Personal message from Lori: it’s Authentic Thursday time again!
On Thursdays we are joined by various blogging/writing friends who have agreed to join forces with the purpose of simply being themselves. I cannot take credit for their skill or gifts or natural abilities … but I am happy to say that I dig their style and friendship and authenticity!
Today I have the honor of introducing you to a friend I’ve known since junior high (and THAT is a long time). Heather and I met at a conference our parents were attending and since then we have spent a good amount of time corresponding via snail mail and catching up at random coffee shops while we’re passing through each other’s town. Heather and I have a quite a lot in common, but one of our most driving motivations is the desire to connect with others on a truly intimate and authentic level. So it only seemed natural that she join us here…
I love you, Heather. You’re like the sister I never had! – Lori
I have an egg basket on my kitchen counter.
It’s filled with some Easter-ish colored shredded paper and some plastic eggs.
Before that, it was collapsed down and hanging from one of my “command centers” by the kitchen.
Why an egg basket, you ask?
It’s a symbol of my dream.
About a year ago, my kids, my mom and I ventured out to a family-run farm for a home school field trip. This lovely family — with homeschooled children now grown and working on the farm — let my kids explore through the chicken coop, the goat pen, through the thicket of turkeys, the garden and even gave us a ride on a trailer through their vineyards.
We had a blast and my kids came alive crawling around hunting for eggs and filling wire baskets, trying to catch lizards and swinging from their tree swing.
As we sipped ice water, traded stories about our homeschooling journey, and enjoyed the cool breeze on their enclosed porch, I felt it…such a strong sense of contentment and tranquility.
I had kept a special eye on my second born child through it all– the one who had just been diagnosed with ADHD. The one who was struggling to find a new normal on her medication that often made her emotional and out of sorts.
She was having the time of her life.
I looked around me and breathed a prayer before I even realized I was doing it.
“Please, Lord….can I have…this?”
I’m not sure at that point, I knew exactly what this was….of course, we were not in a position to buy a John Deere tractor and start making furrowed rows for crops. I didn’t feel ready to take on a gaggle of turkeys, or a bunch of goats.
But the wide open space…the lack of tall wooden fences to enforce boundaries…the quiet and absence of road noise and sirens…it was intoxicating.
My body relaxed and my shoulder muscles released and I felt….peace.
They sent us home full of that peace and a dozen eggs that my children had hunted down.
I went home and jumped on the internet in search of an egg basket like we had used that day. I found the perfect one, but my mouse hovered over the “Buy Now” button for a while. It seemed like a foolish purchase in our present situation.
A few months later, I decided to take a leap of faith and buy one. When it came, a few days later, I showed it to the kids and told them that it would remind us to pray for a peaceful bigger place of our own — whatever that would look like.
And yes, at that time, it was a wild and crazy dream. We would find out a few days later that our current house did not have enough equity to allow us to sell. In fact, we had negative equity. I looked with longing at that egg basket, but I left it hanging and we kept praying week after week and month after month.
Almost a year to the date, I felt like it was time to revisit that dream. Upon checking in with our realtor, we found that our house was not only on the positive equity side, we would be able to net enough for a down payment on something else.
I took down the egg basket in its collapsed state, and I set it up on the counter…and I filled it.
I put out a couple of other Spring/Easter decorations, and as people came and looked at our house, we waited. Realtors put their business cards next to the basket…one, three, seven, ten cards piled up. And then the one we had been waiting for…a full offer on our house — just what we needed and a smidgen more.
Easter came and went. The tomb was empty and then filled with the Son of God and Son of Man. Scripture and the prophecy was fulfilled.
The Easter decorations went away, but the basket remains. Open, filled with only a copy of the real thing. But I am believing that one day — not too far in the distance — it will be filled with real eggs that my children will wake up excited to hunt down.
At times, I have continued to feel a bit foolish — making that online purchase for something that had no purpose or use in our current situation. It was a fanciful dream. But, yet, I felt compelled to buy it. To display it. To meditate on it. To faith it into being.
You see…sometimes we have to be comfortable enough to sit with the emptiness and still believe.
The cradle that seems to mock us with its emptiness. The empty side of the couch and bed that has been anxiously waiting for the presence of the spouse for which we have longed and yearned. The passport that is devoid of visas and stamps and lays languishing in a drawer.
But these things must exist in emptiness before the miracle of the filling.
Before I was married, I enjoyed hearing a story about another single gal who bought a pair of men’s pants and laid them over the bottom of her bed — asking God to “fill those pants” with the mate He wanted for her. While it’s a cute and slightly comical story, I always liked the moxy of that act.
So often we don’t want to be reminded of that emptiness. We do everything we can to banish it from our thoughts. The idea of intentionally putting out something that would fall into our everyday line of sight is unthinkable.
Or is it?
Perhaps rather than stowing our greatest empty dream away into a journal, or even locked away in our drawer or hearts, we should find the courage to pull it out and display it. And pray over it. And weep over it. And share it with others. And hope-fully, one day, put our hands on that object, lift it up and rejoice over it.
I’m learning not to fear the empty, but to be grateful that it allows for in filling.
Yes, I am still waiting my egg basket to be filled with the real deal. But until then I will see it every waking day and continue to pray.
Because we never know when the empty will be filled.
The iPad 2 case I felt compelled to buy in December which was on sale at my local grocery store…the one that I had no iPad 2 to put inside of….the one that I wrestled with taking back for a refund several times, but every time, put it away with other electronic items for a hoped for “one day.” The one I would see and think about how much my home-schooled children, my ADHD beauty, and my inner-writer would love to own…
Well, that iPad 2 case is in the process of being filled. It will arrive next week — secondhand in wonderful condition, with extra goodies from a friend who doesn’t need it any longer. Empty for almost six months, it’s merely days away from being filled.
And the truth is that every empty thing is only days away from being filled. Only One knows just how many.
Bio: Heather Hilscher is a wife and a mother of four gorgeous and extremely energetic children who keep her busy and on her toes. She loves to organize and create things. She’s a fair-weather runner with a passion for writing and sharing information. She enjoys singing a song or two. She’s a frugalista, so she likes saving a buck…or 20. And most recently, a home schooling mom. Coffee powers her days…and nights. She loves Jesus.
Blog: Mosaic Momma
5 thoughts on “Authentic Thursday | “Embracing the Empty”, guest post by Heather Hilscher”
Heather – your faith is big. Thank you for sharing authentically. I eagerly await the day I canpick up eggs in that basket. One day.
Thank you, thank you! I cannot wait to see the photos it inspires from you! Thank you so much for believing in me and my dream!
I’ve known you since we were 12! Of course I believe in you! Love you, sis!
Loved it, especially sitting with the empty while still believing… !
Thanks for the comment, debi! There is HOPE when we pray and believe in His name, isn’t there?