It’s surprising how often I’m by myself considering I live with five other people: my husband, our twenty-one-year-old, eighteen-year-old, and sixteen-year-old daughters, and my twenty-one-year-old daughter’s best friend, my bonus daughter. As a mother of eight children whose births were spread out over nineteen years, I’ve been surrounded by people, noise, and activity for a long time. Our current household of six sounds like a lot of people, but since everyone can bathe, clothe, feed themselves, and do their own laundry, it feels like a smaller crowd.
Because COVID has created gaps and disruptions in business and the workforce, my husband has had to work longer hours to perform additional duties besides his own as a manager. Quality time is my love language (and his too), but our time together seems to be scarce. We are quality time people who aren’t getting much quality time.
My daughters (and bonus daughter) binge watch shows together, go to coffee shops for group Bible study, and have jobs outside the home. Their days are long and their lives are full, and there are periods of time when I don’t see them very much either. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I enjoy having a quiet house to myself, but some days I feel lonely (and even a little bit sorry for myself), because it feels like maybe I’m slipping between the cracks.
My once-a-week teaching job connected me with students, their parents, and other tutors, but I retired at the end of last school year. I participate in two monthly book clubs, but often I only see the other women on the nights we meet. (I need to be more intentional about correcting this.) I realize my life is in flux — a transition period — and I trust God has a plan for me. The next chapter in my story is waiting to be written, but for now, it’s still a mystery. Just as boredom can spark creativity, our empty places yearn to be filled, and I believe God can use those feelings of loneliness or discontent to nudge us forward on our path.
My days are quieter and less chaotic than they were in the past. It was inevitable our eight children would start to grow up, move out, and begin their adult lives, right? That was always our hope for them. But even when I feel lonely, I’m never alone. Not for a minute. When I feel the most isolated and left out, it suddenly hits me . . .
Jesus is here with me!
How could I forget? He turns everything around, disperses the dark cloud that hangs over my head, and brings so much comfort, so much peace. When I’m at a low point and remember this truth, it makes me smile with delight, like when I find a $20 bill in my coat pocket or a chocolate bar stashed away and forgotten. Obviously, Jesus is so much more than that — Jesus is everything.
When I get so caught up in feeling left out, isolated, or alone, I forget my dear Friend is always by my side, ready, willing, and able to fill my empty spaces. He knows the messiest parts of me — the impatience, intolerance, and the things I don’t want anyone else to see — and He loves me anyway.
To an unbeliever, sharing your life and thoughts with someone you can’t see might sound foolish. But to a Christian, the Lord’s presence is a tangible thing. His comfort is real. Because He walked this earth in human form, He understands our feelings. As both man and God, He knew loneliness and rejection intimately.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . . .
Isaiah 53:3 (KJV)
As horrible as it was to be scorned by the people He came to save, it doesn’t compare to the greatest loneliness and rejection Jesus experienced when He became sin for us on the cross and was forsaken by God the Father.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Matthew 27:46 (KJV)
No matter how lonely or rejected we may feel, the Lord understands; He’s been there. He is always here for us, a constant source of comfort, so we are never truly alone.
So timely. Two nights ago I had a pity party. I’ve had a couple of months of dealing with health related issues, nothing too serious, but for someone who prides herself on being in great shape, it hit me hard. So I was unable to go out and do much as one of the issues was a broken rib and thumb. Then my dear friend had a stroke. So she isn’t around to pop in the car with me and take a ride even if just to the hardware store. And my daughter has been working so many extra hours that she has been unable to come by even for a quick visit. So I have been by myself quite a lot. And it got to me- so I had my pity party. So thank you for the reminder that I was indeed not alone and could have had a conversation with Jesus who does understand.
Dawn Camp says
Madeline, I completely understand. When someone in my family has a problem or complaint, I often ask what they are doing about it, but when it’s me, it’s easy to slide into pity party mode if I’m not careful.
This hit me right where I’m at this morning. Feeling lonely and discouraged, although I do know that Jesus is always with me. Perhaps as you suggested, He’s getting me ready for something new. I will pray on that and try to adjust my focus. Thank you for this encouragement.
Dawn Camp says
Gail, you are never alone. Thank you for encouraging me, too.
