When A Mother Has Nothing Left

Posted on Posted in Children

At some point in most of our lives as mothers, we feel…empty.  We feel as though there is nothing left to give.  Nothing left to provide.

We have been giving and giving and giving.  And now we are out.  We wonder how we will ever provide for our children.  Maybe we even start to feel like a bad mother–unable to physically care for our children.

This reminds me of one of God’s love stories.  A story of a mother who loved her child dearly, but who ran out of options.

Today let’s look at the love story of the single mother and her son who were at the end of their rope.

…when [Elijah] came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.”  As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.”  But she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.”  Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son.  “For thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth.’”  So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days.  The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through Elijah.                           1 Kings 17:10-16


Although I never want to see a widow suffering with her child, and although I cannot identify with that situation, her story encourages me in my mothering–especially on my empty days.  Here are 5 lessons specific to motherhood that I can take away from this passage.


1.  When we are at the end of our ropes, there is always something left to give.

This single mother is literally preparing to die.  And she is preparing for her son to die as well.  If I put myself in her shoes, I would likely be feeling like a failure as a mother.  Here I am, gathering sticks and hoping to be able to make a fire to feed my child one last time, and then watch him starve to death.  Is there anything worse?

Oh, wait, a man comes along who understands the situation and says, Don’t worry about it.  Make me bread instead.  Can you even imagine?  Would I be able to give the only thing I have keeping my son alive for one more day to another person?

Yet this is the situation this widow finds herself in.  In the midst of imagining her and her son starving to death, the Lord sends His messenger to her and asks for all that she has.  And not just to give it to this man–but to prepare it for him as well.

2.  The Lord always provides for mothers who are willing to serve Him first.

The Lord sends His messenger to this single, starving mother who likely believes she can’t serve her family any longer and asks, Will you serve me?  Now, granted, He also tells her He will provide for her–fair enough.  But if a man came to my door and asked the same, would I believe Him?  Do I believe God when He asks for all I have and tells me He will provide?

3.  The Lord provides exponentially for mothers willing to put Him above their children.

I wish I could say I would put the Lord above my children at all times.  I really do.  I think about Abraham willing to offer Isaac–his only son as sacrifice–by his own hands.  I don’t know if I could do that.  Abraham was amazing in his faith, and so was this woman in my book.

She gives all she has to the servant of the Lord.  And in return He not only replaces what she gave, but increases it by so much it can’t even be measured.  Her oil and water didn’t run out according to what the Lord had said (or, until He sent rain–providing by a different avenue).

4.  Thy Maker is thine husband (Isaiah 54:5)

In her time, men worked.  A husband provided for the family.  She didn’t have the option to put her child in day care and work an equal job for equal pay.  Without a husband, a child and single mother didn’t stand much of a chance.

But God stepped in.  He sent a messenger to her gate.  He asked if she would serve Him and when she said yes He blessed her beyond what she could have thought of on her own.  He was her provider.

5.  We can wake up in the morning at our absolute lowest as a mother–but when we serve God unabashedly, we can go to bed that night having had the best day ever.

She woke up with the thought she would watch her child starve to death.  By the end of the day, her means of provision was never-ending.


Above all, this is a sobering lesson to any mother.  I can’t imagine putting something above God.  But like Abraham and this widow, He wants to know He is more important to us than anything–including our children.  And like Abraham and this widow, He will bless us abundantly when respond in obedience.

At some point, each mother is in a position where she feels she has nothing left. She is on empty. She has nothing to offer. Looking at a lesson in love from a single mother in 1 Kings. Join us and take away a valuable lesson she left us.

Have you been tested yet?


19 thoughts on “When A Mother Has Nothing Left

  1. Beautiful post! God is our provider and sometimes it takes us being at the end of ourselves for us to really notice. Thank you for sharing this today!

  2. When we come to our end, the place of knowing we cannot provide all, the God shows up! It really is all about having faith in Him as our provider, for ourselves and our children. Sometimes the walk is hard.

  3. I truly appreciatee this post, especially the scripture reading. Just a reminder of His provision for us as mommas. Isaiah 54 is one of my very favorite chapters. 😉

    Failure isn’t a bad word, sometimes we have to fail to realize we can’t control anything.


  4. This is such a wonderful and inspiring post. I don’t think there is a Mom out there that hasn’t felt that way. I love the way you gave a detailed outline of things all Mom’s should keep in mind.

    Thank you for sharing this post on the SHINE Blog Hop!

    Wishing you a fabulous weekend!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx
    Welcome to My Circus
    Co-host #SHINEbloghop 2/5

  5. Such good points in this article… I have seen God’s faithfulness and His enduring strength time and again…. It seems that sometimes He likes to take us to that point of nowhere else to go… so we can recognize that it was Him we needed all along.

  6. Oh this speaks to me! Thank you for sharing such truth! I have been empty MANY times as a mom… and yes, oh yes- God does provide!

    Such a beautiful post of encouragement and wisdom.

  7. I kind of felt like that on Friday. By last Wednesday, I was frustrated and just plain exhausted. I had to make the choice to close my work email and rest with my family for the entire weekend (and it was a long weekend here in BC!). It sure made a difference.

  8. Thank you for this post. I am a stay-at-home homeschooling mom who has been suddenly thrust into the world of being single. The emotions, stress, finances, and schooling has often left me feeling like I have nothing left to give my precious hurting and grieving children.
    This post is a great reminder of Who my source really is.

    1. He is our rock and all we really need–but that can be a hard thing to wrap our minds around–especially when we are grieving. May He expedite your healing and bring you all closer to Him.

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