There have been a couple of times in my life when I have learned and then re-learned the importance of leaning on the Lord. Most recently, I was reminded of this during the last year. For those of you who know me well, you know that about a year and a half ago, my husband and I moved away from Santa Rosa to the Sacramento area. There were several reasons for our move that seemed smart at the time…including moving for my husband’s work and to bring my mom closer to where my brother lives.
Once moved, we tried to find a church. In fact, I think we bounced around to maybe all the churches in town! For some reason, though, none of them seemed like a fit. We kept on trying, though because we understood how important it is to stay connected with other believers. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to “…not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” When we first moved there, I had no idea how much that verse would come to mean to me.
During this time, we faced some challenges and trials in our family…the first of which shattered our world. Our daughter decided to remove herself from our family and we were, and still are, utterly devastated. Since we were new in the area and had not made any connections, we felt we had no one to turn to. I felt isolated and alone. Yes, I had my husband…but in the hours when he was at work, I had just my own thoughts to keep me company. And at the time, my thoughts were too painful bear. Loneliness and despair settled in.
The enemy likes to keep us isolated. He wants us to be unhappy and to feel as if we have nowhere to turn — that we have no hope. So when my world turned dark, he was having a hay-day. Little things that normally wouldn’t have bothered me began to pile up and my stress level and depression increased.
We need the Body of Christ.
God made us for community and I so wanted to feel better. I knew that being able to connect with others in my new home would have helped me to get my mind off of my pain, but I knew no one. I didn’t know where to turn… So, thankfully, I turned my focus to God. I was daily in prayer. In fact, I poured my heart out to Him day after day…hour after hour. I read the Bible, focusing on the Psalms. Through them, He spoke words of courage and comfort to me.
My situation was still there. My pain and feelings of loss were still there, but so was my God. I was not alone! God chose me to be adopted into His family and He wasn’t going to toss me aside no matter what was happening in my life.
Paul reminds us that God’s love is never ending. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)
As I prayed for God to take away my pain – to heal me – to bring me out of my isolation…He started to unwrap His plan. Surprisingly, the first thing that God did, was to bring me encouragement and friendship through an online community!
I’m a blogger and I’ve used my blog over the years to share the things that God has taught me. I firmly believe that our experiences and lessons learned should be shared in order to build up the Body for Christ. I want people to see how excited I am about God and what He has done in my life, and be encouraged and in turn, seek Him.
Anyway, one day I went to my computer, opened it up and started writing. I poured out my feelings of loss to an unknown audience. I didn’t know if anyone would even read my blog that day…but wouldn’t you know it? God brought exactly the right women to it on that particular day. I had responses from women whom I had never heard from before…people I didn’t know, but all part of the family of faith. So many of them understood exactly what I was going through and had experienced the very same things I had been experiencing that year. It was pretty amazing.
My isolation lessened through the support and encouragement of sisters in Christ from all parts of the world. They listened to me and prayed for me. They offered scriptures and kind words right when I needed it the most. Now, a year later, I consider these women, whom I’ve never even met face to face, to be true friends. (And if you are reading this today, you know who you are! Thank you so much for allowing Christ to shine His light through you to help my hurting heart!)
Community is so important. I don’t think I understood that fully until my season of isolation last year. If I’ve taken anything away with me through this experience, it is to be purposeful in forming connections. I’ve learned to be transparent and open. I don’t need to be afraid to share the feelings in my heart. I learned that when I trusted God, and reached out…in this case, through my blog… I was helped so much. The connections formed were God-planned and life-saving.
Now that God has graciously brought us back to Santa Rosa, I’m doing a happy dance! I love being home with our church family and “face to face” friends. Because of what I learned over the last year, I find that I am more open and willing to participate. I think that is because I have learned the value of community, fellowship and being connected with others, which is how God planned it to be.
“From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:16
In His Grip, Joan
Latest posts by Joan Davis (see all)
- From Isolation to Community - November 17, 2015
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Joan, beautifully expressed! I knew some of your story as we had shared parts of our life journeys when co-leading in the Consilium. But you have given a fuller context and any who read it will definitely feel the emotions that are ones of loss and isolation – the ones the drive us to God first and then allow Him to bring in the right people with whom to share and, yes, with whom we can be vulnerable. Continuing prayers for reconciliation within your family and gratefulness for your in-person and online “family” that keep you encouraged.
