Never Alone

The Path

Whether it’s due to a bad day, grief, or depression, most people have felt lonely. I suffer from major depressive disorder so I am quite familiar with a deep and lagging feeling of being alone. Sometimes it seems to take on a life of its own – it grips on with its long and mighty tentacles and won’t let go. Well, that’s how I feel about it and I know that, ironically, I’m not alone in my notion.

I have a painting in my home of a path – just a path flanked by a fence and trees, leading to who knows where – perhaps a land of fog. For the longest time, my interpretation, of the painting was one in which I saw myself on that path … alone and lonely.

There’s a truth that my feelings project on my soul and then there’s the real truth – The Truth, and that is The Truth that I trust and have faith in. Unfortunately, there are times when I let myself be guided by how I feel rather than what I know. When living in the world of my sentiments I exist in a foggy world of sadness and loneliness. When living in The Truth, I know that despite what I might see or feel, I am never alone.

I can honestly testify that even though I am unable to see or touch him, Jesus Christ saved me at the point where I was contemplating suicide, over a decade ago. Though there are times when those feelings want to overtake me, in His strength I know I have the power to overcome those perceptions. I know that I am never alone. I hang on, through faith, to the eternal reassurance that I can never be separated from His love. Today, when I see myself on that path I see two of us. Me and Him – together forever. I am never alone. Never.

You don’t ever have to be  alone. Put your hope in Him and He will renew your strength. Seeing is not believing; believing is seeing.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of age.” Matthew 28:20b ESV.

Let Your Love Out

love boxRecently, a friend and I were having a heartfelt talk when suddenly she said, “Let your love out, Hope.”  Hmm, I thought to myself, what have I been doing up to now? What does it say about you, or your capacity to love when your friends think you’re holding back during a heart-to-heart discussion no less? I was all in, at least I thought I was. I felt that annoying little lump in my throat when I started getting really personal, but … ahem … I choked that down pretty quick …. Oooooh, now I get it!

Do you have anyone in your life with whom you can just uncork the fermenting emotions you have bottled up so well? I thought I was free of that need to control how deep I allowed myself to go, and I thought I was being pretty authentic; looks like not everyone was in agreement. There is nothing, nothing more important than love and I am often reminded that it does more harm than good to suppress it.

Honestly, I detest thinking that I’m like one of those bottles of aged wine you think you’re about to have a nice glass of when suddenly, you end up pushing the cork down too far! What is it that seems to drive that cork further down with age? Past experience perhaps? Fear?

I recently spent the day with two of my favourite little girls. There we were – sitting together, bird watching, drawing with pastels and chatting – outside of my own head, outside of my fears – I was completely present with Carla and Ané – completely present, living in the moment – and loving them as if there was no risk involved…because there was not.

So, what is it about spending time with adults that make some of us hold back – living in the regret or trauma of the past – living in fear of more of the same in the future? Don’t think for a minute that children don’t get their feelings hurt. Don’t think for a minute that their little hearts don’t get broken from time to time. Don’t think for a minute that the people they love most in the world have never done wrong by them; I have children – I’ve seen them hurting. The difference between child-like love and loving as a adult is the dwelling factor. Children don’t dwell on the past and certainly don’t look at the past as a threat to their future. Children love with all they have. That’s why Yeshua (Jesus) told people that being child-like in love is the only way to greatness (spiritual and earthly success):

3 “Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. 4 Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 18:3-4 Amp.

I have an abundance of love inside me. It takes up a lot of room and sometimes I’m sure that cork just wants to pop off, but I unknowingly keep pushing it down. Then, there are times – like when I’m with Carla and Ané – it just leaks out. It’s bigger than I am. True greatness and success is to let it out freely, without reservation, without judgment, without fear, without almighty pride holding us back.

The thing about loving adults is that there is always the possibility that you’ll be hurt or rejected, but that is never reason enough to hold it back. Children love the way God loves … unconditionally …. with no agenda … no owzies… and they do it fearlessly. It’s so important that Yeshua said it 5 times in the Gospel of John. “This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.” John 15:12 AMP.

If you’re afraid of being hurt or rejected, chances are you’re afraid of loving. The truth is, if you haven’t already, you will be hurt, but you won’t die from it. Let your love out – it’s commanded of you.

Rescued

I could not speak, though much to say,

Words failed . . . thoughts assailed.

Who would I tell anyway?

 

My pride, my heart, the hurt . . . I wailed.

I knelt. I cried. I tried to pray.

No matter what – I tried and failed.

 

Left to feel . . . alone . . . untouched

Choking on my tears . . . undone,

A single strand of faith I clutched.

 

Knowing many . . . known by none

By The Father’s love was touched,

And hope rescued by the Holy One.

 

Loneliness

LonelyIf you Google the word “lonely” the results are, inevitably, a list of more than 172 MILLION are returned in .26 seconds. By the time I’m through writing this post, it might be even higher.

Many people believe that being alone and being lonely are synonymous. In fact, they are not. Being alone is a choice one makes; being lonely – for the most part – is not. I am an introvert and I enjoy being alone – I like and quite look forward to solitude. I don’t enjoy being lonely. I have had an extensive amount of experience in this area.  Some of my lovely, and well-meaning friends and family members have often recommend that I join groups and find things to do as a means of meeting other people. Joining an organization – such as a gym, or joining a bowling league, for example – are activities. Being lonely is not always related to an absence of activities. Being lonely doesn’t necessarily indicate an absence of loving family members or friends.

I am not a member of the Lonely Heart’s Club. My opinions don’t represent the opinions of all the lonely people in the world; I can only speak for myself. Being lonely is a heart condition. I have been (many times) in rooms filled with people who truly care about me and the feelings are reciprocated – yet I have – many of these times – felt lonely and alone and hopeless. For some, myself included, that can be a dangerous place to be for too long a period.

Loneliness is accompanied by a persistent ache, whose description is almost impossible to put into words. It’s like a cancer looming in the soul of your existence. Oh, sure it might seem to go into remission from time to time but then you wake up one day and just know it’s back. Each time it returns you sure it’s here to stay this time. It wants your life. You don’t know why it’s here, but it hurts so very much – no one can possibly understand your pain.  Some even say, “But you’re so lucky. You’re so blessed. You should be happy”…. They haven’t been there. They don’t understand. There is something significant to be said when a person can examine the exterior of another’s life and determine that, because they are blessed, suffering has been taken off the table.

If you are suffering, I want you to know that I have been there and I do understand. If you think, even for a moment, that ending your life will solve this problem … I’m writing to you specifically.

There was a time in my life when the pain of loneliness was so great that even the love of my beautiful children could not fill the emptiness that seeped into my thoughts, heart and spirit. All the faking in the world may have fooled others but it never fooled me. It seemed that loneliness was my shadow and the sun exacerbated my pain by shining into my darkness. There were times where it took more energy than I had to keep on, to hope. Hope requires energy … or does it?

Maybe you’ve been in this “place” for so long you have completely given up hope. Can I ask you, since you’re here and reading, can you please just hang on a bit longer? Will you do that for me? I know that we perhaps have never met, but we do know each other. We share a bond and that means that you’re not alone! There are far too many people still suffering, but TRUST me when I say, there are many who were able to move past this. There is hope. There IS hope.

It may seem that hope requires too much energy – what it really requires of us is to make a commitment to hang on to all hope, when all hope seems lost. Hanging on does not equate to filling the emptiness with substances or activities such as: shopping, alcohol, relationships, pornography, television, working 12 hours a day or, even exercise done to extremes. Hanging on to hope does not mean waiting for another human being to fill the void. Neither does hanging on to hope mean engaging in the latest methods of  “self” improvement; there is nothing “wrong” with you … there’s something missing. While all these things may very well take a temporary bite out of loneliness the problem will always be there unless you find the only thing that fits the void. If you’re searching for a permanent way out of loneliness I can assure you that the hole inside you right now will be felt for next to eternity, by those who love you, if you leave this world before trying to fill your own with a living and perpetual hope.

By design, we came into being with an emptiness, a void, a hole in our spirits. Our Creator fits into that hole. He longs to fill that emptiness in you. He longs to complete you. He is kind and loving and waits for an invitation. He will not bulldoze His way into your heart. Call on Him. He will answer. I guarantee it. He answered me and I was no one special, but I am now because His hope lives in me. Please, call His name. He is our Hope – the author and finisher of our faith.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His Holy name,” Psalm 33:20

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the Lord, who remains faithful forever,” Psalm 146:5-6

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my saviour, and my hope is in you all day long,” Psalm 25:5-6

Hiding and Seeking

ImageI remember a time, I was not much more than a toddler, when my favourite uncle used to play hide and seek with me. He’d say, “You go hide; I’ll count to 10 and then I’ll look for you.” I remember having butterflies in my stomach while he counted. I couldn’t wait for him to find me. Sometimes (most of the time), I’d giggle loud enough for him to hear me just so I’d be found – I made it as easy for him as I could – so I thought. The truth is, I was always hiding in plain sight and when he would finally “find” me – he would hold me and tickle me and make me feel like I was his favourite little girl. I knew I was loved and so did he.

There have been times in my adult life when I have longed to be someone’s favourite. There have been times when I have felt so alone, rejected and abandoned that the pain was palpable. And, in all honesty, during many of those times I wondered where God was during my time of need. I needed Him and He was silent. Where was He?

There is a depth to God’s love that we will never fully know in this life.We only understand in part – there is more to Him than what we know or read of Him. Consider the profoundness of His great love for us and yet He gives us the choice of deciding for ourselves if we desire to draw near to Him. His love is steadfast, faithful and without condition. We cannot begin to fathom how He longs for us and yet He hides Himself from us and waits patiently for us to seek Him – to seek His face – to seek intimacy with Him and yet He doesn’t need us; we need Him. He is for us and never out of reach to those who seek with all their heart. The truth is though we seek Him, for our sake, He hides in plain sight.

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29