Where do you go when you are lonely? Where do you go when you feel all alone, but you want to be with someone who understands?
I was walking along the ocean shore.
It was cold, but I wanted to feel. Something.
Even if the winter waves blew sideways into me from the Pacific coastline, seeping through the yarn wrapped around my neck, I didn’t mind.
It tickled me around my wrist, right where the cuffs of my gloves moved up and down away from my coat sleeves, each time my arms swung out, in rhythm with my sandprint pace.
I’ve been holding on, for so many days.
Weeks really — that turned into months, the same way waves turn onto the sand so endlessly, you eventually lose count, if you stared into them long enough.
I’ve been holding on.
I’ve been holding onto to all the different pieces of my life —
My dreams, my hopes, my fears, my past, my future.
My strengths, my weaknesses, my memories and my prayers.
I’ve been holding onto —
People. People who tell me they are friends, but don’t have the strength to walk through the valleys.
People who did not love me. Even though they said they did. But, they only said so, to conform me to their expectations.
I took it all in. Since I was a little girl. And here I am now, a full grown woman, loved by her husband, children and friends.
I know this. I really do.
But, I have also lived this other life. Inside.
Unloved. For so very long.
Sometimes, holding on takes you to the loneliest place in the world.
Where no one except myself would understand the pain of neglect.
But, what has been neglected doesn’t go away.
You’d think it would.
Because if you tell yourself none of the things that move your heart and break it matters — that the only thing that matters is that Jesus loves you — you’d think it would eliminate the pain of things you don’t want people to know.
You doubt whether you have anything beautiful to offer — unless someone else says you do.
You question whether you are beautiful — because you’ve given your soul leftovers — focused on solving problems, avoiding conflict and orienting your life around safety.
That’s what I’ve been doing.
It’s not something I even understood myself.
It’s overwhelmingly lonely when God leads you find that innermost place within yourself.
There’s the shock and disbelief that such a place in you even existed.
Just like the sandollar I found halfway covered in the sand that morning.
The sea foam blew in clumps, crawling across the wet sand, like tumbleweeds across the Arizona desert.
As my thoughts turned heavy with the struggles of failing to write against the tide of post-traumatic anxiety and stress, I felt so utterly helpless against this season of healing in my life.
Never have I felt so arrested by what I want to do so badly, yet surrendered to the necessity of the difficulty of this journey.
Is there any place of beauty for me? I whispered tearfully, as the weight of my burdens pressed in on me, against the beauty of God’s creation.
I stood there facing the waves, as the gray skies answered me in silence.
As I looked at the sea foam rushing up close to my boots, I noticed a flat of white protruding from the sand down a few feet, as I followed the waves receding into the ocean.
I stooped to look closer and took the glove off my right hand.
I dug my finger into the muddy silt-sand and began to lift a shell out its grip.
The tide had suddenly returned and I instinctively pressed it back into the sand, in fear of it being washed back into the ocean.
There I stood, with my fingers pressed into the water onto the shell, while the waves rose up into my ankles.
I let out a yelp and hollered like Huck Finn, as water splashed up, catching a bit on my face.
But, I kept my position.
And as the waters rushed past me and I felt the sea wrap its passing embrace around my ankles, His words came to me, as clear as I felt my breath warm my chest in that moment.
I see you, Bonnie.
I see you.
My heart ached with such a burning sorrow, that I knew it could only be Him.
It could only be Jesus, speaking into the deep waters.
Out of the Corner
I know the story where Jesus was taking me into, that very moment.
The Scriptures tell us that the crowds were pressing in on Jesus. To listen to the word of God.
Crowds were pressing in on Him.
But, Jesus saw.
Luke said that —
“Jesus noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge,
for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.”
With all the crowds pushing in, eager to listen to His words, you’d wouldn’t think Jesus would notice something as insignificant as empty boats.
But, He did.
Jesus noticed —
— two empty boats,
— at the waters edge.
Jesus noticed even this, out of the corner of His eye.
Because He saw the fisherman. Washing their nets.
The fisherman were done.
They fished all night. Exhausted and worn.
And there was nothing to show for any of it.
An Empty Boat
Then, Jesus did the most amazing thing.
Jesus got into one of the boats.
Jesus got into an empty boat.
I don’t want to hold onto all these pieces anymore.
This is the cry I spoke, as I held onto the perfectly unbroken sandollar I pulled out of the sand, dripping with sea kissed tears.
Don’t be afraid, Bonnie.
Lonely, I see you.
Lonely, I love you.
You are who I say you are.
This is what I heard Jesus whisper to me, as I remembered what Jesus told Simon Peter —
“Put out into deep water, and let down your empty nets for a catch.”
Where is your deep water, friend?
Where are the places in you that feel lonely — empty, if you dare whisper it to me in confidence?
Jesus doesn’t need us to come to Him full.
