20141121_LysaTerKeurst_SetApart

There were many feelings I thought I’d have at this small conference I’d been so looking forward to attending. Acceptance. Fun. Camaraderie.

On paper, these were my people.

They lead organizations. I lead an organization. They are vulnerable. I am vulnerable. Like me, they know the stresses of deadlines, trying to balance kids with ministry, and the nagging sense that we should keep hidden the fact that we have the pizza delivery place on speed dial.

Yes, these will for sure be my people.

And the great thing about gathering with people you just know you’re going to bond with is that they will get you. Really get you … like on the level of having inside jokes that makes every conversation comfortable and delightful.

I couldn’t wait to be with these people.

And I couldn’t wait for the deep friendships that would surely bloom as a result of our time together.

I walked into the meeting room and quickly found the people I was excited to meet. Every seat had a name tag attached so I circled the table looking for mine. As I got to the last chair and realized my name wasn’t there, I got a sinking feeling.

I milled around the room looking for my name, feeling increasingly out of place. Finally, at a table on the opposite side of the room, I found my name. I rallied in my heart that the Lord must have a special plan for me to meet and connect with the others assigned to my table. I took my seat and pulled out my cell phone as I nervously waited for my tablemates.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

As the prayer for the meal concluded and the event got underway, it was painfully apparent the others assigned to my table weren’t able to come for some reason. So, I’d be seated alone. Very alone.

In reality, I don’t think anyone else really noticed my predicament. After all by this point everyone in the room was busy passing rolls and salad dressing options.

In my head I started to have a little pity conversation, “Well, self, would you like a roll? Or ten perhaps? It’s certainly an option when you’re sitting single at a table for 10.”

And that’s when a very clear sentence popped into my head, “You aren’t set aside, Lysa. You are set apart.” It wasn’t audible. And it wasn’t my own thought. I knew it was a thought assigned by God that I needed to ponder.

To be set aside is to be rejected.

That’s exactly what the enemy would have wanted me to feel. If he could get me to feel this, then I’d become completely self absorbed in my own insecurity and miss whatever reason God had for me to be at this event.

To be set apart is to be given an assignment that requires preparation.

That’s what I believe God wanted me to see. If He could get me to see this, I’d be able to embrace the lesson of this situation.

Have you ever been in this place? I wasn’t just in this place at the dinner that night. I’ve been in whole seasons of my life where, though I had people around, I felt quite alone in the calling of my life. Can I give you three thoughts that might encourage you in a season like that?

1. Look for the gift of being humbled.

Proverbs 11:2 reminds us that “with humility comes wisdom.” In this set apart place, God will give you special wisdom you’ll need for the assignment ahead.

2. Look for the gift of being lonely.

This will develop in you a deeper sense of compassion for your fellow travelers. You better believe when I walk into a conference now, I look for someone sitting alone and make sure they know they are noticed.

3. Look for the gift of silence.

Had I been surrounded by the voices of those people I was so eager to meet that night, I would have surely missed the voice of God. I’m trying to weave more silence into the rhythm of my life now so I can whisper, “God, what might You want to say to me right now? I’m listening.”

I know it can painful to be alone. And I know the thoughts of being set aside are loud and overwhelmingly tempting to believe in the hollows of feeling unnoticed and uninvited.

But as you pray through your feelings, see if maybe your situation has more to do with you being prepared than you being overlooked.

There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to look past being set aside to see God’s call for her to be set apart.

By Lysa TerKeurst

For more Biblical encouragement, connect with Lysa on her blog by clicking here.

{Photo by Nick Page}
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  • http://www.jacquewatkins.com Jacque Watkins

    Yes, yes, YES! I couldn’t love this any more. And it has been my experience, even at the most recent conference I attended, that when I focus less on what I think I need, and more on seeing and noticing who or what is right in front of me–even if I’m initially disappointed in the discrepancy between the two–it ends up that God has the most beautiful things in store. Beautiful things I may have missed if I’d insisted on forcing my own agenda or desire for connection when I’d been disappointed. And it is those moments I treasure now, as being some of my favorite of that weekend conference altogether. Because He showed up and met me there, and worked in ways that could only have been Him. Not set aside, but indeed, set apart, and I can’t be more thankful for the lesson. It’s one I’m sure I’ll be learning again and again.

  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Lysa,
    I can look back over my life and I know that there were seasons that God purposely removed those around me in order that He could have my full attention. It’s as if He was saying, “Bev, I need it to just be you and me for awhile. I have something I want to teach you…some wisdom to impart.” God knows that we are so easily distracted that sometimes we need to be alone – to be set apart.

    Also, as you said, the periods of loneliness that I have gone through in my life have served to make me a much more compassionate person. I get being a single parent. I get not having a partner in life. When we “get” it then we have something to give. Thanks for some terrific reminders this morning!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • Tricia

    I needed this today. I was just asking God last night to help me handle and embrace changes occurring in my life. I want to embrace the season I am in and be aware of his calling. I want to be obedient to what HE wants for me, not my own agenda. In the past I have come up with “good” ideas, my good ideas. God has allowed me to participate in them so that I would see that it’s not the calling He has for me. Yes they are good things, but not the kingdom work set apart for me. So I am praying for wisdom and courage as I feel loneliness will be part of the journey so that He can prepare me. Thank you again for this today….perfect timing!

    • http://genuflected.com/go/free/ Jenni DeWitt

      Tricia, I love how you say, “God has allowed me to participate in them.” That sums up in one beautiful sentence how I feel as I look back over my winding path the last ten years. In my prayer this morning God talked to me about this. Then I read your response here and thought, “Me too! I feel you Tricia. I’m right there with you!” That feeling of sisterhood is so encouraging. What a gift!

  • Brenda

    I was standing in my kitchen thinking, “I am so lonely. I think I need to ask someone to pray for me about these feelings. This hurts!” I stepped over to my computer and opened e-mail to find this blog at the top of the list. I literally stepped back from the computer in awe. God left a message, written by the hand of Lysa, that essentially said, “You are not alone. I see. And I am here.” The timing made it clear that God had sent a message encourage me. Thank you, Lysa, for being God’s scribe, again.

    • Kathy

      Loved and needed this today, Lysa! Thank you!!!

    • Tracy

      You are not alone, Brenda. My thoughts have been the same lately. And I would love to pray for you (and me)!

      • Dee Dee

        This was timely and it is comforting to see a different perspective on this. I have been questioning and asking God where did all my friends go? I have felt very alone and lonely but this makes me look forward to some new things with the Lord :)

  • Karyn Conklin

    It happened to me last night. At an event I led at my own house! One of those “look around the room and discover you really are alone” evenings. I wish I had read this yesterday, but very thankful for your transparency. Lysa. And I am going to reflect on this all week, as God opens my eyes to others around me who may be alone in the room, in the crowd, or even around the Thanksgiving table.

  • Linda Sue

    I have often felt lonely or out of place in a room full of people. I worry that if I were to sit with someone that they would say…”This seat is taken” and I would feel that embarrassment and wonder at being accepted. I would have noticed you sitting alone and would have moved to sit with you. The truth is that we are never alone because that is what God promises. No matter where we are, there He is.

  • Jill

    Lysa,

    Your message is timely. I just told my husband two nights ago that I have learned that it is easier to be in a position of leadership at our church and facilitate Bible studies, or meet with women one on one for discipleship rather than attend Sunday school or Life Groups because I feel so alone and overlooked in these other areas (I am a pastor’s wife). When I keep my eyes focused on the Lord and who He wants me to minister to, then I am not focusing on my circumstances or self. It has been a lonely and sometimes painful 5 years walking through this desert, but I trust God has set me apart for His good purpose. Thank you for sharing what God has taught you with your Sisters in Christ.

