When was the last time you felt lonely or isolated? Whether it be due to a language barrier, being primarily at home with small children, lack of other Americans in the city, team difficulties, being the only wife/mom on the team, or simply just the reality of being thousands of miles away from “home,” I am sure that each one of us has felt alone at some point in our life as a missionary.

My first year here was the time so far that I felt most lonely, despite the fact that I was surrounded with probably the most supportive team imaginable with all of the perfect dynamics. For me, the difficulty came in not having a shared history with anyone other than my husband, not yet being able to speak Russian, and just the fact that getting out and about with a child was so much more draining than it had been in the U.S.  Not only that, but our phone and internet situation was such that communication back “home” was either difficult, or at times even impossible. I had a very early miscarriage during that first year, and I remember my phone connection cutting out in the middle of my call to my parents. I was in tears telling them about what had happened, and then suddenly the line cut out and I couldn’t even call them back.  I felt so very isolated in that moment. It was probably from around that time and then through the next two months or so that I really grappled with the reality of the loneliness that I was feeling and sought God’s guidance and provision. I realized that loneliness would likely be a struggle that I’d experience again and again as we continue living overseas, and am thankful for God teaching me so much and leading me so gently during that first experience.

Thankfully since that time the feelings of loneliness, though of course they come and go, have improved greatly. This is not because circumstances look a ton better on paper than my first year, but rather because God has shown me more clearly how He is fully capable and ready to be my strength, comfort, and provider in those times. Each year has come with its own challenges that would like to lend themselves to loneliness, but God has a unique provision of each of those challenges if we seek Him, trust Him, and accept those provisions.

I think often times we look at the circumstance and realize that doing the math, loneliness should be an inescapable reality. That is not the reality though. Not to say we won’t of course struggle with it from time to time, but God has resources and provision available to Him that can and will meet each one of us where we are at if we come to Him humbly in faith, allowing Him to teach us and to meet our needs in whatever way He sees best. One of His names is Jehovah Gyra, or “God Will Provide.” I believe that what God asks of us is to come to Him in faith trusting that He is the provider of our every need, like He tells us in His word that He is. We need to pray to Him and ask him for this provision. We also need to seek our relationship with Him first as we seek to escape the feeling of being alone, and then look only secondarily to other relationships to fill those feelings of loneliness.

Part of my heart for this site is to encourage all of us as moms across the world that we are not alone in the challenges that we face. There are so many of us living this unique lifestyle, and God is far more than capable of taking care of each one of us with the utmost love and tender care. It is comforting for me to know that there are so many other moms out there with the same struggles, and that God is powerful, loving, and personal enough to meet the needs of each one of us individually.

What has helped you most to deal with loneliness? Do you have a story of a time that you felt lonely and God met you in the midst of it? Also, if you are feeling lonely right now, please feel free to share that so we can be praying for you. We all take our turns with loneliness and it would be wonderful if we could support one another in this!

Lastly, here are some passages that I find encouraging in times of loneliness:

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19

For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.” Psalm 25:11-18

‘”Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”‘ Matthew 11:28-30

‘”Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters and he who has no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”‘ Isaiah 55:1

Psalm 139- The whole Psalm is so encouraging to as we realize the depth in which we are truly known by God.


4 Responses to “Loneliness”

  1. 1 Jan March 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for this post! This year, my sixth year on the field, has been my year of loneliness. I had hepatitis and was hospitalized and that was when it hit me how alone I’ve been here. It drove me into a deep depression and I had such a hard time getting out of it, even as my body was trying to recover. God sent a friend to come and visit me from home, she felt like I needed some girl time, and she had no idea how right she was! It was wonderful to have another woman to talk to (I’m a mom to three boys), and just have a friend to bounce my ideas off of. I am so thankful to the Lord for knowing my needs and meeting them.

  2. 2 alatvala March 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Jan! Thank you so much for sharing about your year. It sounds like it has been a really rough one for a lot of reasons. I will be praying for you! That is so great that your friend got to come and spend time with you. I hope you are feeling better!

  3. 3 Julie March 30, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I’ve felt lonely on three different occasions.

    1. sickness (my own)
    2. family crisis and I couldn’t be there to help or give hugs
    3. holidays (Thanksgiving especially)

    It’s those three things that make it hard to be far away. I’m grateful for God’s presence in those moments when the sacrifice of missionary service seems so heavy.

  4. 4 Shilo March 31, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Our first Christmas was the hardest for me, that and when my dad was in the hospital, but I was so blessed by the way my national friends surrounded me and became my family when I allowed them to. Also, God met me in such a comforting way as I was real with Him! He is so faithful!
    P.S. I would love to be added to the blogroll!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: