Hello ladies! Today we have the privilege of hearing from my friend Allison (Al for short!). She’s funny, a big sports fan, and loves Jesus a lot. Al and her now-fiance spent half a year apart, serving the Lord in different ministry outreaches, and today she’s sharing some tips on dealing with loneliness.
This is the fifth post in the Long Distance Love series.
When you think about airports, what do you think of? Fun memories with friends and family? Going on a trip? Sprinting to make it to your gate on time?
I don’t really think of these things when I think about airports. In fact, I find airports a pretty lonely place. One reason for that is because airports symbolize the time I was in a long distance relationship.
It was a warm and sunny day in April, but the weather did not really match what I felt. Zach, my boyfriend at the time, who is now my fiancé, and I were parting ways, because we were called to two different ministries in opposite parts of the country. This was the day we had dreaded for months, the day that he was leaving for Alaska. Right when we stepped through the airport doors, what we had worried about for months was finally here. Our hearts were already breaking for what we knew was coming – months of separation with little communication. As he held me in his arms, I couldn’t help but think of the five months ahead without him, and the loneliness became real.
Being 3,000 miles apart from the person you love is difficult and incredibly lonely, and there were many days filled with tears and many emotions for both of us. Even though Zach and I were surrounded by many people, loneliness was still a big factor because the most significant person was missing.
What encouraged us to stick it out? Well, we knew that we were called to each other, and that our relationship was worth fighting for. So how did we deal with this loneliness?
Here are some ideas:
Prayer and Personal Devotions
Spending intentional time with God during the day was crucial for dealing with loneliness. We realized that the Lord was truly the only thing that could fill that void for us. With that being said, we found His truth and His promises in Scripture, and held on to those. Our dependency on Christ grew immensely during those five months, and that in itself has helped our relationship even now.
Something that we did to help with loneliness was we had things that reminded us of each other. For example, Zach took one of my Goofy stuffed animals and set it on his desk. It reminded him of me because Goofy has always been my favorite character. And for me, I wore the heart necklace that Zach gave to me. It represented how much he loved me.
Find Things to Do
To deal with loneliness, Zach and I came up with activities that we could do. This would give us time to recharge and distract our mind with something that we enjoyed doing. For example, Zach would go fishing, and I would go play sports. Going along with this, we would remind ourselves of why we were at our place of ministry. This means that we would focus on our job, who we were ministering to, and why we were there.
Set Aside Time to Talk to Each Other
Like I said, we were 3,000 miles apart and weren’t able to talk on a regular basis because cell phone service was non-existent in Alaska, where Zach was. And it was spotty where I was at times, but we still made each other a priority in our lives. The distance wasn’t a free pass to live our own separate lives for five months. When we were able, we would try to text each other throughout the day, and every week or two, we would make accommodations to be able to talk on the phone. It helped with loneliness because we knew we had those moments to look forward to.
Even though this was an incredibly difficult time for us, we are stronger today because of our time apart. We had to be intentional and diligent in working on our relationship in a way that I never thought we would have to, and it was a beautiful thing in the midst of the sadness. Now, Zach and I are engaged and getting married later this year! Today, we try to remember the things that God revealed during this time, because there were many lessons learned, and I pray we will always remember. Zach and I are so thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness in our relationship, and that no matter how challenging it became, He never left us. We know that we are loved by Christ, and by each other, so in the midst of loneliness, this constant reminder is what got us through.