    • Jill

      Wow. This comment really sticks out to me. I’m not a pastor’s wife, but my husband and I have always been in some variety of ministries for 18+ years. At times, I feel very lonely as I see other ladies hitting it off so well around me during fellowships or Bible Studies. I am no happy to hear that others have felt this emptiness, BUT I am thankful that it’s not just me. Because I really thought it’s been just me experiencing this. From this, we can lift up each other and maybe begin to bridge new relationships as we also spend that special “alone” time with God.

      • Jill

        Jill, I believe the ladies at my church see me as their counselor, encourager, comforter, and even pastor’s wife, but I wish they could see that I need a friend too. In the bible studies I facilitate, I intentionally make it a practice to be transparent because we all have problems and I don’t want women to believe they are the only ones hurting or struggling. I know that ultimately it is the Lord who has not allowed the deep friendships I long for to take place because it doesn’t make any sense! I am a very relational person and have always had deep friendships that spur me on towards love and good deeds. This area has been something I have struggled with for a long time, especially since I follow up with people and show them I care and feel like my concern is rarely reciprocated. God then reminds me that He is enough and I am supposed to give without expecting anything in return. All hard lessons but I know straight from the throne. I’m praying for you!

        • debra

          This is me, you sound just like me! Pastor, missionary…my husband says people hold me at arms length because of a leadership role, above problems and issues. LOL. So I try to reach out to other pastors/wives, those in leadership, who always “look” like everything is fine but need friends, too!
          I really don’t know why we as women have to be this way, it does hurt, and yes, God is always with us. But sometimes we really need that warm body to talk to!

          • Jill

            So true, Debra! Sometimes having female relationships is just hard!

  • Kelly

    This really spoke to me…thank you!!! I have been divorced since 2008 and have been searching all these years to fill this season of my life with WHY does God want me to be alone (recent empty nester as well)…missing the important gift of HIS presence. Thank you so much for helping me understand the importance of this!

    • Nancy

      Kelly: I was single for my daughters’ teenage years and when they moved on to college and their own lives my house seemed so empty. In 2007, I joined a small group at church and us empty nesters, some divorced, some widowed, blessed each other every Monday night for 7 years. I pray God will comfort you and show you how taken he is with you.

  • Bonnelle

    You have no idea…. Just this morning I was feeling tossed aside… really… I’ve been unnoticed & someone else has taken my place. But then I read this SO timely word & I see… God still notices me & He has still chosen me… to be set apart for HIM. Thank you for sharing this… and thank you to the others who have left comments because your words also spoke to my heart.

    Thank You Jesus for loving us so much that YOU would choose us to be set apart for YOU!

  • Teresa

    Wow, Lysa, this couldn’t be more timely. My 7th grade daughter is going through the awful middle school years, and struggling with a lack of friendships and feeling very alone. My heart simply aches for her; however this post has shed a new perspective on the situation. I’ve often told her God sees the future of these potential friends and there just might be divine protection against these types of friendships. I have prayed your prayer many times over, “God save my children from the wrong friends and save them for the right ones” and I believe He is answering, even though the loneliness is difficult for a middle school girl to navigate. I can’t wait to share this blog with her this morning. Thank you for your authenticity to share the hard places of life with your sisters in Christ. Your thoughtful words matter to so many.

  • Sarah Payton

    Thank you so much for writing this. Since my divorce, it’s been so easy to fall into feelings of self pity and rejection. Thanks for putting it all into perspective and reminding us all that God has a reason for this and it is only for a season. I love your emails and blogs. Keep them coming.

  • Penny

    This so spoke to my heart. Just the other day I typed this to a friend: “God and I have had many conversations lately where I tell Him I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere. I am uncomfortable pretty much anywhere go. I can’t seem to find “my people”. I KNOW I wasn’t made for this world but He has called me to live here until He calls me home (finally). So, I’ve struggled with the why I’m here and does He want me to be alone? and maybe it’s my personality that makes it so it HAS to be just He and I so I’ll listen to Him and not get off track. Maybe I was made to be alone.” I am in a season ( a loooooong) season of being “alone”. My husband left 3 years ago and I have been praying for the miracle of restoration ever since. I KNOW God has a plan for me in the midst of this. But, some days, that is hard to remember. Some days it seems as if everyone has a partner but me. Some days I do feel set aside. But, your words were like a breath of fresh air for me. I am not set aside. I am set apart. I am set apart for a season and a reason. God has a great big beautiful plan for me in the midst of all of this. I can’t wait for Him to reveal what it is. Thank you for sharing this.

  • http://teamcason.blogspot.com Pam

    Set apart not set aside. Thank you for this today, Lysa.

  • http://www.marykay.com/nturner41128 Naomi

    Good morning and God bless you for sending this message to me…I’ve been walking the “lonely road” for a few years now – especially at work…it’s been horrible – so bad that we took a “family photo” and guess who was cut out of it…yup, me! And the saddest truth is only ONE person noticed!
    My team is seated on a different floor and they do all kinds of things together but never include me…we have going away gatherings with the whole company and no one will talk to me and then say nasty things to me when I say I’m not attending the next one…etc. I sit on a floor that’s almost empty, with a totally different group that is hardly ever in my location…the list goes on and on – folks won’t reply when I say good morning, hello, bye, and when they do talk to me for some reason they think they can talk to me in any nasty manner they chose, etc….it’s really ugly however, after reading your blog this morning (sitting alone in the office fit for 12), I wept tears of sweet relief – knowing that’s there’s a reason for this set up…it’s like confirmation that the Lord has heard my many, many times of crying out for this “thorn that has been given to me” I can now rejoice because you’ve allowed me to see this “alone time” for it to be a gift, a blessing, a purpose…I thank you for sharing your experience with me and now I will look at this in a humble manner and thank God for the quietness, for the less chatter that can consume one if not careful…I will be happy for this “huge office that I can call my own” and know how truly blessed I am for this situation/seating chart and carry on, walk the walk and be who God needs me to be for HIM and not worry about the others! Thank you so much for allowing the Lord to continue to use you…your message was just what I needed today! =)
    Peace and blessings Naomi

    • Nancy

      Dear Naomi:

      I’ve been through what you’ve described for the past 2 1/2 years at work. I don’t mean to sound like I’m glad knowing someone else is going through what I have. I just appreciate you sharing what you’ve experienced. Sometimes close friends and family have difficulty identifying with what I’ve described as happening at work, they can’t believe it. God has given me so much strength and has shown me such compassion. My faith and trust in Him is so much stronger having gone through what I have. My prayer life has improved and I speak boldly for Him. Blessings to you, like Lysa said, Set apart, not set aside.

    • Kara

      Naomi – I too so relate to what you wrote. So much so!! It is such a struggle just going in every day and feeling so alone. It just hurts. Just this week I was praying while walking in to face the day and every step in I heard my sweet Savior saying “I am with you, I am with you.” We are not truly alone – He is with us. I will be praying for you and others struggling at work.

      Lysa, thank you so so much for what you wrote. Exactly what I needed to hear today.

