I have nothing left to give. I am so very weary. Spent. Do you ever feel like that? Our little foster baby has been with us for almost ten months now. He’s slowly transitioning home, but there is no set reunification date. On Sunday at church a friend asked if I always have the baby with me during the service, and it hit me that for nine months I have got five kids plus a G-tube baby ready for church and then cared for the baby all during church. (#husbandservingonworshipteam) It’s a lot. Life is a lot right now. And I’m tired.
The Old Testament story of the widow’s oil keeps coming to mind. I think it can be a great encouragement to us mamas who are feeling very depleted.
One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, has died. You know that your servant feared the Lord. Now the creditor is coming to take my two children as his slaves.”2 Kings 4:1
Can you hear her desperation? Her feelings of abandonment and hopelessness are palpable. Her husband is gone and her precious children are about to be taken from her. For the weary mom: sometimes we feel like even the supports that used to help are being taken from us. The hard is unbearable and just keeps piling up.
Elisha asked her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
She said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”2 Kings 4:2
The man of God is ready to help and he wants to start with what she actually has. And it’s not much. For the weary mom: sometimes it really feels like we have nothing left . . . the rooms of our heart and soul and energy are empty. But with God, it’s never absolutely nothing. There’s always a little something, and that’s where we start.
Bring what you have to Jesus. Ten minutes at the close of the day. A couple of minutes while the baby drinks their bottle. Time to listen to a podcast or the audio Bible while you’re in the school pick-up line. Bring to Him the little faith that remains, the seed of trust, the kernel of hope.
Then he said, “Go out and borrow empty containers from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side.” So she left.
After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. When they were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”
But he replied, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt; you and your sons can live on the rest.”2 Kings 4:3-7
A couple of observations. First, this mom needed the help of her community. Their empty jars helped supply for her need. Second, the prophet told her: do not get just a few. In other words, collect a lot! Anticipate that God is going to help in a big way. Third, she needed to shut the door behind her and obey in secret. Her children were witnesses to and partners in this obedience. Fourth, she kept pouring and the provision kept coming. It was simple: jars & oil. But it was also miraculous and sufficient: enough to pay for all of the debt and then enough excess to live on the rest.
For the weary mom: don’t forget about community. They can supply where you lack—just like this mother, who had the oil but needed jars. She had to humble herself and ask. Reach out, share, be vulnerable, find your people, go to church, say the words, ask for help.
. . . don’t forget to anticipate that God can do a lot with your little. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). Needs met according to His riches, not yours.
. . . don’t forget to give Him your secret obedience. “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:4). Faithfully pray and worship and read the Word and love your children—daily obedience that no one necessarily affirms or acknowledges. It’s not flashy or postable on social media, but God sees and He rewards.
. . . don’t forget to keep on keeping on! The widow kept on pouring and God kept on supplying. Her life situation did not change, still God provided exactly what she needed in the midst of her actual life. And He provided even more than she expected: not only was the debt paid but God provided for their future as well. Our debt of sin is paid and we are given abundant life! “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:9-10
When we are weary, let’s start small—bring what little we have to Jesus, pursue community, expect God to do with our little what only He can do, keep obeying in secret, and keep on pouring out, confident that God will keep on supplying what is needed.
Remember: when we have nothing left, we still have Jesus.