Tag Archive | loneliness

I will not leave you as orphans…..

Father To The FatherlessI sat in my counselors office, head bent, eyes closed, waiting with a hopeful heart. We had spent some time talking and we were now inviting Jesus into my earliest memory of being and feeling alone.

“In my minds eye I saw myself as a little girl in a room peeking around a corner into another room. I wanted to be seen, yet fear kept me half hidden.

In my vision I saw myself as a little 4 year old girl with blonde curls and wearing a pretty plaid dress. In the other room I saw Jesus standing and smiling at me as I continued to peek around the corner of the wall.  He was inviting me to join him in the room, encouraging me to not be afraid, to come to him. With hesitation I made my way further into the room where Jesus had his hand extended and was asking me to take his hand.

His eyes were gentle and soft, and there was a strength about him that invited me to trust him.  I kept my hands folded in front of my mouth, it was as if even though I took the risk and came out from behind the wall my hands were my safety hiding part of my face.
As I began to relax Jesus commented on how beautiful my dress was and how pretty I looked. His eyes twinkled with joy and he began to twirl me around, dancing with me.  My little purple, green, yellow and pink plaid dress twirled as he spun me around. Before long I found myself giggling, enjoying his laughter and presence and these carefree moments where I could dance and feel free.

After He twirled me a few times He then sat on the floor grinning from ear to ear and encouraged me to sit with him.

Briefly I felt a prickle of fear, but his kind eyes soon removed any fear. And before long I was sitting with him listening to his voice of comfort telling me that He is always with me, He has always been with me. Maybe I haven’t seen him or felt him but He was always there…..and He would never leave me or hurt me. And I need never feel alone again.”Jesus

It was at this point in my vision I began to cry. Here was a man who didn’t ask something from me in return for his kindness. He didn’t earn my trust and then violate me. He didn’t abuse me. He didn’t demand anything. There was no ulterior motive in his invitation other than to love me and offer me his presence.

I felt safe, so safe….no longer alone. And I knew from this time on I could trust Jesus to stay with me.As my counselor prayed for me I would forever be changed as the Holy Spirit brought healing to the heart of the little girl who fought so hard to survive. The little girl who although was abandoned by all who were to love and protect her, was truly never alone, and would never be alone again.

I’m not sure if you know this or even believe it but in large part we are spiritual beings. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is a spiritual relationship.

Even if you and I are unaware, we have been given spiritual eyes and spiritual ears to see and hear Jesus. He tells us in His word that His sheep know His voice. This is a spiritual hearing.

We are invited to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. This is a spiritual seeing.

jesusIt has been said that much that binds our minds and thoughts, attacks our health and relationships, and harms our hearts, is spiritual.

The real enemy is not flesh and blood.

In our own life and in the lives of those we love, we need to understand there is a spiritual enemy attacking from a spiritual realm.

Not only as children but even as adults we can form beliefs and make decisions based upon facts we see with physical eyes or hear with our physical ears. But friends, there is a truth above the facts. Reality is what God sees, not what we see. God sees the whole picture and He desires to share that with you and I.

In my journey I have discovered that when I desire healing, when I desire to see what God sees, He will illuminate His written Word.
He will speak to my heart with His “still small voice” and illuminate hurts, wounds and lies which He wants to touch. Often in prayer God will show me a foothold that the enemy has gained in my life.

Sometimes He shows me that I need to forgive. Sometimes I need to repent for holding on to hurts or sins. And sometimes I need to come to Him with my ungodly beliefs and ask Him to show me His truth.

As God reveals, He heals!!

healer

 

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Friendship is a gift….

Friend. It’s a word whose meaning can be perplexing and whose usage is often overdone in our fast-paced, social media, digital world. Increasingly, our circles of “friends” are far reaching, yet often times those relationships can be paper-thin.

Even so, there’s nothing like the sustaining strength, encouraging and life-enriching power of a true friend, a heart friend, a forever friend. And we need them now more than ever!

Maybe you are like me where I am often surrounded by people, many  whom I love dearly, yet even so, I get lonely.

I read once that women of all walks of life are crying out for community and close relationships. This need for “authentic community” is so palpable that churches and organizations everywhere are researching and publicizing these buzzwords.

