Lonely Hearts

Blog 07: Lonely Hearts
By: Abby Custer

Six months ago, when I sat down with Nancy Strader, the executive director of Compass, and we made a timeline of possible blog topics for the coming year, I never could have imagined how this month’s topic of loneliness would be so perfectly aligned. As I sit here writing this, I’m struggling with loneliness right now, as I suspect many of you are as well. I miss my family and friends, and especially our church community and fellowship. But I’m also so comforted because I know that no matter how quiet and disconnected things feel at the moment, I am never truly alone.

The bible gives us many examples of prophets, disciples, and kings who experienced total isolation from humans, but

never from God. Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Joseph in the pit, King David hiding in caves, fearing for his life. The same is true for us. No matter what we face, and no matter how alone we feel, God will never leave our side. In fact, God often uses these times of seclusion as a way to grow closer to Him, to test our faith, and use us as an example for His Kingdom. Daniel demonstrated fearlessness in the midst of terror, Joseph forgave his brothers for their horrific betrayal, and King David refused to kill his enemy despite the many threats against him, because he knew that God was in control.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

Similar to the social distancing due to the pandemic that we are all facing, having a baby can also bring about loneliness.  It can creep up on you when you least expect it, and cause you to doubt yourself in ways you never expected. This isn’t the case for everyone, but for me, it usually sets in after about a month. At this point, most family members and friends have visited and shared in the excitement, and things begin to quiet down. I start to feel a bit robotic, kind of like a milking machine whose mind is set to a schedule of feeding, changing, and trying to function on very little sleep, and then repeat. Engaging conversations with my spouse or anyone else feels impossible. I’ve lost track of what day of the week it is, and struggle to keep up with daily tasks.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7

 But then, after another month or two passes, things start to settle a bit. The baby can go longer stretches in between eating, you’ve figured out how to sneak in a quick shower on your own, and you feel like cooking dinner again. You start to feel like yourself again. This self might look a little different, but it’s still you. Don’t lose yourself in this incredible life change. Give yourself grace and lots of time. Because it’s okay to feel lonely right now. We need a connection. We need to feel loved. We need each other. So don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member, and be honest about how you’re feeling. For me, joining MOPS was a lifeline to other moms and new friendships after quitting my job to stay home with my baby girl. The second time around, I was able to join Fit4Mom, an exercise group focused on postpartum care. 

Or maybe you’re experiencing loneliness in a different form because you are a single parent, and this is not how you expected life to look after a baby. You’ve been let down in more ways than you can count, and the one that you thought would always be there isn’t. But if there’s one thing that this current time of unprecedented solitude has taught me, it’s this –  we’re not meant to do this life alone. So find someone, anyone that lifts you up and that you can lean on right now. Even if it’s just a quick conversation once a week to check-in. Because I promise you, this time will pass and it will get better. When we find ourselves in the valleys, and this life has plenty of them, remember that God will bring us back to the mountain tops. 

“You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills.”
Psalm 104:10

 

*If you are struggling with a more severe form of loneliness, you may have postpartum depression. To find out more, or for more support, the following websites and resources may be helpful: