I've learned a lot in the last nine months about loneliness and transitions. When I married, I moved from the country to the city, from one way of life to another. I changed addresses, churches, and left almost everything that was familiar and "safe" to me. I grew up in a small farming community where everyone knew everyone, just about, and if they didn't know me they knew my father, or grandfathers. My family has been in that area for close to a century.
Now I'm in a rather large city on the outskirts of a really large city. I barely know anyone. There is not that same feeling of security that I used to have.
Not only has all of that been a big adjustment, probably the hardest thing was going from a loud, happy, busy house that was always full of family and friends and life to being alone in an apartment most of the time. It was rather jarring, really. Going from having seven to eight other people to talk to and be with every day, all day, to just me, alone all day, was a huge change.
The first several months were the hardest. I missed my siblings, I missed my parents, I missed my church and I missed the country. Yes, I had Jacob, and he was the fulfillment of all of my hopes and prayers, but I still missed my family. When you are as close to your family as I was ( and still am) it is not easy to leave them. My mom is my best friend and we were used to being together, cooking together, drinking coffee in the afternoons...it was harder than I thought to leave them. My heart ached for them.
Many nights after Jacob would fall asleep, I would get up and go to livingroom so as not to wake him while I cried from homesickness.
I missed my church. I had grown up there, and now felt uprooted and like a stranger in a different land. My new church was wonderful, and loved me to pieces and went out of their way to make me feel loved and at home, but it just wasn't the same. It's a large church, and for awhile I felt that I wasn't needed. I grew up in a small church and I was very involved. I played piano, taught Sunday School, and helped with whatever else needed doing. Now I felt useless.
To be honest, I was close to despair a few times.
I don't think I could have made it through the transition without Jacob and the Lord. Jacob was wonderful and so understanding and gentle with me through all of this. He took me home to see me family A LOT. It was every weekend for awhile. We visited my church a lot those first few months.
Whenever I would cry for missing everyone, he would hold me and pray for me, asking the Lord to help me and comfort my heart. He prayed for me a lot during that time.
That time of loneliness drew me closer to the Lord and closer to Jacob. I'm beginning to understand "leaving and cleaving" now. It hurts sometimes. But it is necessary for growth and maturity.
Things are much better now, nine months later. I still miss my family, and it hurts that I am missing so much of their lives--like my baby sister Faith has started walking this week, and I wasn't there. Those things still hurt. But I've grown accustomed to being alone most of the time, and actually sometimes I crave it. :) I guess I'm turning into a hermit.
My new church is now "home" to me. My feelings of not belonging are gone now and I am very happy.
I didn't know what I was in for when I married and moved away. So I will share somethings I wish I'd been told in order to deal with transitions and loneliness:
- You are going to miss your family more than you can imagine.
- It's OK to cry. Don't try to hold it in, just cry and don't worry about it. You'll feel better afterwards, trust me. Tears can be healing.
- Transitions and changes do not come easily or painlessly most of the time, but they are for our good.
- Even when it hurts so bad and we don't understand, God sees the bigger picture and holds all in His hands.
- It will get better. It may take a little while, but it will be better and your heart will stop aching as much. Just draw close to God and your husband and it will all work out.
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