Thousands of woman and I tuned in online to watch the (in) Real Life conference (put on by (in)Courage). On screen, woman after woman shared her story. Her trials, her fears, her wounds. They shared about their friendships & the bonds they have made in various communities.

In real life, I battled the tension of personal loneliness and healing from trauma while longing to love others who knew pain, too.

During this season of pain, loss, healing, and focus on my wounds God, I started tweeting encouraging thoughts. My desire to pray for hurting & lonely women is unquenched, yet the pain inside is in desperate need of the same for me.

I kept thinking & feeling…

  • “Oh, but what about the one(s) who don’t have anyone to share their story with?”
  • “What about the ones who are so hurt they can barely stand to watch all these beautiful stories?”
  • “What about the woman who just had the hardest news of her life & feels she is completely alone?”

My heart knows. My heart knows great trials of many different kinds. It knows the pain of loneliness, even when you really aren’t alone & and the times when you are more alone than ever before.

A year ago, I would sit in front of the computer, on occasion, and stare into the world of others. Like viewing far-off, alternative reality, I wondered,

Why? Why am I here serving & pouring out my life only to be used to the point of collapse, but I can’t collapse? I have to keep going. Why does it seem everyone else who goes out in the mission field gets accolades from others about the great work they are doing, when I’m barely surviving, we are alone & now this…

Longing for Community

After Spring Break last year, we knew it was time to leave the ranch. We had given up so much & moved quickly to serve without fanfare.  We took in child after child to foster without knowing what we were doing.  We dealt with lice, language barriers, psychological issues, up to 12 children at one time, lack of resources & help, loads of paperwork, loneliness & financial strain. As well as physical, emotional, psychological & spiritual attacks and challenges that never seem to let up.

Watching others blog and enjoy life stirred deep longing. But I couldn’t even think straight though or sit long enough to do what I wanted to do. 

I looked at others who lived a dream of serving & did so with happiness. My heart longed for this too. I looked at others who seemed to live normal lives, and my life felt so far removed from normal, even though I was still in TX.

I wondered if our marriage would make it if our family could survive the stress. I wondered where my friends were.  I wanted texts, but most of the time one thought I was too busy to receive texts.  Being over an hour away from most of our friends and in the country added to the feeling of loneliness.

I was desperate for community, friendship, and a break.

For two more months, we would face three unfounded allegations of abuse.  We would continue to manage children who cursed repeatedly, threw things & broke things. Who ran away, defied & acted out in sexual ways. Kids getting suspended from school, illnesses & cars breaking down. We would sense the fact that we were no longer wanted where we were and that what we were doing for the kids was not good, not enough, not the way it was desired to be done.

We were hurt by others. We were lonely. We were challenged with multiple issues.

Our marriage was shaky, and we were like ships passing in the night to prepare our home to return to when the school year ended. Maybe we could get some normal someday soon? Community?

Eleven of us would move on the last day of school. One would go home the same day. Inspectors would visit our home to license it for a different use while we cleared out. Agency people were in and out of our home frequently.

I’ve never been more stressed or alone than in this season.

Anyway, there is even more than that but I think I’ve rambled enough to give you an idea that it was – A LOT.

So, this weekend I watched videos of community, stories, trials and redemption.

My heart wondered if there were women who thought, “Well, that’s great for them, but I need God to show up for me. I need community. I need friends. I need someone to care about me and my story.”

My guess is, those women are out there. I have felt it. Then I have felt ashamed to feel so needy.

So dear women, who are not yet my friends but might be, I know what it feels like to be alone. I know what it feels like to need God desperately for long periods of time.

I don’t have all the answers & I can’t even be there for all the times others want me to be.

But this I do know, it is by God’s strength and grace I am here today.  I am here despite possible PTSD, depression, etc. after this last season.

I know that many, many good things came out of our season. I know we said yes when we should, even though our family paid such a price it causes others to wonder if we should have said yes.

More importantly, I know this.

God is a sovereign, just, mighty, gracious, loving God who wants to be our all-in-all for all-the-things.  He will not take second place. 

His words, His truths, His promises have had to be repeated to me time and time again to keep me going. His Spirit refreshed me enough to keep me going & to not give up completely.

Dear lonely-hearted one, I pray for what you’re going through. May you not lose touch with the ONE who never leaves you. Even when you feel you don’t have the strength to ask God for help, let alone anyone else, may your weary, gutteral pleas find their way out. The spirit WILL intercede for words you can’t form. Jesus will make your request known.

You are not alone. We are not alone. Our story is not done yet.