Women from all ages and seasons of life find themselves at times hurting, wounded and struggling. They find themselvs lonely and long for that special friend.

Young moms who are often home alone for hours with an infant and toddler, are desperate for some adult conversation…..sadly, they find that all the women around them are too busy, or don’t initiate relationships. Maybe they get together with others for coffee, yet they still long for that one close friend….. and their soul craves intimate conversations, that friend that they feel united in spirit with, friends that infuse them with hope.

And then there are other women, whether busy with their career, or facing the empty nest, or at the season in their lives where they are busy being the caregivers for ageing parents, who find themselves lonely for deep connection.

Women who may be surrounded by people all day but still don’t feel close to anyone. Maybe they know a lot of people but can’t say that they have real close friendships.

Deep adult friendships are treasured and priceless and they seem rare some days too.

We women wrestle against the crunch of busy lives and our best intentions; against the insecurities that follow us and our desire for close relationships.

I have had best friends over the years, some moved away (or I moved away) and others, due to life changes the relationship changed. Have I been burned in friendships? Yes? Have I been betrayed and disappointed? Yes. But has it been worth it? Most definitely!

Over the years I’ve learned a few things about friendships. Friendships have many different levels. There are those friends we see occasionally, and then there are heart-friends with whom we share everything. There is a place for both in our lives.

Friendships may change with the seasons of life. We are naturally drawn to women who face the same problems and share the same dreams as we do.

But what I know to be true is that we all need friends….friendship is a part of God’s plan for our lives. In fact, Jesus placed great value on relationships. The bible tells us that He spent a lot of His time deepening relationships with a few, not with the crowds.

In Scripture one of the most beautiful portraits of friendship is found in the book of Ruth. Ruth is the story of Naomi, a godly woman, wife and the mother of two married sons. I encourage you to take the time to read it for yourself. In this book, Ruth, Naomi’s daughter in-law was willing to commit her life and time in friendship. And I have found from my own experience that friendship doesn’t just happen. True friendship takes consistent investments of time.

I love this quote: “We live in a “quick-fix” world that often fails to understand or address the relationship truth that it takes time to build a friendship. It is so easy for women to fill every time slot of every day with activity, leaving little or no room for friends. The waters of daily life are often difficult to navigate. True friends are willing to get in the boat and ride out the storm with us.”

I’ve gone through seasons of loneliness, seasons of “aloneness” and seasons of questioning God, waiting and praying for that close friend. I’ve been there….I know the heartache of feeling lost and lonely…I know the tears that come in those quiet moments when we just need someone to talk too…..even though I am married, and my husband is my “best friend” I still need women friendships….heart sisters, we all do!

Over the years my deepest girlfriend relationships have always been nurtured and rooted in prayer. First, by asking the Lord to bring into my life those special, heart friends. And then watching and waiting….sometimes these friendships come in unexpected wrappings, or maybe that special friend has been there all along but we haven’t taken the time to get to know them, and just maybe they are struggling with the very same thoughts as you….trusting God is a beautiful thing…be watching…be waiting….be expecting!! God delights to answer your prayers….

And second, we must nurture those friendships by praying for each other and praying for our families. I have been blessed with some close friends over the years that have truly come alongside me, lifting me up when I needed it, and keeping it real when I need it too. I pray for them, and I know they’re praying for me also. It’s those prayers make us better wives, daughters, mothers, and friends!

May I pray for you; for those who are fighting the loneliness or aloneness….those who desire and long for that “close heart friend,” the one who gets us, who knows us, and loves us?

“Jesus, thank You for being our ultimate Friend.  Thank you that You have never let us down or turned away from us– even when we have turned away from You. Please help us be the kind of friend You desire us to be so that Your love can flow through us in our relationships. Teach us how to invest time wisely so that each friendship is a living illustration of Your love. You know our hearts better than we know ourselves, You know the longings and desires we have for heart friends…..Friendships are risky, but they are so worth the risk….give us the courage to not only pray and ask for that heart friend, but also to watch for that special friend whom You are going to place in our lives…give us the courage to take that step, to risk rejection, knowing that You’ve got our backs!! Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to trust while we wait….

