December 21, 2011

When Loneliness Overwhelms

Loneliness is a clever fella. Even when smiles brim over the edge of paper. Red and white stripes wrap families tight. Green jingle bells dance off cards. Happy sentiments and merry wishes burst forth in glossy text.

Even with all these stamped acts of love before me, loneliness taunts. Ahhh… the Christmas photo card.  I love them. Indeed, I bounce to the mail eager for a friend’s warm greetings. Yet.

Yet, it’s hard. Chubby-cheeked babes and pig-tailed little girls and proud moms-and-dads.  They remind me once more “you’re alone.” As my hand cramps, scrolling Christmas messages in old-fashioned ink, I battle bitterness. Knowing if I had a “Plus One” it’d be acceptable to send a picture of two. Or three or four or seven. But just one; that’s odd… unacceptable.

Yet. Yet I know this to be true: loneliness isn’t combated with spouses or children or parents or friends or work or busyness or parties or an abundance of cards. For a little while, yes. These keep loneliness at bay.

Yet traveling the high seas of loneliness, rocked by its storms. Swayed about till sick and tired. We can’t live from wave to wave, only catching our breath when there’s an ebb. The only acceptable thing? The only way to get to the other side of this ocean of doubt and pain and fear?

Call out. Shout above the raging. ’cause only One Voice can calm. “And the disciples came and woke Him, saying, Master, Master, we are perishing!” {Luke 8:24}

When opening your mailbox splashes waves of loneliness over your heart’s sides.
When feeling all alone, even in a house full of family, whips your sails around.
When Christmas movies on TV pull you under.
When  you’re pretty sure this lonely journey will be the end of you.

Speak His Name. Only there. Only there {take that in. Only there, not in anything else. Only there.}, is hope, safety, rescue, guidance. “And he awoke, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.” {Luke 8:24}

Master. Master of the wind, waves, depths and heights. My journey to the other side of fully trusting Jesus is still in transit. Maybe you’re still sailing a particular sea as well? Wherever we are in the course of this voyage, when He asks, “[Why are you so fearful?] Where is your faith (your trust, your confidence in Me–in My veracity and My integrity)?” let’s lift eyes off the waves and answer, “There is surely a future hope for [me], and [my] hope will not be cut off.” {Prov. 23:18}.

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  1. I praise You, my God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ. For You are the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. As You comfort me in all my troubles, I want to comfort those in any trouble with the comfort I receive from You. (based on 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

    Thank you, Sam, for today’s devotion!
    Merry Christmas to you 🙂

  2. “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2 (KJV)
    I really enjoy your writings and devotionals.
    I’d love to have you visit my blog, if you ever get a chance!
    Have a wonderful, blessed CHRISTmas!

    In Christ,
    Cheryl Smith

  3. Vanessa Bentley says:

    Thank you for the insight you share in today’s devotion and the practical idea of being sure to invite Jesus along wherever the lonely ones go. Good advice.

    May God bless you for your openness!

  4. I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry, He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the muck and mire, He set my feet on a rock, gave me a firm place to stand, He set my feet on a rock, gave me a firm place to stand, He set my feet on a rock and here I am! I too have been lonely although I am married with a disabled husband who at times cannot do the things I want to do and have to do alone. Thank you for this, it is something I know but at times forget that God is with me and I never really do anything alone.

  5. Heavenly Father thank you for loving me with an everlasting love, for drawing me with loving kindness. May my heart be reminded that only you can love unconditionally. (based on Jeremiah 31:3)

    Thank you for boldly sharing your heart through today’s devotion.


  6. My gracious Father, I thank you for I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. I will wait for you LORD; You encourage me to be strong and let my heart take courage as I wait for you LORD. (based on Psalm 27:13 & 14

  7. Lamentations 3:22-26, “Because of the LORD’s great love I will not be consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”
    Thank you Lord for knowing that this was JUST what I needed for today.

  8. God I know you have the plans for my future. You say they are for good not disaster, to give me a future filled with hope. You will hear me when I pray and when I look for you, you will be there. For all these things I am so very thankful. based on Jeremiah 29:11-13.

  9. My scripture prayer is short and simple, but for a girl who has such a hard time trusting God – it’s making such an impact :

    ” But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God”.

    Thank you for your devotional today, Sam. Not only was it beautifully written, but I connected with it deeply.

    ~ Alexis

  10. My soul finds rest in God alone, my hope comes from Him. He is my rock and my salvation, He is my fortress. I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5)


  11. AMEN. What a beautiful thought. We are forever HIS and completely HIS. All other earthly loves, struggles, hopes and dreams must bow down and serve HIM also. But we have to take control of them, submitting them to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We can. We simply have to choose.

  12. Heavenly Father, For as broken as I have been, thank you for always assuring me that you have a plan for me-a plan that will not harm but prosper me! When I feel like there is no hope, you are always there nudging me along assuring me of hope and a future full of wonderful plans for my life!
    (based on Jeremiah 29:11)
    Thanks for todays devotion!

  13. Thank You Sam for today’s devotion!!! Very timely. This time of year is very hard for me cos my birthday is a week before Xmas. And each year since I was 25 I’ve asked the Lord for one gift; a husband and family of my own. I’m now 43 and still asking. And I will keep trusting Him because I stil have hope. that one day He will give me this gift. Afterall He gave himself for us.

    Merry Xmas and many blessings in the coming year to all of you and your families.

    • Nya: Continue to keep your trust in the Lord because He is faithful. Our timing is not His timing. I have walked in your shoes and the Lord blessed me to get married for the first time at age 46 to a wonderful man! (Our first date and wedding day were only 7 and a half months a part.) I encourage you to live the best life you can as a single by working in ministry, traveling (there are plenty of other single woman out there to join you), and pursuing educational and career goals. When you least expect it…your Boaz will show up and it will be a whirlwind. Also keep in mind, marriage isn’t necessarily a “better” life than being single, its just a “different” life because life is what you make of it.

      Praying God’s best for you, my sister, for a blessed Christmas and awesome 2012!

      • Oh so beautifully said!!!! I too am waiting for my Boaz.. I am 47 (divorced 20 years ago) and still desiring God to release to me the sexy man of God He has chosen for me.

        • I too have been waiting for 21 years (divorced 21 years ago) raised three children alone. As much as I would love to be married again, even if that doesn’t happen for me, I know that God is still faithful. I have my moments when being alone seems overwhelming, but then I really think about how well God has taken care of me and my three children and once again realize I’m not really alone at all.

  14. Val Warkentine says:

    Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. God wants us to be glad & happy in our souls, he will quiet the inner voices that tell us differently and replace the voices with songs.

  15. Samantha, what a beautiful devotional. I just want to thank God for your words. I don’t know you but I love you sister!

  16. For you oh Lord are a shield around me. My glory and the lifter of my head.! I trust in you! You are my God and I live for you and you alone! Hold me close to your heart, let me feel that you are near. Thank you for your love and compassion; for your perfect will for my life. Thank you for hearing my every cry. For listening and answering me when no one else is talking. You alone are worthy of my praise. I trust in you! (based on Psalm 3:3-4)

  17. Samantha, you described loneliness perfectly in the Proverbs 31 email. Now I know that I’m not the only one who feels really lonely during the holidays. In addition, your story has reminded me to turn my eyes to Jesus. Thank you.

  18. Lovely, just lovely……
    God Bless Us, All!!!

  19. Dear God,

    Thank you for this amazing writer who helped me to realize I am not the only one feeling lonely. Please help me remember Romans 8:28 which says all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. Help me believe your promises in the bible and not the things I have been saying to myself since my husband moved out. I want to know you more and obey you. I ask all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Romans 8:28)

  20. Dear Lord, Help me to remain in You and You in me. Let Your Words remain in me and become a natural part of my belief system. Lord, You have said that You will give me what I ask for. This is all for Your glory. Let me bear much fruit to show everyone that I am Your follower. (John 15:7-8)

  21. Father,
    I am crying out to you. Knowing that I will find you. Help me to see myself as you see me and not through the eyes of self doubt and loneliness. (Jeremiah 29: 13-14)

    Where do I find information for the on-line bible study for A Confident Heart?
    Your e-mail from proverbs 31 was JUST what I needed today. Thank you for letting God use you in my life.

  22. I loved your devotion today. I live a journey of aloneness within a relationship, and for me that is so much worse than being alone. I do cling to the joys of sharing the lives of my sons, and I trust God for all my needs. But I argue that in my humanness I desire arms to hold me and the love of an earthly man, too! And I can’t pursue this while living in a loveless marriage. I wrestle with this daily. Your devotion has renewed my resolve to lean completely on God for my needs. My prayer is from my life verse, from Psalm 25:4-5 “Dear God, Show me Your path for me, point me on the road I should follow. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You alone are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You.”

    P.S. Where did you get the charming old card images posted on your site? They are adorable!

  23. Sandy Reed says:

    You promised to never leave me nor forsake me and though I feel alone and afraid, You say ‘be strong and courageous’. I need You to be strong in my weakness and uncertainty. For Your Glory, I give my pain, hurts, and anger over to You and believe You are holding me continually in Your hand. In Your Name Jesus, I pray. Amen.

  24. My flesh and my heart may fail, but you, my God are the strength of my heart and you alone are my portion forever. (Based on Psalm 73:26)

  25. Father, My Lord, help me to ‘take a new grip with my tired hands and strengthen my weak knees. Help me to mark out a straight path for my feet . .’ Lead me Father into all you have for me and let me know it is you alone who has mapped the way. I ask in Your Son and my Savior’s name, Jesus. Amen.
    (Hebrews 12:12&13)

  26. Your devotional today really spoke to me. I can relate to it all too well. Dear Lord, I thank you that you watch over my coming and going both now and forever more. Psalms 121:8

  27. Crystal, I go before you and will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, Crystal, and do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:18.

