To the One Who is Single: I Am Sorry {for Married Gals Too}

To the one who is single:  never married, divorced, or widowed…

I am sorry.

I am sorry for the first night you spent alone.  The first night after your husband took his final breath.  The first night without a roommate. The first night after you or your husband moved out.

lonely-woman

I am truly sorry.

He took his final breath.  You arrived at home {perhaps} to a house full of people, but eventually, it was bedtime. You entered a dark room – no one in the bed next to you.  You could and can hear the silence. You run fans, read books, watch TV – sleep never comes, and if it does, it’s fitful.  You can smell him.  Sometimes you awaken and think…is he still here?  For all the times you still miss him – even if you’ve “moved” on…

I am sorry.

You did what the world told you to do.  High school diploma, college degree, gainful employment.  Finally, you can rent or buy your own place!  You’ve arrived!  Your first home or apartment is so cute.  Then, night falls, friends go home, and silence reigns.  What you wouldn’t give for the return of even the most nerve-wracking roommate.

Weeks pass.  Years pass.

The next logical step {culturally} is marriage, but you’ve found no one – no one’s found you.  “Not good enough, not pretty enough, just not enough” floats in and out of your head daily.  You always thought you’d be a wife – a mom – or something – but you weren’t “chosen.”

Lonely. People surround you, but often you sit at home and wonder…is this all there is?

I am sorry culture communicates that the natural progression for you should have been marriage and children, leaving you feeling as if anything less or different is “wrong” or “failure.” Shame on us.

And I am sorry. 

After years on the mission field, you’re burnt out…spent and hurting.  You’ve experienced more loss at age 36 than most of us have experienced in a lifetime.  You’ve sacrificed much on behalf the Kingdom.  You’ve loved and given and sacrificed more than most can fathom.  Deciding to move “home” – back to the States – is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching.  And here you are.  Back in a place where you no longer feel at “home” missing those who have been a daily part of life for years.

I am sorry for every night you have felt alone, staring at the ceiling, missing the little people who captured your heart.  I am sorry for each bump in the night that carries you back to gunshots and lost babies.

And to the one {like me} who has spent years married.  Always having a companion – for better and for worse – {mostly} feeling protected.  As you lie down night after night alone – sometimes with kiddos giggling or crying in the next room – and sometimes completely alone – I am sorry.  You never planned to be a single or a single mom.

Your feelings of betrayal and loss are indescribable.  Even though you’ve been hurt, you still miss what once was.  And if you’ve done the hurting?  The cheating and the walking out?  Life still hurts because you had no idea how far sin could and would take you.

Sinner or sinned against – loneliness resulted. And I am sorry for the nights you spend alone – unable to sleep, wondering how life ended up this way.  How this could have become your story.  How the wedding planning and aisle walking became gavel pounding finality.

Single girl, widow, returning missionary, divorced one…I never understood your pain until today.

And for each time you felt abandoned, alone, helpless, and lost…I am sorry.

I am sorry for the times I hurried past you in the grocery store or church pew and didn’t even smile – much less say hello. For the times I didn’t understand you and didn’t seek to.  For the times I listened with my ears but not with my heart.  For the times I was so wrapped up in me, failing to extend love and comfort and words to you.  For the times I thought of you and felt prompted to check in and didn’t…

I am sorry.

I wept for you this morning as I wept for myself. I prayed for Him to comfort you as only He can.

Because we all know Jesus can and will fill this loneliness.  That only He is {ultimately} enough.  But, I understand that you might not want to hear that right now. {I don’t either.} For now, you need time to be mad – to feel alone – to kick and to scream.  And sob.  To feel the weight of your past.

And, that’s ok…really, it is.

But, sweet sister, I pray that someday soon both of us can look to the future.  I pray someday we wake up and realize…our lives are not over.  Perhaps they’re just beginning.

He is sovereign.  He knows us and loves us.  (1 John 3:1)

We are NEVER alone. (Hebrews 13:5)

He sees YOU and ME.  {I know this in my head; still praying for it to resume in my heart.}

And just so you know… I didn’t make it last night; I had a friend stay.  As the sun set, bedtime neared, kiddos slept, and the house creaked, I caved.   I stared at blank ceilings asking the same questions over and over.  I’ve never lived alone and couldn’t stomach the thought of that new season beginning last night.

And if you’re married – happily or otherwise, I know you still experience loneliness.  I know what hard work marriage is {and NO ONE is cheering you on louder than me}.  I know some days you feel invisible even in the midst of your husband and/or children.  I know you, too, wonder…is this it?  Why do I feel alone?  This isn’t what I thought it would be.  Why are some days so hard?

Or, maybe you don’t – you live in wedded bliss.

Whatever way – happily married…struggling married…single…widowed…divorced…

You are NEVER alone.  And, no, this isn’t it.  We are not home yet.  I pray you continue loving and persevering and praying and surrendering.

May we all walk alongside one another, loving and extending grace regardless of labels.