Help us to have faith in You and to wait with hopeful expectation that in Your time and in Your choosing our hearts will connect with other sisters of the heart!!

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!”

This Christmas season I will light a candle….

All too often it is at the holiday season WHEN THE PAST AND THE PRESENT COLLIDE. Whether through loss, divorce or estrangement we try to capture what we once had or we try and blot out bad memories. We try to ignore the empty chair and we try to ignore the pain and emptiness in our soul.

While most of the world seems to be addressing holiday greeting cards and planning holiday menus, those who have lost someone or a relationship are struggling with other concerns: How long does the grief last? Will the holidays always be this dreadful? What do we do with the empty place at the table? What is there to be thankful for this year?

 It’s difficult to get that place in our hearts when we can admit that nothing seems quite right in our house or in our heart this season. We may ask ourselves if we can ever be happy again? Will the sights and sounds of the holiday season ever touch us again? Will there ever be LIGHT again?

Maybe we hold our breath and hope the holidays go quickly. We doubt we can endure too long. We sit in the dark, because we think we have forgotten the light.

We wish for some sign of hope in the season of icicles, some magical sign that will keep us going until the warmth of spring arrives. We turn on all the lights in an attempt to chase away the pain, grief or loneliness.

We have EXPECTATIONS of the season, for each other and for ourselves. All too often we have a mental picture of how things ought to be. And perhaps all too often we have to admit that those expectations are based more on fantasy than reality. Or perhaps we measure success and happiness on how close we come to those expectations.

Handling the holidays may not be so much a question of how to eliminate pain and grief from our lives, but how we can learn to live with the hurt and grief rather than be consumed by it.

Yes, celebration is the theme of this season, and real life, with all its blemishes and pains, is brushed away into the dark corners of silence. However, if we chose to peek into the shadows, we will see the harsh realities that exist and are even magnified during the Christmas season. All too often the desired “peace on Earth” is disrupted by intrusive circumstances such as difficult family members, the death of a loved one, financial strain, isolation, and loneliness.

And if we ignore those visited by such unwelcome strangers is to fail in living out the very spirit of this sacred season.

And so today, as your sister in Christ, I desire to be present with you and to listen to your hearts, and to pray with you. Although I haven’t all the answers I can go to the One who does, the One who offers hope and healing.

Today I will light a candle, and as I do I will send up a prayer…..lighting a candle is a way of remembering, a way of healing, and a way of bringing hope.

A solitary candle brings light to the darkness and serves as a reminder of the power of the human spirit. The flickering flame ignites something deep inside us that connects us to each other.

As Erasmus noted; if we give light, and share light we can watch the darkness disappear.

 Lighting a candle begins by taking a moment to slow down, to focus on our intention and decide on the reason we are lighting our candle.

I invite you to light one with me, either for yourself or for those who are struggling this Christmas season…. light a candle to remember a loved one, a past relationship, or whatever other significant loss or losses that you or someone may currently be experiencing.

There is a soothing, healing effect in lighting a candle. A solitary candle brings light in the darkness; it is also a symbol of the human spirit.

The hope is that when we light a candle, it’s a reminder that Christ is alive and is the light of the world. And as we sing the Christmas carols it’s a reminder that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, not because we have to be cheery and merry, but because we don’t. God still comes to be with us. It’s OK to acknowledge loss and sadness. That’s why Jesus came – for the lonely. He came to minister to people who are hurting.

I am reminded of the words to a song by Kathy Troccoli-Go Light Your Candle;

We are a family, who hearts are blazing

So let’s raise our candles light up the sky

Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus,

Make us a beacon in darkest time

Spirit of Adoption…

 Someone once said that the word loneliness was created to express the pain of being alone, whereas the word solitude was created to express the glory of being alone. There is a definite difference between loneliness and aloneness and I think we all know the difference. To a degree, solitude is to be sought.

I don’t know if you are like me but I crave solitude, I need solitude. My time of solitude fills me up and makes me a better person, it energizes me. I don’t need a long period of solitude; a day here and there suits me just fine.

Whereas loneliness, has made me feel like I would surely be overcome by its pain. I didn’t want to feel its anguish so I would keep myself so busy to avoid its sting, to avoid feeling it or facing it.