  • http://martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com Marty

    I love this post so much…and I love that you are sharing how GOD used (or maybe orchestrated) your circumstances to open your eyes to others. I love it that God doesn’t waste an experience! I can relate to this post a lot. Growing up as an Air Force brat, I was lonely…a lot. We moved all the time and I was always the new kid. BUT GOD has used those times to make me more aware of others who are lonely or alone. It’s still hard to feel that way, but when I turn it around to see how God might want to speak to me during those times, it sure changes my perspective. Thank you so much for sharing this today! :)

  • JR

    Thank you Lord for this word and this confirmation. I have been at a new church for a month now and every Wednesday morning at bible study this is exactly how I feel. So much so that last Wednesday the conversation in my head was I am running out this door no one cares that I am alone at this table I am running out the door. Well I stayed and I had the opportunity to share my heart and I was encouraged.
    I too have felt the Spirit of God inside of me saying you are aet apart. It is very lonely but I choose to surrender to that call because I know God has great plans for me. I just have to get that from my knowing to believing it!
    Thanks again for the reminder

  • Ritha

    Wow! What I needed to hear exactly right now! Thank you for sharing your story. As a pastor’s wife I feel like I have to be the life of the party and that everyone should like me. So, when they don’t like me, I feel rejected and unwanted. Thank you for reminding me at those times I can look for the gift of being humbled, of being lonely, and the gift of silence. I know God is preparing me for something BIG! I am not set aside….I am set apart. I love that!

  • Sowjanya

    I am right now in a season like this having lots of questions. Your post was very uplifting. YOU ARE NOT SET ASIDE BUT SET APART. This is not only an eyeopener to me but also a constant encouragement. Thank you lisa for wonderfully penning your thouhhts.

  • Terri

    Since there are a number of us who appear to be “set apart” for a season or longer, might be nice if we could somehow connect with one another. My own testimony to this is that when I prayed per Paul’s letter to the Philippians in 3:10 to know Christ AND the power of His resurrection and to somehow participate in the fellowship of His sufferings, (I qualified this by requesting to be exempt from the physical suffering as I dont do pain well), that when I petitioned Him regarding my loneliness, the Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus was alone and betrayed and what I’m enduring is a mere smattering of what He endured. He reminds me that I prayed to participate in His sufferings that I might know Him better. He also reminds me that eternity won’t be anything like this, and has blessed me with periodic glimpses of eternity that bring me tremendous joy and hope even in my loneliness.

  • Tammy

    Thank you for sharing your heart. It would take too much time to go into why, but God sent you with this message to start the process of sealing up the cracks in my heart. Being set apart heals.

  • jsm

    what i really want to know is if ANYONE reached out to you and said, hey, pull your chair over by us, we can make room!”

    • Patricia

      Exactly! Were the name tags set in stone? Was every other table full to capacity?

  • http://www.lindalochridge.com Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    Lisa, I had a similar experience at a writers conference. Several times I found myself sitting alone at a table waiting for others to notice and come over to join me. I found myself getting my feelings hurt over comments made about my writing subject (a memoir). At times I felt excluded. I found myself spending alone time more than I imagined when I had signed up. Then I realized that I was hearing from God in a way that would not have been possible had I been surrounded with other women who loved to chat as much as I did. Best of all, I didn’t have a close friend with me who would sympathize while I vented about my hurt feelings. No one to say, “You’re right…they should not have said that.” I was able to take the criticism for what it was meant to be…constructive…and hear from God about how I could improve my work. And it also gave me empathy for others who may feel alone at large events. I too seek out those who seem to find themselves in the same position, but I’m careful to let them have their alone time with God too.

  • Trezlen

    Thanks Lysa! That gives me hope for all those times when I’ve felt alone and separate.

  • Jenny

    I have been feeling very alone lately and I can’t seem to get this feeling out of my head and my heart. I question wether anyone truly cares about me. I feel like I go through my daily life and take care of everyone else and make sure that my family, friends, and co-workers have what they need, but it doesn’t feel like there is anyone doing that for me. I feel selfish for feeling this way and I also feel jealous when Lysa says that she hears God speak to her or that God puts a thought in her mind. I just don’t feel very close to anyone anymore including God and I’m not sure how to get myself out of this pit. I know the Lord is with me and takes care of me everyday, but I just can’t shake these feelings.

    • Gwen

      You don’t get ‘yourself’ out of the Pit… He pulls you from it when He decides you are ready. I have found it helpful to ask Him “Lord, what would you have me learn from this season/experience?” and also ask Him to comfort you where you are until He decides to move you.

      Sometimes I need to ask Him to strengthen me to stay where I He has placed me and not to try to climb out of the Pit. This demonstrates trust in Him.

      I will pray for you, sister! He has you set apart for a purpose.

      • Jenny

        Thank you Gwen, your words have made me cry, thank you for caring and for praying for me!

    • http://www.incourage.me Linda

      Jenny,

      The comment you wrote could have been exactly the comment I would write, except your put it way more gracefully then I could. I would also add I have always had close girlfriends up to 2 years ago when we moved and since then no matter what I do, how I pray about it I just can’t get a close connection with anyone. I just really would do anything to be able to have that again.

      • Jenny

        Linda,

        I completely understand about close girlfriends. My best friend moved a couple of years ago and unfortunately our relationship didn’t survive the move. I have friends, even some really good girlfriends, but I miss having that one girlfriend who you know is always there for you even when it’s not pretty or fun. I will be praying for you!

  • Roz Barrett

    So I attended a conference recently where the song, “Hello. my name is…” was ministered to us. It wasn’t until I travelled home plus the days later that my heart answered the song`s question. “Hello, my name is lonely” I responded. So much time set apart in the season of preparation. 17 years to be specific. Only God could take something as painful as rejection and turn it into a story of his grace… Thanks for reaching my heart and filling it with hope, Lysa!

  • BevG

    Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit regarding what to write for this day. I have felt that horrible feeling of being “set aside” I’ve especially been feeling this way with the holidays upon us. I’m standing for my marriage! This is my first Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday without him in 14 years. Your blog brought this whole season of my journey into perspective. I’m not set aside. I have been set apart. With God’s hand in mine, I am so close to Him that I hear Him whisper, “You are my daughter. What I have for you is better than anything you can imagine. I am setting you apart to become the woman I created you to be. I am preparing you for a life changing miracle. During this time, draw near to Me. Although I am setting you apart, I will never leave you or forsake you. Keep your eyes focused on me. Don’t be distracted by the circumstances. Allow Me to take captive ALL of your thoughts and your imaginations. With Me near you, there is no room for the enemy to get a foothold. Ask me for what you need instead of trying to do it your way. Again, I remind you that my plan is best.”

  • Beth

    Days, seasons… feels more like a lifetime. So blessed by your words today! I love it…. not set aside, but set apart. I’ve always seen/thought/felt differently than most people I’ve known and have been set “apart” often in life. I’ve built so many walls as I’ve never felt part of this world. Being older, I have come to realize (with God’s help) that’s it’s because HE has different and wonderful plans for me, and I’m ever so grateful.

    Thank you for sharing your gift of words!

  • Sue

    I don’t normally read everyone comments but they are screaming at me today – they all say “Me Too!”
    It’s so easy to get lost in our own worlds of hurt, or perceived hurt.
    I am crying as I write this, but I’ve been crying all day. It’s hard to break out of the selfishness to hear God’s plan, even when we are hard-wired to hear it.
    I’m thinking, as I’m sure others are, why don’t we connect with each other – with our sisters that are hurting. But we can connect. Let’s pray for each other, right now. Maybe just one prayer or maybe day’s worth.
    I know in my heart that I am set apart, but it so feels like set aside right now that I am having trouble seeing the bigger picture.

