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  • Amie Beth

Empty Places

Updated: Jul 24, 2020




This week my house is empty. The kids are off at our church camp (except this year it’s not beach camp). They are at a mountain resort, totally not roughing it. They have private showers this year and large open spaces doing camp social distancing style…because, well, covid. And I’ve taken a few days off of work to sit in the quiet. I do this whole “take vacation while the kids are away” thing every year, but this year, in the last few months, the empty seems to have called me by name and held me close. The devil likes to creep into the back of my mind and whisper a lie to me about the empty places.

You are not enough.

There have been times when I let those words loose on the playground of my heart and stay awhile. In those moments, I’ve allowed my back–then mistakes to give my right–now heart permission to call emptiness my friend. Here’s the thing, though. Jesus didn’t leave me there or let me linger in the emptiness. I’m coming out of a season where He asked me to sit in the mess of my empty heart long enough for the story He was writing to become clear, and for Him to be enough.

There is a lot of empty in the world right now.

Empty streets.

Empty businesses.

Empty schools.

Empty places.

My youngest kiddo and I took these pictures at the start of quarantine. Our downtown streets are usually full… of both cars and life. I used to work at the corner coffee shop and invested a lot of my time (and food budget!) into those local businesses. Investing in their businesses also opened a door for me to invest in their lives.




I do my best in my life to walk in obedience when Jesus calls and I was very aware that my job at that store, at that time, was meant to be used for His good. And good showed up in many ways. I came early to work and sat in my car to pray for that morning regular who shared just enough of her life with our team that I knew she was deeply hurting. I wrote notes on her food bag, walked her drinks out to her, and hoped that Jesus was meeting her in those moments, too. I walked two blocks down on my lunch to buy ice cream for the hair dresser across the street who shared that morning how hard that day was going to be for them. I was extra kind to that afternoon customer who wasn’t kind back because I knew something more was going on and it wasn’t really about the coffee order not being exactly right.


On the day we snapped these photos, we walked the empty streets and I prayed for those people with businesses who weren’t allowed to be open, for those customers that I used to care for, and for the obvious amount of loss that was taking center stage. There was no advanced warning, no time to prepare. And no way to know when life would go back to normal. But that particular day I was also suffering from my own loss and wrestling with those same questions of “If not now, then when God?” in my heart.


In the past my response to those questions would have been to brush past them, tell myself that I’m just fine, and move on. But Jesus grabbed my attention, stared my mess square in the eye and asked me to sit in it. He broke my heart wide open. At the time, I wasn’t so sure I wanted my heart laid bare, but Jesus knew it would allow the empty places to be filled. It was in a state of complete brokenness that Jesus asked me to write. To gather my life story and share it. Words from the last twenty years moved from journals and the pages of my heart onto actual pages. The first draft was done in ten days, but I’ve spent the last four months rewriting, editing, praying over the pages, and asking Jesus to refine my words.


A funny thing happened in the process. After four months of truly sitting in the mess, He gave me permission to get up. The emptiness is no longer an image of loss, but it has become a blank canvas for what He is doing next. Jesus reminded me that the tomb was empty, too, and the emptiness is the ultimate symbol of redemption!


Empty Promises.


It’s a phrase people use to refer to promises made with no intention to follow through. So much of what God has promised me over the years is still waiting for His intervention. But as I sat in the mess of loss and replayed that story over and over, I didn’t see the unfulfilled promises there. What I saw was all the ways God used the “not yet’s” to grow me. Just like the book I wrote, He took me through an editing process, too.


This week my home is empty, and so is my stomach as I fast and pray over this next season.


I cannot deny that Jesus is at work in the most unique ways filling my heart with the right things. There was healing in the empty places and He was faithful to meet me there. Even in the waiting, His promises are being fulfilled.


Would you take a moment and join me in worshiping the God who finds us in our mess, takes our fear captive, and brings redemption? Take hold of His promises, friend. They are forever and God isn't finished with you (or me!) yet. (Lyrics below)






Prophesy the Promise

By Bryan and Katie Torwalt

I found You in the middle of my mess

You had been there all along

Open arms and open heart,

You called me in

You didn't hesitate at all

And the lies I once believed

They crumble

With the weight of Your truth

And the fear that gripped my heart

Is arrested

So that I can see You

When I only see in part

I will prophesy Your promise

I believe You, God

'Cause You finish what You start

I will trust You in the process

I believe You, God

You set a table in the middle of my war

You knew the outcome of it all

When what I faced looked like it would never end

You said, watch the giants fall

And the lies I once believed

They crumble

With the weight of Your truth

And the fear that gripped my heart

Is arrested

So that I can see You

When I only see in part

I will prophesy Your promise

I believe You, God

'Cause You finish what You start

I will trust You in the process

I believe You, God

When I only see in part

I will prophesy Your promise

I believe You, God

'Cause You finish what You start

I will trust You in the process

I believe You, God

Fear can go to hell

Shame can go there too

I know whose I am

God, I belong to You

Fear can go to hell

Shame can go there too

I know whose I am

God, I belong to You

Fear can go to hell

Shame can go there too

I know whose I am

I belong to You

Fear can go to hell

Shame can go there too

I know whose I am

I belong to You

I belong

When I only see in part

I will prophesy Your promise

I believe You, God

'Cause You finish what You start

I will trust You in the process

I believe You

When I only see in part

I will prophesy Your promise

I believe You, God

'Cause You finish what You start

I will trust You in the process

I believe You, God

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