This weekend, in my husband’s message, he said this…

Loneliness does not mean you are alone. It means you are in formation. Loneliness does not equal abandonment. Loneliness is an invitation to intimacy.

This got me thinking about two of the loneliest times of my life.

The first was when I was 15 years old and my family moved from the city I had lived and the church I had attended since the age of 3. I had always been a social kid. I never liked being alone. The year before we had moved I remember praying to God that as I changed schools that he would give me lots of friends. Fast forward, one year later, I remember crying telling God, I did not need a lot of friends but if He could just give me one. And in that moment, I clearly heard the Lord whisper to me, “Why don’t you try making me your friend?”

That year would be the year I truly developed a relationship with God that went beyond Sunday School and godly parents. A relationship with God that was my own. I know that God used my loneliness as an invitation to intimacy with Him.

The second most lonely time in my life was my freshman year in college. I was so excited to go to college. I don’t really know how I got this idea but I decided I was not going to date anyone my first year of college. I made a promise to God. It sounded great in my mind at the time. I wanted to focus on my relationship with Christ and develop friendships. About midway through the year, I was feeling pretty left out. I remember feeling like everyone I knew belonged to someone, except me. And I remember crying myself to sleep over it.

My freshman year of college was another pivotal year in my relationship with God and a string of boys could have stolen from me. They could also have kept me from being available when Steven Furtick wanted to date me.

There have been a handful of times as a pastor’s wife where I have felt alone. I have felt like no one could possibly understand what we were going through. And those have been the times where God has come through with peace and comfort and provision and growth.

I wonder if God sometimes drives us to the point of loneliness so we can experience intimacy with Him. And as painful as those moments can be, when I look back, I realize that those were the moments that shaped who I am today.