Solitude and Community

Open Your Bible

Psalm 46:10, Lamentations 3:25-28, Mark 6:30-32, Matthew 11:25-30, Hebrews 10:23-25, Psalm 133:1, Matthew 18:20, Romans 12:4-5, Romans 12:15-19

I didn’t adopt because I wanted to make orphans miserable. But in the bumpy jostle of daily family life, between Don’t wake the baby! and Everyone get in bed!, I feel like I’m failing. We pursued adoption because we wanted to help—we wanted to make the world a better place, to shine the light of the gospel. But I didn’t know I would need to shine the light of the gospel at 5am, every day, for so many years. In the process, my flashlight has grown dull and weak.

Every day, my husband and I feel the pendulum swing between the tension of Christ’s invitation to “come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while,” and His admonition to “meet together” in fellowship (Mark 6:31; Hebrews 10:25). After one too many family activities ending in disaster, we’ve learned to let our wounds heal in private and decline the next dinner invitation.

Adoptive parenting has been the most difficult task of my life. It’s been astonishingly isolating, because from the outside, we look like an adorable, bustling, young family. But underneath, I’m clenching my teeth, waiting for the shoe to drop and the next terrible thing to happen. During this season, we’ve felt the tension of pulling out of community activities, playdates, dinners, and visits with family. And I fear that folks won’t understand we are dealing with more than just a case of the wiggles.

But in pulling away from community, we miss out on the real, loving, encouragement and affirmation we need from our people. We imagine disapproval in their eyes and judgment on their brows. Again and again, I have wanted to hide our messy family life because I am sure no one will understand.

One May day just a few years ago, my very, very cute adopted son was singing—with perfect pitch—a Christmas song, while I stood in the checkout line at Goodwill. He has a face like a chipmunk and a voice like a chorister, and he knows it. He’d been singing that song for weeks, and now he was shining his face around to draw the attention and approval of the other adults standing nearby. His endless fishing for applause from strangers touches on my fear that he’s still not quite settled on us as his parents; he’s still interviewing for the position.

Although we can never erase the brokenness that led to his birth parents’ inability to raise him, we are the parents that God has given him. In spite of my commitment to love him, his singing was exhausting and painful at the end of a draining day—on top of six wearying years. For me, his song felt like a jarring syncopation, rattling out the death of my dreams. I asked him to stop singing.

At my left elbow, a woman snorted and leaned away from me. “That sweet little boy wasn’t hurting anything. You should know better than to stop him from singing!” she admonished, shaking her head and looking away. I felt my tired shoulders slump lower, even more resolved to hide our troubled story.

And we have found relief and safety in solitude. We’ve been able to rally our forces and find heart for the next fight. But pulling away from community robs us of its gifts, and neglecting solitude robs us of its replenishing powers.

So we live in the in-between tension of the two. We live like a child on a swing, swaying out a little further and retreating a little further, learning to trust our community and learning to accept the peace of solitude.The further we venture out, the deeper we need to retreat afterward. We don’t have an easy solution, but I am sure about which direction to look for hope. “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Jesus says (Matthew 11:28). But in this in-between, our hearts are broken every single day. We are rejected and we are befriended. We are lonely and we are loved.

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124 thoughts on "Solitude and Community"

  1. Jeanna Vance says:

    I felt this deeply. Thank you for being candid and honest. This was truly refreshing. I am allowing myself the room to pull away a little bit these days. I battle guilt and fear, but I desperately need his rest and renewal. ❤️

  2. Ada McCloud says:

    I need to go back to community

  3. Lynda Miller says:

    When I lost my husband I experienced a loss of community. No one knew what to say. I was so devastated I didn’t know what I needed from anyone. I turned my focus on my son, who had found his dad (he had a massive heart attack). So I just put on a mask of being okay and soldiered on. I realize that life goes on but it was very difficult to be left behind. I don’t think anyone purposely left me behind. It just seemed to happen. The COVID brought more isolation. This year I fell apart. But God and I found my way through and my focus now isn’t on my loss but on the adventures He is showing me. (Not romance but working in His Kingdom and sharing what I have learned).

