The Loneliness Epidemic with an RX Script: Part II

What does an RX (prescription) script look like for loneliness? Do you have time to grab a cup of Java and spend a few minutes with me?

Everyone is unique and so are their hurts, baggage, and issues. Two questions to ask:

 

1)  WHY are you lonely?

2) WHAT can you do about it?

While a single mom, I had time alone while my girls spent time with their dad. The house felt empty and my mommy-responsibilities were put on hold. Friends and family had their own busy lives but mine was forever changing. I attended parties, church, family gatherings, school functions, and medical appointment by myself.

I WAS ALONE…AND I WAS LONELY.

Society can make people feel it is a curse to be alone. I disagree. One of the greatest gifts I had in healing and accepting my journey was taking time alone and enjoy it.  I was able to process and make some positive steps to move forward. Spending time in God’s Word helped me see Truth, be encouraged, and accept that being alone was a good thing.

However, being alone and living like a hermit isn’t good either.  God created us for relationships and connection. Adam had Eve; Naomi had her daughter-in-law, Ruth; David’s best friend was Jonathan; and Paul had his traveling buddy, Silas to name a few.

When dealing with issues, I try to unwrap it to explore what is happening and then take positive steps to deal with it.  Remember you are unique and your feelings are real to you. Acknowledging them can be the first step toward acceptance and moving on.

Question #1:  WHY do you feel a sense of loneliness? Do these sound familiar?

  • You aren’t married and desperately want to be.
  • Your ex-spouse has left and you desperately want him/her to come home.
  • Single parenthood is so busy your social life is almost nil and some friends don’t include you anymore.
  • You work night shift and sleep during the day.
  • Your workplace isn’t user friendly and you dread going there.
  • You lost your partner to death, divorce, or have a dis-interested spouse.
  • You don’t have a true-blue friend to hang with to discuss heavy-duty life questions.
  • You have moved to a new town.
  • You are a caregiver to your parents and you have no time to go out or people don’t understand your situation.

Loneliness can also cause some bad choices and mistakes so choosing not to panic is a good step forward. Loneliness can also develop bitterness so let’s all work to be free from that.

Question #2: WHAT can we do about it? Here are some suggestions.

  • Make an appointment with a counselor or trusted pastoral staff member to gain positive perspective.
  • Risk doing something new that may open doors to make new friends or opportunities.
  • Check out community events for some things to do to get out from your four walls. (involve your kids too!)
  • Join a support group. Check it out in your area or your medical office might have a list.
  • Check if a nursing home will allow volunteers to visit the lonely elderly.
  • Church has never been your thing. Maybe you would like to check it out again? Check out their website to see what they are all about and if Jesus is the center of their ministry.
  • Understand you will have lonely days and that it is okay sometimes. Begin to enjoy time alone for a spell. I call it “My Linda Time”. I have found I am good company!  Who knew! 😊
  • Is there a class during your lunch hour? I joined a fitness class and I found out the instructor lived right by me! What about a walking group?
  • Consider becoming a Big Sister or Big Brother. It’s a heavy commitment but can have amazing results.
  • If you can’t get out due to some life responsibilities, plan a phone date with a friend to catch up on things.
  • Most importantly, take time to journey with God who desires to invest in your life and fill you with His peace and contentment. Scriptures are comforting and empowering. Why not read  Ephesians 1 to 3 to understand your true identity when you are in relationship with Him?

I hope these will get the creative juices flowing. The important thing is to step forward. Choose today and take that first step. If one thing doesn’t suit, try another.  It will be worth it.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

Remember There is HELP, there is HOPE, there is HEALING!

 

Next time, three ladies will share about loneliness with some hope and encouragement. You are not alone!

 

 

 

The Loneliness Epidemic with an RX Script: Part I

In 1960, Elvis’ smooth voice sang out his new song, Are you lonesome tonight? That was 59 years ago and it still resonates the sentiment. I googled the words ‘lonely songs’ giving me over 200 pages of titles. It is estimated that 47% of the world is lonely at some point or other in their lifetime.

Loneliness is a fact of life.

Most never want to experience it and wish relief from it. Many sit in front of the television passing the time to forget their pain. Others keep themselves so busy at work or social events so they don’t feel lonely. Some parents put their kids in many activities so they themselves can have social interaction.

