{October 8, 2017}

 

October 8 – 14, 2017

 

LOVE(MATH): Single

By Elizabeth Miranda

Paul writes: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 26-28

Loneliness. Utter desperation and panic. Overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Who can I call? No one. I have no one to call.

Nearly 15 years ago these were words directly from my journal. As Dan spoke about his experiences of singlehood my mind could not help but drift back over the most painful years of my life, when I first moved to Kansas City. I had just moved here for a relationship that ended badly.  By the time the drawn out break up was over my heart and soul were in pieces, left in a beautiful city where I knew no one, had no money, and with the craziness of the relationship and following despair I found myself asking who was I? And where was God? I was overwhelmed with the shame of where my life had turned, and that shame held me in its clutches not because God had failed me, but because I had screwed up royally and now was all alone.

But I had been faithful! I was in the “ministry” living by poverty wages so that I could work with broken teens and families, working for a non-profit where my sole purpose was to love others for Jesus. So where had I gone wrong? Why were others being blessed and I was alone and rejected?  Why are some people “blessed” and given amazing friendships and families when others have no one? 

Being alone in KC brought me to my knees, having seen how others suffered I was now suffering and it caused me to ask those deep-rooted questions of doubt throughout the pain. 

Then I came across the scripture above. Paul, who was thrown in jail for no reason other than saying he followed Jesus wrote this: “We do not know what we out to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” 

This. Was. Me.

My heart physically hurt. I had panic. Yet in my desperation, in the loneliest hours of my life, I began to experience Him. The man of Jesus—the heart of my daddy. I began to pray this prayer because I didn’t know what else to do? And he met me there. Sure, I have 3 journals filled with angry, fearful, hopeless rants through those few years of loneliness. The storm was long and dark, and yet He was there. When I look back on that period of my life I no longer feel the pain of being single or alone, but I remember the love of Jesus and that this one sentence brought me peace. My mantra became: if it’s just me and you Jesus, I’ll be okay. Just me and you.

I wish I could say that was the only season of loneliness and that being married is an answer. Broken friendships have continued to bring me to my knees at times. As a counselor, I work with adults of various ages who are incredibly lonely and suffering: some single, but many married. The only conclusion I have come to is that loneliness can occur at any stage, and in any relationship. The peace doesn’t come easy or magically when I pray, but He does show up. 

Liana Lowenstein is a play therapist who shares a famous art activity: draw a boat, a lighthouse, and a storm. I love this analogy. Take a moment and draw this scene. Or, at least close your eyes, and imagine the scene. If it helps, write out a description of your boat, lighthouse and storm. Here are some questions to reflect on as you picture your scene:

  • Are you heading into a storm, or out of one? What season of life are you in?
  • Where are you? In the boat, the lighthouse, or the ocean? 
  • Who is on this journey with you? Who are the lighthouses or boats in your life? 
  • How can you seek Jesus in the midst of the storm.  Is he the lighthouse? In the boat with you?  

Talk to him, write out your words—words may not be necessary—he knows your soul. 

Remember this: sailors know that even in the darkest of hours and storms racking a boat . . . it will pass. The stars will show up to guide you, the waves will crash on the beach. He. Is. There. 

If you aren’t in a season of loneliness and find yourself surrounded by good friends and loved ones, count yourself blessed. Is there any one in your world who may look like they have it together, but needs a close friend? If so, is God asking you to reach out? Pray for that person and if there is a next step in inviting them into a friendship. 

{sunday 10.8.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 7:32-34

Observe, Reflect, Apply: How do we give ourselves to the deeper, core relationship with God that these passages refer to (whether single or married)? What might it look like to build my friendships, dating relationship, or marriage on the foundation of my relationship with God?

Join us over at the LOVE(MATH) podcast and listen in on conversations about relationships, God, community and more. CLICK HERE to subscribe on iTunes. CLICK HERE to listen on Soundcloud.

 

{personal reflection and bible reading plan}

As you read the verses each day, make notes of questions you have about what you’re reading as well as answering the reflection questions below. Grab a friend or two to discuss what you are learning and what God is doing in your lives.

As we move from Hebrews to James, CLICK HERE to check this great summation from our friends at The Bible Project.

{monday 10.9.17}

Read Hebrews 12:14-24

Observe, Reflect, Apply: "Follow after peace with everyone" sounds nice and simple, right up until you are faced with someone or an idea that strongly opposes you. Who are you at odds with? Pray that your heart be open to peace with them (not for them to see it your way).

{tuesday 10.10.17}

Read Hebrews 12:25-13:6

Observe, Reflect, Apply: "The lord is helping us and we don’t have to be afraid" is something followers of Jesus will turn towards in troubled times. This is good, but how about when things are going along just fine . . . do you still have this thought in mind? How about when your life is fine, but you’re worried about issues going on in this world?

{wednesday 10.11.17}

Read Hebrews 13:7-19

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What does it mean to you to read that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever? Explain.

{thursday 10.12.17}

Read Hebrews 13:20 – James 1:8

Observe, Reflect, Apply: It seems unnatural to consider trials and tribulations as joy. We want to worry and fix the problem as soon as possible. We want the pain to go away as fast as possible. We are told in James to consider it joy and that we will grow and learn patience. We have to be willing to be uncomfortable to grow. From experience I know I’ve grown from painfull times. Have you grown from painful experiences? Can you tell that story? If you’re comfortable, share that story with someone else.

{friday 10.13.17}

Read James 1:9-18

Observe, Reflect, Apply: If it’s true God does not test us, but instead we are dragged off and tested by our own desires, how does that impact your view of the difficult challenges in your life? Explain.

{saturday 10.14.17}

Read James 1:19-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply: "Human anger doesn’t produce God’s justice." Anger is on full display everyday on the news and social media. In this scripture we are called to respond differently, yet it seems that Christian’s are known for anger . . . like it’s going to produce some sort of justice for God. What angers you the most? How do you express your anger? Has your anger created any justice for God yet?

 

{community discussion questions}

We weren’t meant to experience the life of Jesus alone, so we encourage you to rally a few others to discuss what you are hearing, reading, and reflecting on together. Whether you are meeting as a Journey Community group, talking with a few friends throughout the week, or bringing up spiritual conversations around your table at home, feel free to use some of these questions as conversation starters on your journey.

  • What would you rather do: mow the lawn, rake leaves, or shovel snow?
  • If you’re single (or think back to when you were), how can you relate to the “singles timeline” or the equation 1+0<1?
  • How do the Bible passages offered tonight shed new insight for you?
  • Can you name a takeaway or challenge from the Sunday message?
  • How has that been relevant, challenging, or meaningful to your life this week?
  • What have you observed about God, Jesus, yourself, others, or God’s plan for you from these readings?
  • Where do you need a breakthrough from God this week?
  • Who do you need to share what you’re learning about God with?

 

{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get a free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

 

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© 2017 Heartland Community Church 12175 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062 (913) 341-5820.

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