I have read several sources that said the suicide rate has gone up dramatically during the COVID 19 pandemic. Loneliness is a part of life that people share whether they are single or married. I have discovered time and time again over the years that the only one who can fill that empty spot in my heart is the Lord Jesus Christ. Here are a few excerpts from my journal over the years.
September 8, 1982 – Labor & Delivery Nurse
I recently read a helpful book by Margaret Clarkson called, So, You’re Single. As a 60-year-old single Christian woman, she reviewed her struggles and victories in her singleness during different stages of her life. I especially like this poem she penned at age 22.
Oh, hold my heart, Lord Jesus, within Thy wounded hand;
Its stirring or its stilling must come at Thy command.
My love is Thine, my Savior; No other sway I own;
Bestow it where Thou willest, Or keep it Thine alone.
I am now 27 years old, and sometimes the thought of being single all my life frightens me, but I’m facing it more and more as a reality. I probably fear the loneliness more than anything, but then I remember that Christ is my best Friend. He comforts me when I recall that He was single here on earth and knows what it is like.
Let your conduct be without covetousness, and BE CONTENT with such things as you have; for He has said, I will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER (5 times in the Greek) leave you, nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
Each year, more of my friends marry, so the singles are definitely in the minority at church. At work, sometimes 3 or 4 of my patients a night ask me if I have children. The other nurses, determined to marry me off, try to match me up with medical students who rotate through each month. I must constantly remind myself to rest in the Lord. The world says, “Be aggressive and go get him.” But God says, “Be still and wait on Me, be content.” I just keep praying that the Lord would make my desires His desires and that I would not compromise. I know it is not God’s will for me to marry a man who does not believe in Jesus Christ and love Him first. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14) I will be so glad when I get to heaven and these inward struggles are over and marriage is no more. (Matthew 22:30)
I’ve been looking at the job postings at work for a different nursing position, but have not had much success. I think it would help me emotionally and physically to get out of labor and delivery since my back continues to hurt from all the physical stress. I would like a daytime Monday through Friday job so I can attend church more on the weekends. I’m also not sleeping that well during the day and have trouble turning around from night shift. This is a tall order in the middle of a recession, but I know God won’t test me above what I can bear, and His timing is perfect.
My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. Psalm 62:5
March 5, 1983 – Nursing Staff Development
I will love You, O Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1
Oh, I just want to love and know Christ more and make Him known to others. “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus” as the old hymn says. In rereading my entry written in September, I can see how the Lord has answered prayer in so many ways. When I had given up finding a new job and was thoroughly enjoying working in Labor and Delivery, the Lord opened a new position for me in Staff Development.
I just started this week, and think it will be a good fit. I still work night shift Sundays through Thursdays, but I have weekends and holidays off. I will be orienting new nurses on the various units of this 1000 bed hospital, teaching inservices (continuing education) for the nurses, responding to Code E’s (cardiac arrest), and writing policies.
The job has variety and freedom to develop other projects. The Director seems excellent with high standards, but lets all the staff work independently. For the first time, I feel like a professional and won’t be punching the time clock. I pray that I would be a good testimony for the Lord, and point the many new people I meet to Him.
As I reread this portion of my journal, I asked the Lord to show me how much to share with you about my struggles with being single. I searched on Kindle for Miss Clarkson’s book under “Christian Single” and was amazed when over 1800 titles came up. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has struggled with being content in the Lord. How I praise Him for His grace, tenderness, and patience with me in leading me along over the years and helping me grow in this area of my life. And now I am encountering a number of widowed and divorced people close to my age struggling with loneliness so I am able to share with them the lessons God has taught me.
The most helpful book I ever read on Loneliness has this title by Elisabeth Elliot. She was widowed twice. Her first husband, Jim Elliot, was martyred 27 months after they married in Ecuador by the Indians they were trying to reach with the gospel. She tells that story vividly in “Through Gates of Splendor“. She raised her daughter alone after his death. She spoke of the early days when she was a new widow and said God had given her the gift of widowhood.
At the cross of Jesus our crosses are changed into gifts. The Love that calls us into being, woos us to Himself, makes us His bride, lays down His life for us, and daily crowns us with loving-kindness and tender mercy, will not, no matter how it may appear in our loneliness, abandon us. Hebrews 13:5. (page 37)
I pray all of you may discover that sweet deep contentment in Christ alone. Feel free to share in the comments how the Lord has helped you in your loneliness.