Struggling through Loneliness: an Exercise in Patiently Waiting on the Lord

 

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?”

 

Comments

  1. wrote on January 24th, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Maureen

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings..Please know there are those of us that don’t know you personally, but are learning through your strength and honesty.. May the Lord continue to bless your life.

  2. wrote on January 25th, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Rebecca Miller

    Thank you for your inspiring post. It has helped me today to remember to trust in the Lord through all things. You are such a strength to others!

  3. wrote on January 25th, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Veronica Clarke

    I listed my house the day after my husband’s accident. We are waiting for it to sell before we can move. Yes, I feel that is something that I am to do, but for now, I am wait on the Lord and His timetable. When the time is right then our house will sell and it will be time to move forward, but for now, I feel that I am to wait patiently and do good things with my life.

  4. wrote on January 26th, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Heide Boyd

    Just what I needed to read tonight. My heart has been so heavy and lonely the last few months with my spouse gone. My patience in my afflictions has been being tested immensely. Faith in his timing and purposes is so important. Hugs to you and yiur beautiful testimony.

  5. wrote on January 26th, 2015 at 5:34 am

    Terry Chapman

    I was 40 also when I really realized what being single was. I had never felt the emptiness, and loneliness like this before. Have you ever wondered if you will ever be happy like you were again, without that hole or void in your heart? I hope so! With my son & husband both gone, it’s so empty sometimes in the house with us three girls. I tell my girls things will get better, they’ll get married and have a family and our lives will be full again.

  6. wrote on January 26th, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Veronica Clarke

    Yes, I think I will. When I have prayed I have felt assurances. I have to hold onto those promises and wait on the lord for his will and timing to be revealed. That scripture in Luke reminds me that if I put my faith in those prompting, that they will come. Yes, it is lonely, but for now I am trying to ask the Lord what is my role and what can I do now to help others. I find that this experience is schooling me… Slower than I would like, but it is a process

  7. wrote on February 1st, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Anonymous

    Loneliness is hard to overcome but remember that our desires are not always God’s desires for us, and any of us feeling lonely may be a necessity in God’s greater plan. The trials and tribulations we face that make us most depressed are there that God might forge us into His tools (as you said), but we have no idea what that tool will look like, what it will be used for, or where the light at the other end of the tunnel will take us. Yes, have faith knowing that God has a plan for each and every one of us but it’s in the context of a bigger plan for us all, and just as you’re being forged today, so too is the place where He needs you as part of that greater plan, and it may not be ready yet even though you are. Whether it be a future spouse, your future mission in life, etc., all things take time and our decisions everyday provide a backdrop of how God’s plan will play out and influences the time frame it’ll take but if you stay righteous and focused on Him and his will (as you are) you’ll find a blessing beyond any you could imagine and definitely not what you were looking for. I had lost my wife, was near bankruptcy, couldn’t sell my house and faced a litany of other trials. It took seveal years of sheer torture but having gone through the worst part of my life to the point that I was on the brink of ending it all by my own hands, God’s first step in His plan for me was revealed. Now, in hindsight, I see why I had to live through the pain, that He was with me at every step even during the times I thought he wasnt, and that His blessings have far surpassed anything I ever asked for, anything I could have imagined and anything i am worthy of having received. Keep the faith, keep your mind and heart open to unimaginable possibilities and know that when the time is right (for you and all involved ) the plan God has for you will be unquistionably recognizable. Just be cautious not to put your own plan in its place out of impatience.

    Lastly, remember that God loves us all and know he has blessed you with what you have today, but because there is sin in the world, the ultimate plans He has for you aren’t fulfilled in the time-frame He or we would like them to be. He sees your suffering and knows your pain but His greater plan takes precedence over any one of our individual needs as His plan is what is best for everyone if there were no more sin starting at this very moment. But it’s our sin collectively that causes the individual to experience pain only so that we can become the tools He needs as His plan is ever changing to adapt to our collective sins. Only through his tools can His plan come to fruition and we, the faithful, are his tools. Pray for His will to be fulfilled. Pray that where He needs you will be ready soon. Pray for others eyes to be open to the far reaching consequences of their sin. Pray that he holds your hand as you go through the forge to become the tool He needs you to be. The difference between a spring for a watch and rebar for concrete is how many times the iron has been through a forge. If God needs you to be a spring for a watch, you’ll have to go through the forge many times and/or longer but the reward of having an opportunity to fulfill God’s will will be beyond anything you can ever imagine.

    God Bless