    Thank you 🙂

  28. Oh, Sam, I so love you!!!! <3

    Beautiful, as always.


  29. OH!!! I am so encouraged by ALL of you!!! This has been a horrible week of loneliness in a way I have never experienced… almost a physical pain. It has been paralyzing. I love – LOVE – how God knows, God hears, and He comforts. When the P31 email came to my inbox yesterday, I was so excited to read it later (knowing if I read it at work I would turn into a puddle!). This blog, and all of your comments, has been such a blessing to me.

    “Dear God, the things of this earth will not satisfy. Only you will do. When I delight myself in you, you promise to give me the desires of my heart. I commit to trusting you (but really I’ve been chanting this all week), and will wait for you, for you will make my righteous reward shine like the dawn.” Psalm 37:4-6.

    Are we allowed to share email addresses?

  30. I bless Your name, for You are good. Your mercy is everlasting, and Your truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:4-5. May we keep His promises and truth in our hearts everyday this holiday season.

  31. {{My journey to the other side of fully trusting Jesus is still in transit.}}

    Oh, girl! Can I just tell you the mental image I received while reading this line. A VW beat up van. One from the sixties.LOL Colorful, vibrantly so. Chugging alone, love encompassing the interior and exterior. Dings and dips marr the body, yet she moves along, plowing through life.

    You bless me in ways unspeakable!

    O, Father, give me a new heart and place within me a new spirit. Take away my stony, stubborn heart and give me a tender, pliable, responsive heart that beats for You. (Ezekiel 36:26)

  32. Sarah Oliver says:

    Sam! I LOVE the pictures. Blessed to have you as one my oldest and dearest friends. We have come a long way!

  33. Dear Sam…so glad that you know and recognize that even though I am surrounded by a husband and children, I suffer from the loneliness lie too. You do such a beautiful, powerful, and poignant job of expressing how very powerful this loneliness fella is…and you expose what a deceiver he is too. Loves to get us in that place where we feel abandoned and alone.
    BUT For God so loved you and me that He gave us His only son and would’ve done so even if you or I were the only ones He wanted to save…to prove His love to.
    Thank you for this beautiful message…I am carrying it into the New Year and claiming victory through Christ over this monkey on my back. Claiming the same for you. God bless you and thank you for being so transparent!

  34. Your words could not have been penned more perfectly to reflect the pain and loneliness of my heart. I KNOW God is here with me and He loves me more than anything, but this season indeed does scream that there must be something wrong with us that we are single.

    Thank you for letting the truth of God’s word rein.

  35. Thank you so much for your devotions and for sharing what the Lord puts on your heart!
    “In the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”…..Yesterday was the longest night in the year…..a new day has begun…..
    2 John 1:3-6
    3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. 4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
    Dear Father God,
    I pray that you help each of us to find love as we walk in Love. Help us to rest in you and know that you are always near. Give us peace in our loneliness.
    In your precious name, Jesus…..Amen
    Have a blessed Christmas! <3

  36. “Save me, O God! The water is up to my neck;” I’m so tired of this depression creeping up on me what seems like every day. “I am worn out from calling for help, and my throat is aching. I have strained my eys, looking for your help.” I know You alone are mighty to save, and I love You sooooo much! “You know how foolish I have been. Don’t let me bring shame on those who trust in You….It is for Your sake that I have been insulted and am covered with shame. I am like a stranger to my relatives..” My heart aches for You and You alone. I know You’re making me stronger, but it’s so hard being alone in my feelings. “I am in great trouble-answer me now! Come to me and save me!…Insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair.” Help me to set my eyes on You, Christ, the only one who can set me free. I’m lost in this confusion and I need Your guidance. I love you, thank you. Amen. (Psalm 69)

  37. Lord, for I know you have plans for me, plans to prosper me and not harm me. Plans for hope and for a fabulous future. I pray you reveal your will and your plans for me as I pray and read your word, Lord. (Based on Jeremiah 29:11)

  38. Carolyn Rogers says:

    Before reading your blog, I purposed to pray the prayer you wrote based on Psalm 25: 15-16. When I saw who wrote the devo, I dreaded it…I was afraid it would hit hard – take too much time out of my day – and it has. I hope you take that as a compliment.

  39. This devotional had me wiping tears from my eyes at my desk. Thank you.

  40. Father, be with me when I become discouraged, angry, lonely, disappointed, or afraid. All I have to do is “Believe”! Taken from Mark 9:23 when Jesus said to him, “If you can Believe, all things are possible to him who Believes.” Amen
    Beautiful devotion Sam! Thank you!

  41. Stephanie says:

    I am very late in seeing and responding to this, compared to you all. But I want to say thank you to all of you who responded and added scriptures too! I’ve written them all down and will use them to help pull me up out of this ‘hard’ and lonely place, in my life at this time. God is so good and led me here this morning, I know. Blessings to you all!

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