FEELING LONELY IN THE CROWDED BLEACHERS

As a people pleaser by nature, one area of frequent struggle I faced for 30 years as a coach’s wife was loneliness. At times it showed its ugly self in a variety of ways: traveling alone to a game, sitting alone at a game, going to bed alone, going to family gatherings alone, attending our daughters’ sporting events alone, attending church alone, praying alone, talking to family and friends alone, and many more situations.

One incredibly memorable time I experienced this loneliness was traveling alone to a school nearly an hour away. The loneliness was real in I had no one else to drive to the game with nor did I have anyone to sit with once arriving to the game. Since this was a new school's coaching position for my husband, and it was in an unfamiliar area, the tension was high for both of us. Once arriving to the game well into the first quarter, I took a bit of a solace that his team was surprisingly ahead.  After getting a tasty sandwich for my dinner, I sauntered over to the visitor's sparsely filled bleachers eying where I might sit.  I decided to plant myself on the end of the bleachers around the 20 yard line at best. There were four high school students a couple rows in front of me. It can potentially be dangerous sitting on the 50 for other reasons (another blog at another time). When the food was gone, I found myself welling up inside and fighting back the tears. Loneliness is real, and I was slipping into a pretty good pity party until something I needed happened.

Even though the loneliness was real, our heavenly Father gently reminded me as if whispering in my lonely ear, "Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will never fail you or forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). Seriously. His word is TRUTH. I believe Jesus’ loneliness on the cross was far more than I could ever imagine because of the magnitude of people betraying, mocking, spitting, and yelling at Him, a perfectly sinless man. In a matter of minutes after getting over my pity party and the sweet words of our Savior infiltrating my soul, I was somehow supernaturally at peace. This life-lesson was deeply impressed upon my heart and when a similar lonely situation happened after that, I renewed my mind with God's truth.

Crazy as it may sound, at times I was even filled with joy. How could I really believe Satan's lie that I was alone? The Holy Spirit is always with me. 2 Timothy 1:13-14 says, "Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." When you are struggling with loneliness, first of all acknowledge it. Secondly, bring it before our heavenly Father. He will whisper in your ear as well.

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