  • Cindy

    Such an amazing word. I am single and just had my 37th birthday. I have felt set or “cast” aside many times as 95% of my friends I’ve grown up with and love are celebrating 10th+ wedding anniversaries and loving their beautiful children. Things I’ve longed for since I was a little girl. It’s hard to understand exactly why God chooses to set us apart, but I know He does. Especially after reading this today. Thank you for reminding me! I’ve read it 5 times so far. :) I also have your books, “Unglued”, and “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” and they’ve both been an encouragement to me. Thank you for investing in all of us. We appreciate you.

  • Brooke Burger

    Thank you. Sure wish a teenage me could have seen this.

  • http://bethwillismiller.blogspot.com Beth Willis miller

    Amen, yes, thank you, Lysa, for this open, honest, transparent post…having been right there where you were, I so agree with you…Love the three gifts…humbled, lonely, silence…reminds me of the three kings and their three gifts for our King Jesus…He, too, was humbled, lonely, and silenced, Silent Night, also reminds me of this question from Pastor Andy Stanley, “What would a girl like you do, in a situation just like the one you are in, if she was absolutely certain that God was with her?” On one occasion when this happened to me, I got up from my seat and sat down in the empty chair next to me and silently thanked my Heavenly Father for wrapping His Loving Arms around me, telling me again that He is my Great Shepherd, and He will never, ever, no not ever, leave me or forsake me…feeling like His Beloved ❤️

  • Kathy

    I, too, am alone. And what I perceive to be rejection is really a time for a season of growth with my Lord. Over the last 11 months, to have gone through a marital separation leading toward dissolution after 25 years of marriage (in two wks) and watching my only child leave for college and then 3 months of at-home recovery by myself following two knee replacements have about done me in. But this is for a season – a season to set me apart and draw near to God. I feel much like a misfit in many situations but surely God will redeem and give me life anew once this season is over. My prayer is that I drink in ALL of him while I walk through this desert. My God will restore what the locust has destroyed.

  • Beth Anderson

    This brought tears to my eyes. I have always felt alone in a crowd….. UNTIL I became involved in Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies. Life Changing! It has not only been an online experience for me, I have become friends in “real life” with so many women. A God answered prayer for sure! Thank you, Lysa for being obedient and vulnerable and real!!!!
    Love and Prayers,
    Beth

  • Dottie Ryan

    Lysa,
    I just “ditto” all my “Set apart not set aside” sisters’ comments!
    <3 <3 <3

  • Fabienne

    Thank you for sharing your story and your inspiring words, they have come at the most opportune time. It is such a great blessing to serve, worship, and praise such an awesome God, who sees our challenges, searches and feels our heart, and is touched by our tears. And in the midst of all of that He sends a Word to show His love, concern, and that He is near. I have not been set aside but set apart, apart with and for Him, “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” I Timothy 1:17.

    Thank you for your transparency and may the Lord continue to bless you.

  • Joyce

    Lisa,
    I needed this! There have been times in my life of loneliness felt, and that alone feeling is so despairing. The devil likes to make us feel inadequate in certain situations and less confident. But, our Lord lifts us up, and wants us to use our situations to help others. I have discovered this and instead of pity for myself, I try to look for a silver lining. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Misty

    This was for me today!!! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve been in my church now for almost 5 years. I feel so alone. I just need to trust God and believe that he is working out his plan in my life because I know he is always right there with me.

  • Donna

    Set apart, not set aside. I really needed to hear that today & so many days past. I will be 68 in two days and have NEVER EVER been in such a “place” in my life as now. It is especially hard when you experience this overwhelming loneliness in the midst of your family at home and in the midst of your church, where you have served in so many capacities for 20 years and now all you feel or experience is “I don’t belong” and can’t seem to find that place where you do. Though I call out to the Lord day & night (mostly within myself as there always seems to be someone around) to just hear His wonderful voice again to my heart, to feel His Presence like I used to, that’s all I need…..HIM! I have come to really “know” the truth of Psalm 62:1 – “My soul finds rest in God alone” more than any time of my life. I have served in leadership in my church for a long time as pastor’s assistant/church bookkeeper (years ago), currently intercessor, wife of leader, travel assistant to lead minister (very complicated travel always) etc., etc. and there are high expectations/pressures to be there every time the door opens and it opens at least 4 times a week at our church plus other times as well. I don’t want to go anymore, but am expected to not only by the others in leadership, but also for my husband’s sake. Putting up a “brave” front and just trying to get through by “faking” it has worn me out. I have loved my church and our people passionately, but now find myself in a very long “season” where everyone else seems to be moving on and I feel just “left behind”. Fighting depression, sleeplessness, memories of the past and fear over a particular situation in my marriage/family that requires a real miracle! Calling out to the Lord constantly…”where are You in all this?”. Day after day, night after night. Exhausted from it all! Well, that is only a very short summary of what has become a much longer desert/season/wilderness/valley…..whatever you call it or whatever it is….than I have ever experienced in my life. I “get up” or try to but then the battle resumes. Trying so hard to know and find the key, the grace, to “just let go”, praying it, confessing it, wanting it so badly….just exactly HOW does one do that? I really want to know!

    After saying all the above (as this is my only real outlet), I accept that this is, indeed, a season and it will change….and I pray for a better one following with much fruit from this one….for those to whom the Lord might just be preparing me now to help through their “set apartness” and aloneness.

    God bless you Lysa! May the Lord meet each and every one of us in a wonderful, glorious encounter with Him in this journey!

  • Maggie

    Oh this was so spot on for me and I can so painfully relate to the comments too. At 48 and still single, I’ve watched friends get married, walking down the aisle in beautiful white dresses. Now these same friends have children, and now they’re getting married, going to university, etc. And after living on my own nearly 30 years, I wonder, “What about me, Lord? Don’t I get a loving, godly husband? Don’t I get as blessed as them, Lord?” But Jesus wants to be my First Love. He wants to be my all in all. Now friends are seeing their kids married and happy I’m still alone and it hurts, it just hurts.

    • Donna

      I will be praying for you Maggie! And for all who have shared their pain today! There is One Who understands it all! May our precious Holy Spirit, our Comforter, bring comfort to us all as we seek Him!

  • Michele Parker

    This message is SO perfect in my life right now! My 6th grade daughter is at a new school this year and is struggling with “alone-ness” in making new friends and finding her niche. And at private Christian school no less. But kids are kids no matter the venue, and some girls are nicer than others, no matter what lunch table you find yourself sitting at.

    I have been struggling with the right words to help her feel accepted without encouraging her to “fit in”. We have had many discussions about her wonderful gift of compassion for others that are marginalized in her “kid society.” Thank you, thank you for this material to help me explain that she is not set aside, but truly set apart and how God can use this difficult space to grow her in her relationship with Him and how He can use it and her to bless others.

    I feel like I have won a prize today in receiving this blessing in my inbox! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Suzanne

    “… And I know the thoughts of being set aside are loud and overwhelmingly tempting to believe in the hollows of feeling unnoticed and uninvited.”

