Empty Altars

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Have you ever made yourself feel nothing because you fear if you allow yourself to experience pure joy that your happiness will be stolen from you? This is how I felt when I was a newlywed. I was blissfully happy – in a way I didn’t know was possible for an average person. But I repressed so many emotions because I was petrified that my special moments would vanish and I would be left with nothing.

Sounds sad, doesn’t it?

It is sad, but I was desperately trying to save myself from potential pain. So, I stifled laughter and happiness with the intention of protecting myself from harsh disappointments and dishonored promises.

When I was little, I had friends who would wear a white dress, a toilet paper veil, and hold a bouquet of dandelions. They would walk down an imaginary aisle to an empty altar.

The older I became, the more empty altars I encountered.

You know, the altar you dream of in your mind when you meet someone who tells you all the right things and who checks off most of the boxes on your prayer list. Or, the empty altar you encounter when God doesn’t answer your prayer the way you expected.

Becoming vulnerable positions you to grow in your relationships, but it can also have damaging results if you share intimate details of your life with someone who does not have your best interest at heart. If (or when) a breakup happens, we are left with broken hearts, shattered dreams, and empty altars.

Empty altars because you were not just thinking about the moment, but planning for the future. Empty altars because your expectations were not met.

Every time I found myself broken, I rediscovered an altar of prayer.

I learned that God will never waste pain.

The circumstances in your life that break you – whatever it may be – can be repurposed into something of value, but only if you allow God to bring healing into your life. Trust me; it is better to hurt for a little while now than to hurt for the rest of your life if you are outside of the will of God.

I didn’t get to this place overnight. I had to learn how to stand up for myself. I had to learn my worth. You are worth pursuing, you are worth waiting for, and you are worth loving.

It does matter who you marry.

Empty altars have led me to answered prayers and eventually led me to the beginning of a beautiful marriage with someone who encourages me to be myself, supports my dreams, and who blesses my life with happiness. When you feel empty please don’t lose hope because God desires to fill you with His purpose, His calling, and His perfect will.

3 thoughts on “Empty Altars

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  1. Beautifully and honestly written! You described two years of my life. That place of being broken made me hard inside. I motivated myself with the false idea that nobody could hurt me anymore because I didn’t have anything left to break. I recklessly shared a broken piece here and there, all the while harboring bitterness for those who used me, denying the pain of the one who hurt me, and hatred for myself at what I had done and become. I knew God still loved me and could heal me, but in my stubbornness, I punished myself because I “didn’t deserve” his mercy or healing…as if anyone could ever deserve it. It was only after I opened myself back up to God that healing began. When I finally allowed myself to cry and feel something again, then God began to restore me, and to use people that I had kept out, to minister to me. I had to let God have my broken pieces, not because I was deserving, but because he wanted me. I’m still learning to build and rebuild my altar and to live my life a living sacrifice so he can make something beautiful in me. Thank you for allowing God to do a beautiful work in your life! I enjoy reading your blogs!

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    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you for your honest feedback, your story is beautiful to read. Have you heard the song, “Gracefully Broken?” That song reminds me of certain processes God puts us through sometimes. The word ‘restore’ is one of my favorite words in the English language and it encapsulates the character of God. I am so thankful that He is in the restoration business, I do not know where I would be without Him helping me put the broken pieces of my life back together again – He is so faithful! You most certainly have a powerful story to tell, Sarah – I am blessed with what you shared with me and I believe you will help a lot of people forsake their bitterness for forgiveness, and restoration for brokenness. God bless you and your family!

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  2. Very timely! Thanks for sharing Angela! At ABI, you were a very focused young lady… Wow!! God is faithful!! It’s gonna be worth the wait for me (I’m almost 40 and I’m waiting on God) because God is faithful to his word!!! Continue to be strong in the Lord!! God bless you!!

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