I’ve been married to my husband for almost 7 years. We’ve been living in our home for almost 7 years. I’ve lived in this small town outside of Charlotte, NC for almost 9 years.
Why is this significant?
Because we don’t socialize around here. At all.
It’s not that we haven’t tried. Oh have we tried. But it’s been extremely difficult to find families that have the same values, interests, and who are in the same “family dynamic” as us. We lost many of our relationship due to being the first to have children, being the only SAHM, and changing churches. We’ve tried all sorts of groups and programs, but because our lives seem to different so dramatically from those we come in contact with-it’s tough to continue the relationship and it tends to fizzle out. We even went to a church for over two years and every Sunday people would come and welcome us as first time visitors…this is after signing up month after month to volunteer with whatever they needed and never getting the call to help. Yeah. We don’t go there anymore.
Our lack of socializing is not the point of this post. I just wanted to point out HOW LONG we’ve been living this way. It was the whole reason I turned to blogging as an outlet. I needed to know I wasn’t crazy for choosing to stay home. Or homeschool. Or have more than two children. Or only have one car that I rarely get to use due to my husband’s crazy work schedule. Or submit to my husband. Or to not party. Etc. etc. etc.
I just wanted to meet other women out there who did have the same values as me-and I have! Blogging has been such a blessing in that area!
At times, I would begin to feel incredibly lonely (and I still do at times), and would question God on why. “Why did we have to be such “outcasts” in this town?” Then we started losing relationships with family members left and right. The more children we have, the less people are interested in coming around, and the less our lives make sense.
Then doors for pretty much everything we tried to do-socially, financially, etc. seemed to collapse on us.
What the heck was going on? I spent many nights soaking my pillow in tears because I didn’t know why God was shutting us out of everything. Social media made it 10000x’s worse. I would see families who would be involved in church activities, go out on double dates, have play dates or homeschool dates, and even baby showers (My mom planned a surprise shower for me for my last baby and no one showed up). There would inevitably be tears on my phone each time I would scroll through Instagram and Facebook. I ended up deactivating my FB because I was having serious jealousy issues. I was seeing people make an effort with those they called friends, yet I “felt” like no one cared that way for me. No matter the effort I would put into a relationship-I never got much back in return. I began to dig that hole of despair. I had opened wide the door of my mind and allow the spirit of comparison to come in and make himself at home.
And it made me angry. depressed. anxious. worried. cranky.
How could I be in my mid twenties and not have a single friend to call on?
With our first baby-we were thrown two showers and TONS of people showed up at the hospital moments after I was admitted bringing me magazines, snacks and such. And once we came home, people sent flowers, brought meals…we were seriously taken care of for at least the first week of being home. Our second baby-most people canceled their RSVP for the baby shower and no friends came to the hospital. Baby 3-no shower. And even less came to the hospital. This baby? Many didn’t even know we were pregnant or were completely turned off by us even THINKING of having a fourth child.
Each year seems we have been shut out more and more. I’ve begged God to show me what we’re doing wrong and I never received an answer-until now.
Like I said in a previous post, my husband and I are attempting to read through the Bible in a year-chronologically. It’s been pretty great so far! The other day, while reading the story of Noah, I came across a scripture that literally SCREAMED at me. Now, let’s get something straight. I went through Christian homeschooling as a kid. I had to read the Bible MULTIPLE times. This is NOT the first time I’ve see this verse, but it’s the first time that it meant a single thing to ME.
“And they all went in…as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.” Genesis 7:16
The Lord shut him in.
Think about it. Noah and his family are getting on this ark because God has found so much favor in him, AND because the Lord wanted to save him. Think and imagine for a moment. They get on the ark and the flood comes. What did they hear? What was going on OUTSIDE of that ark?
Chaos. Pain. Death. And probably much worse.
Also, Noah and his family were on that boat for almost an entire year! Can you imagine that? They had to get to know each other (and the Lord) pretty intimately. Many issues were dealt with on that ark, I’m sure of it.
And that’s where my answer came from. The Lord showed me that for many years, I have blamed Him for shutting us out-when really-He was shutting us in.
Not shutting us into our home-no, it’s much bigger than that.
I look back and I see the progress that has happened in my marriage. I’m more in love with that man now than ever.
My husband has grown so much in the Lord that it makes me get all weepy and emotional.
I see how the Lord has opened my eyes about my roles as wife, mama, and homemaker. I’ve made progress there too.
He has stripped away so much of the old gunk and I see the molding that He is doing-it’s astonishing!
Now, don’t go off thinking I am saying having a social life or close family ties is keeping you from growth. Oh no, not at all. What I’m saying is, that for us, those things may have hindered, held back, or distracted us from what the Lord needed (and still needs!) to do in our life. If I would have had a girlfriend to run to each time things can particularly ‘interesting’ in my marriage-how would my marriage look now? Just because something is a ‘good thing’, doesn’t mean it’s good for you at a particular moment.
Wow. Seeing that tiny verse has turned my world upside down like you wouldn’t believe. It has removed the anger from our situation and replaced it with complete awe. Do we really mean that much to Him? Did he really shut us into this little world together so that we could learn to be the best versions of ourselves? And all this time-I thought He was punishing me. I thought I was an unlikable person. I believed that my loneliness was the definition of my self worth.
But I was wrong. Oh so very wrong.
My Lord has other plans. Plans that I’m still asking for open eyes about, but plans nonetheless. I can stop feeling that my family has been shut out from the ‘good life’ and understand that the Lord was just shutting us in with Him.
Who wouldn’t be thankful for that? Yes its all 20/20, but I am so overwhelmed with it. It just makes it all worth it. I wouldn’t give up what I gained for what I lost.