    When I read this sentence the word “uninvited” seemed to stab me right in the heart… I must have an issue with the feeling of being uninvited?!
    I felt led to speak it out loud (here in words to you gals).. what might God be telling me through this post.. could it be that I have felt “uninvited” and thus gone away, off in the wrong direction? Up until I began a serious daily walk with Jesus a few years ago I was always a “runner” …I would run from my issues, not resolve them. But now I would much rather hear what He has to say to me, especially if the Enemy is trying his best to get me to run! Therefore.. I must meet with Him and find out!
    Thanks Lysa… I always enjoy your words!
    Blessings,
    Suzanne

  • Gloria Guest

    I have felt ‘set aside’ since my kindergarten days! I’m now 52 so a long time. Of course I have had times of inclusion but I’ve had a tremendous amount of times when I felt pushed aside, snubbed, left out and incredibly lonely. I am a writer, have moved my entire life so am always the ‘new’ person and have had to overcome a lot of childhood trauma so I often feel very different from everyone else at my ‘table’ even when I am included. This is one of the best posts I have ever read on loneliness and how it could be more about being ‘Set Apart’ then ‘Set Aside.’ An amazing viewpoint for me to consider the next time I am feeling lonely which will likely be in five minutes. Thanks,

  • Joanne

    Thank you, thank you! I have been giving God my feelings of loneliness. I have learnt as soon as I realize I’m feeling lonely I give it to God. He always does something to take it away. Here He is doing it again with you posting this story. Thank You Father for this insight that I’m not set aside I am set apart.
    Thank you for this encouragement. With the help of the Holy I will apply when I’m feeling lonely…Set apart!

  • Leanna Williams

    I understand that feeling well. Lonely in the middle of a crowd. I am an introvert until you get to know me, but recently, God has given me courage to be bold. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • http://jeannetakenaka.wordpress.com Jeanne Takenaka

    Wow, what a difference one word makes. I’ve lived most of my life feeling set aside. Though those closest to me probably wouldn’t realize it. But to think of God using those lonely times in my life as a time set apart? So He can prepare me to really look around me, to be ready for the next assignment? It’s going to take some time for my mind to make the shift, but I really need that. I need to look beyond the very real effects of rejection to the better plan God has when He allows me to be set apart.

    I just loved this. Thank you, Lysa for sharing a piece of your heart and a large slice of wisdom!

  • Lisa E

    Thank you for such a great post today. Seems to have been written just when I need I need to hear it! I’ve been feeling very lonely during this season of life. I took an early retirement due to a medical condition I have, that leaves me with excruciating, chronic pain. My husband has kidney failure. I do his dialysis treatments at home which take 5 hours every day. He cannot be left unattended. He sleeps through his treatments. Then he sleeps the rest of the afternoon, so I feel so alone. Like a shut in.
    The good part about being lonesome is that I am able to hear that still small voice of God, or reminds me that I am never truly alone and I am very much loved.

  • Jennifer Cress

    I thought I was alone in feeling alone when in a crowded room and sonetimes even with family but after reading this article and reading the responses I realize how wonderfullying beneficial it can alone. While reading God brought to mind times in my life that I experienced this loneliness and how he worked with me. I remember hearing his voice more clearly and was more sensitive to what he had to say. Although I felt alone, I was never really alone. My best friend and Savior was with me the whole time.

  • http://hopehearthome.com Susan Shipe

    I love #2. Reminds me of being a new kid in school and being in the lunchroom, alone. My granddaughter (17, Senior in high) looks for the alone girl/boy and reaches out. I love her heart when she does that.
    A lot of food for thought and soul in this post. xo

  • http://melindatodd.com Melinda Todd

    That is definitely hard and very often my place. I feel lonely a lot. And it’s hard to look for a positive when you just feel left out. The holidays, when we’re not invited to our family’s homes, that hurts. There are sure some torn parts of my heart right now that are trying to mend. I’ve been taking this alone time as time God wants with me. Trying to see it in another light. And it’s a struggle.

  • Barb

    Lisa
    Being 54 & single I feel this way quite a bit…when I see someone sitting all alone I take the opportunity to be there cause people have been there for me.
    Thanks

  • Carrie

    So perfect! I’m going to my husbands staff Christmas party tomorrow night and I am the only Christian among them. I am SO nervous! I always feel so out of place. But this really encouraged me. It’s fine. It’s only a few hours out of my life, and my husband is proud of me that I don’t join in with the partying crowd. I can do this!!

  • http://www.whatithinkiknowtoday.blogspot.com Kathy

    Wow ~ sometimes its so crazy how alone one can feel. And for me its just being alone in my head that is troubling. All the doubt comes rising to the top of my thoughts ~ did I say the wrong thing? Have I troubled my teen daughters too much? Am I not giving enough to others, my husband, my family? Am I enough? Not enough? What is enough anyway?

    (Then, reading some other responses I see I am not alone in my thoughts, words, or deeds)

    Thanks, for helping me get a new perspective on being alone.

  • Stephanie

    I’m really blessed by this. For most of my childhood/adulthood, I’ve concluded that I’ve been “set aside.” I will begin to revisit different scenarios and see how I can re-route those thoughts from then and most importantly now; to consider that I’m being “set aside” instead. Thank you, Lysa for sharing your story and enlightening my soul today.

    • Stephanie

      meant “set apart” at the end. Funny!! Habit is hard to break. :o)

  • Susan

    Thank you Lisa. Your words have so blessed me today and exactly what I needed to hear. So encouraged as ‘set aside’ is exactly how i have been feeling.
    ‘God gives grace to the humble.’ Help me lord to stay low in awe and wonder of your almighty greatness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/micahdodd Micah

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today! I’ve been going through a very lonely season in my life and trying to figure out exactly what God is working out for me. But it can be lonely. Thank you so much for these words of wisdom.

  • Gwen Woods

    OMG this totally ministered to me for this has been a season of many seasons but this is the first time that I’ve actually been focused enough to realize the move of God via the Holy Spirit and your testimony bought it home for me
    Thank you for sharing awesome WOG
    Many blessings to you!

  • jenise

    Thank you so much for this post. I feel like this every single day. I love your perspective, but it is so very hard to accept. Thank you for sharing a glimmer of hope.

  • Amy Davenport

    This was so encouraging. I am 56 and we have a daughter, 29, who is special needs. I always dread going to Women’s Meetings at church because you have to introduce yourself and what you do – everyone has a comment about the person and usually some comment, about how that sounds interesting or I have a friend that works there. . . Until it is my turn. I explain I stay at home and care for our daughter – silence. I had stopped going and now I feel more encouraged to go back. Set apart, not set aside!!!! Thank you.

  • Gretchen

    Thank you. This week I have been thinking about this a lot. I know a lot of nice ladies but we are all so busy that it’s hard to find time to meet together to enjoy each other or support one another. I need friends but we all seem to be fighting our own battles independently. I feel I need to spend time with The Lord as my source of strength and he reminds me of this. Tx!

  • Kelli Jenkins

    This has blessed me so much tonight. Thank you so very much for sharing this with us. I am in a season in my life where God has removed some from my life. My people. People that I was very comfortable around. For the past two weeks I have just kind of been wondering around trying to find my place. For so long I have always had “my people” around me and it kept me busy. Now, God has me in a totally different place. It’s not easy for me after being so comfortable where I was. But, He is so faithful and I know that He will show me right where I belong. And for now, maybe it is just “be still and know.” Thanks again for sharing!

  • http://www.sarahtravis.org Sarah Travis

    Thank you so much for this encouragement today. I have felt more set aside recently than set apart. Thank you for helping me see this as a season of preparation. A season of opportunity to be alone with the Lord and learn from Him alone.

  • Lisa

    SO appreciate this post!! I have felt like this many times over and have not really been clear on why I’ve had to spend times in “the valley of loneliness”. You sharing this–and keeping it real–that even a noted author/speaker has these feelings made me feel much less alone. Thank you from one Lisa to another!!

