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Kim Andrich shares how God recently used a period of emptiness in order to fill her and reveal His love.

When I learned I was expecting for the first time, I rejoiced. As I ran down the stairs to tell my husband, I pictured our perfect little family snuggling together, a baby’s belly laugh and two adult laughs mingling together. Going for a walk on a crisp fall day, our toddler running ahead, leaves crunching under his feet. Coming home to a clean house, our well-behaved child playing happily as we looked on. Eventually more children, like this first, chasing each other at the park. 
What I did not picture was increasing fatigue, insomnia, depression, and intense anxiety. I didn’t picture my children’s difficulties, which, in some cases, have been more similar to my own than I would have dared anticipate. Nor did I picture the inability to keep up with the messes, the exhausting days, the often constant overwhelm, the loneliness and feelings of failure.  
Parenting has challenged me in a way nothing else ever has. I suspect every parent can say the same. 
Being a parent has a way of bringing us to the end of ourselves and face to face with our limitations. Problems arise that we don’t have the knowledge nor ability to solve. The same issues surface over and over and challenge our resolve. 
But our weaknesses and limitations are necessary for our spiritual growth and our union with God. Being little and recognizing our limitations is a blessing, for in doing so, we die to self and realize our need for God. Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity observed,

I die daily. I remain very little in the depths of my poverty. I see my nothingness, my misery, my weakness… I place the joy of my soul (as to the will, not sensible feelings) in everything that can immolate, destroy, or humble me, for I want to make room for my Master. I live no longer I, but He lives in me. (Heaven in Faith, #12)

It is by realizing and even consenting to our limitations, coming to the Lord and placing them humbly at His feet, that we make room for Him in the depth of our souls. Then He is more free to enter and fill that space left empty for Him.  
Fr. Jacques Philippe explains this further:

If we could really measure the power of humility, we would consider that our greatest treasure is everything that obliges us to be humble – our failings, our incapacities, and our falls. "The more the soul is afflicted, stripped, and deeply humiliated, the more it acquires, with purity, an aptitude for the heights…," says Angela of Foligno. (Thirsting for Prayer, 56). 


Indeed, our failings and inadequacies are treasures.  
The world does not see it that way, however. Weakness is to be avoided. Limitations are to be overcome. But, as is so frequently the case, our ways are not God’s ways. 



A recent experience brought me face to face with my poverty. I had been trying to just hold everything together, to be strong for my family despite the difficulties we were facing. But one incident triggered a cascade such that I could no longer manage everything nor hold myself together. The stress caused a flare of my chronic health issues, and I very quickly felt completely incapable as a mother and wife. My limitations were right there, heavy and thick, in front of me.  
I had no way to keep up with the demands of motherhood. The more I fought and tried to overcome it all, the more fatigued and hopeless I felt. 
I shared this with a friend who encouraged me to sit in God’s presence and to allow myself to face these limitations and feel their weight. I did what she suggested. I sat in God’s presence and invited Him in. I laid it all before Him and sat with Him in silence. 
Within, I felt a hollow cavern, an empty vessel that my recent failings and afflictions had carved out. As I continued to sit with the Lord, the weight was replaced by a lightness and a joy! God revealed His presence to me and filled the hollow with His love. 
The heaviness and hopelessness were lifted from me then, though the fatigue and the strong realization of my limitations remained. I was more able again to respond to my husband and children with love and patience and to rest in God despite continued difficulties and a continued tinge of sadness.   



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Being a parent has a way of bringing us to the end of ourselves and face to face with our limitations.


As is the case with prayer, it has been necessary to continue to approach Him each day in my weakness and poverty, to lay it bare for Him and allow Him into my heart. I know He is continuing to fill me and lift me up, though now in a more subtle way. 
I may not be capable, but I know Who is. 
It seems the best way to close this thought is with St. Thérèse’s famous line:

The elevator which must raise me to the heavens is Your arms, O Jesus! For that I do not need to grow; on the contrary, I must necessarily remail small, become smaller. O my God, You have surpassed what I expected, and I want to sing Your mercies. (Story of a Soul) 




Copyright 2023 Kim Andrich
Images: Canva