Social media has made it feel like we have so many friends and we have the ability to text people across the world with just a few finger strokes. We never have to hear a voice or meet face-to-face and still have 1,000’s of friends.  I mean, we certainly can’t be lonely with so many friends, can we?

God created us with a desire to interact and encourage each other.  Loneliness is from the beginning of time with Adam. He had a perfect earth with beautiful creatures and a relationship with God.  Yet, he wanted another human to be by his side.

Life  can hit us sideways with situations that send loneliness in a package we would rather not receive and scribble “return to sender” on it. There have been times I have felt pretty down and dealing with stinkin’ thinkin’. After a visit or a chat with someone, I felt so much better and my perspective and attitude had changed.

It’s not easy to feel loneliness and I would never claim it is. That is why I think it is so important to encourage each other.

Just think of a few events from Scripture. I am sure Esther felt overwhelmed and alone in her task to save her people from extinction. Noah must have been laughed at for building an Ark where no huge body of water existed. David had to hide to save his life from a jealous King.

Single parents, the elderly, youth, and even married people experience the feelings of loneliness. Some struggle more than others.  Research says that loneliness can contribute to mental and physical illness. You might be surprised of people who struggle with deep loneliness and yet look all put together on the outside.

Singles think that if they just meet someone, they will never be lonely again. Some married spouses think that if their partner will pay more attention to them, they won’t feel lonely. Youth and young adults think if they are invited to parties or accepted by the in-crowd, they won’t feel left out.  Our dear elderly wait for visitors to fill up their lonely hours. Many Christ-followers are left behind and mocked because of their stand for the Scriptures.

As a single parent, I experienced deep loneliness even in a crowd of friends.  I had weekends alone, and in my times of stress and feeling scared, I didn’t have someone to hold me and say it was going to be okay.

We need connection.

We are not exempt from loneliness but we do have HOPE. Hope gives us the reason to work through loneliness.

My goal is to encourage you that you are not alone and that loneliness is a journey we all walk. Would you walk with me in the next weeks as we talk about loneliness  surrounded by HOPE?

That is why in my book for single parents (see link below), I end every chapter with this phrase,

There is HELP, there is HOPE, there is HEALING!

I say it because it is absolutely true in my life and it was the promises of God that moved me ahead.

  • I am lonely and trouble. Show that you care and have pity on me. Psalm 25:16 (CEV)
  • If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, ‘my foot slips’, your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.  When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:17-19 (ESV)
  • The Lord Your God will always be at your side, and he will never abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6b (CEV)

Are you lonely tonight? Claim these Bible verses and believe the God of the Universe wants to engage in your life. You are not alone. You can begin by asking God for His HOPE.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Next Time: The Loneliness Epidemic with an RX Script: Part II

 

https://www.amazon.ca/Single-Mom-Survival-Success-Journey/dp/1460007956/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=single+mom+survival+success&qid=1563648095&s=books&sr=1-1)

 Riding the Waves!

Call me crazy, but I love Body Surfing. Spending many summers body surfing in no more than waist-high water with my family, reminded me that life is a lesson in waves and its counterpart, wind.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14

As wind picks up so do the waves and they are not for the weak swimmer.  Even for us who have been doing this for years is always done with great caution, with other people, and close to the shore.

Like the waves I encountered while body surfing, life can be like that as we are hit on every side forcing us to make important choices. It can literally take our breath away. Trying to figure out our next life step, we hear opinions from one, another voices theirs, and then we are grappling with our own thoughts.  We can always stand firm in true Biblical teaching while riding the waves.  Are you searching the Scriptures and letting it penetrate into your very soul?

Wind and Waves will come.  How we deal with it will determine our peace and fulfillment in Life.

Waves can be deceiving

As I stood watching huge waves come rolling toward me, some had no power when they finally reached me. The same is as Scripture says, by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Knowing and searching for what the Bible says is so important.  If not, every person’s opinion could feel like truth. With resources like www.biblestudytools.com  it can help you identify meaning. Places of worship who teach God’s Holy Scripture and books that are founded on God’s truth can enrich your life to study the waves and wind of life.  Cunning and crafty people can try and falsify Truth but with good resources at our fingertips we have the opportunity to be stronger in our faith. Truth will surely set us free.