  • Carol Marie Weiss

    I’ve had many lonely times in my life. The worst one was when I was about 25and worked a sort of factory job and lived in the 6th street apartment with almost no contact with my family and my then boyfriend and husband now was juggling 3 jobs and he lived North of me by only 15 miles but I hardly ever got to see or talk with him.
    I had my guitar and wrote a song called ,”I hurt so bad.” I recall taking a walk and the realization of the aching loneliness in my gut was so overwhelming as I passed a group of people on the street made me feel self conscious and afraid that I was being watched and they would see my burst into a flood of tears and cry aloud like an explosion. I held it in and walked faster.
    I thought the answer back then, about 25 years ago was to move in with my boyfriend.
    We found that this wasn’t the answer and we were both getting to know Jesus in a more personal way at this time. So as I listened to his words that living together wasn’t a good idea I got in my car and as I drive back to my almost empty apartment,
    A nice couple of salvaged chairs from a clean good neighborhood local dump and a card-board box for my kitchen table, the floodgates of bawling as I navigated the dark freeway engulfed me and my heart broke. I got into my place and grabbed the new Bible he bought for me and plopped onto my bed and opened it to Hebrews where God says I will never leave you or forsake you! Praise Jesus!

  • Michelle

    I have so been feeling this way, alone…. Much needed encouragement and refocus!! Thank you!!

  • Dawn

    I know no one I know will read this so I guess I can say whatever I want. I have been in this season all my life. I am an only child, never had friends and still don’t. Even my family has rejected me. My own mother loves my oldest daughter as if she is her own. She is so helpful to her, bending over backwards for her son, my grandbaby. Yet when I needed help as a young adult I was always rejected. I don’t know what is wrong with me. This loneliness seems to follow me around like a disease. I want to connect with people but feel awkward, out of place. I am boring. I listen to others conversations and wish i could be interesting. My life is consumed with work, children and household duties. Is that the only reason I am here? I have plenty of acquaintances but no true friendships. I fear that I will diè alone. It is hopeless. I will always be like this. Alone.

    • http://incourage Sara M

      Dear Dawn, Perhaps I logged into this blog tonite, just to read your message. I too have felt much of what you described, at different times in my life and again more recently. As I read your post, the words of Isaiah 43:1-2 came to mind: “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. When thou passest though the waters, I will be with thee: and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:…”
      I don’t know your story…but I hear your heart, and I am sorry that you have found yourself in this place. Please consider that nothing is ever hopeless, till it’s over…and if we have our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, he is our Hope to help get us through no matter how dark it seems. However, it is also incredibly important to have people in our lives; friends and family!!!! I am happy to be your friend and encourage you by email!!!! sarajmarchess@hotmailcom
      Blessings, Sara M

  • Lisa

    Wow, wow, wow! If I ever felt like a devotion was written for me, this is it. I have been through some extremely lonely times in my job for the past several years. Lots of hurt feelings, betrayals, and general feelings of not being able to trust many of the people I work with. I’ve been brought to a place of despair, and finally learned to stand up for myself and others that were being made to feel “less” just because of the way we dress or look. God has led me to a place of genuine compassion, and not being afraid to voice my convictions. Definitely a time of growth that at times have been very hard, but in the end, very beneficial.

  • http://www.kimvanderpoel.com kim

    Perfect words…perfect timing as today I saw an update status on facebook. A group of girl friends tagged each other to participate in an upcoming event and I was excluded. Your words encouraged me. Thank you.

  • Greta

    The Lord had this just for me tonight. I found out at work today that I am being demoted. While part of me is rejoicing that I will no longer have to deal with the stress and obligations that go with my current role, the rest of me is screaming that it isn’t fair, and I am being “blamed” for something that isn’t even my fault. The way that this is happening is unjust, and I am hurt by others who are involved. I have been through so many rejections in my life, and this feels like one more.

  • Kristina

    What a great reminder, I had this experience at a lady conference. I was so embarrassed and wanted to crawl under a rock and live out the rest of my days. This has brought perspective to that night. I know the truth now
    Thanks!

  • http://incourage Sara M

    Dear Lysa, Thank-you so much for sharing your heart through this message! I should have known , when Laura Story’s song “Blessings” was playing on KLOVE radio as I drove to work this am, that I had an “opportunity to learn” coming.
    I had a prolonged significant “alone” experience just two hours later…and the feeling of what am I doing here became overwhelming!!! After gritting my teeth, pushing back the urge to run, and fighting back tears twice in hiding, I found my voice to talk to God. I asked Him specifically for strength and courage to face the day, and reminded Him(or myself) that no one else could help me, only Him! You know what; the situation resolved over the next hour..& a place was created for me to be and belong. Most important, I found the peace that comes from placing my trust back in Him!!! Because you are absolutely right; I am not set aside….I am set apart for Him! :-)
    -Sara

  • Pearly

    Lonely? Yes! I am adjusting to being alone again after a brief courtship. I waited for 10 years for God to bring him into my life & after 6 months, we broke up I struggle and I often asked God to bring us back again. It hurts so much to lose someone you love so much and has filled your life with so much joy. It’s like I had but now it’s gone so my life is empty. However I have come to realize that is impossible because my ex-boyfriend doesn’t want to get back together & has started seeing someone else. My loneliness is amplified when there’s no one that I can spend time with after work and weekends. Most of my friends are married with kids so there no one to hang out with. I guess all I can do now is wait on God and trust that He set me apart for a reason. He has good plans for me and in his perfect timing he will provide me a man who will love me for who I am and share his life with me.

  • DC

    Lysa:

    Perspective and what we choose to focus on…HUGE! Reading the comments, it is clear that so many of us have felt alone, vulnerable and set aside at times. Thank you for your transparency, but more than that, thank you for your perspective, for allowing God to teach you something (and teach us) in those fragile and painful moments. Oh how easy it is to get caught up in the negative aspect of a situation. To be consumed by our feelings of loneliness and inadequacy and in the process of feeling uncomfortable or sorry for ourselves we lose sight of Him! But if we choose to put our focus on Him and not ourselves, the perspective changes. Going forward, I pray that I too, will choose to lean into Him, spin the negatives into positives and listen to what He might have to teach me. Because there are lessons everywhere if I am willing to learn them. Not set aside…set apart. I love this!

  • Robbyn R. French

    Hello Lysa,

    I can so relate with this. Because of trust issues I chose and have chosen to keep myself seperated from others. One thing that constantly stays on my gratitude list is God bringing me into a church of people who love me like Jesus loves me. I have some real support and friends here, that is something I didn’t really have as I grew up. Now I have Jesus I feel content. Thank you. On the image can you make it to where we can pin it on Pintrest?

  • Ginny Hyland

    Thank you for giving me a new perspective.

  • Susan Sarver

    Lysa,,
    Thank you for this post. Fourteen years ago on Christmas Eve I gave birth to my fifth child. My precious Ben was born with a rare genetic disorder, he would never walk, talk or even sit up on his home, I was devastated and went through a period of shaken faith. Shortly after his birth we were moved to central VIrginia (part of the Bible Belt). I believed God would provide godly friends and support….it didn’t happen. I felt alone and abandoned in my grief. For 12 years I was in the “wilderness”. But boy did God teach me some lessons! In 2012 God moved us to Utah, I was a new person…stronger, more compassionate, confident of God’s unfailing love and grace! I see that the 12 years were preparation for NOW. He has brought so many unsaved, hurting, lonely people into my life now. Because of the 12 years of loneliness where I learned to press into God, I can now offer “living water” instead of “dry bread crumbs”. God is faithful! Your post was a beautiful summation how to survive, learn and thrive in a “wilderness” period.

