Karen on "Voices": Weathering Storms of Loneliness and Life

In celebration of Nancy's Voices of the True Woman Movement book release, we asked a few staff members and friends of the ministry to share their reflections on different chapters of the book. This is part 6 of a nine-part series. Enjoy!
Today, Karen Waddles, Assistant to the Publisher at Moody Publishers, writes about how she resonated with Karen Loritts' chapter 6 in Voices of the True Woman Movement:

In “A Resolve to Believe,” (chapter 6 in Voices of the True Woman Movement) Karen Loritts writes about children leaving home (a.k.a the empty nest), a dysfunctional childhood, and the evil companions of anger and fear. She also details her journey into the arms of a loving God who can be trusted through life’s trials. To that, I say, “Amen.” And, yes, Karen, I’ve been there too. 

When our last child left home and went off to college it should have been one of the best days of our lives. Just like Karen and Crawford, George and I had talked about it again and again. We had commiserated with other couples who were just as eagerly awaiting the ‘next season of life.’ Doesn’t every parent look forward to the empty nest? Freedom! No more long drives to and from school every day. No more after-school activities to coordinate with our busy church schedule. Yes!

We had, after all, survived the first one leaving. It was like something—or someone—had left a gaping hole in our family; and it took months to adjust to our new normal. Then number two left . . . not so bad. And then number three . . . hmmm, not bad at all! But our last child to leave was our only daughter, Genesis.  I wasn’t ready for her to leave, or for the soul ache that accompanied that time of life.

Since she was our only daughter, we were exceptionally close. Dare I say it . . . too close.  Her absence was a reminder of how much I clung to her for emotional support, and for the encouragement that should only have come from my husband, or another sister-friend. Her departure ushered in a season of loneliness that I hadn’t experienced since my college years. 

My stomach still tightens when I remember those early years at Kansas University. I was on a campus with more than 20,000 students, with no vital connections to anyone. The loneliness was palpable. I could feel it down to my toes. If I could have screamed, it would have come from so deep within that the scream alone might have proven fatal. Years of step-father abuse caused me to build walls around my heart. The walls that were built to protect from further hurt, ended up keeping me from the very people who could have helped.

I still have a hard time believing that God cared enough to reach out to me when no one else could. He sent a young man into my life to draw me back to Himself. He asked just the right questions: who are you really angry with . . . shouldn’t you ask God to help you forgive your stepfather. That young man would later become my husband.  He was there in the beginning of my loneliness. And he was still there many years later as I visited the terrain of loneliness once again. And you know what? So was He. He was there all the time.

After Genesis moved out of the house, my husband and I began to strengthen our marriage on the solid foundation of biblical oneness. We became intentional about making time for each other amidst very busy schedules; time for making that emotional connection, time for just having fun together. We started to really like each other again! Just a few weeks ago he looked deep into my eyes and said, “I really, really like you!” And, in married language, that trumps “I love you” any day.

We are now in that season that often too rapidly follows the empty nest. It’s the season when adult children begin returning home—sometimes with children and spouses in tow! But this time, this time it’s different . . . very, very different.

And the most wonderful part of it all is that I’m learning to trust God in a new way. He is my Abba Father, One whose love is never failing. He is a strong tower that I can lean into when the storms of loneliness and life assault my soul. He is Lord!

So, yes, children come and go; reminders of a harsh past may linger and even fester; but there is One whose hand has crafted every experience to work for His glory. The Apostle Paul, perhaps, said it best, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)  Like Karen Lorritts, I resolve to believe–and stake my life on that good Word!

About the Author

Karen Waddles

Karen Waddles

Karen Waddles is assistant to the publisher at Moody Publishers, a conference speaker, and a contributing author of Our Voices: Issues Facing Black Women in America and The Women of Color Study Bible. She and her husband, George, who … read more …

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