blessed are the vacancies


My beautiful sister Jill spent a long weekend with us last week. This girl.

She goes through life with a heart ripped so wide open for other people, she bleeds. She looks for–I mean really looks for–the people who are neglected, awkward, and unlovable. She finds those empty places in people and pours the love of Christ, the Word of God, and the murmurings of the Holy Spirit into it. She leads worship like a warrior, knowing songs of praise are a weapon against the enemy. She wields them without fear, blazing a path for others to follow.

But that’s not why I look at her and see a hero of faith. She’s a hero to me because she has wounds. She’s lonely and hurting and she’s honest about it. And in spite of that, she fills other people. She digs into her emptiness and pulls out blessing for others.

Like this weekend. Jill has a job and responsibilities and bills and friends, but she left all that with only 10 days notice because she knew I needed her. I didn’t even say anything, she just looked at me and saw emptiness and wanted to come fill it.

Sitting outside painting our toenails, we talked about where we were and how life is messy and how we’re searching for God in all the disappointments. Then she said something I haven’t stopped thinking about since.

Blessed are the vacancies.

Isn’t that what Jesus said? Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.

Blessed is the aching emptiness.

Blessed is the person alone, blessed is loneliness.

Blessed is silence when you need an answer.

Blessed is the disappointment.

Why? I don’t know. I don’t know why in God’s mysterious economy lack equals reward. But I don’t have to understand why to trust.

So Father, for me and for Jill, bring us the blessing in this barren moment.

jill on the beach




  1. Shanna

    This made me cry. Add Jill to the long list of your family members I want to meet and be friends with. Blessed are the vacancies. That is so good.

  2. mom

    “Stop making me cry.” This is what I was going to say before I read Shanna’s remarks. So now I’ll say “Go ahead. Keep writing. Make me cry.” Love you two so much!

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