I’m Empty. Apparently That’s The Way God Wants Me.

DSCN6188I’m empty. Barren. Hollowed out.

A vessel, in waiting.

I’ve strategically seated myself in the corner of a large food court in the Miami International Airport. I can, quite literally, feel walls on either side of me. Green and black tile on one side, mirrored glass on the other. I’m tight in this little nook all by myself, and this is the way I like it. At least for now.

In 3 1/2 hours, I’ll be joining a group of 40+ souls. We’re traveling together, today. We’re on our way to the Dominican Republic for a sponsor trip with Compassion International. While we’re there, we’ll see the amazing work Compassion is doing to release children from extreme poverty. Mamas will testify to the pain poverty’s brought to their doorstep. Babes will cry. And babes will laugh. Kids will swarm. And kids will hold our hands, sit in our laps and snuggle in for security. We’ll drive through slums. We’ll visit humble huts called homes. Tin roofs with holes and mucked up streams will surround us. And we’ll wonder why in the world did we happen upon comfort and wealth in our corner of the world while there’s undeniable poverty here? Our sponsored children will travel miles across the countryside, from all different directions, to meet us. We’ll hug and love, we’ll play and linger long in each moment. And in the end, we’ll wonder where the time went.

Miracles are in store for this sponsor trip. Yes, that’s certain.

This trip is anointed. By God. For God.

He is here. In this place. Waiting for us to arrive. To do His work. To do His will.

So here I sit. Empty. Barren. Hollowed out.

I’m a vessel, in waiting.


The week started great. I made a to-do list on Monday morning. It was a page long, and included everything I needed to do between Monday morning and Friday evening to prepare for my departure from the house this morning at 2:45 a.m.

I kept the list simple, only things that HAD to be done for my blog and for the trip. Five peoples’ laundry and house cleaning didn’t even make the list. I was getting down to the business of this sponsor trip, and I was going to give it my all.

I was doing well on the list. I really was. I published my first pre-trip blog post early in the week and had another planned for yesterday.

One by one, things were getting checked off the list. I was on my way. Smooth sailing.

But life threw a curve ball at me on Thursday morning. I’d intended to spend the day planning, preparing and checking off my list. Instead, I spent the day in relationship, managing the unexpected. I didn’t want to spend the day that way. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t joyful. It wasn’t uplifting or inspiring. I didn’t want to have the day I had. I didn’t want God to give me that kind of day. Didn’t He know I was supposed to be leaving for this sponsor trip with Compassion International in two days? Didn’t He know He was putting a little damper in the fulfillment of my childhood dreams? Didn’t He know this wasn’t good timing?

But I dealt with it. Yes, we dealt with it. That unexpected situation? It desperately needed tender loving care that day. Whether it was two days before my sponsor trip with Compassion International or not. So we tended. We did the hard work of dealing with reality and facing battles as they arose.

I lost the day. Or should I say, I gained it in authentic relationship and trusting God would make up the difference?

So came Friday. I was frantic. My to-do list no longer seemed short. It seemed long, very long. Let’s be real, the situation still needed tending. And yeah, there was that list.

Let me remind you, I was frantic. My mind was racing. My body was going a mile a minute to keep up. I even dropped the babe off for four hours at a home daycare so I could attend my daughter’s school program and pack for the trip in peace and quiet. I should have been doing well, and I was for a while. But the hours slipped through my fingers like seconds. I went and went until the end of the day. I was a stressed mess, waffling between high emotion and complete emptiness.

Before I knew it, it was 9:10 p.m. and I was just getting into bed. The alarm was set for 1:55 a.m. I was down to 5 hours of sleep if everything went perfectly.

The clock ticked. I was hot and uncomfortable. I tossed and turned. I was wide awake. 11:55 babe woke up crying. I moved to the chair to try another sleeping position. Nothing worked. I was wide awake.

By the time 1:18 a.m. rolled around, I realized there was no way I was going to sleep one minute this night before the Compassion International sponsor trip. Sleepless and stressed was NOT the way I wanted to start this trip. Sleepless and stressed was NOT what I had planned for this day.

So I started praying.

I put my hands on my head and prayed I would write the words He wants me to write.

I put my hands on my eyes and prayed I would see what He sees.

I put my hands on my heart and prayed I would feel what He feels.


Then I got up. And I started moving into the day. Because this is the day that the Lord has made, and today He invited me on a sponsor trip.

