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Alone in a Boat

Have you ever had that picture come to your mind that you were alone on small row boat? You didn’t want to be alone, but you were. You desperately wanted people to hop into your boat with you, but they couldn’t.
This is how I felt when our family moved and took only some of our very special belongings in six to eight large rubber made containers to the Philippines.
God gave me the picture of me being in a row boat alone in the dark. I didn’t want to be alone, but there was no one there who was in our stage of life when we moved to Manila. We were different than all the people on our team. We were American and had two young children. The three other American team mates we knew had been in the Philippines for decades. It had been a long time since they were new to the Philippines. They knew the language, culture and had adjusted to living in a mega city. We on the other hand were newbies.
Adjusting to a new culture, way of life and language is tough when you feel like you are doing it alone. As much as some team mates tried to fill us in on the ways of life in Manila, it hit tired ears. This is because as I adjusted to a completely different way of life, I just needed someone to understand and empathize with me. I longed to hear these words. It’s hard coming to a new place so foreign to what you have ever known. Wow, having little ones in a new culture must be hard for you. I’m sorry it’s been so difficult to adjust to so many people when you came from a much smaller city in the United States.
When you are going through a crazy adjustment like we were, you don’t always know how to express what you need. So others didn’t know how to really help us. We had our office mates that we worked with, a large group of people in the U.S. that were praying and financially supporting us, and then we had an international missionary school that our kids went to for our 9 year stay. This was our only support system until we found a good international church and then got connected with a Filipino house church a few years into our stay.
Feeling like we are not alone is a big thing for everyone in the world. It’s a natural human need to feel understood when you go through difficulties. We were never meant to walk through life alone. We weren’t plopped down on earth with no one else there. We have family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and sometimes we have a church community.
Are you feeling lonely today? Do you feel like no one really understands what you are experiencing or going through? When no else seems to be there or understands you, know for certain that God does. He knitted you together in your mother’s womb. He knows all about you. When you lie down. When you get up. What you think. How you feel. God really cares for you. You are precious to him.
Go to him today. Tell him how you feel. Tell him what you need. He will meet you in a special way. Whether it’s in nature, a card in the mail from a friend or through a book you are reading. God always cares! He is always with you!

8 replies on “Alone in a Boat”

Christine, your words and the image of being alone in a boat, capture such an important emotion of loneliness. How brave you were to follow the Lord’s leading to a place so foreign to you! I love how the Lord met you in that time, becoming a very present help in trouble and meeting your needs in tangible ways. You have a sensitivity and empathy for others in their loneliness that was forged in you during that difficult time. That is the beauty of trials, they change us and allow us to comfort others with the comfort we have received. You are so right, God did not intend us to go through life alone and He has given me His presence and people for the journey. Thanks for your beautiful reminder!

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Thank you Linda for reading my reflective thoughts. I have a longing and desire to connect with people. I’m realizing it’s out of our own hurts, pains, and difficulties we are able to minister to reach others in a way that says I care and understand.

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Christine this was extremely well timed – I was just saying how alone I have felt this evening, and in general during certain times of the day.
My heart really goes out to you that you felt this way when you moved overseas! I have moved to other countries twice, both times with people who were very much like me, that I could easily process with, and that was hard enough! I can only imagine the isolation you felt. It was courageous of you to endure and stay for 9 years. And how gracious of our heavenly Father to sustain you through that time. Thanks for sharing!!

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Thank you Anna for reading this reflection about my adjustment to Manila. It surely wasn’t easy but by God’s Grace He enabled me to keep going and press into Him at that time. I’m grateful that the things I shared about loneliness spoke to you today. I’d love to talk about it further when you have time. Blessings friend!

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