My husband left at the beginning of July for military training and will be gone until September. That leaves me and our puppy, Snickers, to fend for ourselves and keep on living as "normal" as possible.
You are probably thinking, "Well, you knew what you signed up for when you married a man in the military," and you are right. But let me tell you -- as much as I prepared myself, I underestimated just how lonely I would get. In this time, God has helped me to understand 2 fundamental truths about Christianity and loneliness.
Ben has always made fun of my need for space, calling it "Lindsey Time." But over the past month I have had nothing but time and have found myself stressed, physically exhausted, and riding a never-ending roller coaster of emotions. I am so thankful for family being close and hobbies to help pass the time, but then loneliness walks into the room and those emotions come flooding back.
I have spent more time this summer in The Word than ever before, clinging to its truths. If you need a quiet time plan, the She Reads Truth app has challenged me to dig deep and think about scripture differently. I also have been working my way through Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst and man-oh-man has it been good for my soul. She quotes CS Lewis, saying:
"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
God has used this time of loneliness to teach me about my doubting heart and need for Him. I pretend that I am ok -- that being apart from my husband doesn't take its toll on me, that being alone in a new city is no big deal, and that I fully trust God's plan. But all of that is a lie. If anything, the uncertainty and discomfort that I am feeling only proves further how much I need a Savior.
I have two options in my faith: to trust Him or to run in the opposite direction. Often, I cling to the plan that I have for myself and my future, terrified that if I let go of that control, the world as I know it will come crumbling down. I hold on to the things that I think can satisfy me and still end up feeling empty inside. Isn't that the biggest lie that we tell ourselves? God has been showing me that He sees me in my loneliness and my doubt and still loves me, regardless of how I far I run. He pursues me in my doubt. His plan is perfect, I just have to be willing to let go and trust it. Through scripture, I am reminded that when I turn to Him, redemption and joy are there to greet me.
When I feel lonely and un-noticed, God doesn't stand at a distance -- He invites me to drawn near to Him. James 4:8 says, "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." We are able to do so because Jesus experienced the ultimate form of loneliness, bearing the rejection and shame for us on the cross. How can this not be enough for me? Through the uncertainty and loneliness, God reaches down to me and reassures my feeble heart that I am truly not alone. When I crave immediate contentment, God is there telling me to wait. Be grateful. In the midst of my fears and doubts, I am reminded of the cross and how Jesus is the reason I am able to cry out to God and find him near.
"My identity must be anchored to the truth of who God is and who He is to me."
Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited
While I am lucky to have my husband return to me in a few weeks, he doesn't take the place of my Heavenly Father and the loneliness that comes with not knowing Him. My prayer today is that I continue to trust Him and let the promises of the Gospel evoke joy in my heart and carry me through the painful, lonely, difficult times in my life; putting loneliness aside and trusting that I am never alone.