Three days after graduating from high school, Kelsey moved 2,000 miles from Washington State to the Lone Star State. Like many people, she wanted to become independent as quickly as possible. The perfect opportunity arose when her sister and her brother-in-law extended to Kelsey an invitation to move out of her mother’s house and live with them. Though she was more than a little frightened of moving so far away so quickly, this was an offer she couldn’t refuse.
The situation seemed to come from the happiest dream. Kelsey’s sister said she would provide Kelsey with a job babysitting for her sister’s coworker, so she would be employed. “I was [also] going to try to get a second job at this ceramics store (a huge hobby of mine),” she wrote to me. Along with all this, a friend of Kelsey’s had told her that his father was a pastor at a church near where she was moving, so she had a church to join. “When I got to Texas I was excited because everything seemed to be working out for me,” Kelsey told me.
When she arrived in Texas, Kelsey felt as if she had arrived in utopia. But that utopia quickly crumbled, along with Kelsey’s happiness.
The lady for whom Kelsey expected to babysit delayed Kelsey’s start date incessantly, and after waiting for over a month Kelsey finally babysat for her first night. During the course of the month when she started, Kelsey only babysat three more times; after that, her sister’s friend didn’t invite her back. At the same time, Kelsey learned that the church which her friend’s father led was just far enough to make going to its services inconvenient: Kelsey doesn’t have a vehicle and relies on her sister for transportation. As this was going on, Kelsey’s spirits plummeted. Everything she had felt excited about, all her hope, was floating away like Wilson in Castaway.
Destruction has an endless appetite, and it wasn’t finished devouring Kelsey’s good fortune. Just as everything outside her home was falling apart, her comfort and feelings of security in her home were failing as well. For one thing, Kelsey did not have anyone with whom she could discuss her faith in her house. For another, Kelsey grappled with financial matters, hoping to become financially independent as soon as she could, even to the point of being able to live on her own. Since she would need a car to become independent, she discussed getting car insurance with her brother-in-law. Insurance is expensive, Kelsey quickly realized, and it was only one source of stress in her growing list of responsibilities. “I was so terrified and anxious,” she wrote in a message. “I had no idea how I was ever going to leave this house.”
Her life seemed bleak. Her hope had vanished.
Kelsey was stuck and felt alone.
Desperation consumed her. Remembering that some words in the Bible once gave her hope, she opened her Bible to no page in particular. Through the words on the page, Jesus reassured her: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26) Kelsey told me that, after reading this passage, “I cried because I felt stupid but mostly out of relief.” She knew once again as she had long ago that she is not, nor has she ever been, alone. God is still taking care of her, even as she sees the life of which she had dreamed slip further away every day.
Kelsey still feels lonely and afraid, but she knows she has a Comforter.
“I still don’t have a church, and I’m still finding difficulties with praying and remembering that He’s in control when I get anxious. I’m doing a devotional and every day when I read it and my Bible I can feel God working in me. It’s really amazing!” Kelsey is learning to find the good that God is accomplishing in her life in the midst of the chaos and loss.
Even when she feels lonely and unable to do anything meaningful, Kelsey is learning that God is taking care of her and is helping her grow closer to Him. And in her loneliness, God is forming her character into its greatest potential.
The same is true of the rest of us. When we are lonely, we often lose hope. Our lives may seem meaningless. But we have a choice: we can give in to despair or we can turn to the Savior who never leaves our side. And He can comfort us as we walk through lonely seasons of life. We can remember that He is using even these bleak times to help us come closer to Him. May these words from our Lord comfort us:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And let us remember:
In Your presence there is fullness of joy.