I was on day nine; nine long days since I had spoken to another adult face-to-face who knew me by name (and one who I’m not married to). We had left our suburban Kansas home and flew 2,000 miles to Vancouver, British Columbia to live in the bustling inner city where I was homeschooling our three daughters in a condo filled with the landlord’s choice IKEA furnishings, surrounded by strangers from all corners of the world. It was during those days when I learned that the well of loneliness runs deep.
Those long, rainy days were filled with hours of first and second grade math, eighth grade writing projects, and ‘recess’ at the city park. I watched my daughters learn close up during writing lessons at our kitchen table, and from a distance while they made new friends on the playground monkey bars. Those days were also filled with a growing loneliness in me. No friends to stop in for a chat at the kitchen table, no late night Target runs and conversations over the ridiculous purchase of yet another seasonal candle (who can resist?), no quick coffee dates, no church family to connect with, no gym buddies, no surface-y catching up in long carpool lines, no bantering with neighbors on the sideline of the kids’ soccer games. The majority of each day was just my girls and me making sense out of a new chapter of life we never anticipated navigating.
(photo by Jena Meyerpeter, “Courage” banner by Jill Dixon)
Raising and homeschooling three chatty daughters means our home is rarely (read: never) quiet. Opinions and ideas are thrown around like confetti on New Year’s Eve. Even with their constant noise all around, my heart began to experience something new and unfamiliar: deep loneliness. It was as if the bucket of loneliness sank deeper and deeper into a well and I couldn’t see the bottom. I was lonely for familiarity and friendships, but more than that I was lonely for belonging. As the loneliness sank deeper into my spirit, my heart grew quiet. Before long this stillness also settled over my thoughts like a blanketing snowfall. It was in the stillness of those lonely days, as the depths of my well dipped farther than I’d ever experienced, I found a treasure waiting at the bottom.
Far removed from anything familiar or comfortable, no friends or family to be our community, stuck in the middle of a big city playing the daily role of mom and teacher, I met Jesus at the bottom of my loneliness. He was there in my stillness, in my quiet, and there in my fear of being forgotten, holding my hand as a steady companion. I’ve known Jesus as my Savior, Redeemer, and Grace-giver for nearly two decades. He was there with me as a tender Father in the darkness of my first born’s bedroom as I rocked her back to sleep for the fifth time. He was there as my Healer as I wept over the loss of pregnancies, and now He’s the Friend I needed most reminding me that my ultimate place of belonging is in His kingdom and presence.
Motherhood has its moments of isolation and loneliness even under the best circumstances. I remember lonely midnight feedings with babies and feeling isolated on long, dark winter evenings with stir-crazy kids and a husband working out of town. Over the past year, I’ve had moments of fear wondering if all this uprooting and sacrificing for our family will leave me alone and forgotten at the bottom of my well, too far down to reach out to anyone and ever regain a sense of belonging. Occupied by these fears, I nearly failed to discover the treasure waiting for me in my well.
Jesus was already there. I didn’t have to reach far or climb high to find His outstretched hands waiting for me. He, my greatest treasure, was right there all along. Jesus transforms my loneliness into opportunities for deeper relationship with Him. I’ve found a friendship in Jesus I hadn’t known before this season. It turns out the bottom of my well wasn’t a scary or forgotten place after all. It was a distraction-free meeting ground where God captured my full, undivided attention. The same is true no matter what season of life and mothering we’re in. Jesus is already there. He’s in our deepest, darkest places speaking loving words of belonging in a family rooted in eternity, giving us the freedom to go anywhere in this world with the assurance that we’re truly never alone.
This article originally appeared at Kindred Mom.