I tried to sleep on the plane. But it didn’t work. Believe it or not, people were talking! Big, loud plane beeps stirred me awake the second I started falling asleep. My seat mates had to get up to go to the bathroom. They ate the most disgusting smelling peanut snack. And people kept rustling their plastic bags.

A few minutes after I gave up on sleep, the attendant announced “Buckle your seatbelts, we’ve begun our descent into Miami.”

So here I am. At the Miami International Airport. I’m waiting for my 40+ travel partners to arrive.

I didn’t get my second pre-trip blog post published yesterday.

I didn’t get a minute of sleep last night.

And I’m empty. Barren. Hollowed out.

I’m a vessel, in waiting.

I’m remembering the words I wrote last August 8, 2014, in a blog post announcing this sponsor trip I’d be taking to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International

“The moments will be orchestrated by God himself. The stories, prepared in advance for us to tell. May our words be a vessel through which He speaks truth about the value of every human life.”

I’m empty. Barren. Hollowed out.

A vessel, in waiting.

This isn’t the way I wanted to start this trip.

But apparently, it’s the way God wanted me all along.

Hollow. Empty. Barren. A vessel for Him to occupy. So He can live, speak and work through me on this trip. Blessed be the name of the Lord. If I must be empty, may I be filled with Him.

This week, I’m joining Compassion International on a sponsor trip to the Dominican Republic. I’m not on the ground yet, but I’m on my way. It’s an honor to share this trip with writers Kris Camealy and Sandra Heska King. Join us, will you, as we capture all the beautiful stories on our blogs? Perhaps as you hear more about Compassion’s great work with children in extreme poverty, you’ll be moved to sponsor a little one yourself. Click here and you’ll be directed to the sweet faces of children waiting for a sponsor

This blog post is part of a three-week series I’m writing about my journey to the Dominican Republic. Click here to read all the posts from my series.

If your heart has been touched by the words in this blog post, would you be so kind as to share it with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, and via email? I would be so grateful. The more we spread the word about Compassion and the great work they’re doing, the more sweet children will be released from extreme poverty. Thank you, friends.





  1. Josie Colleran says:

    I’m good friends with Tara Dorn and saw her post and read a bit of your blog. I, too, have a compassion child in the Dominican Republic so it intrigued me right away to read on. She’s 8 years old and lives in the Southeast part of Puerto Plata and her Student Center she goes to is Corazones Alegres. I hope someday to do the same thing you are doing and visit so I will be reading about your journey there. Praying for you and your journey there!

  2. Isn’t it amazing when we think we have so much to do before a trip and God has other plans? I pray you are able to get the rest you need so you can enjoy the time you have on this trip!

  3. It’s much easier for God to fill something that’s empty I’m thinking. Praying hard as we all lean into Him and let Him take care of things at home. I’m so grateful to be able to share these next few days with you. xoxo

    • Amy says:

      Sandra, it was a blessing and delight to share the journey with you, friend. I hadn’t known what it felt like to be that empty. And later in the trip, I hadn’t known what it felt like to be that broken and ready to receive. Thank you for the love you showed throughout the week.

  4. Carol Femling says:

    Hope you can get some sleep tonight! You have had your plate full since Thursday morning, but you are bound and determined to get to these sweet children in the Dominican Republic no matter what! You have a great heart !! You are going to be living your dream in a few short hours. God Bless you as you continue on. We are praying for you and your family and we are trusting that all will be well!!! Love you!!

  5. Tiffany Femling says:

    May God fill us, when we feel empty!

  6. Jaimie West Bowman says:

    Praying for you Amy! That God will give you his grace and strength – and the energy you need.

  7. Crystal Stine says:

    Love this post, and you, friend. So honored to watch God work through you and this dream of yours and will be praying that He shows up in big, huge, soul healing kind of ways this week. Safe travels, and give my love to all those beautiful families you’ll be meeting. This gal from small town PA just loves the heck right out of them already.

  8. Tricia Wells Olson says:

    Amy…my sweet friend! God is going to do great things with and through your words!! I’m so excited and honored to read your words and feel the heart of these children and cry along with you, the joys and heartbreaks you’ll experience along the way! More then anything…I’m excited to for the people here that have no idea yet that God will call to sponsor one of these sweet babies/children and the lives that will be saved! Praying for you continuously! God’s got this!!!

  9. Monica Anderson Palmer says:

    Awe & wonder overwhelm my heart and my face is wet with tears of the provision of the Lord. He’s remarkable and you are too! I’m so honored to just know you much less join with you in prayer. God is good! Love & hugs!

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