I once heard loneliness described as birds coming to roost. One by one their weight bends the branch a little more, and eventually it may break, or, at least, bend beyond repair. So, how do we keep the loneliness birds away?
When my family and I evacuated for a recent hurricane we were fortunate to be welcomed into the home of my life-long friend. It was, overall, a sweet time of fellowship and friendship, however, both my husband and I suffered from loneliness.
On January 28, 2008 my husband suffered a traumatic brain injury during a snowboarding accident. He has come so far since then, and I am so proud of his perseverance— yet, he is not the same as before the injury. He is plagued by poor memory and slow processing skills. My witty, charming, out-going, life of the party husband has been benched by his brain injury, and so have I.
While we were visiting my friend and her family, I witnessed her sweet husband sort out sibling squabbles, make a full breakfast, head off to work, consult with his wife about discipline, independently dress the kids, and many other mundane activities. The sting was painful and deep. My thoughts carried me into self-pity mode as the loneliness birds settled around me. Why can’t my husband do these things to help me out? Why did he have to get a TBI? I felt jealous watching the seamless communication between husband and wife and comparing them to our disjointed and slow interactions. I felt the burden of doing our life together alone.
This wasn’t the first time the loneliness birds flittered above threatening to overwhelm my happiness, and I knew that the only thing that drives away the loneliness is the Word of God. The theme verse from the year I directed VBS came to mind. Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Oh how my heart needed to be reminded of this! Moses was encouraging the Israelites as they faced what seemed to be the impossible task of crossing the Jordan to take possession of the Promised Land from some of the most notorious tribes around. Moses wanted the people to understand that it didn’t matter which man was in leadership (Moses was handing the reigns of headship over to Joshua and remaining behind), it was the Lord God who was the ultimate leader; He was a leader who would never remain behind, never falter, never be killed, and never fail in His objectives.
This is the Lord God who leads my life, who leads my husband’s life, and our daughter’s life. Brain injuries cannot touch Him. Nothing can cause him to lose step with me.
I felt the loneliness birds taking flight.
Loneliness will most certainly creep into my life again, but I intend to stay armed with scripture and keep on the lookout for self-pity. When scripture is absent it is easy to turn our thoughts inward, away from Christ. When we indulge in self-pity and dwell on what we perceive as lacking in our lives then we can be certain of making a comfy home for loneliness.
The loneliness and disappointment we feel when we expect our family, friends, jobs, or anything other than Christ, to fill us, will remain unfulfilled until we supplant those expectations of one another for Christ’s expectations of us.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
This verse in John reminds us that not only does God walk before us, but that He sent us His Son to walk with us. Christ quite literally walked on this earth and experienced our lives. He perfectly responded to every situation he encountered. This example of perfection is not meant for us to mimic, rather it has freed us from the bondage of sin that we might strive to glorify God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Christ walks beside us now making straight our paths, filling in the valleys, laying low the hills (Luke3:4-6). When he was taken up to heaven after his death and resurrection He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. To encourage us as we grow and mature in our walk of faith. In this way we, as Christians, can never be alone. Daily God is walking before us, Christ is walking with us, and the Holy Spirit is enabling us to keep in step. Take flight loneliness birds! for we are surrounded by the Holy Trinity.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION/ APPLICATION:
- What area of your life do you most poignantly feel “lonely?” How does the coming of Christ affect how you feel within that area?
- Are the upcoming holidays threatening you with loneliness birds? How can you guard yourself against withdrawing into that loneliness? *hint, think of specific verses to “hide in your heart.”
- Prayer is a powerful tool when you feel overwhelmed. Who will you ask to pray for you during these times of loneliness? If you don’t have anyone, please know that Abbey and I are more than happy to pray with and for you.
Meredith is a stay at home mom to her 3-year-old daughter and a caregiver to her husband. She currently serves on the Women’s Ministry team at her church and volunteers with the local equine therapy group, Heroes on Horseback. In her spare time you can find her puttering around her garden, playing through the hymnbook at her piano, or indulging in BBC television. You can connect with her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .