Day 19: Lift up Empty hands

We often live anxiously searching for our needs to be filled. Moving intensifies that. I wrote this post last year. It still applies. Today’s action? Lift up your needs to the Father using the prayer printed at the end. Don’t be afraid to cry out. Last night we were crying out for Caedmon’s need for a friend…a sense of belonging. We’ll keep lifting up empty hands until they are filled…and then we will dance our thanks.


You spread a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5


Sometimes our neediness is profound.


Sometimes it’s just a reaction, a familiar one, like reaching for the telephone when we are lonely, a package of oreos for comfort. One of our core longings…a need for safety, worth, messages of our having value, unconditional love, care, encouragement, a pathway to God, belonging, and feeling useful and needed…are crying out to be filled. (These are from Dr. Terry Wardle’s work from Ashland Seminary.)


Like a cut that keeps bleeding when scraped. Like a hunger that keeps turning over demanding to be satiated. And He is the only one who has set the feast.


We are the matchstick girl.


Since our move, my needs for belonging and a sense of purpose are loudest. I click on Facebook, but leave feeling emptier hearing about others’ full lives. I zone out and watch others be creative in reality shows instead of embarking on my own adventures.




I have a feast spread out waiting but I live frantic. I forget the truth: “whatever we need, it’s on the table.” I nose around looking for a mirage and settle for sand when I could have an ample feast.


Caedmon, my nine year old boy, has stopped wanting to go to children’s church with the other lines of children. He wants to squeeze in between his dad and I and catch phrases of the sermon, lean his head against our arms, close his eyes and gaze at the painting of Christ ascending.


We’ve been attending Ascension Anglican in Oakland with its cavernous nave and sitting on a dark blue padded pew at the 9am. We cozy up to the pulpit so we can hear every word.


This sunday in his sermon, Father Jonathan Millard asked everyone whether they had read C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair. Caedmon’s head jerked up. His eyes flickered recognition and he raised his hand. We were on a Narnia kick all winter and who could forget Jill and Eustace and Puddleglum being sent into the underworld to rescue Prince Rilian from his enchantment?


Father Millard read this excerpt like it was story time, clearing his voice from the high pulpit and speaking in his English accent.


As an aside, I just want to say that C.S. Lewis should always be read by an Englishman. I do my best BBC accent as we sit around the fire in the evenings but friends, I acknowledge that this is dangerous territory for a girl from Ohio. One day a few weeks ago the accent came out randomly and I had to explain to new friends why I was pretending to be from across the Atlantic. Dangerous, I tell you.

McConnell's mill

Here’s the excerpt from early in The Silver Chair. Jill is hoping to drink from a stream but there is a full, male lion guarding the water:


“‘If you’re thirsty, you may drink.’

…for a second she stared here and there wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again, ‘If you are thirsty, come and drink,‘ and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realized that it was the lion speaking. Anyway, she had seen his lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way.
‘Are you not thirsty?’ said the lion.
‘I’m dying of thirst,’ said Jill.
‘Then drink,’ said the lion.
‘May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?’ said Jill.

The lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.

The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
‘Will you promise not to–do anything to me, if I do come?’ said Jill.
‘I make no promise,’ said the lion.

Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

‘Do you eat girls?’ she said.

‘I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,’ said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

‘I daren’t come and drink,’ said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

‘Oh dear!’ said Jill, coming another step nearer. ‘I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.’

‘There is no other stream,’ said the Lion.

It never occurred to Jill to disbelieve the Lion–no one who had seen his stern face could do that–and her mind suddenly made itself up. It was the worst thing she had ever had to do, but she went forward to the stream, knelt down, and began scooping up water in her hand. It was the coldest, most refreshing water she had ever tasted.”


There is no other stream. There is no other table.


If you are thirsty, come and drink.


I’m learning to identify my core longing need, to sit quietly before the Lord and wait…but more on that in Part 2. Want more, the feast, the fullness? Check out my sermon here.


I’m learning to keep praying this on repeat, to lift up my hands empty:  


Litany of Core Longings

Lord, I need a safe and secure environment

And I can only get it from You.


Lord, I need constant reinforcement of my personal worth

And I can only get it from You.


Lord, I need repeated messages that I am valued, unique and special

And I can only get them from You.


Lord, I need unconditional love and acceptance

And I can only get it from You.


Lord, I need basic care and nurture

And I can only get it from You.


Lord, I need encouragement to grow and develop my personal gifts and talents

And I can only get it from You.


Lord, I need a pathway to fellowship with You

And I can only get it from You.


Lord, I need a sense of belonging

And I can only get it from You.


Lord, I need to feel useful and needed

And I can only get it from You.


Lord, I need a hope and a future

And I can only get it from You.


God loves me unconditionally and wants to give me all this.


We’re on a 31 day journey toward falling in love with our zip code. Our family just moved five states south and are loving the warm October but riding the ups and downs of a major transition. Would you like to come along? Slip your email address (I’ll guard it with my life) into the CONNECT box on the front page and we’ll journey together. Start here.



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