  • Carol Marie Weiss

    I read your comment Dawn and I am praying for you. So you are not alone anymore. And I’ll keep praying. :)

  • Patricia

    This post really spoke to me this morning because I, along with so many other women apparently, am suffering from loneliness. I read most of the comments, closed my computer, but couldn’t resist coming back to make my own comment. I believe wholeheartedly that God uses every situation in our lives for his purpose and our own good, yet I can’t stop wondering why this is such a prevalent problem among women in our society, and worse of all in Christian communities, where we are called to love one another and are supposed to be sisters in Christ, family! This has troubled me greatly for years. Are we not the problem? Are we not too selfish, judgemental, and envious of each other to form real relationships? If I feel lonely and left out and women all around me are lonely and left out, why are we not reaching out to each other?!?! Why aren’t we able to form real, lasting friendships? Is it because God desires all of us lonely so he can work in our lives? In certain specific instances, yes. Overall, I’d say, no. He created us as social beings with a desire for relationships and belonging.

  • Pam Reynolds

    Thank you for your openess and insight. Right now I’m in the middle of a transition period in my life. In May, I am leaving a job of 30 years (teaching) to pursue God ‘s call of public speaking. God is using my husband diagnosis of a brain tumor to help teach me about aloneness and singleness of purpose. Thank you for this article. God used it for more confirmation for me.

  • alli

    not sure if u will see this but im going thru this now. the clique I was a member of im not. im rejected, weird, not included, where I used to be popular ppl dont even want to hear. im obscure..outdated. so its harrowing feeling like ppl laugh at you but im learning how to get my identity in Christ not what my class is. because being regular has bee difficult I always viewed myself by what I made or who I know. but as easily as God can promote He can demote. so my rejected feels in getting used to tho sometimes the reproach is more than I care to handle.

  • Mary Jo

    I am shocked and at the same time comforted to hear how many women share the same feelings of being alone as I am experiencing. When I read this devotional this morning I could not believe the timing. I had lunch with 3 long time girlfriends yesterday but walked away feeling more alone than ever. All they could talk about were their grandkids and their church. I am happy to hear how the kids and church are doing and I rejoice with them for their families, successes, etc. But couldn’t we have talked about any else for the for two + hours we were together? I do not have grandkids yet, and I may never. I no longer go their church where I was a member and worked for 9 years. They all know why I left, and the deep hurt I experienced with the situation I endured will working there. So why focus on those two topics for the entire time knowing that it was painful for me? I thought my friends were just that, real friends. But the more I am around them I feel it’s awkward and we have nothing in common any more. I came home crying and despondent and talked about it oft and on all night with my husband. Who praise God is my best friend and is always supportive and wonderful. Bottom line it’s apparent I am starting a new chapter in my life, and my friendships are changing. I am very blessed that I have a very close & fantastic relationship with my husband and two adult children and feel closer than ever to my God. But all my life I have had lots of friends and I hoped and thought at this age (57) I would have deeper and more meaningful girlfriend relationships than I do. Sad to say most of my girl friend relationships are superficial and I am so tired of the fake, one sided relationships. I think I would rather be alone than be subjected to feeling hurt and lonely after spending time with so called friends. It just strikes me as so sad that it’s apparent there are so many women out there who long to have a friend, but don’t have those relationships we all wish we had. I have never read entire comments before but I could not get over the number of women who feel alone. Thank you Lysa for sharing so deeply from your heart and putting being alone into a new perspective which I think so many of us needed to hear. I pray hearts will be lifted and healed by your words and the comments shared by everyone. We can all take comfort in knowing we are not alone in how we feel about this issue.

  • traci knop

    Lysa, thank you for this message from the Lord. Deeply needed! for this season of life I am walking through!

  • Betty Streff

    Some of the other comments might have mentioned this but it is easy to feel alone even smack dab in the middle of a group of people. When we are tuned in to a different “wavelength” than the others around us it is highly possible to feel alone. I have learned to think instead that I am existing in a cozy and privileged space hearing the shepherd’s voice and then the loneliness is replaced by a sweet knowingness. I do long to share that possibility but as always, it is a highly internal and personal choice.

  • http://facebook Joni

    lonely, but never alone. Focus on this.

  • Wanda Faye

    SMH. Just when I started again with the sinking feeling of being rejected, God reminded me of Psalm 40. Then just now, I read this encouraging blog. I never had a more clearer picture of rejection than I have right now. Thank you for being water to me.

  • http://www.planbeautiful.com Shannon

    This resonated deeply with me. As a writer who works from home, I often struggle with feeling isolated and disconnected from the world around me. Days can go by where I don’t interact with anyone but my hubby. This gives me a great way to refocus that loneliness—it’s an opportunity to commune with my Maker.

  • Shelly

    Thank you! I have seasons and times
    Such as this as well! I am married to an unbeliever and find myself to be lonely..deeply lonely at times, even when we are in the same room together. I am sitting alone at church at times..feeling sorry for myself, not going up for Communion as I don’t want to go alone. So shameful, and sad. He has set me apart, not aside! Thank you for this new perspective! If there are other gals that are currently married to an unbeliever as well and want to connect..please feel free to comment…maybe God has something a whole lot bigger in this for all of us, God Bless❤️

  • Lorri

    I’m so amazed that there are so many women that have or are going through this “season”. I have never known another person that has, so I’ve always thought it was just me. I’ve never felt like I “belonged” anywhere until I was married to the love of my life for 15 short years before The Lord took him home. This is my 4th holiday season without him, and in many ways the hardest yet.
    Lysa, you are such a blessing to share your thoughts and inner most feelings! I know The Lord has plans for me, and I had almost given up. Your words have recharged my heart! Thank you!

  • Mev

    Thank you Lysa for your bravery and for sharing your heart. Each thought and emotion you have expressed, I have felt recently. You have encouraged me and given me hope. I know that God has set me apart. I am gaining wisdom and relearning so much about myself. Sometimes God removes those around us so we have time for him. When we put others first, we sometimes quickly learn he is ENOUGH. Thank you.

  • Gina

    Thank you for your post. It sure blessed me tonight.

  • Beth

    Sooo needed this! I am recently divorced but have been separated for a year. It is tough! Especially this time of the year at the holidays. All the movies are about couples, love at Christmas and finding your love. I end up in tears every 5 minutes. I don’t understand why the Lord is taking me through this season. I really struggle with not having someone to talk to, to be with. This lesson really spoke to me and brought to light my purpose right now. Please pray for me in this struggle

  • Anna O’Banion

    I was married for 25 years to a man that was really hard to live with, I felt alone even when I was with him. Many times he said bad things to me, was very abusive toward me and even hit me in the beginning of our relationship. I took many years of this because I thought when you were married that was it, you were married. I felt alone for 25 years, and now he has divorced me and got married 5 months after our divorce was final to a woman with 3 kids. I am alone now, but I feel that God has been with me all this time. When I read this post, I felt that overwhelming feeling of God telling me that my time will come when I will be with someone who will treat me like I should be treated. Never again will I ever let a man treat me like I was treated. God got me out of a bad marriage, because I couldn’t do it. I thank God and will thank him for the rest of my life. Just reading everyone’s posting has helped me through my being set apart!
    Thanks to God, and everyone on here.
    May God Bless every single woman on here.

  • Cindy

    This really hit a nerve with me. I’ve been in a wheelchair for 13 years and I have always felt like women keep me at arms length as far as friendships. I used to have plenty of friends, but now just a few. Group situations are hard. I realize that I put up walls pretty easily because I expect others to keep me at arms length too. If I know and realize how much God loves me, He should be all that I really need. And if so, I should be able to be open to others and love them, whether they reject me or not. Thank you all for helping me to see that I’m not the only lonely, and that I can reach out with God’s strength and show His precious love to others. Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever! Ps.136:26 Thank you Lysa!