Ruth Mills says
I’m kind of the glue that gets circles of friends together but then am the background, least noticed in the room. Satan tempts me at times to feel neglected even in the midst of a crowd but God reminds me He is the God who sees! I also quickly get the joy of observing the fun, excitement & joy of my friends enjoying each other because I organized the get together. Occasionally someone says thanks that I used my gathering people skills so they could enjoy it. Causes me to praise God for the “unseen” role He has gifted to me. You are right He is always with us no matter the setting of feeling lonely! Thanks for sharing. May God nudge you to your next season of serving Him well!
Dawn Camp says
Ruth, you must be such a blessing to your friends! Even if they don’t always thank you, you are serving God and His people well.
Maura Michael says
I’m not lonely, but praying to accept changes that come with in this earthly life. Some changes good like my grandchild growing and settling into the teen years. Some heartbreaking like friends battling cancer and ALS. Yet my God is always there for them and me.
Dawn Camp says
Maura, change can be hard and you’re right: He’s there with us through the good and the bad. Blessings to you!
natalie wilkins says
this work from home and zoom world has left me feeling very lonely. some days are more difficult than others.
Thank you for your comforting words, Dawn! You are exactly right. We are never truly alone. We just need to remember The One who never leaves us is always here.
Nancy Kavanagh says
It hasn’t yet but my youngest is a senior in high school and we are on the college visit tour. Some schools are just 40 minutes while the furthest is 4 hours away. I am so excited for her but not looking forward to the empty nest that follows. Thank you for this reminder that Jesus is always at my side.
Brenda M. Russell says
It’s Friday again, it’s a sigh of relief for most employees. Smile.
I have not understood how time just slips away from everyone. Even my girls can’t believe they are preparing for their 11 yr. Reunion, 20 yr. Reunion and 21 yr. Reunion. I graduated from High School in 1977. So I will be preparing for my 44 yr. Gathering of Classmates.
Why do we grow up so fast? The memories are there better if you have pictures or videos. Our children can have children now. I can be a grandmother. Wow, I hope I take enough pictures and videos when I become a grandmother. I don’t want to forget anything about that time of my life. Smile.
Thank You Lord for being such a good Father, our Great Physician and our Lord and Savior. What would I do with out Your Grace and Mercy operating in my life. Thank You Holy Spirit for guiding my footsteps. Thank You for convicting me for change when it’s needed. Help me set a good example for other young ladies in my circle of influence.
We appreciate this new season, Autumn is a pretty season. It ushers in Harvest Season, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Enjoy your weekend.
Jean Robinson says
This is awesome, and I have been so lonely and forgot Jesus is always there! I am in Assisted Living now and am making new friends!
Dawn, I really needed to hear these words. I’ve been struggling with loneliness throughout the pandemic, but especially this past week. I’m surrounded by people but I feel like I’ve lost any sense of deep community. Thank you for these words: “When I get so caught up in feeling left out, isolated, or alone, I forget my dear Friend is always by my side, ready, willing, and able to fill my empty spaces. He knows the messiest parts of me — the impatience, intolerance, and the things I don’t want anyone else to see — and He loves me anyway.”
Beth Williams says
It is so easy to feel isolated & alone-especially in light of Covid & no in person church for many. My hubby works weekends (12 hr. shifts). I have felt lonely some during those times. Lately I’ve been working full time & the rest & quiet is a welcome to me. It brings about peace & calm to my tired weary soul. Last Sunday I took a lot of time & just listened to Gospel music. It felt like doing church. Just me & God. Refilled my empty soul & made me happy. Life can be busy & noisy at times. There are times in life when we need rest-good old fashioned soul rest. We as Christians should never ever feel rejected. Jesus is right there with us waiting for us to commune with Him.
Sometimes we need to be the conduit to keep connections with friends & family going. Just call, send text or email them & chat away. You may be helping them out of their loneliness. Everyone wants to have a companion so go ahead send that text, email or just call them. It may brighten your day.
Thanks for writing about how I feel…
Im a first time mom, had my baby right before Covid hit.
Its not been very easy but everyday has been blessed with God’s strength and mercies. If anyone is ready to be a friend and mentor, please reach out. I will appreciate it.