Jesus makes His home in us, even as we are empty.
Simply because He loves us in those places where no one goes.
What Matters More
Yes, it matters that Jesus loves me.
But, to me right now, what matters more is that Jesus loves the lonely parts of me — and He wants me to step out into the world from those places — as I am too.
And so, I whisper this to you, as well.
Don’t wait until there is no more loneliness. We don’t have to be alone before the brokenness recedes.
You are loved deep enough to be beautiful to Him right where you are traveling through.
I’m on this same journey, struggling to believe this to the extent where I can live from that place of faith, every moment.
But, I’m daring to live out in that place more, when I can.
This is after all, our testimony of faith — that Jesus is keeping company with us, in those very places.
— when I’m tempted to say yes — when I really want to say no,
— when I’m tempted to push past what I’m really feeling, and tell myself it’s not important,
I bring myself to remember that sand dollar I found last week.
I stand against the crashing wave of living as I am — empty netted, but beloved — seen and noticed by Jesus.
And I say yes, to even the smallest movement.
And I say no, to the voices that tell me I’m not important unless I choose otherwise.
I want to bring all of me into the present — into the moment with Jesus.
All the places that are frozen, that I left long ago, I’m trusting Jesus is leading me back.
He’s leading me back, so that the lonely parts within me can walk out into the open, into this world.
Jesus understands this loneliness of the journey to travel back home, paved with brokenness.
He lived His life fully out in the open, because He was the Beloved.
This was His song, that has become our Easter.
On the days we feel tired, when we feel lonely — in Jesus’ arms, we become the Beloved.
This is our song too.
How has loneliness been a part of your faith journey with Jesus?
What words are Jesus speaking to your soul today?
Pull up a chair. Our conversations here mean more to me than you may know. I’m so grateful for your confidence.
Click to comment and share each other’s thoughts.
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Oh, Bonnie, how much I needed to read this today!!! I can’t tell you how much I relate to this; I too am walking through a place of brokenness right now, and I more than understand everything you’ve said here about the need to allow ourselves to enter into and stay with those broken places inside of us and allow God into those places. So often I think that I should put aside that brokenness in terms of my relationship with God, or at least push it aside during times when I focus more on God, so I appreciate so much what you say here about how we don’t need to do that, that Jesus wants us to come to Him as we are. I love your analogy with the sand dollar and the story of Jesus approaching the fishermen….what a beautiful reminder that Jesus sees us even when (or maybe especially when?) we feel like we’ve failed, when we have our own metaphorical nets empty or at least not as full as usual. I love what He spoke to you when you were standing in the ocean–that He sees you! That is one of the things I always most long to hear from God–so invaluable! Just the other day at church, the priest related the story of Jesus telling the fishermen to put out their nets again into the ocean even though they had fished all night and caught nothing, and how when they did as He said, they suddenly caught so many fish….it reminds me of how you have maintained and it seems even increased in your sense of God’s presence with you throughout even this very difficult time in your life. Your deep sense of the abiding presence of Jesus is the “fish” that you are catching right now–so precious! I can’t tell you how much I admire and am in awe of your amazing ability to stay connected to God and to trust in Him no matter what during such a tough time–you are an unbelievable inspiration to me!! Many blessings to you! Thank you so much for writing and for sharing this with us–I can’t tell you how much your writing here always blesses me! I keep you constantly in my thoughts and prayers!
Dear Katy, He is with you, even now — with every word you type. Your soul is speaking and in there, Jesus hears each word. Thank you for keeping company with me!
Bonnie, I know fully well how to be lonely. Sickness and physical suffering isolated me from the world even though family was always there. I used to say that the sick and suffering have their own world and it’s steeped with sorrow and silence. But I learned that ONLY JESUS could penetrate that world, bringing to it His brilliant light, unfailing love and comfort.
Sweet Rena, it sounds like you’ve felt that warmth of His brilliance, reaching into your heart. Thank you for remembering that place of loneliness and traveling through it, so you can speak encouragement from that place here with us today.
I am so lonely, it hurts. This faith journey is currently trekking a dark and silent valley. I too have PTSD. I had 3 surgeries late last year. After 1 my throat swelled and I felt fear and panic constantly for weeks as the swelling went down. During that time, when I couldn’t stand that feeling anymore, usually by 3pm every day, I would go to bed and cry out to the Lord to “please help me”! And the answer was silence. No comfort, no peace. Isn’t that promised to us as believers? The Holy Spirit is supposed to comfort us I thought. And peace? Where was that? I am in the Word every day and pray for some wisdom to understand this. My faith has taken a big hit and I don’t know where to go from here.