  4. Madison Luber says:

    I have been struggling a lot with this balance of solitude and community. I moved across the country away from everyone that has ever loved me last year and in this season of intense, deep, deep struggle (physical and mental health, work stress, pandemic, relationships ending…) I have felt even more alone. I have felt the lack of deep friendship and a strong support system. I have felt confused as to why I feel so alone. I feel lonely and behind. And yet I know I have a strong support system elsewhere but I still struggle to feel physically supported. It was nice to read a devo from someone who was still in-progress. Most of these devos read as someone who has “made it out on the other side”, when that is usually not where I am. They can make me feel even more isolated. This was a godsend.

  5. Virginia Mhasvi says:

    Oh yes. There is some serious tension between community and solitude. I pray that God helps me find a good balance because I tend to lean on one side more than the other!

  6. Tamara Doyle says:

    This season has brought a lot of solitude by necessity, but also a deeper sense of community in unexpected ways. I’m FaceTiming more often with family. I’m connecting on Marco Polo and getting to know women in my church on a deeper level, because we have been forced to slow down and actually have the time to put into investing in new and deeper relationships. For that I am thankful. I’m also trying to be intentional about leaning into the Lord in the quiet and the solitude, soaking up chunks of His Word at a time.

  7. Michelle says:

    We tried to adopt for 3 years and never got matched. Finally after our home study expired we were matched with a little girl. It all looked perfect on paper, but the reality in our home was the complete opposite: chaos and stress for all of us, including her. And we were lacking in support from our agency. After 3 months, we had to stop moving forward with the adoption. It was heartbreaking, and we still don’t understand why we weren’t the right fit. I had to pull away from community for a little while because it was just too hard to keep answering the question of where is she? How’s it going? But in other ways our church family has rallied around us, praying for us and even someone dropping by my house last week with flowers and a card. Jesus knows so well: we need community, but sometimes we just need solitude and Him.

  8. Meghan Wilson says:

    Well said! As an adoptive parent of 4 kids, I can relate to this.

  9. Melissa Graves says:

    Churchmouse, if you’re ever in my neck of the woods, please come over for a cup of tea, some quiet conversation and a few deep belly laughs. You are always welcome here.

  10. sara says:

    as an adoptive parent of 3 and four bios this sang to my soul. We are ever on the pendulum saying back in forth in an effort to grab hold on one side to stay for awhile only to be pulled in the other direction. Thank you thank you thank for this affirmation of love. I am thankful that this world is not our home and life Is but a vapor, one day we will rest and hear well done my good and faithful servant.

  11. Amber says:

    After an especially hard day with one of our four adopted children, this devotion spoke right to me. We too, struggle with looking like we have it together on the outside, but oh so many challenges do we face in our home. I am so grateful that I can give it all to Jesus and trust in His Sovereign plan even when I can’t see the outcome of my current trials. I also trust that He is doing a redeeming work in my daughter.

  12. SC says:

    As a foster parent and now adoptive parent, I have felt this way so many times. Three years after adoption, we are finally stretching our wings and inviting others into our new crazy. We’ve learned who our real friends are and beginning to make new friends. It’s so hard to open our hearts to invite others in. Not only are we trying to protect ourselves, we have three not-so-little ones that we are trying to protect as well. Thank you for your transparency.

  13. Ashley Thomas says:

    Parenthood is no joke. It is a constant barrage of frustration and failure. We must remember you can’t learn anything without first failing. If you get it right the first time, you aren’t learning. I’ve learned to give myself more grace in regards to parenting. While some things were easier with my second child, other things (i.e. sibling fights) are still difficult to handle. I know God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. I know the best thing I can do for my kids is show them the love of Jesus, and let them know how much they are loved by God. When you put Christ in the center of your household, it makes life seem easier because you are not alone.

  14. DG says:

    Thank you for the reminder that all the happy looking families out there are not as perfect as they seem. Sometimes it seems like everyone else is doing so well when actually most of us struggle with something.We definitely don’t need to isolate ourselves.

  15. Laura Smail says:

    Wow. I’m not a parent, but I can relate on so many levels to the tension you described between solitude and community. I’m going through a season where I just want to hide, but I know that hiding doesn’t bring healing. Thank you for honestly sharing your struggles. It helps to know that I am not alone in this struggle.

  16. Ashley Wurtz says:

    My family is a blinded family. It is full of God’s redemption. It has truly beautiful moments and I constantly see the hand of God and His blessings often. However the first two years drained me spiritually and I often felt exhausted, drained, and undone. I pulled back often into solitude because there were too family hearts adjusting to our new normal. Now four years in I am able to enjoy more community. My husband and I have learned that though the outside world may not understand some seasons are sweeter inside the walls of our home than outside amongst the larger community.

