Lately, it seems to be my primary feeling, and I know where it comes from. I’m going to tell you a story – a true story; one that is difficult to write and might be difficult to read, but it is a story that needs to told because it is a story of Hope.
I am single now, free of the ups and downs and the drama of the bad relationships I have spent the majority of my life entangled in. The last one ended just short of a year ago (he walked out, “not going to do this anymore,” 3 days after Christmas – but that’s a story for another time).
There has been much good in my life. I grew up surrounded by siblings and family, and we had many good times and made many lasting memories. There was a lot of drama, but with 6 kids in a small town preacher’s house, could it be any different? 😊 From a very young age, I knew JESUS loved me and died for me, and I loved spending time in the church with my Daddy – both of them! (If you need an explanation, Daddy, my earthly daddy, and Daddy, my heavenly Father, Abba.)
As a teenager, I suffered all of the traditional angst and uncertainty, but being surrounded by a (mostly) Christian youth group, I survived it. Leaving my birth family and my church family for college was where I began to stumble. Having spent my life immersed in and protected by he church – and I mean the church, not the building – there as an element of culture shock when I got to the school. Except for family vacations around the western United States, I had never been out of central Oklahoma, and I was suddenly surrounded by people who had been all over the world! Attending a Christian – no, a Baptist college, and I was introduced to the world of dancing (gasp!) alcohol, smoking, and more.
It is frightening, now, to realize how deep and tight a hold the Enemy had on that little school. Christian schools are not exempt from the troubles of the world; I believe that our Lord’s enemies specifically target them. They don’t need to focus on the non-Christian entities because they already own them.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices in front of me. Just a tiny sample of these ‘forbidden fruits’ ….. but for me, the tiny samples weren’t enough, and the enemy took that and ran with it. From being immersed in the church, to submersion in the world. Overwhelming. For those of you who have dealt with any kind of hurt, habit, or hangup, you understand. I came very quickly to rely on man to fulfill my wants, rather than the GOD Who Loved me. Ladies, women, girls – MAN, whether a man or men in general, will never hold you with the exquisite love and care that JESUS will! They promise the sun and the moon and the stars, but they cannot deliver. The One Who owns the sun and the moon and the stars is the only One Who can deliver, and you know what? He wants to give it all to you!
Like Moses and the Israelites, it took me (almost literally) 40 years of wandering in the wilderness of the sin of the world to recognize where I was. There were moments of clarity when I could see the LORD and worship Him, but then, like the Israelites, the world (the enemy) would again prevail and my ‘golden calf’ would take my attention. It was never riches or worldly things, not drugs or food or other addictions that took my attention, it was men. I was a relationship addict.
Functioning without a man by my side just wasn’t something I could envision for my life. That’s ridiculous, you say? Would you say to a heroin addict that needing heroin was ridiculous? An addiction is an addiction and can take many forms. Drugs and alcohol are probably the most recognized, followed by food – anorexia, bulimia, chronic obesity. The self-inflicted pain of cutting is an addiction, and you can be addicted to the pain of the losses of your past, refusing to let go and move on with your life. The fear of change, and the fear of more, different pain, keeps us frozen in place. Overwhelming fear.
Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed, having to make momentous, life-changing decisions by myself, without the input of a partner. Maybe it’s easy for you, but for someone who has depended on her partner’s approval for much of her life, it is hard. Whether single by choice or widowed, separated, or divorced, show compassion and understanding to your women friends, and include yourself in that compassion! Whenever possible, offer your assistance, not your judgement. Listen to your friend, then listen for the LORD’S answer. Pray for clarity…. and Peace. The Bible tells us to be merciful:
“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.” – Luke 19:26 NASB
I have been given much, and I have lost much. Does that make me a bad person? No, just a person who has made many poor (bad) decisions; relying on self and man, rather than the LORD GOD, ABBA, Father. I don’t like asking for help. Most of my life I have been physically able to do just about anything I chose to do. That is no longer true, and it is quite irritating. We – the entire Christ-following community need to be more aware of those in need. Single women, for whatever reason they are alone, and the more obvious elderly, should be at the top of our prayers….. and actions. I am guilty of inaction myself, and it is only because I have joined those ranks that I see the needs more clearly.
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” – James 1:27 NASB
GOD IS GOOD. In spite of my poor decision-making skills, the Father has always provided for my needs. Not necessarily my wants, but always my needs. When I look to Him, the feeling of being overwhelmed begins to recede to the background. The pressing decisions don’t go away; I just recognize that GOD is in control – and I’m not god! “Forever and ever His Heart is my home!” Thank you, Matt Maher, for those uplifting words!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, my prayer is that you will be able to tear your eyes away from whatever it is that is causing your anxiety, and fix your eyes on the LORD.