This past week I was cleaning out my bedside table. I came across a journal from 12/30/2008 - 9/05/2009. I was super curious to see what I had written... (I love reading my old journals because I usually can't remember what I wrote and so it seems like I'm reading someone else's journal!). Anyway, to recap that time in my life, we had just spent our first Christmas in Texas after leaving North Carolina on, what we thought, was a short term work situation for my husband. Over those 9 months, God did some amazing things for us. We sold our home in a downed housing market in barely 4 weeks and simultaneously found a nice, reasonably priced rental home in a great neighborhood. But we were also really praying for friendships because we had just left all our wonderful NC friends and family, and we were really lonely.
Bryan and I talked last night and we agreed that we feel alone - no friends. We wondered if its alot like what missionaries feel like. I catch myself searching for something to do. I also catch myself desiring to fill the lonliness - with shopping, TV, a new hobby. I know that God fills the void - He is sufficient for all my needs. And maybe that is what He is showing us.
It has been tough - emotionally - being here. I miss Louise (my mentor) so much - miss our coffee together, being able to unload. I miss going to Sarah's (my best friend) house and just chatting. I took a walk yesterday and had to tell myself "Jesus, you are my best friend." And then I'd picture Him right next to me, walking. And I talked to Him.
Jesus, I know you are all I need. Thank you for giving me the Holy Spirit - HELP ME communicate with you. Even if I don't do it well, just to know that you will interpret for me. Help me be a loving momma and wife. Help me die to myself. I struggle with that so much.
...God has plummeted me to a period in my life that couldn't be more characteristic of lonliness. Lonlieness - having no friends here who challenge, inspire, rebuke, encourage. ...
What followed after was many many months of a sheer, painful valley of lonliness. I struggled to understand how something so painful like leaving everything we knew and loved, could possibly be good for us. I desperately longed for someone to relate too. And although there were a few people that God brought into our lives, it was usually just for short periods of time.
Now fast forward to January 18, 2013. I'm cleaning out the bedside table and I find the journal. I opened the notebook and quickly began to read it, excited to see what words I'd penned. As I turned the pages I began to cry. I remembered the lonliness. BUT. That is a really big but (bahahaha). Seriously it is. Today as I write this blog I can say that all the longing for friendships has been taken care of. And not through people. Sure we have some great friends here, ones we love dearly, and who love us. But that lonliness was filled long before the friendships came. My lonliness was the thing that my Father used to draw me to Him, to find hope and peace in Him, to find refuge in Him. It made me search Him out and constantly seek His companionship. It was the driving force to my spiritual growth in Jesus. After I read through the pages I rejoiced! It was as if I was standing with Jesus on a small hill looking down into that dark valley. It was as if Jesus was saying "All that pain had a purpose! By my grace, I allowed it - because it was best for you! You and I are so much closer now because of the pain and heartache. Do you see who you were then and who you are now? Look how much more like me you've become."
I can't describe to you the joy in my heart. It was the first time He'd ever shown me the fruit of longsuffering in my own life. I felt so close to the God who saved me and who is constantly changing me and molding my sinful heart into a heart like Jesus'.
1 Peter 5:10 says "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you
to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and
establish you." NASB