For the last several weeks, I’ve felt unexpectedly alone.
Oh, not in my home, that’s for sure. There are three kids, two working-from-home parents, a dog, and a partridge in a pear tree in this house. I haven’t actually been physically alone for months (and seeing as I’m pregnant with our fourth little one, I won’t be physically alone for a while yet!).
No, it’s an aloneness that envelops my heart as I scroll my newsfeeds and social media.
Stories of families and friends gathering for fun and celebrations, summer vacations and trips, out for dinner and date nights, attending weddings and graduations — these things and more flood my feed, and once again the ache of feeling alone floods my heart.
At the recommendation of my OB, my family and I are still socially distancing. We are not gathering with family or going out with friends. We haven’t seen my mother-in-law in person or hugged friends in months. I have stepped inside Target exactly one time since March 9th. My husband and I have left our house without the kids only once since February. My kids play with each other, not with neighbors or other pals. We have reluctantly and sadly turned down invitations and bitten our tongues to extend any. So much togetherness in this home, and yet I can feel so alone.
I feel alone when I have a virtual OB appointment and when I go to my ultrasounds by myself.
I feel alone when I wear a mask in public.
I feel alone when it appears that we are the only people left in the world actually social distancing.
And the aloneness sometimes takes over and turns into self-pity, sadness, and anger. I miss my people too! I want to be done with this huge mess too! I want to wander the aisles at Target with an iced latte and no kids in tow too! I want my kids to go back to school and grandmas house too! I want to go back to church too!
Then after a good pout, I wipe my eyes, refill my ice water or homemade iced coffee, give myself a pep talk, and move on. Because deep down I know that really, no matter what, we’re never alone — in the middle of a pandemic, in the midst of a miscarriage, when estranged from loved ones, when we live by ourselves, when facing job loss and financial mess, if our marriage and friendships are strained or even falling apart, when sick and unaccompanied in a hospital room.
When it feels overwhelmingly like we are the only ones who __________ (fill in your own blank), we’re never actually alone.
It might sound like a trite Sunday school answer, but Jesus really does stand beside us. In some of my darkest, most alone-feeling days — miserable at a job, depressed and living far away from family, during my first miscarriage — I felt as though I was literally clinging to an invisible Friend who was more present than my closest loved ones. I’ve felt Him hold my hand and carry me through the loneliest times of my life.
God meets people in their aloneness throughout Scripture, so we can trust Him to do the same for us.
David described being “alone and afflicted,” yet the Lord never left his side. Job and Jeremiah were separated from family and lived through loss, and they still spoke to God as if they knew He was there, listening and being with them in their loneliness. Jesus Himself experienced aloneness, and He gravitated toward the outcast, the vulnerable, and the friendless, giving them a voice, a new song, a story to tell.
Maybe you’re feeling like the woman Jesus met at a well. She was living a life of loneliness, despite company kept within her own walls. I’d guess her loneliness at times also turned into self-pity, sadness, and anger, yet in her encounter with the Lord at the well, her loneliness is quenched.
Then there are promises like these, in which we see the depth of God’s faithfulness:
Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (CSB)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 (CSB)
The Lord will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose water never runs dry.
Isaiah 58:11 (CSB)
My six-year-old just came downstairs to the dining room table where I’m writing this. She asked what I was writing about, and I told her I was writing about what Jesus says when we’re lonely. And then she said, “Oh, like how even when you feel alone and stuff and there’s no one by you, God’s with you? Even when it feels rough to do something, you can do it ’cause He’s with you? Yeah, I learned ’bout that at Sunday school.”
And that about sums it up. Friend, you can do it — no matter what your “it” is. God is with you, and no matter what your newsfeeds say, you are not alone.
Friend, you can do it -- no matter what your 'it' is. God is with you, and no matter what, you are not alone. -@annaerendell: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Your words are a balm to my soul this morning. It’s possible to be in a stadium filled with people and still feel utterly alone. No one can step inside our head and know the depth of our feeling…or grieving…but God can. He knows where our heart stands, even when we put on a smile and pretend to be “fine.” He knows our woundedness and what it feels like to be on the perimeter. He walked among us in flesh and has felt every feeling we will ever feel. He KNOWS what the groans mean that we can’t even put words to. Even if everyone else in the world is off doing their thing, our God is the God who stays. He will never leave us nor desert us and sometimes we need to have the rest of the world removed in order to get us to really lean into His awesome love and comfort. Beautiful words by you…and by your precous daughter!
