When You Belong to No One

She always asks me, “You and me forever, right mom?” I assure her that yes, indeed, it’s me and her, forever.

We all want to belong to someone, don’t we?

It’s easy as a single parent to sometimes feel like I belong to no one. My daughter, she’s at home in my heart. But me? I feel the loneliness creep in with a heavy silence, long after the child’s play and songs have gone quiet into the night.

Confession: I snuck out of church a few weeks ago. I stepped off stage from leading worship, and when all greetings stopped, all backs were turned and all eyes were looking forward, I took my exit to the door and found a brick wall on which to sit. Sometimes I can’t handle all the couples coupling up. All the seats taken. All the places I feel unwanted or don’t belong. Sometimes it all feels a lot worse than it actually is, and when it does, I need to get fresh air and clear my head.

photo source: weheartit

And it was that kind of morning.

Outside on the city streets, I didn’t feel as alone as I did inside a room of several hundred people.  I don’t know if I can blame it on being single, divorced, being in a city without any family around, being friends with lots of couples, or what. I don’t think I should blame it on anything really. It just is. And every so often, it feels like I no longer belong anywhere, with anyone, to anything.

Even Mother Theresa said — “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”

So I sat on the brick wall outside of church, and watched the cars, the people, the city move on a brisk Sunday morning, and tried to regain some control back on my emotionally spiraling heart. I moped, really. I gave God the silent treatment, and let the tears flow.

As I did so, a woman wearing ragged clothes and no shoes passed slowly by in her wheelchair, and stopped in front of the other church that sits right next door to ours.

She rolled to the front of their steps and began shouting at the closed, metal doors.

“Hey! Hey! Anyone still there? Hey!” Her voice echoed off the stone building, and no one gave a glance, except for me it seemed. I watched her wheel to the side of the building, and she continued to shout vehemently, banging on the side door with no response. I knew what was coming. I felt the awkwardness seep under my skin. She turned to me.

“Hey you! Will you go in there? They have food for me and I’m late.” I hopped off the brick wall and walked toward her. She continued, “I blew a wheel out this morning,” she gestures toward one of the front wheels on her motorized wheelchair. “Another guy in a wheelchair helped but now I’m late. Will you go in and ask if they still have my food?” Food that they give to the hungry. Bakery leftovers. Day-old rolls.

“Yeah,” I said and walked up the steps, into the inner city church. A man brought me to the basement, grumbling about how the woman outside was almost too late, and “lucky for her”, handed me a few bags of food and sent me on my way. After delivering the food back to the woman on the street, she gave thanks: “God blessed me today. On behalf of me and my daughter, thank you. Thank you.” And she went on her way.

And like a ton of bricks, the Lord cut to the quick of my selfish, self-centered heart. As if he wanted to quickly answer my teary-eyed questioning of, “God, I don’t feel like I belong to anyone.”

“You belong to me,” He said. Fast. Fierce. Jolting me on the city sidewalk, and causing that familiar lump to rise in my throat. I felt the closeness of a kinsman redeemer, reminding me that my place is with Him.

You belong to me which means sometimes your seat is not among your peers and friends. Sometimes it’s on city sidewalks. Sometimes, even when you think you’re running away from me, you’re actually running toward me.
You belong to me which means the people I love are the people you love. The ones who belong to me, should belong to you too.

It’s amazing to me how in a moment when I wanted to use my sorrow as a defense against openness and community, God wanted to use it as an inroad to brokenness and humility. I made my way back indoors to my church family, and looked around. The belonging I ached for wasn’t a person, or a chair, or a face. It was that steady, Gospel-truth reminder that I’ve been bought with a price that I cannot repay. That in all of this life, I belong to something, Someone greater. My soul ached for something, and I labeled it loneliness with my flesh, but it really was disbelief in my position in Christ. I didn’t need back-patting encouragement; I needed Gospel-realignment.

This morning my daughter asks me again if we’re a family. “Yes love, we are.” 

“We belong to eachother, right?” she says wistfully. And I say yes, feeling my heart creak open to the reminder again that we are His. Our words. Our stories. Our seats. Our homes. We belong to Him. The kinsman redeemer. The one who places us within our boundary lines. The one who builds families, answers prayers, and also binds up broken hearts and leaves the 99 for the one.

We belong to Him.

  • http://alwaysalleluia.com/ Kris Camealy

    Andrea, what a powerful word today. How often have I needed the reminder that I belong to Him, even as I am surrounded by friends or family, I need the reminder that above all, before all, I am His. This is really beautiful, friend. I am blessed by this today. ((Hugs))

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      I need this daily reminder so much… Probably more than once a day even! So glad you were blessed by this today.

