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Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Loneliness

Not Alone

“It is not good
for the man to be alone.”
GENESIS 2:18 (NIV)



By its very nature, adversity brings uncertainty, confusion and isolation. It is difficult to talk about these things, and so many who suffer feel they need to bear their burdens alone. After all, if they don’t understand what is happening, how can anyone else understand?


Yet those times are the very times we need others most – and especially fellow members of the body of Christ. Through our own experiences and the suffering we have witnessed in the lives of others, we have learned how profoundly we need one another as believers.


At the very beginning of the human race, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Thousands of years have passed, but our deep, abiding need for one another hasn’t changed. We still need friends … spouses … and family members to help us bear life’s burdens.



And let us not neglect our meeting together,
as some people do,
but encourage one another,
especially now that the day
of his return is drawing near.
HEBREWS 10:25 (NLT)


On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky

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Hope for the Lonely Heart, Loneliness, Words of Endurance

Then the Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone.”
GENESIS 2:18 (NLT)


Loneliness is the first problem God addressed in the Garden of Eden and He declared it “not good.” Why? God created us for relationships. He designed us to connect with or bond with God and others. Despite our design specifications many of us admit to being “relationally challenged.” We don’t bond well. We don’t know how to have healthy, intimate, life-affirming relationships. Perhaps that is why the Barna Research Group reports that half of all adults say they are still trying to find a few good friends.


So what is bonding? In his book, Changes That Heal, Christian psychologist Henry Cloud describes it as …


“… the ability to establish an emotional attachment to another person. It is the ability to relate to another person on the deepest level.
When two people have a bond with each other, they share their deepest thoughts, dreams, and feelings with each other with no fear that the other person will reject them.”


Dr. Cloud goes on to describe what happens when we don’t bond with others …


“The soul cannot prosper without being connected to others. No matter what characteristics we possess or what accomplishments we amass, without solid emotional connectedness, without bonding to God and other humans, we will suffer sickness of the soul.”


When we are not bonded to anyone that is when we are lonely. When we are disconnected from others we miss out on their strength and wisdom during difficult times. Our self-esteem falters because we aren’t receiving affirmation or encouragement from people who care about us. Without the input of true friends and close family members to help bring balance and perspective to our emotions, our thoughts can turn inward and dark.


Other indications of a lack of bonding can include depression, feelings of detachment, feeling unloved, defensiveness and addiction. The longer we remain unbonded, the lonelier, more unwanted and more unlovable we may feel.


No one wants our wounded hearts healed more than God. He knows how much we need each other. He knows how much we need Him so that we can endure the hardships and celebrate the victories of life. God who is near to the brokenhearted, promises to give us the strength and wisdom we need to heal. More than anything else – He does not want us to do it alone.


Two people are better off than one,
for they can help each other succeed.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.
But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
ECCLESIASTES 4:9-10 (NLT)


On the journey with you,
Dave & Jan Dravecky

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Loneliness, The Search for Answers, Words of Endurance

“There are great perplexities in life,
but thank God, if we will trust,
with the bold, implicit trust
of our natural life, in the Son of God,
He will bring out His perfect, complete purposes
in and through our particular lives.”
OSWALD CHAMBERS



I can remember it as if it were yesterday. It was June of 1982 – we were living in Honolulu, HI where Dave had been playing Triple A Ball for the Hawaii Islanders, the San Diego Padres minor league team. On our team that year were seven other Christian couples. We had all accepted Christ the season before in Double A Ball in Amarillo, TX and it was amazing that we had all been promoted to Triple A together!



That season had so much promise to be the best summer of our lives. We were playing ball in Hawaii, with our most precious Christian friends and five of the eight couples were expecting their first child – all scheduled to deliver during that baseball season in Hawaii.



I was the second one of the group to give birth and our baby was due on June 20th – perfect timing – Dave would be in Honolulu for the birth and then be home for two weeks after. BUT Tiffany was born on June 6th – Dave was in Phoenix with the team – Dave missed her birth by an hour – but I was not alone – God provided. Six wives took me to the hospital and they took turns doing labor coaching, waiting room duty, keeping Dave informed as he made his way back and finally, Mary and Katie (both pregnant) helped with the delivery.



While I was so disappointed that Dave missed the birth once he was there – I couldn’t have been happier. I looked forward to a wonderful summer with my husband, our new baby girl and all of our Christian friends. BUT …


We humans keep brainstorming options and plans,
but God’s purpose prevails.
PROVERBS 19:21 (THE MESSAGE)



THEN – when Tiffany was two days old – THE PHONE CALL came. Dave was called up to the Major Leagues. He left the next day – leaving Tiffany and me behind – alone to pack and follow him to San Diego a few days later.



I was devastated – I couldn’t believe it! I was alone and afraid – forced to leave my friends and move to a strange place where I knew no one – with a new baby – life was not going as I planned. I cried out and asked God WHY and WHY NOW?



Just before I left for the airport, Sheila, one of the wives, gave me a handwritten card to encourage me. In it she wrote out Proverbs 3:5-6. – A verse I had never read before – a Word from God – a lifeline verse to which I would cling.



Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do,
everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
PROVERBS 3:5-6 (THE MESSAGE)



Of course, Dave went on to a successful career in baseball and shortly there after several of our friends from Hawaii were called up to the Major Leagues with us. Looking back, I can now see His Purpose and His Plan. This was my first baby step of trusting God and enduring when I did not understand – it would prove to be the training and preparation for the times that were to come that would be much more difficult to endure.