Hi Bev , yes been alone is tough , love this in-courage ment for the day
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
So good to hear from you. When I read my Prayers for Prodigals book and prayed for my two…I prayed for you and yours as well. I don’t know how long it will take, but I keep asking God to help me trust that He is at work behind the scenes. God’s got this!
Lynn D. Morrissey says
Anna, thank you for your vulnerable and honest post. Pandemics are tough, huh? Who would have thought? I love how you express your angst, which the Lord bids us do, and then come full circle to that pregnant pause, if you will (no pun intended :)), and realize that you are not alone–that HE is with you, and that HE promises never to forsake you. God gives us Himself, but He also gives us to each other. He has made us relational beings, because He Himself lives in relationship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in perfect fellowship. And He has reached out to us for relationship. Jesus coming to earth to save sinners surely proves that. He also bids us live in relationship with each other. So, yes, this social-distancing stuff is unnatural and often unnerving. BUT there are times when the Lord calls us to solitude. So many wilderness experiences are peppered throughout Scripture, and from what I read, He doesn’t intend them as times of loneliness, but “alone-ness,” and there is a huge difference. These times, even in suffering, are gifts given by a loving Father to draw us close to Himself, sans endless distractions. And these pregnant pauses can be full, rich, brimming with His presence and filled with lessons we can learn in no other way. And from this fullness, and knowing Him and loving Him in a depth we never would have known in “company” with others, we will be able to draw from this reservoir of spiritual depth to pour cool drinks for those we love, for those we don’t yet know, for those in need. A BSF leader always told me, “Lynn, don’t waste the waiting time.” Anna, don’t waste the pregnant pause. And you are not! You are already sharing and helping right now countless women on the other side of the screen. We’re here. We’re reading. We’re listening. So, in this way, too, you are not alone. I would add too that what your doctor recommends is not just good for you, your family, and your little one “in residence,” real but unseen, but it’s good for others. Many are being unwise (often selfish) in going back to living as usual. Things are not usual, and it’s good, especially for Christians, to understand what it means to love our neighbors, and what it means to sacrifice for others, and what it means to obey government authorities, whom God has placed over us. When we act from a posture of humility, and do what we need physically to do to help mitigate the spread of COVID 19, this particular suffering will end far sooner (not just good for our communities, but for the tireless medical workers who are being overwrought). So please know that you are doing your part, and I thank you for that.
Richest blessings, and congratulations on the baby whom God is knitting in solitude. I can’t wait for the big reveal.
Thank you for your beautiful response. It was just what I needed to hear as I am feeling very fatigued by the social distancing and very anxious about return to school ( I am a teacher). As I hear about others making different choices than I am about traveling and socializing it is causing me anxiety and distress. I too want to go out and about,so find myself struggling with doing the right thing and doing the selfish thing. I love your reframe of “He doesn’t intend them as times of loneliness, but “alone-ness,” and there is a huge difference.” Thank you for giving me food for thought and something to pray and ponder!
Thank you for sharing this morning. If your new little one that’s on it’s way is as smart as your 6year old, you’ve got it made! How refreshing it is to hear that kids really pay attention and learn and remember their Sunday school lesson! I used to help my mom in the nursery when I was growing up myself. Even preschool kids can learn about the love of Jesus. May God continue to bless your family with good health and loving support. Thank you again!
karyn j says
i loved this! it was needed…thank you for sharing!
We all need to hear that we are not alone in what we are facing. Many like you and like me are still social distancing and are living more secluded that we have ever, but like you I realize we are not alone. I feel you! God feels us! He knows! He will get us through this and it’s ok to have not so ok days just as long as we don’t stay there. With all that’s happening we need to stay focused on our one true hope, Jesus; and the fulfillment of His promises in our lives whereas all this shall pass. Stay strong, healthy and safe.
Anna, thanks for this. “Out of the mouths of babes”… So wise. Love to you in your less lonely aloneness!
I really needed to hear this- that we are never really alone & that God is with us. I live alone & although I know God is with me & I love Him with my whole heart- I’ve never felt this alone and sad. I keep trying to focus on Jesus but I still feel overwhelming sad. You are so lucky to have family in your life everyday. It is my hope someday to be surrounded by people I love and who love me each and everyday. God bless you, your new baby Coming soon and your family!