Waves Can Strengthen us

Those times body surfing, some waves would knock me over and force me ahead by some very powerful and painful ones.  I stood up spurting trying to gain my feet on the terra firma. I know sounds crazy.

As I look back and reflect over the years, I was knocked over by huge waves of life situations and I can truly say it strengthened me.  I am not the Linda I am today without those waves.

Are you facing waves of loneliness, loss of a loved one, problems at work, or is single parenting just overwhelming right now? Just as I always had someone to scream and laugh with me in those wavy waters and help keep me safe, we need to have trusted faithful friends that can walk alongside us to do the same thing.

Waves will stop

Mark 4:39 “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm”. 

The first few minutes of body surfing in waves were fun.  My stamina was good, and then all of a sudden, I reached a point of feeling exhausted. It is then I know the wise choice is to walk toward shore to a firm foundation. I can only imagine the dilemma the disciples were dealing with while facing the storm of wind and waves.  They knew they were beat unless they got help.  We can’t carry the waves of burdens our self.  We can do as the disciples did and ask the Savior for a rescue.   He can do this.

You and I both know that life will have waves. Some are big trials, others on-going.  Do I wish I could be free from the waves that knock me sideways? Humanly speaking, of course!

As I walked back along the beach with the wind and waves roaring in the distance, I reached the grassy field and it became quiet and calm.  So it is with our lives.  We have times of great trials that can take our breath away and other times we can experience great peace.  We need to ask Jesus Christ to be our calming spirit in both situations.

What waves of life are hitting you sideways that you need the Savior to say, ‘Peace Be Still’?  I believe we are not exempt from waves or wind. What I do know is that as the wind and waves come, we have our Anchor, Jesus, to keep us in His care.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • Define your wind and waves
  • Ask Jesus to calm your storm and help you
  • Search the Scriptures for God’s Truth. It will set you free

YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

Re-Fueled

Summer, though busy, seems to give some opportunity to get re-fueled and refreshed.  There are invites to BBQ’s, kids summer programs, times to sit by the water and campfires with sticky marshmallow’s, and long weekends getting caught up on life.

Single parents, you will probably have some time to yourself as you share holidays with your ex.  I know it can be hard to separate yourself from your kids, so give yourself permission to enjoy those time to get re-fueled.

As the years went on, I began to enjoy my “Linda Time”.  I didn’t do anything super adventurous but I did paint the girls bedrooms (I hate painting but it was a project I needed to get done), I met up with girlfriends, went for evening bike rides, read some good books, and walked the beach. It gave me time to refocus and re-fuel for when they came back through the door.

Don’t feel guilty about it. Enjoy every minute because you need it.

I am not sure where you are on your Faith walk, so may I encourage you over the next few weeks to work through some issues with God.

When life throws you lemons, it can be easy to:

  • Blame God and be angry at Him for what your life is right now
  • Feel dry in your spirit making it easy to feel bitterness and resentment for what life has handed you
  • Feel exhausted doing life because you are just plum tuckered out

May I suggest:

  • Be honest with God. He can take it. Tell Him your feelings and disappointments. Tell Him your fears, hurts,  but also your dreams and hopes.  He is always ready.
  • Take some time to read Scriptures to begin to re-fuel and refresh yourself in God’s Word. Would you take the challenge? I am working through a reading program right now. Search the world wide web for yourself.  Here are just three links I found. I am using the last one.

Maybe start small but be sure to start!

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1014-hope-in-the-mourning-reading-plan

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/15307-samepagesummer-bible-reading-challenge

https://spirituallyhungry.com/summer-christian-challenge/

Make up your own challenge by reading a certain book of the Bible, or read a book about God (www.christianbook.com) and re-fuel your life to be refreshed so you can be all God has created you to be.  Remember, ONE is a whole number!

  • Be encouraged by what God says. Some say the Bible it is an out-dated book. I think you will be very surprised it isn’t.

 The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 (NIV)

You, Lord, are my shepherd.
    I will never be in need.
You let me rest in fields
    of green grass.
You lead me to streams
of peaceful water,
and you refresh my life.

You are true to your name,
    and you lead me
    along the right paths. Psalm 23: 1-3 (CEV)

Dear Ones, are you ready?

