Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On loneliness

A few weeks ago Addie received the card that is pictured above from a little friend of hers who lives in Illinois. It was a sweet gesture and Addie loved reading the mail. At times when I see it propped up on the desk in her room, I can't help but feel a sting.

I don't like to admit it. I don't think anyone does. Being lonely is no fun.

A few weeks ago I was experiencing some pangs of homesickness, missing well-established, comfortable, easy friendships. I think those pangs were prompted by some discouragement here on the home front in Hays, so it was easy for that door to crack open and those homesick feelings to make an  unwelcome appearance.

I was able to get through it without throwing a pity party, something that, a couple of years ago, would have been natural for me. Anyone and everyone near or far from me would've known something was wrong, even if I didn't voice it, and I'd have pouted and furrowed my brows and snapped at any who dared threaten my pitiful self.

This is growth. I don't say that to pat myself on the back. I say it because as I recognized these feelings of homesickness and, ahem, loneliness, I was able to see through their haze and know with certainty that God is with me. While it's not wrong to allow myself to feel these feelings, the temptation to dwell on them and let them affect my every move wasn't there. When I realized that that is what was making me feel so different in the midst of these familiar feelings, I didn't hoop and holler and brag about growing. The truth is, I still hurt, but in that discomfort I knew (and know) my Comforter was with me.

Deuteronomy 31:6Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Sometimes we look for scripture that will comfort us, sustain us, teach us as we experience difficulty. I specifically searched for loneliness in the Bible and this is one of the many verses that came back from my search. It's easy to grab hold of the one that makes us feel the best and then move on, but as I read over the verses I came back to this one and read the context. (Read Joshua 31). Joshua is taking on a huge task. But he is not going at it alone. The Lord is going with him. He does not have to fear. He will not leave. In the verses following this verse the Bible talks about the Lord going before Joshua. So before he even takes a step, God has made the way. And then the Bible reiterates that the Lord is going with him, and that He will not leave or forsake Him.

I'm not taking on a task like Joshua's, but as my days are still peppered with feelings of missing home, or frustration or discouragement from the adjustments of being in a new place, I am comforted with knowing that there is nothing to fear. The Lord has made the way for us here, before we even got here. He is with me, I am not alone. And not only is He with me, He will not leave me.

I am thankful, so thankful, for God's patience with me and for His comfort.