As the days passed, I realized that my perspective was changing. Slowly, I began to lift my head from my own wounds and look around a bit. Light began to seep back into my mind, my heart, and my eyes. What had seemed dark and hopeless and futile, now held a promise of hope for the days to come. I met a new friend who invited me to come with her to church one Friday evening to a meeting of single adults at my church. I never knew this group existed. There was a speaker who brought a message of hope, followed by a time of fellowship and volleyball in the church gym. Afterwards, groups sometimes went to a local restaurant for a late-night snack and to continue conversations.
These days were a time of healing and learning for me. Healing for my loneliness, yes; but more than that. People that are hurt and broken are often so consumed by the pain of their experience, it’s hard for them to see what needs to be done to move forward. They desperately want relief and would do just about anything to get it, but they are often blinded by the urgency and enormity of their suffering. Just being immersed in this group of new friends taught me things I did not know I needed. Things like:
- Just listening to someone else’s experiences gives me relief from thinking about ME all the time and helps me to remember others are struggling too.
- Willingness to be vulnerable, by simply showing up one evening to this group, led to a freedom I did not know existed. Humble vulnerability is always a ticket to freedom.
- I saw for myself that I was NOT the only 24 year old who had experienced the devastation of divorce – and these people had lived to talk about it!
- I found a new place of belonging. Far different from my original plan, but a place where I was recognized and heard and accepted.
- True fellowship with others is centered on a mutual belief that God and His Word are transformative, and Christ’s finished work on the cross covers our shame, (Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Ps. 34:5), and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. (If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9)
- Love does cover a lot of mistakes, laughter is good medicine, and joy, even in the face of severe loss, is possible.
My prayers were refashioned, as well. My requests for comfort and strength began to include thanksgiving for the Lord’s presence with me. As He expanded my understanding and healed my heart, I prayed for my new friends in their difficulties and rejoiced with them in their victories. It was pure joy to be part of a community again! We had common goals we worked together toward. We had individual goals that we supported each other in. I began to trust, and as scripture says, I really did see that the Lord was good! (Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Ps. 34:8) These were great days indeed, but more would be required as I was soon to find out. (To be continued)