Playdates with God: Waiting

presbytery 003

The dark comes early and my body responds in kind. The wind begins to blow as I sit here on the couch in the early evening. I have turned on the Christmas lights and the room twinkles with warm. There is a soft blanket around my knees and a dog asleep beside me.
I don’t know what is wrong with the turning of the earth—well into December and 62 degrees outside. The birds linger in this mild. Just this morning I saw a flock of hundreds silhouetted against the burning sky—flying over the freeway. 
Where are you going?I wanted to call upward as they inked out the sky. But they don’t hear my heart-cry. They don’t look down.
I watch the trees surrender under the wind’s soft breath. The veriest top bends low and scrapes her branchy crown on the earth.
Sometimes He asks me to bend low too.
Philippians 2:5-11 says that Jesus made himself nothing. Being in very nature God…he made himself nothing. (NIV). The NRSV says heemptied himself. It’s the Greek verb form kenóō—“to empty”.
In Christian theology, we call it kénōsis—the voluntary emptying of my own will and allowing myself to surrender to God’s will.
He cannot fill me unless I am empty.
The world empties me when I am too weak to do it myself. Circumstances steal joy, hope is squelched and love runs out the door. And I am empty…empty.
Sometimes Christmas does this to me. Empties me out as I grieve lost years, yearn for different stories, ache to let my roots tangle back into…something…else. But when I bow low, offer it up to the One lowered himself—the One who emptied all…
The Christmas lights wink at me and the rain mists down outside and I open my heart to this season. That empty inside is a tender ache—softer than before…sweet somehow. I let this mystery of my own becoming comfort and awaken the wonder. The wonder of waiting for a Lord who never leaves me.
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:


  1. says

    “…as I grieve lost years, yearn for different stories, ache to let my roots tangle back into…something…else.” Ah, I’ve never heard this described better. Beautifully captured, Laura. Thank you for it.

  2. Kendal Privette says

    i get the grieving christmas heart too. i remember the first time and i was only 17….your words, they ring true.

  3. says

    Oh, Laura. I feel the empty this time of year, too. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for writing again the promise of the empty places. I am lifted up by all this bowing low.

  4. messymarriage says

    Thanking God along with you, Laura, that He fills the emptiness and awakens my soul to the wonder of this season. Beautiful post, as always!

  5. soulstops says

    Oh, Laura, I get that ache…this beauty in your words and the reminder:”He cannot fill me unless I am empty.” Yes, I am realizing it is the gift of the aches that cause me to turn to Him, the only One who emptied Himself so He can fill others/ me…Bless you, my sweet friend 🙂

  6. says

    Oh, so very lovely! I’ve been thinking of emptying too. How I’m often so full of myself, like a vessel filled to its brim, that when I try to add God, I spill right over. But, If I come to God empty and willing, He stays with me. {It’s the getting empty and willing I need help with!}

  7. says

    Empty–yes– that’s the paradox of Christmas, isn’t it? As we fill our time and shopping carts we realize that the only fullness we really need is HIM. And a Savior who empties Himself for us? That’s the stuff of crazy stories. Amazing Grace. Oh, how I loved this post. You met me right where I’m at today, friend.

  8. kingfisher says

    He cannot fill me unless I am empty.
    How often we forget that. Don’t want to hear it, in fact. We’re admonished so often to follow our passions, chase our dreams. That this is the way to become the one God fully wants us to be. But often, they’re our dreams, not his, aren’t they?

    That the Lord of the Universe would consent to have our baby-fingers mixing his concoctions, and love us for our humanness instead of scolding us for meddling in affairs too large for us to understand! How incredible, how miraculous!

    I’m so glad you’re letting the Lord empty you and fill you with himself. That you may become the person he meant all along for you to be. Blessings, gentle Laura. And praising you for your dear words and being a dear person, valued in his sight.

  9. says

    This season always takes me to the end of myself, Alicia. Every metaphor for our Lord comes to me and becomes real. Bread of Life, Light of the World, Wonderful Counselor…

    How He fills…

  10. says

    I’m still seeing these migrating birds, David–and I keep thinking, “Why are you so late?” But God’s timing is perfect, no? And so we must be content with this emptiness that fills in the Advent waiting.

  11. Jody Lee Collins says

    Nothing to add but a sigh…….and an amen to everyone else’s thoughts. Oh, Jesus, help me empty myself. This is a different Christmas season for us this year and you said it so well– “But when I bow low, offer it up to the One lowered himself—the One who emptied all…” He give us the something else we need.
    Always such beautiful words.

  12. amyscanderson says

    Philippians 2 is what we chose for our wedding:) I thought of you as I decorated for Christmas, Laura. We just decorated over the weekend (seem behind comparatively to others and most years past), and I changed things up. I remembered some interaction about traditions with you. I like traditions, but too many weigh me down. So as I read this I realized the emptiness needed allows space for a fresh joy. Christmas loses joy for me, sometimes, because I’m overwhelmed by all I imagine I’m supposed to do. If I’ll let empty happen peacefully, He’ll fill it so much better. I am sorry about the grieving, but the way you’re becoming shines beautifully of Him.

  13. Amber @ beautifulrubbish says

    Laura, this is a lovely reflection, indeed. As someone who readily,
    deeply identifies with your words here – “Sometimes Christmas does this to me. Empties me out as I grieve lost years, yearn for different stories,
    ache to let my roots tangle back into…something…else” – I just want to
    say thank you. You put into words the ache and grief I feel around
    Christmas, and yet, we don’t have to stay there. We can be filled with
    so much more, more of his life… bless you.

  14. says

    I so love your way with words, Laura! I never thought about this season as one of waiting. Wonder, yes, but not the waiting. Thanks for your perspective, and for the reminder that He can only fill what’s empty. Hugs to you, Michelle

  15. says

    “He cannot fill me unless I am empty.” My thoughts have been traveling the same direction. The yearning for happy endings comes so strong in Advent that it feels like grief. There is the grief of empty chairs at the table, too, and stories still awaiting eucatastrophe, but the poignant longing for the Second Advent is the strongest ache for me this year. May you know the nearness of your indwelling Comforter, as soothing as that warm blanket and dog alongside.

  16. says

    It is such a tender feeling, isn’t it, Amber? Sometimes I feel like I can touch it, this ache. I think we have many soul-sisters who share this grief. May the Love that fills keep you company on your Advent journey, my friend.

  17. says

    Philippians 2, really? Perfect. A perfect verse to start life together with. Thank you for thinking of me, my friend. This time of year is always bittersweet for this heart, but the sweet gets sweeter with each passing year. Love to you.

  18. says

    It’s so hard to open the hand this time of year–for me. So much to do…I’m so grateful for the ways God reminds me to surrender–for the tenderness of those reminders. Always nice to see you here, Jean!

  19. Donna says

    I know this bitter-sweet Christmas too… although I think it might be a little easier for me because I have no Christmas traditions with my family to remember. They don’t do Christmas in any way, so my first Christmas celebration wasn’t until I was 23! Thinking of you these days, as my kids play outside in the sun on the waterslide, and most of the rest of the world seems to be in the depths of a snowy winter. Praying for a blessed and happy Christmas for you!

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