All Things work for our good.
Though sometimes we can’t see how they could.
Struggles that break our heart in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth.
Our Father knows what is best for us.
His ways are not our own.
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just can’t see Him,
Remember you’re never alone.
God is too wise to be mistaken,
God is too good to be unkind,
So when you don’t understand,
When you don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand,
Trust His heart.
“TRUST HIS HEART”
BY EDDIE CARSWELL AND BABBIE MASON



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Endurance for the Journey, Healing, Hope, Loneliness, Relationships, Words of Endurance

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
ECCLESIASTES 4:9-10



Baseball is a team sport.



As a pitcher, I relied on the seven players behind me and the one in front of me to make the plays behind me so that we could complete and hopefully win the game. If not for my team’s support I would have to strike out every batter at the plate – that would not be good and would be nearly impossible to accomplish.



Enduring the journey through life takes team support.



The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
GENESIS 2:18



It is not good to travel through life alone – especially when your travel takes you through the valley of suffering. If you want to make it to the other side it sure is a lot easier with the help and support of others – you need a support team.



So take the initiative to ask for help and be willing to receive help when it is offered.



Many friends and family earnestly want to help. They are God’s gift to us. They are more than just a gift to enjoy when the journey of life is going well – they’re a gift to employ when our lives are turned upside down and we find ourselves struggling up a long difficult hill or down into that deep dark valley.



I know that in my own experience it was hard for me to allow others to help – I wanted to be able to do it myself. But I know when I finally admitted that I needed the help of others – when I humbled myself and finally received their help – I was blessed. The journey was a whole lot easier.



My family and friends that came alongside me became God’s hands and feet – God’s provision for me – helping me endure the journey so that I would run through my valley with perseverance. They helped me make it to the other side.



By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ.
GALATIANS 6:2 (New Century Version)



On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky

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Healing, Loneliness, Pain, Prayer, Words of Endurance

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one can snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all;
no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
JOHN 10:27-29 (NIV)



When I was going through my depression, many of my senses and emotions went numb. One of my first senses to go numb was my sense of spirituality – my sense of the presence of God. I could not “feel” God. It felt like there was a cement ceiling between God and me and my prayers would bounce off that cement ceiling every time I tried to pray.



I felt as though God was nowhere to be found. But it was good to know once again that I was not alone in my feelings – King David experienced the same:



Listen, GOD, I’m calling at the top of my lungs:
“Be good to me! Answer me!”
When my heart whispered, “Seek God,”
my whole being replied,
“I’m seeking him!”
Don’t hide from me now!
PSALM 27:7-9 (The Message)



As did the Prophet Jeremiah:



And though I cry and shout,
he has shut out my prayers.
LAMENTATIONS 3:8 (NIV)



As did Job who was blameless and upright:



I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer!
I stand to face you in protest, and you give me a blank stare!
JOB 30:20 (The Message)



I was so relieved to have my feelings validated by such great men of God!!!! But even though I felt better about my feelings I still had a serious problem.



The problem? I believed if I could not “feel” God that meant that I had lost my relationship with God. This thought filled me with great fear until I read the top verse, John 10:27-29.



Praise God – Nothing could be further from the Truth! While you or I may lose our “feeling” of God and feel that we have lost God– God the Father and God the Son will never lose us – no one or nothing can snatch us from His hand.



Lost that feeling? Lost God? Then take comfort in knowing that God’s presence and God’s love is not dependent upon our feelings! Be encouraged and know that no matter what your state of mind is, there is nothing that can separate you or me from the love of God.



For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
ROMANS 8:38,39



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Cancer, Loneliness, When Cancer Comes Home, Words of Endurance

We know that the cancer battle isn’t always fought amidst a company of family members and friends. Some who face cancer fight on a very lonely battle-field. For these individuals, cancer doesn’t come home to much of a family.



Some individuals have never married, so they do battle without the love and support (and the accompanying trials, concerns, complications) of a life partner. Some have no children to worry about, to explain things to, nor do they experience the delight and joy that children can bring to even the darkest hours. Others have no living parents to care for them, to worry over them.



Some start their cancer battle with a spouse at their side, but in the heat of the battle, their spouse abandons them. Physically sick and deeply wounded emotionally, they are left to muster their resources and battle on alone, often shouldering the full burden of financial provision and care for their children.



Then, too, some fight valiantly beside a stricken spouse and one day awaken on the unfamiliar and strangely deserted battlefield of death. The cancer battle over, they must pick up what remains of their shattered family life and continue on alone.



Yes, cancer does find its way into some lonely homes. If you find yourself in this situation, our heart goes out to you. We want you to know that there is hope. You don’t have to remain alone.



You have a heavenly Father who loves you and cares for you deeply. Ask Him to help you find the supportive friendships, the family you need. He may use long-lost relatives, neighbors, a cancer support group, your local church, or friends to provide comfort and encouragement. But the most important friend is Jesus. The Bible describes Him as one who “is near to the brokenhearted” and the “friend who sticks closer than a brother.” So invite Him into your home. Allow Him to fill your heart with peace, grace, mercy, and love. He has promised to “never leave or forsake you.”

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