  • http://twitter.com/TheMaryBonner Mary Bonner

    We can feel so alone in a room FULL of people, yet the one to whom we really belong is with us all the time. Lovely post Andrea.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Thank you Mary. It is amazing to me how that happens, because I know it happens to me a lot. But He is with us all the time — even when I’d rather try to give him the cold shoulder. :)

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    Your words hit me between the eyes and pierced my heart, Andrea. I am part of Holley Gerth’s God-Sized Dream team, and have been praying about direction in my life, the “where” I am to serve, especially for my writing. These words were especially powerful and helpful: “You belong to me, which means sometimes your seat is not among your peers and friends.” Thanks so much.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Kim – I’m so encouraged that the Lord spoke to you through this today. It’s beautiful how when God uses brokenness, it isn’t static. It just grows and goes to those who need to be affected by it. And today, that’s you too.

  • http://www.dianadenis.com/ Diana Denis

    I read this in my email but had to come back here to tell you how it blessed me so. I’m married, have 3 amazing daughters, have a large family, an even larger church family yet I understand that need to belong. Thank you for this reminder, covered in grace. For so many reasons, it’s nourishment to my soul!

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Diana – thank you for coming back to say something! I’m blessed by this today!

  • Andrea Pitcher

    Thanks for your open and truthful words. In counseling we say that loneliness is the one emotion that “cuts” our hearts. It makes us bleed in a different way than any other feeling. The cut & bleed of that emotion is felt in your story. I also love the truth & healing of God in this post. What a balm His truth is to our bleeding, lonely parts. Beautiful. Thanks for writing for this post.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      How true that is about loneliness! And I’m so glad God didn’t leave me there to wallow on that day. It helped my heart. Thank you!

  • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ ro elliott

    Powerful words here….first for me…such a time of transition in my life….this wonderful unknown of midlife…so many changes that can leave you feeling a little displaced…your words….we belong to Him…always and everywhere….through each stage of life. Thanks…and secondly…I am walking through a painful time with a young mom of 3…the youngest 9wks old…abandoned by her husband…right now all is so raw …so I am going to save this one…hold it for her …one day this will bring her encouragement. Thanks for your honest,authentic words today…blessings~

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      I am so glad this encouraged you today! Also, I will be praying for this young mom and you! I’ve written lots about my divorce/single parenting, and the heartache of that and such — if you ever want to chat more, or I’d be willing to encourage her as well — email me andrea@theorganicbird.com

  • http://annieathome.com/ Annie Barnett

    Andrea, I’m left without words. Thank you for this. Just thank you.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Friend, thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/MandyScarr Mandy Scarr

    Andrea, this was beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart so boldly–I think we can all relate to that feeling of loneliness at some point in our lives. I’ve been there. I love how He redeemed that moment for HIs purposes! Thank you for sharing 😉

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Thank you Mandy! :)

  • http://wordsfromthehomefront.com/ Nancy Smith

    Andrea, I’ve “moped” a few, ahem, a lot of times myself. He always jolts me back with a life lesson and the reminder that I belong to Him and Him alone, even in marriage- I am His.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Ah, I am encouraged to know it’s not just me who finds myself here. Thank you for your comment!

  • Michelle

    Andrea, this was simply a God-send! Thank you for being so open to sharing your heart. I am not married and never have been but have struggled with loneliness frequently. What a blessed reminder. I belong to Him and have the greatest love story! Thanks again!

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Michelle – I am so encouraged to know that this blessed you today. It really is the greatest love story. :)

  • http://twitter.com/ChickFlickDiva Delonna Gibbs

    I could so relate to your story and I needed to be reminded of who the lover of my soul truly is. You are a FABULOUS writer. Keep sharing your story.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Thank you Delonna!! I’m encouraged to know that you were reminded of the richest truth today too. That encourages me to keep writing :)

  • soulstops

    oh, Andrea, thank you for sharing your story about how God showed up for you…so encouraging :) love that term: “Gospel-realignment”…

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Thank you!! I’m so glad it encouraged you!

  • http://twitter.com/HeatherLMassey Heather Massey

    Andrea, I honestly sobbed through this post. Now in my late twenties, I spend my days sitting with all my best friend, married couple (literally all my friends married each other). I have never felt more alone than this phase of life. But like you, every now and then God will throw something in my face to remind me how lucky I am to have those friends at all, and how He is always with me even at my loneliest. You are not alone, beautiful friend. Thank you for sharing yourself and journey with God.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Thank you Heather! It’s not always easy, but I’m glad God is faithful to remind us of the good in the middle of it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jill.monaco Jill Monaco

    This is a really powerful testimony. Thank you for sharing it so beautifully. I have thought about this over and over since you posted it and needed to leave a comment to encourage you. God made you so thoughtful and purposeful.

    • http://theorganicbirdblog.com Andrea

      Thank you for leaving a note Jill… your timing is perfect. I am really encouraged by this today.

  • http://twitter.com/AmyDotson Amy Dotson

    Thank your putting into words what so many of us are afraid to say. As a pastor’s wife, currently between churches, I have struggled, even today, with that lonely feeling. I have been removed from the comfort of my circle of friends and am starting all over trying to find where I fit. I’ve had this post in my inbox for weeks, and I guess God had me read it for such a time as this. Thank you for being an Esther for me today.