart and thinking of you today.

  10. Beth

    Simply beautiful, Shelly! “He is abundantly with you, filling the emptiness, even now, making all things new.” Thank you so much for your this today. I’m going through this struggle that I don’t even know how to explain but the one thing bringing me comfort is knowing He is with me.

    • Shelly Miller

      I know those struggles you just can’t put a name on well Beth. Praying you have some clarity and understanding as its needed.

  11. Mia

    Dear Shelly
    It never cease to amaze how our Lord looks past our sins, deep into the broken heart that causes it in the first place and starts the healing and forgiveness there where it hurts the most. I hope you mom is okay, dear friend!
    Blessings XX

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, it wasn’t my real mother Mia. I was writing to Mothers, Dads, friends, young people in the generic term, not a specific individual, though my conversations with people have certainly shaped this piece. Thank you.

  12. Being Woven

    A most powerful, thought-provoking post, Shelly. And so beautifully written. I am glad I came by even though my heart hurts in the emotions of some of this for some of it is real for me. But the best is the Good News…the Cross does indeed tower over it all. Amen. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • Shelly Miller

      Isn’t it comforting to know there is room for us all around the Cross, no worries about being too crowded or not good enough. We’re all welcome Linda, all the cracks and brokenness welcome and embraced.

  13. kelli woodford

    oh Shelly. what a word.

    gonna sit with the me that’s in every one of your sketches here and take her to the cross. each and every one of me. thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh my Kelli. I love you so much, I really do. I hope you know that.

  14. Nancy Ruegg

    Your words don’t just take us on a head-trip, Shelly. You walk us deep into our hearts where the doubts can still lurk in the shadows. Thank you for the strong confirmation that “the cross stands above all the ways I doubt myself.” I’m tearing up as I type, because I sense Jesus’ hand on my shoulder, reassuring me through your post. Thank you, Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m sorry I’m so late responding to you Nancy, I’m touched by your comment and thankful that reading here was a point of revelation that God is truly with you, every moment. I have trouble keeping my arms at my sides when I have this song blaring through my headphones on walks. I may be known as the crazy lady who worships among gawkers.

  15. Mindy Whipple

    Beauty in brokeness because He is enough. So thankful for the ways He makes all things new, that we can begin again in Him.

    • Shelly Miller

      Mindy, I’m thankful you stopped by and left a comment.

  16. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    Thank you, Shelly, for seeing and speaking these truths, these fears. I truly relate. I am thankful for you and your voice. And thank you, God, for the cross.

    • Shelly Miller

      Ashley, so inspired by your comment, truly. Thank you.

  17. Emily Wierenga

    your writing leaves me feeling as though i just spent time with Jesus. this one is drenched in the holy spirit shelly. i’m so honored to know you friend. e.

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