• Lauren Vancil


With my 19th birthday coming up tomorrow, I wanted to write this post to honor the many amazing women in my life. Thank you for loving and supporting me through everything.

It was this time eight years ago when I celebrated my first birthday without my mom here. It had only been a little over a month with her being gone, and I was already doing a big celebration without her. I remember it being a fun birthday party, but it was weird. Something was missing, like we were incomplete. That was the very first of many events without her and having those empty feelings. Going to and being a part of big events and celebrations is nothing but hard without your mom by your side. She wasn’t here to help me get ready. She wasn’t here to do all the “girly” things. She wasn’t here to help coordinate and plan. She wasn’t here to attempt to make food for all the guests, but instead ended up burning it all :)

Years have come and gone, and I've been through many moments of feeling “motherless.” At competitions, I didn’t have her there to help me with my makeup, hair, and those quick changes. Looking around in the dressing rooms, almost EVERYONE had a mom helping them with every little thing. Then when it was time to go on stage, those moms were out in the audience cheering them on with the biggest smiles on their faces. I didn’t have that. At school dances, I didn't have her here to help me pick the perfect dress, to drive me around to get all ‘beautified,’ to get pictures with me and my date, and then at the end of the day to tell me how beautiful I looked. During holidays, she wasn’t here to help cook the Thanksgiving dinner. She wasn’t here to go watch the most awesome fireworks show on the Fourth of July. She wasn’t here to sit around on Christmas morning with our family to open gifts and talk about all our memories made during the season, and to just soak in the family atmosphere. She just wasn’t here, and you could feel it at every event. We were incomplete, and I felt empty.

I’ve always felt an emptiness without her being here. I’ve looked around, watched moms and daughters love on one another, and I would smile at the fact that they had something so special. Although, deep down it would hurt me so badly. I didn’t have that, and I thought I never would. I have been blessed with an amazing family and an extraordinary dad who has taken on both parent roles. My family gives me abundant love and support in everything I do; we’ve made so many amazing memories over the years. Although it still leaves me feeling like it is nothing like the love I know my mom would’ve given me, and how different would our memories be if she were still here.

When your stomach is empty, what is the first thing you do? That’s right, you fill it with food. My question is though; do you fill it with healthy or junk food? Man, when you fill yourself with junk, you just end up feeling so gross, don’t you? I do. But, when you feed it healthy things, you feel amazing, right? So, what do you do when your heart feels empty? What do you try and fill it with? Is it good or bad things?

As I said before, I have felt these empty feelings for a long time. These last eight years of my mom being gone - I'm going to be honest, I have tried filling those empty places with so many wrong things, but more so the wrong people. This time last year, I was at my lowest point, and that is exactly when God smacked me in the face with a HUGE realization that I was not around the right people. He was showing me things, making me feel certain ways, and taking people out of my life that didn't need to be there anymore. And that’s when I fully started pursuing Him more. Here's the funny thing - this is around the time last year when my dad and his fiancée, Jodie got together. What does that have to do with the story? Well, ever since that day when we all had our first lunch together, I have felt our family is complete.

So, right when I finally realized I was filling my emptiness with the wrong things, and started filling them with God, He provided something I had been longing for. When I stopped feeding myself junk, making myself miserable, and started feeding myself healthy things, I very quickly felt healthy again.

As I sat back and looked at my life during the times I was feeling so empty, I quickly realized that God provided things for me to help me fill those voids in my life. I just wasn’t taking the time to realize it. At recitals, competitions, and dances, my Aunt Michelle was always there to help me with whatever I needed and to let me know how proud of me she was. At church and special occasions, my Aunt Sandy was there to give me a big ole hug and tell me how much she loves me. When my mom first passed, my good friend Dashelle stepped in and took care of me and was willing to do whatever we needed to help us get back on our feet. My MaMa, she was always my biggest supporter from the great state of Georgia. She never failed to let me know how proud of me she was and give me the biggest kiss on the cheek every visit I got with her. And then Jodie, she came in so quickly, but at the perfect time. She has helped fill that void in our family, made us feel complete again, and has brought so much light, love, and joy to us all. All of these women were here at my lowest points, and at the times I felt most empty, even though I never was, I just let myself feel that way. They weren’t replacing my mom, or even trying to… they were just loving me the same way my mom would and helping fill those voids I so deeply needed to fill.

All of this is to say God can fill those empty feelings. He did for me, so why wouldn’t he for you? Right when I started leaning on Him, He filled that hole in my heart. But he also made me see I was never empty and He had been filling me up for years with so many amazing women around me. Listen to in the message of Colossians 2:9-10. “Everything of God gets expressed in Him, so you can see and hear Him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without Him. When you come to Him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.” It says it right there. When you realize that God can fill up those empty places, He will. Or He even may have been for years, but you just need to take a step back and see it. See what He’s providing for you.

I want to leave you with this. How will you fill up those empty places in your life? Are you going to fill them with the wrong, unhealthy, people? Or will you fill it with the healthy things, such as God and all the loving people around you? If you will do this for me as well, don’t take those loving people around you for granted. Always be thankful for the things you have, the people you have, and the memories you have with them. You never know when the last time could be the last time, so always let them know your love for them.

God can and will fill those empty holes for you. Whether it’s with loving people or Him, He will. He will never leave you alone and will always provide for you in the right timing for you. Now, I would love to hear how you’ve filled those empty places. What are the good or bad ways you’ve tried filling them? How have they made you feel? I love hearing from you, because it keeps me inspired and helps me heal just that much more! I pray that this week is a beautiful blessed week for you, filled with lots of joy and breakthroughs! Thank you reading and remember girl, you’re not alone!

~ Check this song out to get your day started! ~