Saturday, February 27, 2010


I can be in the middle of a noisy, busy household and feel completely, utterly lonely. Wave after wave will wash over me as I listen to others make plans that do not include me. I miss my family. I miss the companionship of marriage -- the obligation to cooperate.

For a whole year, I dealt with loneliness while living alone. It was easy. I expected it. Welcomed it even. I wanted to be alone. I felt that being alone was better than being with the wrong person. This is not to say that I turned into a hermit. Far from it. However, I called the shots. I decided when I wanted or did not want to be with other people. During those times, when I would feel the wave, it was easy to turn on music, curl up into a ball and cry out to God for deliverance. This is different. While living alone, I learned how to be alone, and NOT be lonely. I still don't know how to be in a crowd and not be lonely.

The simple act of being invited to share breakfast with my roommate and her children brought the issue forcefully to the front of my mind today. While eating, I realized that their family history, private jokes, shared secrets knit them together in a unity that I have yet to find. That's when the wave hit. No longer am I satisfied with the plans I have for the day: study. I want to go bowling, go to the movies, let loose and have fun with family. Not just any family: MY family, MY husband, MY kids.

Intellectually this is reasoned out fairly quickly:
  1. I have an obligation to study, because I have a test next week.
  2. I have lots of friends to call on if I wanted someone to hang out with me.
  3. I am a woman of faith, and I believe that God's timing is best. I believe He is using this time to prepare my heart - and the heart of the one He is sending to me - for each other. I will have these things when He is ready for me to have them.
  4. I can be surrounded by husband, children and extended family and still feel lonely.
Lots of people will tell you that this is all the "pain" of being single. I don't think being single is painful at all. It is really one of the happiest times of my life. I am learning to lean on God for everything, to know His heart towards me and others, and to love unconditionally. Not with expectation or desperation, but with joy and abandonment.

The only way to combat loneliness is with truth. The truth is, those moments will come, and then they will pass. It's up to me, and where I choose to place my focus, as to how long they will last. Already, as the family prepares to go out, I am feeling less and less lonely, and more and more happy at the thought of a peaceful, quiet study afternoon.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Challenge to Love

***This was initially written as a NOTE on Facebook last Thursday. It just bears repeating. :) **
A very dear sister posted a Facebook challenge (via her status) to prayerfully read
I Corinthians 13 and Romans 12 every day for 30 days. Although I did not repost it on my status, I decided to rise to the occasion.

This morning was Day 1. I woke up and lay in bed just meditating on I Cor 13. It's a pretty familiar passage, so I hadn't even picked up my Bible yet when this came to me, unsought and kind of unwanted, since I don't know that I'll ever be capable of living up to what I wrote:

I give you my love
Soft and gentle
So you may know
That Christ is real
That God does heal
Angels are with you because
I pray without ceasing
For your well being.
I ask for nothing in return
If I did, my love would not be unconditional.
It would, instead, seek its own;
And turn away, hurt
without being known,
Because that would not be love.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Letters to Africa

Today I sat down and did something I've been putting off for four months. I wrote a letter to a child in West Africa. Last October I took on a project without counting the long term costs and benefits. It was an emotional reaction to a plea for help. I'm so glad I didn't stop to consider the long term commitment. I don't really want to know what happens to children who do not have a sponsor.

My child lives in a region of the world that is very dry and arid. She is in a culture that degrades girls with dispicable practices such as female circumcision. There is a lack of trained teachers, nurses and living quarters in this part of the world.

The country just next door to hers has thousands of people living in remote tribes that still practice "mingi" -- killing children because they are believed to be cursed. This practice is deeply rooted in the occult. I am carefully NOT mentioning the name of the country, because the government of that country could easily expel the people who are there, in the trenches, trying to stop such practices, and rescue these precious little ones.

Some of my gentle readers may shake their heads and ask why, with so much poverty here in my own backyard, am I concerned for those so far away. I cannot answer that question easily. Here in America, there are many programs in place to deal with poverty. I am not called to help with those, I am called to the "least" of these. These "least" live in countries without the resources and infrastructure to deal with the cultural and sanitary issues that are destroying these children. I am being heavily challenged by God to step out of my comfort zone and be the difference in His people's lives.

If you can help, please do. I am including two links. Meander over and take a look. In light of eternity, is that brand new TV worth the life of a child on the other side of the world?

1. Food for the Hungry
2. Drawn from the Water

I had a very difficult time writing my first letter to my child. How can I ever describe a life so foreign to her? How can I sleep comfortably at night in my soft bed, knowing she has only a thin mattress? I am privileged, spoiled, and comfortable beyond her wildest imagination. So are you. Please give.

Monday, February 1, 2010

its a rant. feel free to skip it.

I love the internet. I love how it connects me to people I love all over the country. Sending emails is SOOO much better than actually writing a letter. Writing an actual letter makes my wrist hurt and my fingers get little bumpy indents. Really. Email is so much better. And faster. Unless you have a gazillion email accounts. Then you're just showing off. Unless you created different accounts for different reasons. Like to avoid SPAM!!!

What a word: SPAM. When I was younger it came to my mailbox. Delivered by a very hardworking mailman with a huge bulging mail bag. Big glossy ads in lovely magazines, and credit card offers that you always KNEW were junk mail because they somehow spelled your last name wrong. Then there was the "chain" letters. Remember those? You'd have to copy them by hand over and over and forward them to your friends because, God forbid, anyone bring bad luck on themselves by being too lazy to forward the daggum things. So now we don't have to write them out by hand, and they come by the dozens to our inboxes.

Chain emails are easy to send. Hit the forward button, choose the first 7, 12, 15, or 20 unfortunate people and away it goes. No bad luck for ME today, thank you very much! I have two real issues with them:
1. They are just plain annoying.
2. I don't hear from you unless you send me spam.
Honestly, did you even BOTHER to check SNOPES before you sent me that email about toxic tampons? And that chocolate chip cookie receipe? Total lie. What those "spiritual" prayers? Did you ever stop to think that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I'm not one of those pewwarmers, and I actually have a relationship with God and He told me I could delete anything as stupid and rote as those so-called "prayers", and offer instead a meaningful, heartfelt, loving paragraph just for you. (At least, I would if you took the time to send me a REAL email telling me what's on your mind so I could PRAY for you.) Then there are the gut-wrenching stories about little Johnny's encounter with an angel. They do not make me feel good about the world. Really. Especially when at the end you THREATEN me if I don't forward it to everyone on my contacts list. The preachy ones that tell me I'm afraid to show my Christianity if I don't forward it get deleted the fastest. I'm not afraid to stand up for Christ; however, I am NOT going to do it by forwarding an email to everyone that's ever shared their email address with me.

But the political ones really get to me. At lot of them are untrue, unfounded, and just plain HATE mail. The most recent one I got involved questioning why Michelle Obama is no longer able to practice law. It calls into question the integrity of both our President and his wife. I am by NO MEANS saying that the accusations in the email are not true. I don't know the facts, and I'm too busy to care. He's our President and I respect the position. Now you all have the freedom of speech to say what you think. That's the beauty of the country we live in. All this to say: if you send it to me, the buck stops here. It's not being forwarded, so save yourself a few keystrokes. And on behalf of all the other poor people in your contacts list: stop sending it to them too.