Oh, Kathy! The unpeace is very scary and completely overwhelming. Unpeace has led me to investigate the truth behind the PTS with Jesus. I eventually sought an experienced trauma therapist, who specializes in EMDR. I had no relief for months until I began to process the traumatic experiences. And loneliness is one of the themes that mark my journey. I’ve learned it’s a good sign I’m touching the places Jesus wants to heal. Loneliness is very real wounding. The Holy Spirit honors that wounding. Sometimes, it takes greater faith to acknowledge something is wrong and investigate it, when a lot of society and church culture expects faith to look instantaneous. May God give you courage to investigate your next steps, friend. You are not alone, friend.
I think the worst loneliness you can feel/have is when you are surrounded by friends and family, yet feel so disconnected. There are those places in your soul that only Jesus could understand and relate to. Thank you for sharing such intimate sufferings. We think no one sees or could possibly go through such brokenness or hardship, yet we find each of us have our own place of loneliness that we’ve never shared with Jesus let alone others. Yet, He knows; knows exactly where we are, what we’ve hidden and where He needs us to go. I’m grateful for Jesus; His compassion, His concern, His sensitivity to love us right where we are. There is no amount of darkness, loneliness or suffering He can’t penetrate with His brilliant light of glory and concern for His children.
How beautifully you’ve expressed the reality of the journey and the hope that comes from the Presence of Jesus in that reality. Thank you, Erica.
“I have also lived this other life. Inside.”
Thank you for your braveness, stepping out to share what is so paralyzing to His plans for us, for putting something so unexplainable to the experienced into understandable words for the inexperienced.
Just to know there are “others” goes a long way to instill inner peace.
Your words make up a part of God’s presence — the peace of fellowship — here with us today. Thanks, Sherry.
The timing of this post couldn’t have been more perfect, so before I say anything else, I must give thanks. My brother passed away a week ago today and I have never felt so lonely. It isn’t because we were so close, because we weren’t, but during the past six months I have been by his side helping his wife minister to his needs as we watched him die a slow torturous death. At the memorial service they listed the people who ministered to him and my name wasn’t mentioned. My daughters, who had witnessed my hours of care for their uncle, were gesturing indignantly, but the sweet presence of God covered me because I knew He saw and that is all that matters. But this seems to be a pattern in my life to the extent that sometimes I could swear I’m invisible. One time at a prayer meeting while other people were being referred to as the trumpet, or pillar, etc. of the group, I was labeled as rebar. Seriously, rebar? I am the caregiver for my mother, and consumed with her own grief, she doesn’t recognize mine. Infact she doesn’t recognize me as a person with feelings. She just lost her “shining star” and as a mere daughter, I barely exist to her. Lonely? Oh, yes. Those hurt and lonely places in me run deep and can only be touched by the One who truly knows me in my deepest parts. He has to be my All Sufficient One, and He forever will be. When my girls were dating, I would always say, “Remember who you are.” Thank you for speaking the same to my heart today.
Dear Darlene, I’m so sorry that the pain of your brother’s passing is compounded by the hurt of what’s happened at the Memorial Service. Your name is remembered and spoken in eternity’s heart — Jesus. And He remembers all the love your poured out to your brother in those last days. Thank you for honoring your sorrow by sharing it with us today, friend.
Oh Bonnie, Jesus is the One we can run to! I know I’ve been disappointed in people many times. But He never disappoints. I can just picture you at the ocean. I find the sound of the surf very soothing and reassuring. After all, God created the ocean and He placed the planets in perfect order. The ocean waves never cease. Remembering this truth always reassures me. He is present and active in our lives. I am grateful for the opportunity to link up and share with others. I continue to remember you in my prayers Bonnie.
Blessings and love,
I thought of the Arizona desert, and how the ocean is like the desert too… and how God is even there, with us. Touching us, as we share our words. Grateful you’re a part of ours here, Debbie.
You have a way of saying the deeper heart things with courage, clarity and beauty. I am so grateful that you have given up the hamburger (friends who can’t love you in the dark places) and found the steak (friends and family who love you truly). It is a lonely journey from one to the other as we trust that God has more for us and we hold out in hope that sometimes feels too frail and unreal. I have been lonely much of my life, though people around me may not have known it. Broken past and broken heart led me to cover all that unsavory and unacceptable part of myself and I hid under achievement, perfection and being needed by others. It is alienating to always have the answers. I have had to walk long and painful to come to where I am now and I will tell you the journey feels sometimes as though it is brand new though there is much I can praise Him for in the way of healing. I just wanted to tell you I appreciate you. I don’t get to read your blog every day and I rarely comment only because life is full with young children and homescooling and a part-time job. But, whenever I do read your posts, I resonate. Loneliness is a suffering with Jesus. He was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. He was lonely when his friends couldn’t just watch and pray in His darkest hour. He is our High-Priest who sympathizes. Yes, He knows. But, still, we can feel He has left us alone. I think some of this is the growing up in Him. We want Him for our own comfort and for our own ends. We don’t always want Him for Him. That’s what He is stripping us of — and simultaneously He is gently calling us to risk and be known and to be known as broken, not as whole. Thanks again, Bonnie.
