Monday, January 2, 2017

The Purpose of Loneliness

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            There are times in my life when I feel very alone. I feel like no one understands the struggles I face, or the challenges that come against me, not to mention the temptations that assail me every single minute of the day. Sometimes I feel like a lone woman rolling through life without a soul to come alongside me. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that I have lost hope and you are most likely repeating the scripture in Hebrews 13:5 that says the Lord God will never leave me nor forsake me, therefore I am never alone. And I would completely agree with you! I say that verse and repeat that verse often, reminding myself that He is continually with me, and in me. My God is with me. But, there are these times that even with this truth, I still feel very alone.
            I was having a conversation with a sister in the Lord about being a Christian woman who works outside the home and that there isn’t always a lot of support for us. We talked about how hard it is sometimes to be that Christian woman who chooses to work, who chooses to have a career away from home, children and husband. (No offense ladies, but you all can be a little judgmental when a Christian woman chooses to work instead of being a stay at home mom.) I had the luxury and I wanted to be a stay home mom for quite a few years when my children were little. But there were also times that I went to work because my husband wished for more financial security, or I just wanted to not be a stay at home mom. (Yes, I said it! Some women do not want to be stay at home moms) Now, years later, I own my own business, and it’s not just a little side business, it’s a rather successful company. With this success, however, I am also gone from home for sometimes long lengths of time. My children are grown, and right now, I choose to work and grow this company the Lord has blessed me with. Sometimes, however, it feels very lonely being a Christian woman who works outside the home.
            There are few women who can relate to me or understand the pressures, stresses and struggles I face as a CEO every day. I think if we were to admit it, there are many career women in the church today who face these same feelings and same struggles, we just don’t know how to say it. Many times, I have prayed to the Lord for someone who might understand, someone who faces similar struggles, stresses and trials of running a company. I have a few loving sisters who mean the world to me, they pray for me, listen to me and support me, but to say that I have one who fully and truly understands the struggles of business that I face I have yet to find. Not too long ago I began to cry out to the Lord, I prayed and sought Him with this lonely heart. He, in His great love for me, heard me and answered me with His unfailing grace.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”
 Lamentations 3:24 ESV
            I believe the Lord God brings us through these lonely valleys, these desert places of life to show us, to teach us and to plant in us this truth- He alone is all we ever need. Jeremiah understood this truth, and he had experienced this truth because he cries out in his soul that God alone is his portion. He is my inheritance. He is my security. He is my refuge. He is my friend. He is my helper. He is my deliverer. He is all sufficient to meet every need, every prayer, every cry of my heart that escapes from these lips. He is my portion. He is the source of my happiness, my life and the very breath I breathe.
            So many times, I have put my hope in a friend. I have confided in them, looked to them for help only to be disappointed or led astray by their own insecure ways. I have put my trust in riches, only to have them stripped away. I have put my hope in human love only to be hurt and cast down. But not once, not once has my God every hurt me, disappointed me, or turned His back on me. I have failed Him repeatedly, yet His continual love has never left me.
“Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:23-26
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            This loneliness that overtakes me from time to time serves a purpose in my life. It drives me to my God, my portion who is ever with me. I have friends, sisters and people that I talk to, that I confide in, but the only One who truly understands everything I go through is the Lord my God. This business of mine does not allow me to be involved in a lot of things. I can’t always serve in the church the way I would like to, I can’t always attend the studies that are offered, and I can’t always be a part of the fellowships that takes place. But God reminds me of His steadfast love and how His favor is ever upon me. He has me in this exact moment for a purpose and a reason. Do not lose hope my sister, do not lose hope. You are not alone. I may not be able to serve and be involved in the things I want to, but I can serve Him and follow Him in what He has given me.

            There’s not a lot of hope out there in the world; it is even hard to find sometimes in the Christian part of it all, but take comfort, you have God. He is your portion forever. Loneliness is a reminder to us that the only One we will ever need is in us. He is with us every single step of the way. He leads us, He guides us, and His right hand is holding tightly onto ours. Not many will understand and there will be times when good intentioned brothers and sisters in the Lord will try to understand, and there may even be some who make you feel even more lonely than you should; there may even be some who turn their backs on you. But we can be sure, we can be confident that God is the strength of our heart and our portion forever. He is all we need. Amen?