When All You Have is a Half Empty Basket

I don’t have much to give.

But I have a lot to do.

Do you know that place? The one where you have a list a mile long, pressure that is suffocating, responsibility that is frightening and a host of people asking for more?

Sure you do. If you’re a mom, this is what you call life.

Yesterday someone asked me to email them a link and I burst into tears.  Apparently I found my breaking point and it all came crashing down with a recipe. A RECIPE, people.

My house is a pile of suitcases and lists and stressed out people. There have been ugly words this week, tears over lost things and grief over things we need to lose. We are the most unlikely crew to get on a plane at the end of the week and fly across the globe again to Kenya and spend our time serving these girls and their babies.

We don’t always know where our yes will lead us. And we don’t always feel qualified to follow.

But we go.

when you feel unqualified

I can’t help but think of a little boy in a Bible story from a long time ago. The one who said yes, I have a lunch to share in a mass of hungry people.

His basket was half empty or half full, depending on how you see baskets.

He didn’t have much.

His small offering wasn’t enough to meet the need. Sounds familiar.

But Jesus didn’t need the contents of his basket. He just need the little boy to offer it.

And today, with stacks of laundry teetering dangerously, arguing children, a sink full of dishes and loads of packing and decisions before me, I’m holding up my basket too.

It isn’t much, y’all.

My offering looks a lot like a couple of stale pieces of bread and left over fish.

Hardly worth giving.

But I’m holding up my half-empty basket to God. It’s filled with a desire to tell a story and a lot of fear and it’s all I’ve got. The world says it’s not enough to feed the mass, they say I’m not enough. And they are right.

But God is enough. He is strong where I am weak.

When God breaks my offering, He breaks me. I want to give my life away. Piece by piece. He blesses it. Multiplies my insignificant gift and makes it enough.

And maybe today you need a cup of coffee and a long break. A break from your half empty life, your not-good-enough offering. Your smallness. Your list that is too long, your messy house, your marriage that is half of what you want it to be, your bills that are too big, your calling that is too hard.

Listen, close. This is God’s truth whispered in your ear: God doesn’t want you to be a perfect mother or wife. He isn’t waiting for you to get your act together. He isn’t shaking His head at your pathetic basket offering. He simply wants you to offer what you have.

Because He will make it enough.


  1. 1


    Wow, Kristen. You always speak such truth, and I really needed this particular one today. We’re an Air Force family, and we just moved from Oregon to England two weeks ago. My kids are 6 (just celebrated his birthday this weekend in a foreign hotel with no friends or family or cake or candles), almost-3 and 7 months. Our stuff has been gone for 2 months, traveling on a ship to get here, and so we’ve been living out of a suitcase. My kindergartner is out of school, obviously, while we find one for him here, we won’t get to move out of the hotel for another 2 weeks and the lack of routine is killing everyone. I haven’t had a break away from my kids in weeks, and the toll is really starting to get to me. Thanks, friend, for posting today.

    • 1.1

      Meagan says

      I’m not sure if you’ll see this or not, Crystal, but I was wondering where you are in England? My very best friend in the world lives in England (her hubby is USAF too), and if by some miracle you were near one another, I’d love to connect you! She has a first grader, a kindergartener, and a new baby due next month!

  2. 5


    As others have shared, this is so timely. The Lord used you and this post to speak to me tonight in a hotel room in Nanjing, China. We are adopting two children, one of whom is medically fragile. Over the weekend, I felt so many of the emotions that you shared…suffocated, scared and WAY too weak to handle what God is asking me to do. This post is one of the many ways the Lord is speaking to me. So grateful for your very vulnerable posts. Such a gift!

  3. 6

    Stephanie says

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve been feeling this way a lot, and needed the reminder that God doesn’t expect me to be enough. He wants me to need him …

  4. 8

    Jimmie Lee says

    This also reminds of the woman who gave her penny, it was all she had, small to everyone else but huge to her Jesus. What I give, if its everything, its huge to my Jesus!

  5. 9


    In tears. Feeling empty, feeling drained and poured out and wondering how to make the ends meet when 2+2=4 no matter what I do and the bank account doesn’t even have 2 much less the 4 needed. At some point I’ll be able to sit and respond more on my own blog, feel that need but not sure I can do it right now.

    Prayers for you and your family on your journey. Prayers for that knowing inside that everything is going to be all right even when on the outside looking in it looks so darn chaotic. I know the hardest part for me is letting go of the perfection that I want to feel I have even though it is nothing but chaos and not even organized chaos at that. Blessings to you…..

  6. 10

    Lisa says

    Thank you for this. My basket is so empty and my list so long I actually went on strike this morning. My list is nothing as meaningful as traveling to a distant country to spread the word and help the women of Mercy House, it’s not an adoption and changing the life of a child in China, it isn’t even being an amazing wife and mother traveling with my husband overseas. My list is basketball practice, dirty dishes, chores undone, dinner to make, a full time job to work, and a husband who deserves more than my left overs.

    I’ve been mostly empty lately. Just completely out of gas and I don’t feel like I have nothing more to give. Thank you for reminding me that what I have is enough for God. I needed to know that he’s ok with me being behind on everything.

    Thank you for your words. Thank you for being so godly that you speak what He wants me to hear. Be safe on your trip!

  7. 11


    beautifully done.
    When I pray with my young Sunday school charges who faithfully bring their quarter or loonie to our offering basket – I always thank them for showing their big hearts and that God will do BIG things with it: no matter how small.
    And normally we put that offering towards some mission minded community project – it may just be a basket of food for a local family – but we make sure they see what all those quarters can do when blessed and used by a great big God!

  8. 12


    This is so good! I have often told those who are struggling that no matter what your circumstance, no matter where you are, no matter what you’ve done, God can, and will meet you there if you call upon Him. I’m so thankful that he isn’t looking for the perfect vessel to use, just one that is willing. He is waiting with outstretched arms to help us, we need but ask.

  9. 13

    Juli vrotney says

    Kristen, I will be praying for you and your family as you get ready to go…and as you serve over there. How exciting…yet scary…? May the Lord bless you all in thus.

  10. 14

    Katie says

    Have you been reading my mail? This gave me goosebumps, its like you’re in my head. Well, we both know its the Lord. Thank you for this post that literally could not have come on a better day. Prayers for your sweet family as you serve Him in Kenya this Thanksgiving

  11. 18

    Nancy says

    Perfect-this may be my favorite entry ever. Feeling that I’m never enough. Well, of course I’m not-not w/o Jesus. Thank you!! Praying for your trip, your sweet family and all those girls and babies!

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