I haven’t written much about my singleness, although I’ve mentioned it a few times. Part of the reason is because I haven’t felt God leading that direction, and part of it—to be honest—is because it’s just plain old hard to write about.
But as this ministry grows and I meet more and more people, I’ve come to realize many of us have a similar story: our hearts often ache with loneliness.
It doesn’t really matter how the loneliness has come—through the loss of a marriage, the death of a loved one, the emptying of our nest as children leave home, the loss of friends, or relocation.
No matter how the loneliness makes its way to us, it hurts.
And it’s hard.
So hard that sometimes we just want to give up on life.
There’s no easy answers. I can’t give you a magic formula which will erase all your sad and lonely days. I simply want to share some things that have helped me the past five years as I’ve faced life as a single mom. I pray they will encourage you as well.
One: When I’m feeling lonely, I try to let the loneliness push me closer to God.
Awhile back, I asked myself these questions:
What if I were never lonely? What if every moment of every day was filled to bursting with interactions with people I love? Would I have any time for God? Would I desire to spend time with Him?
I’ve come to realize that one of the silver linings of loneliness is that it makes me hungry for God—it makes me long for His presence. The hard days and lonely nights drive me into the arms of Jesus just as the bitter cold drives one close to a crackling fire. And who better to dry my tears of loneliness than the One Who keeps those tears in His bottle?
“Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” (Psalm 56:8)
Two: When I’m feeling lonely, I try to find someone lonelier than I am and help them.
As I look around my church and community, I see so many hurting, lonely people.
Widows and widowers, those who have gone through divorce, those whose bodies are ravaged by time and disease, those whose children have left home—they’re all people I can encourage with a smile, a visit, or a small portion of my time.
And you know the amazing thing?
When I reach out to ease the loneliness of another person, my own loneliness gets a little less lonely. 🙂
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4)
Three: When I’m feeling lonely, I try to remember that God has given me many things to enjoy in my life, and it’s okay to enjoy them!
I fear we as Christians sometimes fall into the trap of thinking it’s somehow “unspiritual” to enjoy the things of this life. But I believe God created an amazing, wonderful, beautiful world for us to enjoy because He loves us! Just as I am thrilled to bring joy to my sons by surprising them with something they love, I believe God is thrilled when we enjoy the things He’s given us.
A few of the things I enjoy are reading and writing, playing games and watching movies with my boys, spending time with my extended family, and watching my sons play sports. All of these things have helped ease the lonely ache of my heart, and that’s okay!
Think about the things that bring you joy, and plan to do some of them the next time loneliness kicks in. You’ll be surprised at how much it helps.
(And if you need permission to enjoy life, here it is! God gave you many beautiful things to enjoy. Go enjoy them!) 🙂
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17)
Four: In the REALLY hard times, I try to remember that heaven wouldn’t be heaven if earth was perfect.
I’m going to be completely honest with you here—
Sometimes nothing helps. Sometimes I get mad and wonder why I’ve had to spend the last five years as a single mom. Sometimes I get sad when I think I may have to spend the rest of my life without a spouse to love and be loved by.
Sometimes it’s just really, really hard.
But it’s in these times when I hear the gentle whisper of God reminding me of these truths:
If everything on earth were perfect, you wouldn’t be longing for heaven.
If you were loved perfectly now, you wouldn’t know My love like you do.
Hang on, My Child. Your heart hurts now, but one day the pain will be erased.
One day I will dry your tears and you will dwell in the Presence of my Perfect Love forever.
My friend, if your loneliness is overwhelming you today, carry this verse in your heart. For the Christian, the best is always yet to come. You won’t always feel this way.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)