Monday, August 2, 2010

Loneliness--Level 1

I am NOT joking when I tell you that the American song "All By Myself" is playing in the hotel lounge as as I write this post. I feel like my life is being set to music as I sit alone, preparing to blog about my first wave of loneliness. I guess God knows that humor goes a long way with really, the song made me smile.

Let me start with a question. When you go swimming, are you the type of person who likes to ease gradually into the cool water or are you the type who goes straight to the diving board and jumps in head first? Those who know me well will attest to the fact that I'm a jumper. I know it is going to be cold, I just prefer to get it over with quickly.

But there are times in life when even though I know I have to go in to the deepest coldest part of the pool, God puts up a NO DIVING sign, and I am forced to enter slowly, one small, painful step at a time, which is why I have called this post "Loneliness--Level 1."

While today I wrestled with my first bout of loneliness, I am keenly aware of the fact that I have barely scratched the surface of the depths of loneliness that I will feel in the coming weeks and months. I wish I could just "dive in" and get it over with, but it doesn't work that way. I will have to face each level as it comes, trusting that God has prepared me for that which He sets before me. Believing that I will see His glory on each step. Knowing...but experience in new ways...that He truly is sufficient. More than enough. Everything.

Today's loneliness had nothing to do with missing friends and family at home. I am sure those days are coming, but it was not the case today. Nor was I actually alone today, until now. In fact I was surrounded by English-speaking, God-loving women of faith. I'd like to think that I would feel right at home in such a crowd. Instead, I felt like a total outsider.

Don't get me wrong, the people here are wonderful. They are open and accepting. I have met women that I truly hope to count as friends--eventually. I think I was just hit with the realization that it will be a while before I have kindred spirits here. It will take time to get to know people. And it will take time for people to get to know me. And I think that the latter was the part that really made me feel lonely today.

Remember the old Cheers song? "You want to go where everybody knows your name." I have never been the most popular girl in the world, but it is weird to be in a place where everyone else seems to know each other and I hardly know a soul, and those I do know I only know at a very surface level. I also wonder if anyone will ever want to know me. Oh brother--that really sounds pathetic! I can't believe I even wrote it. Nevertheless, there is something woven deep in to the fabric of my being that LONGS to be known by another.

And then I consider two things:

1.) My God knows me. We have established intimacy. Is it possible that in being removed from a place where I felt known by many, I will find a place of deeper intimacy with God? An old worship chorus just came to mind (Thank you, Holy Spirit!):
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And helps me when I call

Truth. Reality. Hope. He IS drawing me closer. Helping me learn to lean on Him.

2.) My God also LONGS to be known. And isn't that why I am here in the first place? Perhaps this longing to be known is a gift. Perhaps I am getting a glimpse into the heart of God. Perhaps this pain is my tutor. Perhaps God is preparing me for ministry.




Today I did get a hug from a dear woman who serves in Spain. She was tender but genuine when she told me, "I know what you are going through, and this is just the beginning." In other words, I have deep waters of loneliness yet to experience. I can't dive in and get it over with, but I can look for Jesus each step of the way. I know I found Him on level one, and I have barely gotten my toes wet. I trust He will meet me in the depths.


  1. I would give you a big hug right now too...know that we are praying for you and your family. I am glad to know how to do that specifically for you today. Love you!

  2. Yes, starting over in a new country can be a very lonely experience. I've been there. But each time we have prayed that God will put the right people in the right place at the time - and He does. I know He will do the same for you. Sending you blessings of strength and endurance and wisdom. Much love, Karin

  3. Missing you like crazy! I am senind hug thoughts to you- would LOVE to pick up the phone right now and hear your voice. I am praying for you and specifically a kindred spirit- you know how stongly I believe in those. Loving and missing you!

  4. Praying... I love you tons, and miss you gobs!

  5. I love your honesty and what a great reflection on your relationship with God. Praying for you!

  6. My first night alone in my assigned town, after the big conference was over and I'd parted ways with those like me, was the loneliest night of my entire life. It's never easy, but in this way I found it gets better from here. Tomorrow you will know more than you did today, and your relationships with those around you will be a fraction more established. You're already on your way to finding those kindred spirits.

    Following you... and sending love.


  7. Jen, David, Graham & Chandler...We miss you more than we thought we would. I know God will accomplish amazing things through all of you. Abby talks daily of visiting you all in France - can't wait! Praying daily.