I feel like I have been in this super sweet place recently. This sweet place of giving and loving out of authenticity. Serving in a place of wanting to serve, rather than feeling I have no other choice but to say yes- I’ll be honest, I find myself there a lot. And the funny thing is, the common thread of feeling this sweetness has been one thing: beginning with the realization that I have nothing. Nothing to offer. Nothing to say. Nothing to give. Nothing to teach. Nothing.
This may sound like I’m selling myself short or pretending to be selfless, but I mean it. I mean driving to Starbucks on the way to a ski trip with high school students thinking, wow Jesus, I am exhausted. Ordering an extra shot of espresso in my drink, praying for Him to breathe and work through my emptiness. And driving back from a ski trip astounded at how He walked with me, empowering me to love and serve, blessing me in the process.
I will note here that I also prayed for Him to help me ski or at least seem like I had any ability in the world. Sometimes God says no.
But I found myself in a similar situation one week later. My small group of college girls had planned a “hometown trip” to go to my parents’ house together. We planned months ago due to busy schedules, and looked forward to this time with incredible anticipation. I was so excited to have this time with my girls, but also to be home, to be taken care of, to spend time with my parents, to have someone do my laundry for me, and to stay in a house, rather than a dorm. But there was snow. And then there was ice. And then the anticipated plans we made were cancelled memories.
No plans. Nowhere to go. No one stepping in line to do my laundry- I can’t blame them.
I was scrambling to find a home we could go to in town for a “stay-cation” as we had no snow, just really sad hearts. Thankfully, a gracious family allowed us to use their sweet home. I texted the girls and began gathering everything I could for the weekend we never planned. I was filling a reusable Publix bag with what few groceries I had in the container I keep of food beneath my dorm bed. As I was thinking how pitiful this was and how sad I was we couldn’t be home, I heard a phrase in my head that brought me back to a special moment.
Lord, I’m not much, but I’m giving you everything.
These divine, simple, and beautiful words, came from the mouth of a young girl in the hills of Kentucky who I prayed with to receive Christ. She was poor and dirty. Her dad was in jail and she felt completely looked over and worthless. We talked about how much her Heavenly Father loves her and the incredible ways He wants to lavish His love on her and she told me she wanted that. Then as we prayed (sitting in the above pictured parking lot), she added in these beautiful, humble, yet ever so raw words.
So I packed my bag of “not much” and gave this weekend everything I had.
And His love was extravagant. We had such a sweet weekend together full of delicious meals, where we sat at the table for hours afterward enjoying one another. We had peaceful mornings of coffee and friends playing acoustic guitar softly in the background. We laughed. We joked. It was such a sweet time together.
And again, I had nothing.
But I think this is the very story of the gospel and I think this is how He works. It’s not about what we have or what we can bring Him.
John 15:5 “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
It’s about giving Him our emptiness, all of it, and knowing His extravagant love meets us there. It meets us and lavishes His love upon us. It looks past our scars and messiness and emptiness and somehow calls us His own.
So I am learning to embrace having nothing to offer. Because I think that’s the best place to start. And it’s there I can truly give Him everything.