iCY 031 The Surprising Spiritual Position That Changes Everything

joy@joyanisa.com podcast

What do you do when you feel empty? How do you respond to being empty?

Empty. The feeling and the circumstance that can turn us inward or outward.

In this episode you will be encouraged by women that have gone before us and the one EMPTY PLACE that gives us the hope that we cannot live without.

The Surprising Spiritual Position That Can Change Everything

joy@joyanisa.com difficult times, Uncategorized

Emotionally drained, mentally fatigued, and spiritually empty. Before you judge, I was not spiritually empty due to my lack of hunger and feeding on God’s Word. My world was changing so fast that everything was used up, leaving me continuously feeling empty. I remember physically feeling “empty” each time I was pregnant. I could eat and then two hours later be so hungry. Just as my body had worked so hard to provide for the baby that was quickly growing and changing, my soul was laboring to provide for my heart, mind, and body understanding for the overwhelming, unwanted change that my life had become.

Empty. The very word leaves a void after it is spoken. Empty. It completely describes the picture, the circumstances, the description of your coffee cup. It’s the perfect word. It’s the very word that no one desires as their own personal description of themselves. No one asks for their coffee cup to remain empty unless it is about to be filled or the person has had their fill. Full. The very word leaves pleasure and contentment after it is spoken. Full. It completely describes the picture, the circumstances, the description of your coffee cup.

Empty – when it descibes our life, we try to avoid emptiness at any cost. Full – when it describes our life, we embrace it and wrap ourselves in it like a warm, soft blanket. Full is what we desire and, if not wise, we can be lured to fill our lives with anything to convince ourselves we are full.

Hannah came to the Temple each year empty. Empty arms longing to hold her own child. Emptiness creates a deep canyon that echoes the longings of the heart. For Hannah, that echo became louder as the years passed. Mocked by the other wife, who shared the same husband. The curse that seemed to be upon her and the culture of the times shook its head in disappointment. Even though she was deeply loved by her husband, that love could not consume her emptiness. The cold winds of emptiness cannot be tracked or known. The unexpected hard blows leave deep effects on the soul.

Yet, Hannah prayed. Her emptiness did not lure her to become controlling or bitter. She chose to trust, to pray, and not avoid what she was – empty. Her emptiness gave her purpose.

Her emptiness was the surprising spiritual position that changed everything.

Ruth, empty and widowed, chose to follow and trust her mother-in-law. She chose to follow Naomi at all cost. She trusted Naomi concerning her next steps once they arrived in Bethlehem. For Naomi, emptiness had motivated her and her husband to leave their homeland and go where there was plenty. For Ruth, once she and Naomi arrived back in Bethlehem, emptiness motivated her to work and provide.

This emptiness was a result of life’s tragedy. For both of these women, life seemingly left them with nothing. But Ruth discovered that nothing can lead you to the place of “enough”. Just enough wheat to hold in your apron. Just enough wheat to make just enough to eat. We have a tendency to think that we can not be filled with “just enough”. God often will provide “just enough” to lead us to the great provision of His redeeming love. Emptiness will compel you and me to do something. For Naomi, she turned inward and asked to be called bitter. For Ruth, she turned outward and trusted.

Her emptiness was the surprising spiritual position that changed everything.

A woman walks quietly into a room where Jesus and His disciples sat. She broke open her most treasured item, perfume, and emptied the alabaster bottle on her Lord. Immediately, she was judged by onlookers. Immediately she was defended by her Lord. She did not concern herself with what others would say. She understood worship required emptying herself of all she held dear, even if others considered her act of worship foolish.

A life, broken and spilled out, will not be understood by everyone. Others may want to convince you that your life is better spent on more practical uses with your talents. Jesus calls us to worship him with emptiness. The woman that broke open her expensive perfume and poured it out on Jesus walked away completely filled. I wonder if those that watched her humble act of love and adoration really understood. Jesus spoke words of blessing over her and noted the legacy that would follow her for centuries. Her one act of choosing emptiness is now linked with the Gospel message. Broken. Spilled out. Empty.

Her emptiness was the surprising spiritual position that changed everything.

Empty. The one time we cry out in praise for what is empty. Paul said our faith would be in vain if the tomb were not empty. Hope hung in the balance. For three days His followers waited. For three days His tomb was guarded. For three days, hope seemed lost. It is the empty tomb that gives hope. It is the empty tomb that gives purpose. It is the empty tomb that proves Jesus is not just a savior, but He is the risen savior. The empty tomb proclaims who He is, the conqueror of death. He conquered death so we can live. He conquered death because death cannot hold Him. The empty tomb asks us are we going to be willing to be emptied of ourselves, our preferences, our agendas, our timetable, our wants to be overwhelmed with the presence of the conquering King who wants to fill us.

Empty. It is the surprising spiritual position that places us in the perfect place for God to pour into our lives what He knows we need to be filled with, Himself.

iCY 030 Hope in the New Year

joy@joyanisa.com podcast

Hope has its risks and promise. Sometimes it doesn’t come packaged like we prefer. Hope flourishes in the breaking. What Joseph faced as he wrestled with Mary’s pregnancy brought him to an up close and personal encounter with the promise of Emmanuel.

I wish you a very happy new year and to experience Emmanuel, God with us.