  17. Liz T. says:

    Thank you for sharing this particular message. I’m sitting in a hospital bed- caring for my mother who was hospitalized but is now doing better, as my dad sleeps behind us in the arm chair- he has dementia. I was able to share this beautiful and true message with my mom today to bring her encouragement and it definitely brought me some too. Thank you again for this reminder.

  18. Sue says:

    Churchmouse your words are a balm to my soul this morning. Indeed, being a momma is hard and holy, even with adult children. Thank you for your wisdom and for your encouragement to walk another day on holy ground with God’s grace.

  19. Churchmouse says:

    July 29, 2016 is the date I posted a comment to this devotional when I first did this study. I just reread it and smiled – the sentiment remains true today.

    Being a momma is hard and holy, regardless of the age of the momma or the children. And we are often so hard on ourselves when God has an abundance of grace. Grab onto His grace! He sees your efforts and He is so pleased you are keeping on and pressing in, especially when the results of those efforts don’t look at all successful. In every battle there is a strategy that involves a balance between advancing and retreating. So it is with parenting – and really with any ministry we are in. There is a time to charge forward and there is a time to regroup. Both are exactly right and appropriate. Neither is worthy of any condemnation. Not by those in the throes of the battle and certainly not by observers. I was recently told to never value the opinions of those in the cheap seats over those who are sweating in the game. Wisdom!

    Mommas, each stage of your child’s life brings its own challenges and its own joys. Relish each. Be kind to yourself. You’ve never walked this particular journey before. Know that it is holy ground even, and especially, when it looks so messy. God chose you to parent this child, these children, and He did not make a wrong choice.

    Deep breath. Grab grace. Belly laugh. Shed tears. Cry out. Hold tight to His hand. You can do all things through Him who gives you strength. Don’t look beyond this day. Just do today. He is with you and He is pleased. Really. He is. He loves you. You are the apple of His eye. You’re a good momma. He’s a good good Father. Together, you’ve got this.

    1. Sarabeth Segars says:


    2. Karlie Nesson says:

      You are a blessing ChurchMouse ❤️

    3. Kelly Engle says:

      Wow, so beautifully written ❤️. Thank you for sharing. This is the reminder I needed today.

    4. Anna Simpson says:

      I needed this so much today. The devotional and this comment. God led me here today.. these words are his voice ❤️

    5. Cathy Tubby says:

      Crying over here. Thank you for those much needed words.

    6. Rachel Rannals says:

      Man I needed this reminder!! The reminder that each stage with a child is new and we have never done it before. We really do need to give ourselves more grace that Christ so freely gives!

  20. Marlyne says:

    Thank you for these scripture and the writing of testimony. I learned a lot I need a balance between fellowship and solitude. Right now I’m mostly off to myself. I know what I need time silent time with God and balance sometime to be around my family, friends, and church family. I tend to isolate. Lord I thank you for this.

  21. Esther says:

    It looks like it was written by Rebecca Faires :)

  22. Kimberly Martinson says:

    It doesn’t say who wrote this; needing to keep family members anonymous is another form of deep solitude. I understand! I felt so much of this. I don’t know who you are, but I wish I did.

  23. Katherine Morgan says:

    As I was reading tonight my sister texted me to let me know that her niece had attempted suicide. P was furious at the situation. I had no idea what to say. I’m a nurse and have worked with parents of children who’ve struggled in this way and immediately went nurse mode (remove emotion, stick to the facts, fake compassion without getting hurt) which may not have been the best solution. I’m thankful for the words of Paul in his letter to the romans “ 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. … Never be wise in your own sight.” Good timing Jesus. Thank you for your nudge into the light.
    If anyone is reading, could you pray for this child, her family and my sister as they stuffed to carry the heavier moments of life.

    1. Rebecca McKisic says:

      I prayed for this tonight. I was a suicidal teen once. The LORD sustained me and still does.

  24. bracciale cartier copia says:

    cartierlovejesduas Wow, number 7!!! – People can be cruel, and sometimes they will be. People can hurt you and break your heart, and sometimes they will. But only YOU can allow them to continuously hurt you. Value yourself enough to choose to spend time with people who treat you the way you treat them. Know your worth. Know when you have had enough.
    bracciale cartier copia

  25. Mishel says:

    I was so encouraged to see you did not end this devo on a note that said “and it is all so much better now that I am trusting in his word”. I find that within the realities and truth of the gospel there are still very hard times that don’t resolve well and God has not pulled me out of those but in the hardship I am working on seeing Him .