Please pray for me!! My ex is getting married soon. I have desired restoration for years – it was Gods desire He put in me. Long story short I had to call my ex today bc it’s my weekend w the kids & he or his girlfriend planned an appointment for my daughter (16) to get her dress for the wedding fitted this weekend. My son now has a soccer tournament out of town & I am taking him & was planning on taking my daughter & her friend. My ex never called to tell me about this appointment. Said he confirmed it w my daughter & has been planned for a couple of months. I said you should have called me like the other 2 times you called & wanted the kids to come over when it was my weekend. He said it’s been nice not having to talk to me for a while & he can’t wait til the day he never has to talk to me again. He said my daughter isn’t going out of town to the tourney bc she has to get fitted for the dress. I said the dress fitting can be rescheduled. He said it won’t be. He said he will pray for me, I am decitful & he hung up. The truth is he has been deceived by this women which ended our marriage then they broke up & now they are back together. It’s just so so sad. Idk what to do about this weekend. My daughter is going to hear a lot of unkind not true things about me, she will believe them & she will throw them n my face. I am again heart broken. I have the conversation to God before I called my ex, I prayed I worshipped & then this is what happened. I need prayer so so bad!! My daughter doesn’t even want him to marry this women. Told my ex when she found out they were getting married she would never see him again!! My son (13) just goes along with what ever his dad does. My ex’s family does not like this woman, & apparently the girlfriends family does not like my ex.
Beth Williams says
Praying for you & your family. May God bring about peace & tranquility to this tumultuous situation. God hears your prayers & know your needs. He will answer them in His perfect timing. Asking God to give you strength as you all endure these trying times.
You know the heart of Dawn. Please help her to see her daughter soon. Asking for strength & peace to help her & the family endure this situation. Give Dawn the needed patience to wait this out & be on the other side.
Thank you so much! Beautiful prayer.
Theresa Boedeker says
Words I needed today. Even when I go out I feel alone in my mask.
Thank you for the encouragement. Many of us in the NY/NJ area are still sheltering in place and social distancing, and I live alone. So it helps to remember that I am not alone!
Wise words and an encouragement, btw, here in Ohio my friends and I are still all sheltering in place….only shopping if essential etc and masks. Have seen two friends, each time on one of our porches, with masks and more than 6 feet apart. Take care.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
We are never alone. It’s not easy. God says in his word that he will never leave us nor forsake us. Covid 19 has taught me so much. It taught me to be thankful don’t get me wrong I always was thankful for what I have but it has taught me to be even more thank full. That I have roof over my head food on the table clothes on my back shoes on my feet clean running water. When there are people in our world today without theses things. People long before the Covid 19 even came about who were lonely living on their own. Young and Old. Having to cope from day to day. With not seeing anyone except if they needed to go the shop to buy food. In countries who don’t know if they will get food today or clean running water. People that don’t have any family. Some struggling to that are living a lone that finding it hard to pay bills. Even if they have a job. Some that don’t get out of their homes because they are house bound because they are ill. They then get lonely. All these reasons and Covid 19 that we had to go into lockdown and stay at home. Then throw Covid 19 some have lost their jobs. If they have kids that harder. This put pressure on the marriage or if single to wonder were am I now going to get another job to pay may bills. If have family too talk to. They can give advice. But if on your own it even harder. Then depression can set in. But Your not alone if on your own. You have Jesus to talk to. To pray to. Ask his Holy Spirit especially if saved what to do next. Go to his word this the Bible. It is times like this we his followers need to pray for the lonely and the single mother etc and those that have lost their jobs at this time those suffering depression. If get a chance go visit them if we can and have the time help them. As we could make the difference in their lives. By being the Church to them. We are the Church the Saved. The Church is doing what Jesus would want us to do. Being his hands and feet to people who are lonely and letting them know that they are never alone showing the love of Jesus. Jesus done that when he walked on earth. We can show them JESUS. Especially if not saved. Especially if lonely as well. Then they might want to know this Jesus as well. Know they are not alone. Jesus is with them at all times. Love today’s reading Anna. Xx
Lauren Griesmeyer says
Nice encouragement ! Thanks for your words! I needed to be reminded of this too! May you be blessed by the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth! Stay strong! Blessings, Lauren
Beth Williams says
Congratulations on baby 4. I pray it is a healthy delivery. Much needed message for this time! God uses the wilderness times of our lives to draw us closer to Himself. It is in those pauses that we have the time to really commune with Jesus. We should use this time to strengthen our bonds with Christ. God is always with us even in the midst of this pandemic & staying at home. He will see us through this to the other side. People are being selfish & rude-in a way- when they don’t follow the guidelines. They think their rights are being offended. We are told to wear a mask every time we go out in our county now. There are 29 new Covid cases in our small hospital. God can help you through your crazy, hard stay at home social distance time. He understands your fears & sadness. No matter what your “hard thing” is-God will get you through it. Remember Psalm 23:4-5 Yea though I walk Through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For thou art with me, thy rod & staff they comfort me.
