The first six months of my daughter’s life were the loneliest months I have ever experienced. I was a stay-at-home mom, and Matt was finishing his master’s degree in psychology. He went to class and did his practicum all day long, came home and studied all evening long, and then worked 40 hours on the weekend at a residential treatment facility. (You heard me correctly -40 hours from Friday to Sunday night.) It was me and this new little baby for five hours, eight hours, 12 hours –seven days a week.
Sometimes I would load her up and head to the grocery store, not because I needed food, but hopefully to see another adult face. I was so desperately lonely that the exchange with the checkout clerk was like food to a starving person.
My kids are all grown up now, and I’m free to move about and see people all day. I still find myself lonely and searching, though. I feel it around lunch time when I sit down to eat by myself. I reach for the remote control.
I feel it on the weekend when everybody’s off doing their thing. I reach for chocolate.
The strange thing is, sometimes I feel it when everybody’s at home. People all over the house, but I still feel a searching. Like a cell phone looking for a signal. My soul reaches out, needing something but it’s not sure what.
David says, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely…” (Psalm 25:16) It’s really David who has turned, though. His soul could reach for so many things, but he reaches for the Lord instead.
The last few years I’ve been practicing. Feel the emptiness –reach for the Lord not for M&Ms. Feel the emptiness –reach for the Lord not for a chick flick. Feel the emptiness –reach for the Lord not for a trip to the mall. I have found the secret of Christian joy –when my lonely soul reaches out in prayer, I find there is someone there. A God who is available in every moment and who sees and listens and responds.
Recommended reading: Made to Crave (satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food), by Lysa TerKeurst