Hugs – Lynn
Thank you, Lynn! I’m so thankful for the people God has brought into my life both “face to face” and online! Blessings!
Joan, Where would we be without God? If He can align the planets than He can align our lives. Thank you for sharing your story today.
It is amazing how God puts everything together and in His perfect timing! It is such a comfort to know that He is always watching out for us!
Oh how this spoke to me 🙂
This past year needing to be at home and quiet, I have come to rely on my online community.
My church is lovely but I have few “heart” connections there.
Yesterday I discovered why.
Michelle posted me a book: Secrets of the secret place Bob Sorge
One of the most profound ways you can love someone is by praying for them.
Intercession does something very powerful in the heart of the intercessor.
It joins the heart of the intercessor to the one being prayed for.
In intercession you are investing yourself into another’s life
Our intercessory prayers thus become “cords of affection” which bind the hearts of believers to one another, joining the body of Christ together in the greatest virtues of all – love.
SO thankful for cords of affection going around the globe, largely through Consillium !!
Thank you Joan for this post.
We have prayed about our daughters and I have a cord linking my heart to yours because of this lovely connection in God 🙂
God works through our prayers…even across the globe! And, I love how through the internet, God has connected sisters in Christ in ways to bring true blessings to each other!
Thank you Joan for sharing this part of your journey with us. Loss, rejection, daughters, sister in Christ, and isolation bond us. For me, it was finding the Consilium community. Thankful to God for this online family. My prayers are with you.
It was shortly after the experience that I wrote about here, that I was invited to The Consilium. What a blessing (and perfect timing) that has been! Many of the women here were the ones who contacted me when I was feeling so alone. It is so important to reach out and I am so thankful for the beautiful women God has enabled me to meet here and now call friends! <3 Blessings!
Beautiful, Joan! I find myself in a somewhat similar position when it comes to being in a new place due to a move and feeling lonely. I’m so glad for my church, you and a few other women I’ve met since moving to NorCal. Loneliness is still there but I do feel God’s presence and I know He is unraveling His story for my life right here in wine country. And I am hopeful that more heart connections and community will develop for me here in CA. Thank you for your blog, the book clubs, the bible studies, and all you do to bless women. It’s all been a blessing to me! Dori
I’ve sometimes looked at my life as if it were a tapestry. The view I often have is of the back: tangled threads and seemingly jumbled colors and patterns. However, the other side, the side that God sees, is beautiful. All the confusion, loneliness, and pain, are being woven together to form the beautiful picture of my life within the capable hands of God. I’ve found that when I rely on God, He fills the void I feel and graciously blesses me in surprising ways! Connection is so important and when we look to God, He’ll bring the perfect community at the perfect time. I have loved getting to know you and look forward to serving alongside you in Women’s Ministries!
Joan, I so relate to your words. We have strong community with our church fellowship but last year I was in need of so much more as I work from home and spend the majority of my time ALONE – He graciously sent me the most remarkable online community with women all over the world – faces I probably will never see this side of heaven but they mean the world to me. SO BLESSED. xo
What a blessing it is to connect with sisters-in-Christ from across the glob! The Internet makes the world a much smaller place, doesn’t it?
Hello. What thoughtful words of encouragement for those thrust into a new place without common foundation. I find He places us into the unknown so we know He as our all in all.
I was in the Army and an Army wife for nearly 30 years and we moved around the world. Wouldn’t know what I would have done without Him. I remember John 15:15 “I call you friends.”
Most people are lost on the beauty of what happened to Job….in the end He knew God intimately. There’s no better treasure. No better inheritance. Anyway….thanks, Joan, for the reminder.
Yours Uniquely in Him, Chris~
You are so right, Christine! God is our greatest ally and our greatest friend! We are never really alone when He is by our side!
Your heart and vulnerability shine through your words. You took us through your own pain to teach us the importance of community and connections. I understand that more than you know. Your words today are needed and touched me in my own raw place. I am blessed by your encouragement and so glad we connected through The Consilium. Love and hugs, Joan!
Thanks, Mary! I love how He works in such surprising ways. When seemingly alone, He shines His light through ways we may not expect. We just need to trust that He is at work and…that He is always near! Blessings, Joan