Dear Patty, it’s very precious these words you took time to share here. I’m a mom myself with two boys 7 and 3 — and so please know you have a part in this community, even without commenting, friend. Thank you for reading along with me and the comraderie of our faith journey with Jesus – each of us in our own way. May we continue to taste more of this new life, as it grows in us, one season at a time.
It is true. Jesus invites us home and in His arms we are beloved. Broken and marred relationships may wound us but he has healing in his arms.
Wonderful to share this morning together, Carol.
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Bonnie you again have brought tears. As I read it was like hearing the thoughts in my head that have been with me since childhood. Many nights I remember crying myself to sleep wishing for one ‘just’ one real friend. I was always on the outskirts, barely noticed if at all. I always seem to be on the outside looking in. Whenever (and they were rare)that I had a day when I felt apart of it all; I’d cling to the moment wishing it not to end knowing that next day everything would be as before. Lately I have had a longing to feel God close to me. To wake everyday and not dread the empty stretches of too much time on my hands because He fills it with himself.
Sweet Ellen, we are faith travellers — and how beautiful for you to feel that quiet whisper to long to be feel close to God again. What are places that can draw that part of your soul out? I smile a knowing thought for you and pray you’re led to visit there.
When I read your post, I saw you in my minds eye walking that cold, winter beach. I wish I could give you a hug.
I believe we all have that loneliness at times. The struggles, the heartache.
The wondering if the what is, will ever become what can be.
I know if we had the power to see, truly see, into the hearts of our sisters… we might be surprised at the similarities.
I have gone through much grief and loss in my own life and I cling to these verses. Might they comfort you too, during this valley in your life?
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
All things can be used by God, for His glory….even the broken parts of our lives.
Praying for you, friend.
Sweet Dawn, it’s wonderful to see your words reaching into the hearts of faith travellers on your blog — and here with me and us today. Thank you for being in the moment through your voice and sharing this verse, friend.
Oh yeah….your words, Bonnie, hit home. These words: “Unloved. For so very long. Alone.” I can identify with those words in many ways. I can add this to them: “Rejected…by family, friends, husbands. Outcast.” I was badly abused as a child by my family. My brother. My sisters. My parents. Later, I was not loved by any of the three husbands I had married. One even told me so 6 months after I married him. I was devastated, crushed. I belonged to a highly fundamentalist church and felt God didn’t love me either.
Then along came the real God. Not the one who punishes all the time like that church taught.
One day, in one of my college art classes, one of the students who was a Christian and worked at a retreat, came up to me out of the blue and said, “You have to accept God’s love.” It blew me away. I have to say it is hard to accept it because of being rejected so long by so many.
My two sons do love me. And so does my granddaughter. But I have no idea what it is like to be loved by someone else in a romantic way. I don’t know what it is like for a man to love me at all. I see it in movies and in others, but it is a mystery to me how it feels. It’s left a huge gap inside. A big, gigantic hole that God wants to fill if I only let Him.
I do love. I love my children and granddaughter with all my heart. I love my little grandson in NY whom I have never met. I love my cat. I love God. Why is it so hard for me to accept His love? I have no idea. So I don’t know what others feel when they talk about the love of God washing over them and filling them. Maybe I am afraid to be rejected even though I know, on an intellectual level, that God would not do that.
Maybe one day I will open my heart and find Him standing there. I really want it desperately but don’t know how to go about it.
Christine, your story is etched with sorrow, but I hear God’s voice continuing to speak you are loved. Thank you for sharing it here. It’s hard to step out of what we know into the risk of unknown… I hope you see here that there are friends who can understand. May God give you courage to sense those small movements out, as He leads you.
Thank you so much, Bonnie! Your words mean a lot to me. I never met you but I love you. There is something that resonates a kindred spirit and I know we are joined by God’s Spirit, too. I know one day we will meet. I have a feeling God is going to catch me by surprise one day. 😀
Bonnie, I was lonely through junior high and high school, at first because we moved from rural PA to Dallas, TX and I just didn’t fit in at all, then because I’d lost my best friend back in PA to cancer at 15. Yes, it marked me, but walking all those lonely paths with Jesus (and my parents prayers around me) was a precious time of growth. I loved sailing in the lake in the summers, singing my heart out alone where no one else could hear or care if I didn’t sing right!
Beth, it’s still so new and amazing to see that the experience of loneliness have a real part of our stories — here in this community. It’s freeing to honor it together. Thank you for painting a beautiful picture of your being with Jesus — the lake, summer and music!
yes, you are who He says you are
the only voice that matters
loved, beloved, cherished
Thank you, for the poetry that flows from your fingers, from your heart to us on your blog and here, Karin!
Pain has been my constant companion for thrity years. I have struggled so many times with that place of desperately wanting someone to understand. I appreciate your honesty about suffering. It encourages me to keep writing about mine.
