Army, exercise, friends, God's faithfulness, loneliness, moving, puppies, silence

Not Alone: My New Walking Buddy

I am a people person, and in the past I really didn’t like being alone. I didn’t like to shop, eat at restaurants, or exercise alone. But I’ve learned through the years that being alone is a big part of growing up–at least it has been in my life.

I remember how shocked and hurt I was the first year of marriage when I realized that my man didn’t want to spend every waking hour with me. Some Saturdays he wanted to ride his motorcycle with his friends rather than spend the day with me. Somewhere in my girlhood dreams, maybe between Cinderella and Barbie, I developed the fairy-tale that once you got married, you and your spouse were ALWAYS together.

Not true.

Twenty-two years later I’m perfectly fine with this. I even understand it. It’s healthy. We each need our own outlets and hobbies. But learning this was not easy. I learned by self-preservation.

When Mike’s work in the Army required him to be away more than around, and he worked on Saturdays, I adjusted to that schedule. I purposely planned visits with friends on Saturdays so I wouldn’t feel alone. I got so good at it, I had to retrain my brain when his schedule would change, and he was home.

When it came to friends, I loved my praying buddies and my walking buddies, but our military lives required a move every few years. I would move away or my friends would. With every move I anxiously anticipated new friends who God would put in my path. But I learned through the years that He didn’t always plan on replacing the ones I left or the ones who left me.

So somewhere between realizing that my husband couldn’t always keep me company and that friends were not always going to be in my life, I began to need God more. I began to see that He was my source. Always. I could talk to Him all day long, and He never needed a break from me, nor would He move away.

It was a hard but sweet and vital lesson. Truthfully, I think I learn this on a deeper level with every changing season of life as our children grow older and I spend most of the day alone–I haven’t completely arrived.

Yet God is so faithful. I believe He loves to give us blessings when we least expect them…when we’ve surrendered.

I wish this was me running…it isn’t. Whoever it is, go girl!

Through the years I’ve had a friend join me running or walking.  I need incentive. But though I’m now rather content with all of the silent hours I spend with just God and me and my keyboard, He knew I needed a walking buddy. So He gave me one! I didn’t even ask.

He’s short, cute, and rests between sprints. I can always count on him to want to go walking whether rain or shine, hot or cold, and during any time of the day. We know the perfect route and have it timed just right. He’s never too busy to hang out, and his need for exercise is good for my need for exercise.

Maybe the best part about this friendship is that he doesn’t keep me from talking to God. He doesn’t bend my ear with his stories. He just walks briskly to the next mailbox where he allows me to rest while he does his duty or leaves his message or whatever he is doing at each stop.

God gave me Jack, our puppy.

It’s funny how I’ve experienced God’s love through this furry little mutt. In what ways has God surprised you with an unexpected blessing?

I pray you feel and know His love for you. If He seems distant or silent, please keep on talking to Him. Keep on telling Him how much you need Him, and ask Him to help you fall in love with Him more than anything or anyone else. Jesus is the cake; the other people and blessings in our lives such as walking buddies are just the frosting.

Looking back, I’m so thankful I was lonely and needed Him.

Much grace,

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)

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