  26. Moriah says:

    This is my life right now and was so encouraging to read…adoption is the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done and most do not understand. We adopted twins and I have two biological as well and life is so exhausting ever day! Helping kids that come from trauma heal is the most intense and humbling thing we have ever done…whoever you are that wrote this, thank you!!!!!!! It was so comforting to just know someone else feels this way about their adoption situation too! It can be so isolating! I just want to hug you and have a good cry together about how unexpectedly hard this journey is!

  27. Tina says:

    Thank you. This word ministered to my soul…

  28. Untidy says:

    This spoke to me as it reflects the pain and joy of my own life. I’ve appreciated exploring the bible this past while in a way that recognises the complexity of human beings. I often feel that Hod is much more emotionally complex than we even realise and I’m so thankful for that.

    1. Untidy says:

      That was *God* not *Hod*…oops!

  29. I’m an adoptive mama with two RAD kids. I get it, and thanks for sharing your heart. ❤️

  30. Simone McKelvey says:

    I’m so grateful for this study and for this woman who is able to share the struggle. None of us are super woman but it is hard not to try to live like that. My busy is not that of a wife or mother since I am single. I was recently promoted and while I search for an Assistant Director, I do two jobs. I also own a small home-based business which I hope will grow. I sing on our church worship team too. I haven’t been to our mid-week service in a month and have not signed up to help with an outreach happening in two days. I am in recovery from people pleasing so in knowing that I need to care for myself, I struggle with the perceived judgment of people who don’t know that I am on overload. I know that God has kept me healthy during this temporary craziness. There are moments where I feel like I am drowning. At the same time, I feel like God is with me and know that I am choosing to move closer to him. I know that I won’t make it otherwise. So I cry during my times alone and rest in the fact that this overwhelming time is not permanent. I also am grateful for the blessing of a job I enjoy, a business and a church where Christ is preached.

  31. Maddie Campisi says:

    I have a 5 year old son with Autism and I lost my husband 3 1/2 years ago. It is so exhausting. I go to church and the. Pick my son up from Kids church and go straight home. I miss fellowship sooooo much. But Eli is so fullon. He wants to run around the whole time and squealing and yelling if I try and make him stay with me. It’s so stressful for me it’s really not worth it most of the time. I hate being a public spectacle even though I know no one judges me there. I miss my husband and just want him back. Thankyou for sharing your struggles. I fully understand. ❣❣❣

    1. Emily says:

      I am praying for you Maddie. Your Father understands every single struggle you face and I know He cares about the wants and needs of your heart. God is revealing to me that lately I have tried to work towards the things I want without really looking to Him, but His Word does say ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will be opened, seek and you shall find. I would encourage you to ask your Father for the desires of your heart.

    2. CJ says:

      Maddie, I am also a mom of a child on the spectrum. After years of trying to find the right balance, we are only now learning the right combination of community support for him AND for us as parents. I am grateful to my church, and several ministers there in our children’s ministry and counseling ministries, who didn’t let us isolate; who pursued us in the depth of our grief, and embarrassment, and gave us the love, acceptance, and practical pointers we have needed to claw our way out. That said, I’m reading this study because even after years of living with our Autistic son, my grief is raw and cyclical. The most freeing thing in my walk with God, and in my parenting, is accepting the grief of parenting my special needs son, and by extension seeking and receiving the help I need. The darkest times now is when I let our schedule slip and we start skipping church, and our children’s mid-week ministry. It not only harms us b/c the change in routine with an ASD kid, but also harms me because then I don’t get the recharge I need.

  32. Maddie Campisi says:

    I just loved this so much. I decided to stay home instead of going to a farewell for someone at work. I felt the Lord was saying for me to stay home and rest with my Autistic son. But then I struggle with guilt and wonder if I’ve done the right thing. That line you wrote. Every day we are broken encourages me so much.