We are encouraging each other. Keep writing and sharing your story.
KEEP SINGING BONNIE…I may not know you, but our walk is the same…Your writing is bringing spring to my 10 year winter.
🙂 hugs across the net to you, Tammy… with love…
Hey Friend, I love you.
Hi Holley, I love you too friend! Such a comfort to journey together. Your friendship is God’s gift of presence to me. xoxo
I feel your pain and have walked in my own pain, many times, in this life journey. Where do I go when I am lonely? I retreat to my art studio. What do I do while I’m in there? I cry. I pray. I listen. I read the Word. I listen to gospel music. I sing. I praise. I give everything over to Jesus. You know how I do that? I just raise my hands and admit that I don’t know “anything”…I’m not trying to figure out “anything”… I just want to be in His presence. I don’t need to understand the pain. I just need to be able to endure and walk the path He places in front of me…Just be with Him. Mostly, that’s all I ask–just to be in His presence. And, yes, I do find relief in being in His presence. I understand this one truth: The only day I will feel no pain or emotional distress, will be the day I join Him, in heaven. Otherwise, I am here for a purpose: to run this race and hold His hand, in the process. Blessings to all of you, who are in pain, emotionally or physically. It gets better. You need to continue your race. When you can’t run, He will carry you until you are ready to walk and run, again. And, know this: You will fall and become bruised, again and again, but your faith will grow phenomenally. Love all!
Dear Cynthia, your spirit is full of energy and reading more of your heart, as you share, it’s Jesus real in your life that shines!
your writings definitely speak to my heart but this one blew me out of the water. i was reading it, tears i didn’t even know needed to come out were flowing down my face, and i feel like i’ve been punched in the stomach (but in a good way)…stunned…relieved that someone else understands exactly how i feel. i don’t know how you do it but you always seem to write the words so perfectly that describe the emotions and feeling within my heart. thank you.
It’s the Holy Spirit, burning the Presence of Jesus in your heart, as we share the journey together. Let those tears flow, as your soul is touched from where it is deep. Thank you for the honor of your words here, friend.
Most of all, I’m sending you hugs, Bonnie. These kind, the printed hugs may be the easiest for you to accept in the moment.
Loneliness. It has been the constant through the last 12 years of being a pastors wife. Even in introductions I am kept at arms length, “This is our Pastor’s wife.” Said with smiles, arms length away, I am introduced as a label rather than a person, a friend, a woman, mother, sister, daughter. A title and my husband’s position.
Longing to know and be known, I am huddled into Jesus and kneeling into the Father. It offers time for growth and faith stretched thin, but still stretching to reach.
My husband is ill, has been gravely ill for the last two years. Too ill for hugs or more than an occasional hand held, I am in territory unknown– without family, close friends. Kept on a pedestal just out of reach. How I long for hugs from people who love me, the close human contact of an arm on my shoulders, a walk holding hands, conversations without reference to physicians, medications and nursing care. Simple things seemingly impossible.
God is close. Sometimes not felt, but always close as promised. Holding those promises, speaking those hard learned words. Reading and repeating until I hear them, know them, in my heart. Lonely, yet still beloved.
Hi Joni, I haven’t been a pastor’s wife, but I am so touched by the honesty of your heart here. I have served as a missionary, as well as leadership in ministry for many years and understand the expectations that can separate your full voice from who you are and who others view to be you. But, hear this in this very moment: You are more valuable beyond your work. Your feelings are important. Your soul needs comfort and friendship too. Lord Jesus, I pray you can send someone to Joni’s path to ease her burden, whom she can confide in as sister and friend. Whisper to her the way you can and assure her of your deep understanding of her, right where she is at.
Thank you, Bonnie. I am blessed by your generous spirit and God’s love flowing through you.
You are Joni to us here. Friend and sister. 😉
I too have been thru an extremely lonely difficult time. A time that no 1 can understand. But as I read your post it touched me. And I heard God say as I read the last line asking what do you hear God say to you he said ” you’re beautiful too”. I cried.
That is so, so beautiful, Lori. It choked me up to hear, in your words, how Jesus whispered His deep, deep love straight into your heart, where you can hear. Just for you. Thank you.
Garbage in – Garbage OUT – Jesus in the empty boat and please stay IN!
🙂 Thank you Hazel, for your verse you sent as well!
Hi Bonnie, I have been blessed by your writing especially this past year or so. I have been through a very trying season myself. I just wanted to thank you for being so real in your posts! Thank you for being brave enough to write in your “real” voice. You have helped to inspire me to start blogging (www.MiraculousLovely.com). I have even just started joining your Faith Jams!
God bless you! Yes, this line you wrote is so true: “But, to me right now, what matters more is that Jesus loves the lonely parts of me — and He wants me to step out into the world from those places — as I am too.”
Welcome Nancy! News of your blog is absolutely WONDERFUL, miraculously lovely — releasing your heart into words for Him. Looking forward to sipping your post in the jam!
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I’ve never commented twice on a single post, but all of you are on my heart, from this morning. I thought I would send a link to one of the gospel songs I listen to, repeatedly. It is titled, “Stand,” by Donnie McClurkin. I listen to inspirational gospel,daily, while I’m working in my studio. For me, it another way to pray, praise and lift your heart to the LORD.
Thank you, Cynthia!
Thanks for this beautiful song.
Bonnie, your words speak loudly and deeply to me. I identify with so much of your journey. This week, I am right there with you in the loneliness. I am so glad He spoke to you, and that you press on in your journey. Thank you for continuing to share it with us. I am so blessed by your Faith Jam. Love and blessings to you!
Your post this week simply takes.mybreath.away! Just beauty, faith, wrapped up in words, let loose in this world for all to see. Love your heart you share with us so openly, Mandy!
Bonnie, Our hearts are in similar places today. This prompt and the work that God has been doing in me over Lent reminded me of a time just a few years ago when I was walking through a similar phase of hurting and healing. Your section about holding on is so much like what I was feeling as I wrote my piece and remembered that time. I never would have thought this then, but what really came to mind is how much I miss a part of that healing journey – not the painful and hard stuff but the part where I knew how desperately I needed Jesus. It’s so much harder now on the other side of healing not to wander into relying on my own strength subconsciously. I pray that you continue to hear Him speaking to your heart and holding your hand, and I know that even when it feels lonely He is never going to leave you alone. Thank you as always for sharing your heart, making us think, and hosting this beautiful community.
Bonnie, for a long time I hAe been lonely, from a child not fitting in to a family to an adult still not knowing where I belong. I stay on the outskirts of groups, friendships, people. Who knows me, only Jesus. He is the only one I don’t hide the nightmares from, the negative thoughts, the only one I don’t feel like a burden to, a failure.
I needed this today. I have been so lonely with a broken heart once again. I love you friend. Thank you for being so real and sharing with us.
Thanks once again Bonnie for being brave and vulnerable to share with all of us! You really encouraged me today. Thanks to Cynthia for the “Stand” video! I keep standing and then when I have no strength left, God takes over and turns things around in my life, even when it seems hopeless. Thank you Jesus!!!!
This is a beautiful offering today and touches me deeply. Where do I go when I am lonely? To the well of living water to be given a drink by the one who never leaves or forsakes me, Jesus. Yes I do get lonely, I am a widow. I am a mother, a grandmother a great grandmother and yet….I get lonely. I love my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I pray for their safety, protection, salvation — every day. They don’t really know that I get lonely, I haven’t told them. I don’t want to burden them, the world is harsh enough that they have to work, go to school, and live in – I don’t want to put anything else on them — so I pray for them. Sometimes lonely just comes on me for no special reason. I keep busy, I have a nice home to take care of, I have interests, I keep in touch with friends, I volunteer at a thrift store and I do family research online. I also do facebook and try to keep up with politics. I read a lot — I think of the years when I was raising a family and wish I had more time to read all the books in the library (lol). Now I have the time and yet I get restless, lonely. I go out, I make myself go out to lunch or to browse the shops, to pass the time but also to accomplish things. I work my budget, sometimes it’s difficult as I’ve lost income when I lost my husband, but if I’m wise I can manage it. Little things annoy me more than they use to. My smoke detector started beeping, it’s high up but I climbed on the step stool even though I don’ t like heights and tried to fix it, take the battery out. Went to the store they didn’t have the right kind of battery and I didn’t want to chase all over town for it so I came back home and called a handyman I know. He came over and checked all the smoke detectors and replaced one battery. Only charged me for his gas, not his time, nice young man, bless him Lord, he doesn’t know how much that meant to me. I had let myself get frustrated because I couldn’t do a simple little chore that my husband use to take care of. Same thing when something goes wrong with the car, again thank you Lord I know a good mechanic I can trust ’cause I sure don’t know anything about taking care of a car, except to put gas in it, and wash it once in a while. I miss my husband, at night I clutch his pillow and sometimes allow myself to weep. We didn’t have too many years together as we married when we were older and though we would spend our last days together. We did, I with him as he lay dying, I spoke to him, read to him as he liked me to do, I played music on his cd, a tape of his mother’s piano playing. He didn’t respond but I knew he heard it. Then he went peacefully in the night and I lay on the bed beside him as he took his last breaths. Sometimes I still can hear his voice calling to me, it is so real I have to respond “I’m here”…. Yes, I do get lonely but I know I am not alone and I will allow my Lord to work in me what needs to be done.
