“I just want to be me,” she said to no one and everyone. She was tired of doing the same thing every single day and no one noticed. She had a family, but her husband was on the road and her kids were grown. One was working in a different state, and one was in college in a state even farther away. The house became empty, and she cried just thinking about them not being there. She cried in solitude which only made her feel lonelier.
While her kids were little, they were her purpose. They were her everything. Her main goal in life centered around meals, laundry, house-cleaning, sports events for each kid, school functions, helping with homework, sleepovers with all their friends at her house, church events, summer camps, and whatever they needed. Raising them into great human beings was her main goal in life. Watching them live their lives somehow filled her life.
Loneliness was not a word she ever used back then. Today, though, that’s all she felt. She missed the times when she was the center of their attention. She missed being needed by them. Suppers were especially lonely. All she did these days was buy some quick-fix meals for herself and any others who dropped by.
She rarely saw her husband. Many weekends he was far from home. He would call her, but times together had to be planned in advance. She loved being with him, and she knew he was working hard to provide for everything it took to keep their family afloat. Still, she missed him.
She was lonely. She didn’t know why, really. She had people around her, friends, and church members, but she didn’t feel needed anymore. She wasn’t sure what to do with her endless, empty days. That sense of purposelessness left a huge hole in her life, and she had no idea how to fill it.
The biggest thing that plagued her was her sense of being lost, and all alone in the world when she knew there were people who really, truly loved her. Yet, she had been the one who had always shown love to others. Now she felt like they no longer needed her, and that is what left the giant crater in the middle of her soul.
She was a Christian and loved Jesus. For the last 20 years, she had done what she felt God wanted her to do by taking care of her husband and her family. Now that they didn’t need her, who was she, and why did she feel so alone?
Words began to come to her. Maybe the words would help her. She began to write.
Loneliness clings to me.
I want to run away,
But it follows me everywhere,
And I cannot shake it.
Fear, discouragement, emptiness
Scream from my soul,
But I cannot express them.
I don’t know how, and I don’t want to.
They are weeds that need to be pulled
So I can start living again.
I know God can do that, but still, I resist.
I’m afraid of what my future holds,
But I want to be who God wants me to be.
Trembling, I hand my feelings to Father God,
Who gently takes each one and holds them close.
Then, like a good Father
He gives me belonging
In exchange for my loneliness,
The filling of His Holy Spirit for emptiness.
He gives me peace to face each new day
Not knowing what it may bring,
But still loving, trusting, knowing
Beyond any doubt, I am never alone.
God has given me the gift of words to fill my days.
Just God, me, and words,
Words He gives me.
Words that connect me with Him.
Suddenly she understood. God was giving her time to write, time she had never had before. Somehow, knowing that gave her a sense of belonging to God that she had never felt. She had made her world too small. She confessed that to God, asked for His forgiveness, and then asked Him to show her how she should use her gift.
She began to understand without words, spoken or unspoken, no one can truly know themselves. Without writing her words or recording them, no one could truly know her. The words she would write would leave her legacy to the world. They would proclaim she existed. They would share how she struggled, and how she overcame those struggles with God’s help.
They would be a testimony to the power of God in a single individual’s life. They can help others overcome. Because if people never have difficulties, pain, or loneliness how can they ever truly know the strength of character God wants to build in them?
It was clear to her now. If all she did was compare herself to her past or even to others, she would always be lonely. If she would compare herself to God, she couldn’t help but reach for more and more of what He wants for her. Doing that, she would never be lonely or bored because the pursuit of God and His purpose for her life would fill any empty spaces.
She finally realized she had been lonely because she was trying to fill her life with things that would not quench her soul’s hunger and thirst. She had been trying to fill her emptiness with all the things she could see, feel, hear, touch, smell, or taste. They were tangible things, things this earth offered to help her through lonely days and sleepless nights.
She knew she had felt alone, not for lack of company, although that was the most tangible thing she was missing. She felt alone because she had no real understanding of who God was, who she was, and what God wanted from her. She had been going through life in a joyful but robotic fashion doing the same things day in and day out.
Today, though, was the day she decided to step out of the spiral. Today, she decided to listen to God and write what He wanted her to write. In doing that, she knew her longing for more, her longing for belonging, would be met. She knew that using her gifts, talents, and abilities would once again fill her soul.
Today had been a good day. She found her purpose. She would sleep well tonight knowing she belongs to the God of the Universe, God Almighty!
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013.
Her books include: “Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor”; “Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds”; “Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy”; “Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God’s Help”: “Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation”; “Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God”, and her most recent book, “Sweet Excuses: Stop Lying to Yourself & Start Losing Weight”.
She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, more information on both is available under the weight loss tab. Don’t miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Find that under the podcast tab and anywhere you find podcasts.