  • Open the pages and begin your summer adventure to be Re-fueled and Refreshed.
  • Share your heart with God
  • Challenge yourself to get into God’s Word for encouragement
  • Enjoy some time to yourself this summer and ask the hard questions

YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

 

PACKING SUITCASES

Suitcases were packed, lists checked off, and now it was time to give hugs and say so-long to the girls.  Summer vacation had arrived and they were off to spend time with their dad.

Hello and Good-byes are a part of a separated/divorced home.  Unfortunately, the children can be the most affected as they pack for one home to another, and then re-pack again.

This time can be emotional for everyone involved. A parent’s heart is heavy saying so long praying the children will adjust. You may find yourself feeling very overwhelmed and anxious. There is a re-adjustment as you return to a quiet, empty house.

This is what helped me adjust.

  1. Schedule a time to talk on the phone with the kids. If the ex is willing, schedule a time to talk to the children mid-vacation. Try to be positive and excited with them about what they are doing. Thank your ex for this time to talk to them. I found it was best not to chat to them before bed so it didn’t get them upset missing me before settling in for the night. Once they left for a holiday, my girls knew they had an option to chat and it seemed to relax them.  I assured them I loved them. I let them know I hoped they would have a fun time and would see them soon.
  2. Trust God- Release your children to God because it can be a helpless feeling. Maybe your children have a hard time with adjustment or anxiety. There are new house rules and your ex has to adjust to having the kids around full-time. Maybe you have a fear that the kids won’t want to come home. Single parents have shared their concern about the environment their children are going to. I encourage you if things become negative for your children during this time; you have a plan in place. I wish I had an easy solution but I don’t.  What I do know, is that God sees and He says to give Him your worries. Can you ask a few trusted friends or  family member to partner with you in prayer?  You don’t have to do this alone. Even in the best of situations pray and trust.

Psalm 94: 18-19 `When I felt my feet slipping, you came with your love and kept me steady.  And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure’.

  1. Refresh yourself. Schedule time to read, go to a movie, work on a craft, grab a bike and go for a ride, meet with friends, schedule to go to a local sporting event. Where I live, they usually have movies in the park and band’s playing so check that out and grab your lawn chair and enjoy! It is hard to schedule time for yourself when the kids are home so this is the time to pamper yourself. Make a list of things you would like to do and have some fun. You don`t have to feel guilty about doing this.  This is your time to become refreshed. I found myself packing a picnic lunch, getting in my car for a destination unknown with a lawn chair and book. I called it my ‘Linda Time’.

Summer may be a time to pack suitcase, but it can also be a time to have your time to be refreshed.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX.  You have a free pass to refresh yourself.

  • Release your children to God
  • Schedule a time with your ex to talk to your kiddos
  • Make a list of some things you have wanted to do but never had the time
  • With this list, make sure you do some
  • Ask a few people to pray for all involved during this separation
  • Dust off the bike and go for a ride!

YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

 

BE LIKE AGUR

He wasn’t a talk show host or an accredited counselor but he had good advice for living life.  This is what he said,

There are two things, Lord, I want you to do for me before I die: Make me absolutely honest and don’t let me be too poor or too rich.  Give me just what I need.  Proverbs 30: 8 (CEV)

Sounds simple enough right?  Well…

  1. Living a life of honesty is not only honorable but in obedience to God as a Christ-follower. Sadly, being absolutely honest is not the norm in our society. Agur was wise to ask God to help him to be honest in all he did. Decisions we make, what we say, and how we live out each day need to be God-breathed in us as soon as morning peeks in our window and when we pull the covers over us at bedtime.

The challenge is to MAKE ME ABSOLUTELY HONEST.

  1. No one wants to be poor and having riches seem so less stressful for living life. Lottery ticket booths are lined up in hopes of gaining financial freedom.  A new title and pay raise at work give us room to breathe and even excitement to buy some new toys. It would mean we don’t have to rip our wallets apart looking for that ten-dollar bill we thought we had, or peek at our bank account in hopes we haven’t gone into overdraft.

So why did he say JUST GIVE ME WHAT I NEED?

This unknown man understood the problems that come when too poor or too rich.  He wanted God to take care of him.  When people leave God out of their desire to balance life for honesty and provisions it goes off kilter.