I wouldn’t let myself read your post until I’d written something, anything down on paper for this week’s prompt. And I’ve finally scratched out a broken prayer to Jesus and then I come here to find your words speaking my heart, speaking *Jesus* to me. This is me reaching out a hand from my part of the world to say that you’re not alone. I’m not alone. Not a single one of us is alone. He is near, and He has gathered a multitude of the broken and lonely here at your “coffee shop,” all of us aching for Jesus and aching to live as the Beloved. Thank you for opening your doors, for braving the wild and the scary and the quiet and the lonely and just saying Yes. Sending much love to you tonight, Friend.
I stood in a crowd of a thousand, right next to my husband and surrounded by church people I knew.
And the speaker on the platform said there were people there who were lonely. And he asked them to raise their hands and for those around them to pray and reach out to be their friend. I wasn’t going to do it; I felt shamed but I found my hand raised, not very high. I was sure no one saw but Jesus. When prayer was over, I felt a hand touch my shoulder and a whisper asked if my hand had really been raised. I nodded, reaching for a tissue to hide the rush of tears. I couldn’t even look at the one who said she wanted to be my friend.
Another session and I turned and looked into the sweetest face and we exchanged addresses. She has been ever faithful for several years now to write cards of encouragement to me, the last coming on a day when I wondered so many painful things. A lifeline from Jesus – “I see you, I love you, you are who I say you are.”
I’m a little late at posting, but I thought my experience was worth sharing anyway. I also had a “sand dollar moment” when I went to the Washington coast by myself to seek the Lord and spend time with Him a few years ago. I was a single divorced mom, and desperately lonely. I had just broken up with a man whom I met online who purported to be a Christian. He led me on by reading exerpts of Christian books to me over the phone. Wild at Heart, The Power of a Praying Husband….you get the picture. We ended up hooking up, a mistake that left me feeling dirty and foolish. When I told him I felt guilty before God and no longer wanted to do that, he was outraged and told me he would never date another Christian woman, and that I was just a drama queen trying to stir up trouble. After we broke up, heartbroken and desperate, I went to the coast to be alone with God. While walking on the shores of Long Beach, I noticed millions upon millions of sand dollars in the sand. Upon further inspection, these were not whole sand dollars, but broken half-pieces of sand dollars. I picked some up and tried to see if I could fit a whole one together, to no avail. Their mates were just nowhere to be found in the jumble of broken pieces. Then He spoke to my heart. We try in vain to force a whole out of two broken halves that were never designed to fit together. Only God can create a whole one. I asked at that moment for God to make me whole. Since then, it has been six years and I have dated no one. I love being single now, and feel at complete peace with my singleness. God has healed my heart and given me new hope for my future. I started school and earned my AA degree, and am now planning to transfer to the University for my bachelor’s. I am working full time and enjoying my family (now grown kids) until the time they are ready to move out of the house. One day, God may have a husband for me. But if he doesn’t, I am perfectly contented to live with Jesus as my best friend and husband.
Thank you for sharing your “sand dollar moment”. I had almost forgotten about mine.
Lovely post. I go to Jesus in prayer when I feel lonely. I have found it’s the best place to be. I believe when we are lonely, it is a sign we need to draw near to God so we can commune with Him.
In my times of loneliness (and I’ve had my share) I have found that it will strengthen your relationship with God if you let it. The loneliness serves a purpose even if you don’t know the purpose as you are going through those times. IT may be later that you understand why or you may never understand it fully.
The main thing to remember I would say… Embrace The Loneliness. Not as something bad happening to you but as a path that God is teaching you something that will enhance your life. I think the more appropriate word in some of our lonely times would be the word “solitary”. We can be solitary without loneliness. We can be lonely without being solitary. Just embrace where you are and try not to let it pull you down but lift your head up to see the sun rays of the moment, be it lonely or solitary.
God Bless You and I know God is leading you through the panic and anxiety and before long, you will be through all that and on the other side of it all, facing a sunnier time in your life ahead.
Simply.Where.I’m.At. Lonely in the middle of new and old relationships. Reminding myself often that the lonely points me to the father of the fatherless. The lonely brings the eternal into focus.
Thank you for sharing your heart!
Bonnie I love your writing. I’ve read your blog a few times and I have to tell you, I’m right there with you. Our stories have similarities. Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings on your journey to wholeness.
I asked the Lord to cleanse me once, that was 10 years ago. Well folks, be careful what you pray for! I lived in denial about my childhood, so He brought me through all of it. All the trauma, drama, death and abuse. All the hurt caused by hurting. The faithless, hopeless mess of my life. I suffer from PTSD. I have had to learn how to lean into Jesus for everything. And I am so thankful. This journey is hard, hard, hard but the fruit from it will be GOOD. Stand on His promises. There are so many we can stand on. I like Jer. 29:11 in particular. And 2 Tim-1:7. Romans 8:38, there are so many.