  • Betty

    Thank you Lysa for this timely message. This helps me identify my lost feelings and lonliness. I feel as though I can’t even put my distress into words. I identify with many of the posts. I will be praying for my fellow sisters.

  • Jerry

    Thank you for this today. I really needed it and almost missed it. God bless you.

  • Ginger

    Awesome read!! The last 3 years, I have been alone, thru some rough waters, but God was with me!! I told someone about 6 months ago, I knew God allowed friends to forsake me because He needed me alone, with Him and only Him!! I thank Him daily for loving me that much! We are never alone if we know Jesus!!! \●/

  • Jeanine

    Last week I had coffee with a friend. I told her how isolated I felt to not have children & not be married as most of my peers are. The next day my pastor spoke about being pruned. I knew that was for me. Friday I was scheduled to have lunch with another friend. She cancelled because of radiation treatment was making her I’ll. I called my sister to talk for the fifth time in 2 weeks & it went straight to voicemail. Frustrated I asked if she was avoiding my calls. She texted that things have been rough at home. For the first time in months if not years I was finally feeling really good & wanted to share my joy but everyone I reached out to was struggling. I woke the next day & said a prayer on FB. I had an overwhelming response. People are hurting, struggling, grieving. It reminded me that people need God, His love, His grace, His comfort.

  • Oghale

    Set apart not set aside…

    I can soo relate with these words.
    So easy to miss out on the big picture from God’s vantage view when all of life attempts to block our gaze. May I always be open first to what God is saying and then to opportunities to extend love and companionship to people in need as He directs me.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Krissy

    Times like this can be so hard to face. I have been blessed to have been married nearly 6 years and thank God for my husband. But we have been through some really tough times where we have been cut off from everyone at times friends, family, work and church.

    I think the hardest time was when we had been ‘asked to leave’ our church which had been my home for 6 years and had close friends there. It was rejection of the highest order in my book. My husband, already having suffered so much rejection in his life was unaware of why we were ‘taking a break’ from church until many months later and we still hadn’t returned. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him the real reason which was that they were actually rejecting him and not me but in reality they were rejecting both of us because we were married.

    We then went through what seemed to be systematic rejection from friends and family. We were accused of trying to split people up and even when friends had split up, got ignored for months by a ‘good’ friend because we were still in contact with the other half. At one point I remember my husband and I sitting on our decking in our garden at night one summer just the two of us when normally our house is buzzing with people and thinking that it was just us and God and it was really hard even though we had each other. We felt alone in the world, cut off from everyone.

    More recently my husbands family has rejected us which has been hard particularly for my husband as I had news that my dad has been diagnosed with mesotheliaoma, a rare type of lung cancer which is terminal and so didn’t have me so much to lean on himself.

    Then to cap that he lost his job last week all because the site manager didn’t like and didn’t get on with him so they let him go. One day he had work the next he didn’t and it bought all the memories and feelings of what happened with our church sharply into focus again and it hurts.

    Being alone and feeling lonely is hard and it’s so odd that you can be lonely and alone in a room full of people especially with people that are close to you.

    But I hang onto the fact the God NEVER leaves us nor FORSAKES us and loves us with a love that is boundless and fathomless.

  • vickie mullins

    Love this today. Thank you.

  • Mary

    God is so good…he led me to you just a few weeks ago when I started reading Unglued. Today he led me to this webpage, when I was feeling so alone and you spoke to me exact feelings. May God Bless you always and thank you!

  • http://inCourage Jackie

    Oh God knows every need of us…my heart is pouding as I read this post and the many replies, as I feel and relate to many of you. and I can clearly see how lonely I feel and how much it hurts and question at times how long would it last and why am I not understanding the lesson in it. I guess I have wanted my way and God keeps on saying, I need you and Me time! Thanks Lysa for being God’s vessel and imparting encouragement, letting many of us know–“you’re not set aside, you are set apart”, and to encourage us to give Him that chance to talk to us and use us through our loneliness. Be blessed!

  • http://therightvolume.com Samantha Livingston

    A very timely message for me today. Especially love the cue to press into silence. We (I!) miss so much when I don’t seek it in the midst of the crazy rush. Thank you.

  • Joy

    I really appreciate your words of encouragement here. I have never thought of my loneliness in this way. Thanks for this new perspective.
    Blessings and love!

  • Carol

    Lysa, thank you for shedding light in a dark place in my life. Alone. Oops set apart my new words. Over 3 years now set apart seeking God what’s next in this season of life. God Bless you. Love following you & your timely messages.

  • http://synapsesongs.blogspot.com Pam Glover

    I read this before I went to a wedding and my friends didn’t think to save seats for us. So we sat with another couple who didn’t know anyone
    and had so much in common. God set it up, and thanks to your blog, I was prepared.

  • Kelly Burns

    Can’t tell you how much I needed to hear this today♥

  • Mary Varughese

    lysa, Like so many others this has struck a chord in me! Its so timely. I’ve been struggling with feelings of rejection when I was set aside for a conference that nearly everyone else with responsibility in my church was chosen to go for. Now realizing I’m set apart not set aside by God has bought a healing balm to my soul. thank you for bringin god’s message to me.

  • http://runningtothefather.blogspot.com Melanie

    Set apart, not set aside. As women, we deeply long for relationship with others. He wants ALL of our heart. I feel alone and rejected so often– His word tells us to put our trust in Him, not man. This reminds me of the Psalm where He hems us in. He holds us and tends our hearts while we are set apart for so much more than we could imagine. His ways are not ours and I so often want to be in control and have the approval of others. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.

  • Diane

    Thank you for this post. What an encouragement!

    I was a part of a new women’s Bible study that last several weeks. It was a struggle every single week to get myself to go, and once there, to stay and not bolt for the door.. Our table of 10 consisted mostly of women attending the study for the first time, including our table leader. A few weeks into it, there was a very weird and painful situation between the leader and myself that no one else witnessed. Something I had shared in the group was totally misinterpreted by the leader and she felt it her mission to give me a lesson based on her high school experience. As an older adult, it was excrutiatingly embarrassing and she handled herself in the situation so poorly. We ended up talking it over and each apologized to the other for things said, but it left me feeling ten times more uncomfortable in continuing to attend.

    I really am seeking to not shrink back from going when the group starts up again after the holidays. The old me would have quit, and it seems very much to me that God has something better to teach in braving it out. I have made a big effort to try to send words of encouragement via e-mail to the others in the group and I think my notes have come back to bless me. But what I really desire to learn more than anything, is to love without thought for receiving anything in return but to honor and magnify God. How else can that be learned except through aloneness? So yes, to being set aside or set apart. God is giving gifts but it is far to easy to miss that if we have only thoughts of self.

  • Diane

    Krissy, commenter….I have never heard another woman describe a story so similar to ours. Praying for you today. The last line of your comment was such a comfort because it is so much my perspective and I’m glad you have comfort in Christ.

  • Jess

    Lysa,

    Thank you for sharing this. Since last night I’ve been feeling so down – and looking at my life I always feel that I am always alone. I’ve never had a solid group of friends, I don’t belong in a team at work, I live alone, and have very few friends and we seldom see each other. My days are spent mostly alone. At times, I feel tired and desperate at my situation – to that point that I ask myself what is wrong with me because I have no constant people around me.

  • louise

    I’m having a difficult day and reread this article. Jess, the above commentator, you are not alone Jesus is with you. Incourage, if I could contact Jess?

    Thank you,
    Louise