As an aside, you might be interested in this article of very wealthy people who use what they have for God’s glory.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2012/09/18/david-green-the-biblical-billionaire-backing-the-evangelical-movement/#54ca171c5807

Those who are single parents, you are most likely in the ‘don’t make me too poor’ lifestyle.  Prayers for help to make ends meet, a working vehicle, kid’s braces, or some cash to take the kiddos on a little excursion are all needed in life.  I have been there. What I found in Agur’s statement, just give me what I need, has been true.  An unexpected car repair, an upcoming mortgage payment, and stress from the work place to live a life of integrity were apart of my life. He gave me what I needed and then some.

Agur knew the true meaning of life by placing things in perspective.  Living a life of honesty and letting God give us what we need equals a life of peace and a prosperity that money or status cannot buy.  As David Green of Hobby Lobby says, “It’s God’s anyway”.

Without a doubt, life will hit us as we try and live an honest life while asking God to us give us just  what we need.  I appreciate Agur’s Reality on life. We have the same choices as him.

To-Do List this week:

  1. Be Honest
  2. Ask God to give us just what we need

YOU CAN DO THIS…WE ALL CAN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOLD ON and LET GO!

I am working at doing two things:  Holding On and Letting Go. Yes, it has been a teeter-totter ride.

While a single mom, I had to take charge. Taking care of a home, raising my children, and working full-time meant it was all about schedules and routine so our life could hold some sort of saneness. For me, I had to hold on or I felt I would fall off the perverbal teeter-totter that our lives where on.

As the years have ticked on, I am still working hard to know when to Hold On and when to Let Go. It is a tough exercise. Maybe you are working through this as well. We can work on this together!

HOLD ON

  1. Promises of God

Google estimates at least 3000+ promises in the Bible.  Whatever the count, that is a bunch of promises to claim!  Sadly, in our world, unkept promises are the norm. Possibly, one being your marriage.  What a comfort that God, who controls the world, gives us so many promises to help us Hold On.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

     2. Hope

We all need hope because it drives us forward.  Having a balance of hope with reality can be tricky. For myself, facing reality meant understanding there were things I had let go of even though I didn’t want to. For other decisions, I knew I needed to hold on with hope and fight for it. When I felt so defeated and sad, I claimed hope and partnered with reality checks.

LET GO

  1. Things we cannot control

Even though I know I cannot control everything, I still want to do that.  Some days it is one step forward, and 10 steps back!

I understand that my life could be less stressful, more calming, and peace-filled when I can release it. Be encouraged, we all can do this with God’s help.  Understanding it is a work in progress can help take the pressure off.

Jackson Kiddard said, “Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go”.

How about you?

  • Are there things your loved ones need help with and yet you have to stand back?
  • Is your ex making choices that you have no control over?
  • Are you adult kids making decisions that you feel are unsafe or unwise?
  • Is your co-worker a pain in the neck?

I have learned when I try and take things into my own hands and control things, it can backfire. It has taken a while for me to learn this. Truth is if we can go to God and trust Him, we are well on our way of letting go. The situation may not change, but we have let go and let God take over. He knows all about it and knows best anyway.

  1. Past hurts and habits

These can dictate our thought patterns and how we react to situations.  Sometimes, we like to stuff those emotions and hurts away, but until it can be faced and worked on, they will keep re-surfacing.  I was grateful for the time I spent with a counselor to work through issues and hurts so I could face forward.

The first step is to identity the destructive hurts and habits.  Then the following steps will begin to free yourself as you let go.

  1. Upcoming events

Just when we get a grip and start to have victory, WHAM…life happens. Just when I think I’m at the top of my class in LETTING GO 101…I am fighting to hold on instead of letting go.

But’s that’s okay. Remember we are a work in progress. Just keep Holding On and Letting go. It may take falling off the teeter-totter to our knees so we can ask God to help us work through it. Just keep at it. You will begin to have your feet planted on the ground as you HOLD ON and LET GO!

I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. Philippians 3:12

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • What things are you facing right now that having you feeling like you are on a teeter-totter?
  • Have hope as you let go and allow God to help you.
  • You are not alone…we are all having to HOLD ON and LET GO.
  • Claim those two Bible verses to help you move forward.

YOU CAN DO THIS!