God has a plan. I can’t see it  – maybe you can’t either, but I will always believe in and cling to a God who is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

Comments

  1. Thank you. I am thankful that my puppy likes to snuggle 🙂

    • Me too, Dani:) I love my dog, but unfortunately my new landlords to not allow pets – boo! So, my little guy is living with my ex-husband. Dogs are definitely faithful companions.

  2. WOW…is all I can say. I read one of your posts last week, “happened” upon it through a Facebook share of a casual friend and your story completely captured my attention. I read all of your posts under the “Divorce” tab. I had somewhat forgotten, until a completely unrelated friend sent me a message with a link to this post today. I feel we are soul sisters already, even though we’ve never met!! 🙂 Thank you for the transparency of your writing, for being brave and telling the story God is writing for your life in a way that totally highlights His amazing unceasing grace to his darling daughters. His ways are not our ways and His way is PERFECT, even when it isn’t what we would ever have imaged our story to be.

    • Thanks, Lisa – perhaps we are soul sisters;) I have a VERY good friend that lives about two hours away, and I met her through my blog. And, I need to update the Divorce tab…thanks for reminding me. I love to write, but managing the blog is not a gift I have.

  3. Tiffany Kile says:

    Wow…. Thank you soooo much for writing this, i am going through getting divorcrd after 10 years of marriage and 12 years if being together and now being a single mom of a 10 year old boy , who HURTS so much from the divorce. I feel so much like you described … The pain is unbearable at times… I just wonder if the pain will EVER go away…

    • Praying for you, Tiffany. I am not sure the pain ever goes away…but I have been assured by those who have walked this road in the past that the pain dulls with time. I understand hurting most for your precious son. It’s hardest to watch the kiddos suffer because the adults in their lives can’t get it together. Please continue to let me know how I can pray for you.

  4. I’ve never read your blog before, but thank you. Thank you so very much.

  5. Thank you for these beautiful, humble words. This is a club no one ever wants to be in, but God will use it to change you and to help others in ways you can’t even imagine yet. Praying for you as you get through these first, toughest days. It will get better eventually. I promise.

    • Thanks, Brenda, for the prayers and encouragement. It indeed is a club no one ever wants to be in. But, because it affects so many – perhaps the club will become less painful and more accepted as we walk alongside, love, and encourage one another 😉

  6. Beautifully said Sarah. 🙂

  7. dana cruse says:

    I experienced this same loneliness many times during my husbands’ multiple deployments….many long lonely nights, more than I can count. my world was at a stand still when everyone else’s continued on, or that’s how it felt. I prayed for strength & courage. God held me up when I no longer could stand on my own. His grace is sufficient. I pray for all who are dealing with loneliness. Sarah, your post is encouraging & thank you for sharing, continue to hold tight knowing God has a plan.

    • Dana, I can imagine military wives feel the same. It does feel like my world is standing still when others just keep right on going – and even feels a bit whiny to say something. But, I am learning that the lives of others are RARELY what we observe or read on Facebook. Everyone experiences hurt. Thanks for each prayer – they are appreciated.

  8. Someone asked me today if I had anyone helping me get through my time alone. I said no. Thanks for this Sarah. I hate to say it doesn’t get easier but it does get better. <3

    • Melissa…I am sorry that you don’t have anyone walking alongside you. I truly am. I have one really good friend. I have other sweet friends that do a great job too – as much as I will let them. Then, I have “friends” who are nice and sweet when looking in my eyes, but I know what they’ve said about me (and more importantly, what they have allowed others to say even if remaining silent themselves). ALL of them are gifts – even the ones who like to judge – because I pray they learn something in walking near my situation that will help them another time. Praying for you today!

  9. Monica Heinemann says:

    Thank you Sarah for giving yourself to God and letting Him use you to reach out to the broken, this world needs hope!

    • That’s sweet, Monica. Thank you. We all need hope, and I am a firm believer in sharing our stories in an honoring way to glorify Him.

  10. Krista Yurchak says:

    Thank you. This brought tears to my eyes as I’m walking with a friend whose husband has brain cancer. She is facing probable widowhood without God’s divine physical healing. I am happily married at this time yet have felt lonliness as you described. However, you helped me glimpse what my friend and others I know feel.

    • You’re welcome, Krista…we all feel lonely at times. I think what we do with that lonely and/or how we help others with that lonely is the important thing:) Prayers for both your friend, her husband, and you!

  11. Thank you for this insightful writing! I am a single missionary readjusting to life at “home”, suffering from burnout when I returned home. You’re right I miss those relationships from the mission field and missionary life internationally. But I am trusting in Gods sovereignty agreeing with with Romans 8:28 knowing that I am where I supposed to be right now.

    • Thanks, Carol. My best friend lived for seven years in Honduras and has been home for almost two years. She definitely understands your plight of feeling as if “no where is home” now. She loved both places for different reasons. She’s not comfortable here, but loves so many here. It’s so very tough. While I have never been in your shoes, I have walked with her enough to know how difficult it is. Praying for you! And, I would be happy to connect you with my friend if you’re interested:)

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