I couldn’t believe my life.
Sitting on the floor in my room, tears running down my face. I was heartbroken. Nothing in my world looked familiar. No one felt safe anymore. I was lost, hurt and alone.
I tried going to church that Sunday but something didn’t feel right. I was anxious and nervous the entire time. Worried that someone would come up to me and ask how we were doing. I couldn’t get into worship service, or pay attention to the sermon. Everything in me was screaming at me to get out of there!
And I did. I sat in the back by the door, in a corner where no one would notice me. And as soon as the pastor dismissed service I made a mad dash for my car. I kept my head down and walked as fast as I could so that I wouldn’t accidentally make eye contact with someone.
I just wanted to go home.
At home, I was miserable. I wanted to get out of the house and do something. Desperate for someone to talk to, I grabbed my phone. I started scrolling through names. After about 2 minutes I gave up and put my phone away. There was no one to reach out to.
All those promises to support and be there fell flat in the face of the reality of my pain. Yes, at first they said they would pray. There were the occasional texts asking how things were going. But eventually, those stopped too.
And I got it. It’s hard to be there for someone when they are going through a hard time. You never know what to say. And so you opt for silence. The longer you keep quiet, the easier it becomes to move on with your life.
I wanted to move on. But I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. I was trapped in the pain of betrayal, abuse, and rejection. I didn’t see any way out.
How to cope when you feel lonely after a divorce
Trying to rebuild your life after a divorce is never easy. Everything in your world gets turned upside down and life goes on. Children need to be cared for, work must be done and the house needs to be tended to. I found a lot of escape in focusing on the next thing in the beginning.
That only works for so long.
At some point in the journey, the loneliness sets in. Sometimes it barges through your heart like an elephant on roller skates and sometimes it sneaks in under the radar. You:
- lose your small bible group because you change churches
- lose your married friends because it’s too awkward for everyone when you are around
- have to find a new church because your old one decided to “side” with a spouse that choose to sin against you with abuse or unfaithfulness
- have to move to a new home because you can’t afford the one that you shared during your marriage
There are so many things that cause us to end up in isolation after a painful experience, divorce is no different. Loneliness is an easy trap to fall in but so difficult to get out of once you’re there.
God did not create us to do life alone, especially when we walk through those hard times. But it can be hard to reach out to those that are close to us and it feels impossible to think of starting from scratch.
I’d have to start over more times than I care to admit. One thing that I have learned is that God will walk with you during these seasons of loneliness if you lean on Him. We don’t have to stay in a pit of despair just because life took a turn that we weren’t expecting.
Here are a few practical tips to help you move forward when divorce (or any trial) leaves you feeling lonely:
#1 Focus on Your Relationship with God
Seasons of loneliness can be seasons of immense spiritual growth. Think of Joseph. He spent years in a foreign country, going through many trials, all alone. Yet, God was with him and his faith grew strong.
Spend this time asking God what He wants from you right now. Learn more about who He is and what He wants to do with your life in this season.
Take the time to develop spiritual disciplines that may be lacking. Maybe it’s time to learn a new Bible study method or find new ways to worship the Lord.
Spend time in the Word and in prayer. Allow God to heal your heart and your soul. Get to know Jesus as a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
#2 Focus on Helping Others
During my first divorce, I took my boys with me to serve at a homeless shelter. We helped serve dinner once a month for a few hours. I would hand out dinner plates and my boys handed out napkins and collected the trash. It was such a blessing to my soul to see these men and women light up at the sight of my children. To watch my boys share their love of Jesus with perfect strangers.
Being there each month helped me to take my focus off of myself and my pain. I was able to see beyond the hurt that I was experiencing and notice that there were others out there suffering more than I was.
Being able to give back in this small way helped me start to see myself in a new light. Rejection and betrayal often strip you of your identity. But doing things for others helps to find worth and value in them as well as yourself.
#3 Focus on Finding Your Tribe
Sadly, divorce is growing within the church. I have met so many other Christian women walking the path of divorce and single motherhood in the past 10 years.
You are not alone! But you won’t know that if you don’t reach out to other women in your same season of life. There are churches that have single mom support groups. And there are many groups online and on Facebook. Do some searching and see if you can find a group that fits.
If you aren’t sure where to start, The Life of a Single Mom is a ministry run by my sweet friend Jennifer Maggio. They have so many resources and can link you up to a group near you (or help you start your own).
I know that this is a hard place to be in but it doesn’t have to last forever. Take a step out and make a connection with just one woman to start with. Life is a lot less lonely when there’s someone else in the trenches with you.