A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the loneliest group in America is college students. Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly.

Proximity to people may have no bearing on whether one feels lonely or not.  Women can be lonely in their marriages and inside a house busy with children. We can also experience loneliness in our churches.

Tim Hansel in his book, Through the Wilderness of Loneliness, said, “Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Loneliness is “feeling” alone….no matter how many people are with you. It is the feeling of being disconnected, unplugged, left out, and isolated.”

In Hebrews 4:15-16 it says: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”

This Scripture refers to Jesus as our sympathetic and understanding High Priest….He shared in our humanity. (Hebrews 2:14) He was like his brothers in every way (2:17) Jesus knew the same loneliness that you and I may experience.

Admitting loneliness is not a negative confession but an honest, often humbling expression of our human need. We were made for connection.

I don’t know where you are today, what your circumstances are, or what has brought you to this place of loneliness. I know that many of you have experienced loneliness to the degree that I have never walked…and the last thing I want to do is cause you further hurt or sorrow. I don’t make light of the sting of loneliness….and though my journey through loneliness may be different than yours I believe at some point in our lives we all experience it. We know all too well its familiarity. The events that brought us to that place may be diverse, but the pain has the same effect, it wounds and hurts.

 I found as I’ve journeyed through my own lengthy alone time, which brought with it the ache of loneliness, was that I had choices. I could choose to face it rather than run from it. I could choose to take advantage of my time alone and embrace it with a godly purpose, as His provision for me. I could use it to spend time with Him, allowing it to become a productive experience with positive results.

Even though loneliness can make you feel like your life will never be whole again, God says He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20)

There are lessons in the loneliness if we look for them. It took me years to get to this place, to realize that my loneliness was an opportunity to remember that I am not alone.  My loneliness was an opportunity to experience the loving presence of God that promises never to abandon me but to hold me in the palm of His hands throughout my life. 

 I want to encourage you to look at times of loneliness not as something to avoid but as a chance to grow closer to God, He promises to be with you and this promise will outlive any circumstance of loneliness that you or I will ever experience in this life and into all eternity. 

Often for me it is in the evening when the enemy begins to whisper how alone I am when my husband is away working. He would taunt me with this truth and it was then that I would let down the walls that I had built to protect myself, it was then that I felt vulnerable and let myself cry…but if I was not careful I would then stay there for days, despair and hopelessness ensnaring its way around my heart, tightening its grip.  Yet, it is alone, in my place of deepest need, when I can turn to none other, that God meets me.

I’ve been reading lately about Jacob and his journey. What struck me was that a spiritual blessing was imparted as the result of a spiritual battle fought alone. Gen 32:24 “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.”

It is in those darkest times, when our spirits are lonely and our souls downhearted, when we are wrestling within ourselves and wrestling with God that we must lean into the everlasting love that God promises us.

Not too long ago I went to see my prayer counselor because I knew that my husband was soon leaving for his yearly time away, when work took him away for two months or more. I knew that the potential was there once again for loneliness to overwhelm me. So we began to pray through my abandonment issues with healing prayers. Because of my history I had experienced abandonment throughout my childhood and even in my adult years. This is one place where the enemy got a strong foothold and lies were established in my mind.

 Under abandonment was a whole host of characteristics and ungodly beliefs I often embraced or held onto. I knew it was time to let them go…loneliness, neglect, rejection, self-pity, powerlessness to name a few. I knew that I held onto them like a covering, allowing them to define me. It was time to confess them and repent, and allow God to heal them.

Through healing prayer I chose to forgive and release those who had influenced me, as well as forgiving myself for entering into and embracing these lies. In prayer we broke these powers from my life and from the lives of my descendents through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Receiving in their place God’s freedom….The Holy Spirit placed within my spirit a sense of belonging, of adoption.

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”- Galatians 4:6

For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.- Romans 8:16

I am His….I am His daughter, His child, His beloved.

Today may our Lord begin to heal those lonely places that bring you pain. I pray for those who are struggling or in a painful place that you will know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.  No matter what is going on in your life, may you remember that it will never be bigger than your God!

God can heal a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces.  ~Author Unknown