Loneliness has been a huge struggle for me the past two years. I got engaged to my husband right after high school and we got married after my first semester at college. I have not been single since high school, and that really doesn’t count. So at age forty, for the first time in my life I am learning what it means to be single.
I don’t have any opportunities to date in my small town in Missouri and so I have learned to rely on my kids, the youth I teach, and other women friends for companionship. I am grateful that I have those people in my life, but I have felt the void of not having a partner to bounce ideas off, to co-parent with me, and to offer me encouragement. I miss the comfort and the support that comes from being loved and being in a solid relationships where I had little to no insecurities. I am learning a little bit about the pain that so many people experience… I am learning about loneliness.
How do I embrace that painful experience and learn from it?
That has been the question I have asked myself when the inevitable waves come that cause actual physical pain and panic to well up inside of me. I find myself crying on my knees, asking God to just take it away from me…. The other night was one of those nights again.
I was there, on my knees, for quite a while pouring out my soul, and after I had said all that could be said, I was finally still and I listened…
“Peace be unto thy soul.”
Words of comfort flooded into my mind and I was reminded that I would not have to feel this way forever. I was reminded that if I endured this well, that it would work for my good and teach me important things that I needed to learn.
I was reminded to be “Patient in my affliction.”
After a good hour of crying, I felt temporarily held… or cocooned in a blanket of peace and love. I didn’t want to move, I just wanted to stay there and feel peace and not have to deal with tomorrow or dinner or one of the other hundred things on my plate…
but those moments are not for extended lingering.
They are refueling stations for the active enduring and use of patience that must be expended to reach the intended reward.
Those moments are for remembering….
remembering that I need to trust God to work it out.
Remembering that I need to want what He wants if I want His help to accompany me along this rough road. Remembering that my existence if more than for just today, its more than the problems I am currently facing or what I think I need and want right now.
I am reminded of how upset I was with God in the beginning that my house would not sell. I wanted so badly to move, to escape and to get near family that could help me. It seemed like a good desire and I simply could not understand why God would not grant me my wish, especially after He had taken my husband. I felt He owed me that.
Now two years later, I look back at all that has transpired and I see that He had a better plan for my children and I. It isn’t all worked out yet, but the pieces that are fitting together are good. I see that He has helped me deal with some of the hard stuff, I see the people that I have been able to help and who have influenced my children and I, I see the spiritual growth that that would not have happened if I had moved.
God knew what was better… He knows what is better.
God looks further ahead at the future that I do… He understands that lessons need to be learned now if I am to be happier later. He understands that foundational pieces need to be put into place before I can start rebuilding my life.
He encourages me to be patient and to wait on Him while those things are learned and time works her way.
Timing is often everything, and a person who can be patient for the right time can reap the greater blessings.
“Patience displays confidence that “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42), that all things will be accomplished in the Lord’s way. We should not make the mistake of viewing patience as being idle, indifferent, apathetic, or nonchalant. Patience does not abdicate responsibility, nor does it simply give us a seat on the sideline of events. Patience brings balance and perspective. Think about it. We need patience most when things seem out of control or out of step with what we had intended. Patience has to be applied immediately and often to wounds that are slow to heal. In contrast, impatience is to try to assert our own timetable on life, to assume we know more than God knows. What folly! This impatience with our earthly experience is a signal that we are not sure of God’s omniscience and a rebuke of the view of life as “a time to prepare to meet God.” – Elaine Jack, “All This Way for That?”
As I am patiently waiting for the loneliness to end, I can use this time to reach out to others who are lonely. I can study more and fill my spiritual reserves; I can practice patience with my children. As I do these good things, seek to know the Lord’s will for me, and not try to push my will and timing on Him, He will bless me with comfort and strength to get through this.
As that strength and comfort comes, and when I look back on this someday, I will see more clearly how this needed to be. I will see how it strengthen and expanded my faith. I will see how it prepared me for new experiences in the future.
For now, I can place my faith and trust in His plan for my life. I can remember the feelings of peace and assurance that I have felt on my knees.
And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. -Luke 1:45
These are the things I remind myself when the loneliness is crushing… This is where the “Patience of Hope” comes into play.
- How can you choose to look at the difficult circumstances in your life differently to enable you to patiently wait?
- In what ways have difficulties taught you important lessons?
Things I have studied:
Elaine Jack, “All This Way for That?”
Eyring, Henry B, “A Law of Increasing Returns”