Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Make me empty, so I can be filled."

I re-opened my journal from last semester (January-June 2012). I was reflecting on all God had done in and through me, so I decided to journey into that journal. What I found...utterly shocked me. Page after page was filled with song lyrics such as these:
"Empty my hands, fill up my heart, capture my mind with you." (Empty my Hands by Tenth Avenue North)
"Empty me, so I can be filled with You." (Empty me by Chris Sligh)
"Holy Fire, burn away my desire for anything that is not of You and is of me." (Empty me by Jeremy Camp)
"Break through these walls I hide behind. Come break me down with your mercy again." (Break me Down by Tenth Avenue North)
"Make me broken, so I can be healed" (Keep Making Me by Sidewalk Prophets)
"I wanna feel like new, I wanna hunger for You. Bring me back to life, like only You can do. Cause I don't want to stay the same." (Rediscover You by Starfield)
"I'm begging You to help me see You're all I want---all I need. Satisfy me, Lord." (Satisfy by Tenth Avenue North)

Besides figuring out that I have a slight obsession with Tenth Avenue North---I found page after page after page of song lyrics and prayers---crying out to God that He would break. me. down
I knew what I was praying and at the time that I wrote these prayers---I think it was from a genuine heart. I'm not sure I entirely realized what being "emptied" and "broken" was going to look like. If I had known what it was going to look like...maybe I would have hesitated a little more before begging God to break me and empty me. I think the saying goes... "Be careful what you ask for." or... "Be careful what you pray for." I wanted to be broken down, so He could rebuild me into the woman He wanted me to be. I wanted to be broken down, so I had no where to turn except to Him. I wanted to be broken down, so I would realize how much I needed Christ---every minute of every hour. 

God answers prayers. I know this without a doubt. As I was flipping through my journal, I came across a journal entry that was written in late June. 

The journal entry included these lyrics:

"Hungry, I come to You for I know you satisfy. I am empty, but I know Your love does not run dry. So, I'll wait for You. I'm falling on my knees. Offering all of me. Jesus, You're all this life is living for. Broken, I run to You for Your arms are open wide. I am weary, but Your touch restores my life." 
"I will worship You with all I am--even if all I have are empty hands."
"When my faith is shaken and my heart is broken and my joy is stolen. God, I know that you lift me up. You never leave me thirsty." 
"I'm alive, even though a part of me has died. You take my heart and breathe it back to life. I've fallen into Your arms open wide. When the hurt and the Healer collide." 

Following these lyrics---were multiple prayers that read...

"Lord, You have broken me. You have wounded me. You have taken everything that I thought was so certain, and ripped it from my hands. My hands are empty. My heart is hurting. I need You to come fill me up. I need You to build me back. I need Your love to come rushing in. I feel Your presence. I know You are here. I know You are listening. Even though I have been hurting and feel so alone---I know that You have never left me...never forsaken me. You are enough for me. I only want You. I only desire You. More of You, Jesus. More of You."

Wait. Wait. WAIT. Did you catch that? Cause I didn't catch it until about a week ago.

From January-May---I prayed for empty hands. I prayed to be broken down. I prayed to be wounded. I prayed that Jesus would show me what it looked like to only have Him to live for. 

In June---I am thanking Jesus for breaking me down, for wounding me, for taking everything away from me. 

God answered my prayer. My half-hearted prayers about Him 'breaking me down' and 'emptying my hands.' I doubt I really even knew half of what I was praying...but nonetheless---God heard my prayer. God answered that prayer. 

God emptied me. 
God broke me down.
God wounded me. 
God took everything away from me---except Himself. He never left. He never abandoned me. He was with me the entire time. 

And here I stand---in September of 2012. 

....A mere three months after feeling so broken and so wounded.... 

Here I stand:

Completely healed.
Completely full of Christ's love.
Completely satisfied in His arms.
Completely restored.
Completely joyful.
Completely free. 
My heart has been renewed.
My love for God has been renewed.
My purpose in life has been defined.

God has rebuilt my life, as He promises that He will.

He doesn't leave us in the mess.
He doesn't leave us broken.
He doesn't leave us empty.
He cleans us up.
He puts the pieces back together.
He fills us back up.
He recreates us better than we ever could have imagined.
He heals us in ways we never thought possible.
He builds us back up.

And after all the mess...after all the tears...after the heartache...after the hurt...after all the pain---I look back on it all---and I can say:
It. was. worth. it. 
Thank You, Jesus for breaking me down...and for building me back.

In His love,


J. said...

This just makes my heart smile :)

Ashley said...