Where do I go when I’m lonely…into the woods. There is something so healing about nature. That’s where I feel closest to God. Somewhere in Arkansas, there is a chapel in the woods at the end of winding path. It is built of wooden timbers and glass. As you sit in this chapel, you can see into the beautiful forest that surrounds it. The quiet is warm and serene. I have camped in the woods, woken early and crawled from the tent to sit and observe the forest waking in the stillness. The sun inched above the horizon stretching it’s fingers over the earth’s edge silently caressing creation with its light. I have felt the sharp hunger of loneliness here and surrendered it to Abba, and it seemed my life came slowly into focus and I traveled on filled with peace if only for a while. Bit by bit, each day I grew stronger and found amazing gifts on my path. Thanks for taking us with you on your journey. It is good. 🙂
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So glad to have found your posts. I can so relate! I keep re-reading from different posts.
I feel like I’ve lost my voice,I don’t even know what to say.” I’ve been there, done that” .
After my husband walked out, I said to Daddy, “There isn’t anyone else to change, I guess you can change me” . He did……by showing me my childhood pain and trauma. It was 3 yrs. of very intense healing and another 2 of not quite as intense. This was 25 yrs ago.
I don’t even know what to say……I’m tired of it. I’m tired of broken. I’m tired of not understanding. Your posts are so raw and real and appreciated. Life…..so messy at times. I read Pete Wilson’s book, “Plan B”. Mostly, I wish I could talk to someone who has been where I am. I think of Joseph, a dream and everything he went through before it came to pass. I feel like I’ve been blindsided and can’t believe what happened. Anyhow, I need to write this, whether it makes sense or not, because mostly I feel like I don’t matter. Another lie, another needed healing.
Dear Rebecca, you matter. And I’m so proud of you for writing, because you’re speaking in your full voice. Jesus hears and we do too. Keep stepping forward, with whatever steps He prompts you. Thank you for sharing, friend.
Just wanted to say Thank you !! Thank you for continuing to step out into the unknown to reveal what the Father wants us to know ! As a wise elderly lady said to me one time…”Turn around ! See how far you’ve come ? !!!” and I say to you — especially when you feel you’re not making any progress — Turn around ! Look and see how far you’ve come !!!
[…] And I’ve felt so very, very lonely. […]
[…] me from my childhood. Still alone. Holding everything […]
[…] me from my childhood. Still alone. Holding everything […]
Today, I thought of you. Then I read this post and I wish to share with you today’s song – The thorn in your side. http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/14625675/.
You see, God knows each of us and the “little girl” in each of us. It is to this place of comfort and of safety that we go in the moments of greatest distress, when the thorn in our side becomes unbearable. It is to this place of safety where we tell Him what ails us and expect Him to pull the thorn out. But have you ever wondered why the thorn was there in the first place?
Did God put it there? I have no answer to that question because it is no longer relevant. You see, all those years we spent bewailing the thorn because it is in our side, we forgot the bigger question – why is it there?
I had a little revelation this morning when God gave me this song – He tells me that His grace is sufficient for me – whether I live with the thorn in my side or whether I live without the thorn in my side. But He reminds me that whichever choice I make, there will be consequences. So, He also reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me and that His grace is sufficient for me whichever way I choose to live, with or without the thorn. The thorn is immaterial, what is material is my faith and my trust in Him. Do I take Him at His Word? Will I remember His promise, to never leave me nor forsake me, Will I remember to call Him when I need Him, will I remember to pray continually? Will I remember to give thanks and praise to the King of kings, Lord of Lords, will I remember to love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and strength and to love others as myself? You see, Bonnie, the thorn is so small and insignificant if we focus on our Almighty God. He gives us the grace and that is sufficient for you and me. Shalom.
Thank you for sharing your heart. God bless you with healing in His wings. The journey down the Amazon starts with a small step of faith. The Faithfulness of our God is bigger than any enemy in sight. God is good all the time!
Thank you for sharing your heart and your voice here. May God continue to bless our journey.
This made me feel like you knew my story I cried a little. I’ve been trying to get over this lonely feeling for the past year and a half . It’s so hard! I really loved this blog. Thank you for sharing your message.
Sonia, the journey of faith includes both lonely and moments of being embraced. I’m so glad you felt embraced on our journey here.
being lonely is the most awful thing in the world, having your dreams smashed and left by the wayside. Do whatever ever you can to get out of it…..sleep, dream think feel dont just do what people suggest go for a walk, enjoy time with friends, …..its like asking a blind man to see…………………….try hard to think of a time when you might recover, think of what you might be able to do, reach out to people who love you and put up with your fears and heartache………….one day at a time. You get up a victory, you make a cup of coffee a victory, you smile at a stranger a victory……very small baby steps, dont think about tomorrow, just think about now, this hour, this day and maybe soon some sunlight will come in……..even a crack to help you to move and to move on happily. I wish you well
thanks for sharing, laurie. so glad we can share this space.