No matter how many times I come home to an empty house it still feels lonesome. When I was single, I dreaded my vacant apartment thinking “Maybe one day I’ll have a husband to come home to.” Then I married my husband who worked until midnight for the first 2 years of our marriage. It always felt hard to drive to the place we called home knowing it would be many hours before he’d arrive. I’d say “Maybe some day he’ll have normal hours so I don’t have to be alone at night.”
That season was almost harder than my season of singleness and unfortunately I’m not sure I responded with as much faith as I did when I was single.
God had given me what I wanted but in my heart it felt like I only received half my portion.
Expectations of cooking my husband dinner and watching our favorite show or reading the bible together weren’t met. Instead, I received an empty house and a desire to stay as far away from it until it was as close to midnight as possible. I spent more time at Target and coffee shops than my own home.
I was unbearably lonely, bitter and angry. I felt like I was in limbo; married but not in its fullness. I coveted what the couples around me had and became extremely envious of them. I was the wicked witch of the west, turning green. It was written upon my face and everyone could see it. My heart screamed, “They don’t understand what it’s like!” which was mostly true but regardless, the Holy Spirit continued to remind me that envy comes from my heart, not my circumstances.
Still, God was gracious to us and shifted Jim’s schedule so that he would work mostly days with a few evenings. I was ecstatic! After waiting 2 years, I was so excited to experience what it feels like to truly live the “married life.” It’s been so, so good and we have been enjoying our time together so much. He has worked some evenings in the last year but they haven’t been as much of a burden. After all, it’s nice to have some alone time every now and then. I don’t dread it anymore but instead make the most of the time. I thought my heart issue was on the mend.
But then today came.
Same Ol’ Feeling
As I watched ladies from my church at the end of our annual luncheon scatter to go their separate ways, I remembered my husband was just leaving for work and would be long gone by the time I arrived. I pushed the thought aside and tried to ignore it.
But as each friend left for birthday parties, family time and date night, I felt envy and loneliness spring up like weeds in my heart. I guess my heart issue wasn’t fixed.
I drove home once again dreading the emptiness of our little house and was tempted to waste time browsing multiple stores. I kept my sights toward our street instead. When I got there I walked into dark rooms with closed curtains. It almost made me turn back around but it was cold and rainy out there so I shut the door. As I took my heels off and changed into warmer clothes I realized something…
Loneliness is inevitable. It will strike.
Whether you’re happily married or single with no prospects you have the capability to feel immensely alone.
Our hearts are broken. They easily cling to circumstances instead of the Savior. They feel the need to be completed and we often believe the lie that the completion we long for is wrapped up in our marital status. I may feel lonely tonight but I’m well aware that my husband can’t fix my broken heart. The pieces are not in his hands. He knows me deeply but he can’t see through my flesh to my heart and deliver a cure for my problem.
Only God can do that. He alone holds the pieces of my heart. He alone holds the pieces of your heart, too. Only the Lord can take away the loneliness we feel.
So why hasn’t he taken it away?
Loneliness reminds us that this is not our home. And that our Bridegroom hasn’t come for us yet. We are all still single in that sense. We’ve been betrothed to Christ and we have the hope of his return for us, but we are still waiting.
Sometimes it feels like he’s taking too long, but we wait. At times, we feel like we’re on the brink of that day and we wait. Other times, we despair and cry out to him, as we wait. I don’t know about you but that sounds a whole lot like my season of singleness. Oh, how I cried out for a husband weeping upon my pillow back then. Likewise, I cry out with welling tears now. “Lord, please come.”
Maybe our expectation of never again experiencing lonesome heartache is an unwarranted expectation at best.
And if so, sprinting to false hopes and idols won’t truly satisfy. They may for a short while but what we really need is more of Jesus. Whether you’re single, engaged, happily married or miserably married, loneliness will try to wrap it’s lanky arms around your heart. You have two choices: lie to yourself and blame your circumstances or believe the truth and look to Heaven where your Lord sits upon his throne. Remember that this feeling will pass. It may take moments, months or years but it will indeed, flee away.
The truth is, much like my husband was in my life many months before I had any clue I’d marry him, so it is with Christ. He’s ever near, waiting for just the right moment to usher in the wedding feast with his glorious return.
And with that, loneliness will forever be a distant memory.