Kate Selner says
I have been achingly lonely so much these past few months. I’m so grateful for a husband who works from home and is BUSY but he’s always busy during the day and after my daily tasks are finished, I sit alone and sometimes it hurts so bad I just want to scream. We are still social distancing except for a few times when Griffin and Valeria come over to do laundry. I love their company. Then I ache when they leave. In the stillness though, I most clearly hear Him, the reminders of His grace and His mercy, and I find some peace in those whispers, even though they echo so loudly in my friendship starved heart. I hear you, and feel your loneliness. ❤️❤️
Xochitl Dixon says
Oh, how wise our children can be when they are trained up with God’s Word. Hallelujah! Thanks for sharing this timely post, Sister. I suffer with chronic pain and fatigue, due to a back injury. Even before the pandemic, I spent lots of time alone. As a writer, my job is done at home alone. I invite God into my day by praying throughout the day. Still, there are times when I miss having the mobility to drive somewhere and work in public or to meet a friend for coffee without feeling like a burden because I’ll need a ride. Moving from California to Wisconsin in 2018 has increased my feelings of loneliness, especially when the cold keeps me inside. But God sent me a service dog to help me feel less alone while I’m at home. Whenever she makes me feel better by simply being present, I know it’s the Lord using her to remind me of His presence. Your post came to me at a time when God was affirming His presence during a difficult time of increased pain and fatigue. Thanks for sharing your heart and the wise words of your sweet baby. To God be the glory!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Anna I will pray all the way from N. Ireland for you have healthy baby. When the time comes for you give birth too number 4. I forgot to say that in my post yeasterdy. I love kids. But not brave enough to have any of my own. I was a Registered Childminder for 19 years. I have enough Niece’s and Nephews to love and spoil. One thing your kids are all blessed and so this Baby when it is born as it being brought up in Christian home. It will know that it’s Parents love it and Jesus love it. I pray for Niece’s and Nephews as they have Parents not saved. Only one of Sister sends their kids to Sunday School. She not saved. I am glad as they are getting to hear about Jesus and the Bible stories of Jesus and the Children Songs. But I pray for my other sister and her kids as well. In fact I pray for both families and the kids that they will see the light in me their Aunt and my sister’s in me their sister and want one day in God’s perfect timing what I have that is Jesus as their Saviour. I also pray for my sister that sends her kids to Sunday School that they will never forget the Stories of Jesus that they were taught at Sunday School or the songs. When big. As even today I still remember them. They even today help me in my Adult life. I am very thankful to my Parents who one my Mum even though pass away and my Dad still alive. Not saved send me and my Sister’s to Sunday School. As one of the songs that for this time of we are going through that speaks to me. That I learnt at Sunday School. Is “Jesus Loves All The Children Of The World Red And Yellow Black And White”. You get it on YouTube. It is very good for today especially when so many people don’t care about people. Skin color. We should all saved or not saved do as that songs says. They give of about it some people skin color. That can be very hurtful. Plus another song at Sunday School which is very good for the time we are in. He Got “The Whole World In Hands” the words of songs like these are so true. You get it on YouTube as well. They apply even to us as Adults. Not just as Children. See how my I remember some of the things I learnt when at Sunday School when small. How God brings them back to my mind. I be honest I might not have liked going to Sunday School. But not saved glad I was sent. My Mum and Dad sent me even though they were not saved. I still pray for my Dad salvation. I today am very thankful for them sending me to Sunday School. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx
Thanks so much for sharing this heartfelt message. I can totally relate. I feel like I’ve been doing absolutely everything to mitigate the spread of COVID-19and want to break out the house now
But because I have a child who is immunosuppressed we are still sheltering in place too. I look at the FB feeds and see people doing socially distant gatherings and want to do the same. My sadness comes and goes, I just want a little taste of it. I know it’s for the best to keep the course in place. I’m so glad I love to read or I’d really be in a tough spot. I’m discovering all kinds of scriptures and literally falling in love with studying the Bible. So, that’s a great thing. I’m definitely assured God is always with me. I have my coffee, Bible and books along with the kids & hubby. I’m thankful; it feels good to share.
May God bless you and your family as you prepare to welcome your new baby. Blessings for a beautiful & healthy birth.