  33. Katie says:

    Solitude **

  34. Bobbi says:

    Right now I’m sitting in the airport, exhausted. Emotionally and physically. This is a trip I feel God truly wanted me to go on for healing…. Satan however has done everything to make me miserable in trying to go. Including collapsing my closet and all of its contents at around 1 am this morning.
    — but that’s not stopping me from getting to this place. God wants me to go and to heal, to spend time with understanding women during this season of intense trial.
    I am so behind on this study, but I think God gives us words of course when we need them. To hear the words “Be still, and Rest…. I’ve got you” is one of the most sweet sounds to my ears and heart that have been desperately grasping, holding on, praying, and working so hard to just keep going.
    Definitely need prayer for this trip and the next 5 days to be a time to heal and spend time with my Heavenly Father.

    1. Hello Sarah says:

      Bobbi, I am just doing the study myself today. I am praying for you to find rest at the feet of Jesus. To know you are fully loved and cared for by God. May He bring healing to your heart and rest to your body and mind.

    2. Phylicia says:

      Praying for you continually! I hope your trip was just the dose of God’s amazing love you needed :)

  35. Sara says:

    I’ve read this everyday this past week. We just brought #6 home…3rd adoption. It has thrown my child who has been home also 6 years back to a very tough spot and then trying to help my new child in this space….it has been hard! I do want to pull the blinds and retreat. The community keeps pushing themselves in and I could not figure out why this was so hard for me….but this, it is exactly how we are feeling! I sent it to those friends so they know I’m not saying no to community we are just doing all we can today. Thank you!!!

  36. Leslie says:

    I love that you included the Verses from Matthew 11, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Don’t you just love that He says we will find rest for our souls! But He doesn’t say we will find rest for our tired minds and bodies!! There is a difference! Parenting under normal circumstances is difficult and exhausting depending on the season you find yourself. But parenting a adoptive child or fostering a child can not only be exhaustive but it can be disruptive to the life you were living. Unless you experience the process you just do not have a clue!! There is great tension that ebbs and flows. With time and Jesus it does ebb more than it flows. And believe me there is great warfare! The whisperings of the enemy can be horribly accusing, belittling, and can result in great isolation! Often times I would find myself focusing on what I had lost and how this was affecting me. In the early months the pity parties were often, I’m sad to say!!
    When Jesus calls us to do something, we don’t always think it’s going to be hard, right? He’s called us to the task so He will equip us right? Right!! He doesn’t say the task is easy. Yet He does promise to be with us and to lead and guide us. I remember the day it all came to a head. I was alone with my husband in the kitchen. All five of the kids were gone for about an hour and I totally lost it! I mean scary lost it. I think my husband thought I was headed straight to the loony bin. I was more than a total mess. I was screaming, scratching my face and totally out of any semblance of control. He just stared at me, his normally in control, we can do this, nothing is impossible with God, faith filled wife! He had no clue who was standing if front of him and where his wife had gone!! Seriously, he was really worried, ok petrified might be a better word! His whispered words still resound in my mind today. “We can send him back. This is too hard. You are home with him all day and the responsibility you bear is too much.” And it was!! Talk about “feeling” like a failure! But God had called us to raise this boy who desperately needed Him. As my husband continued to stare at me, my hysteria lessened and I became just plain broken. Then the Lord gently reminded me that I was losing the battle because I was relying on my own strength. I was not yoked with Him. I was trying to do it myself and desperately failing. I openly admit I struggle with control. Raising this adolescent, I had no control. So I was at a crossroad. I had a choice, several actually. Soldier on as I was and suck it up until I lost it again…ok not a great option. Send him back…get my “normal” life back. I’d get over the failure eventually, right? Or put my armor on and ready for battle. Really learn what it means to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Prov. 3:6-6 I knew my Lord’s voice and I know He had called us to this assignment. So together, we chose option three. Did everything change over night? No. Were the circumstances still looming? Yes. Was I still exhausted? Yes. Was it still hard? Yes. So what changed? I did. Not only did I surrender my will but I submitted to His. I began each day with Him asking Him to be real and present and to guide me through the day and to stop me when I ventured off track. I allowed the community of Believers who want to help, help. I became vulnerable. I asked for help even from professionals. Our pediatrician, pastors at our church, weekly trips to a great Christian counselor. I called on people to partner with me in prayer. And guess what? That young adolescent gave his life to Jesus! Yes there were more bumps in the road, more tears and pain but we moved forward, always forward. But God….

    1. Carol says:

      Beautifully written! Thank you for your obedience and thank you for sharing! That is one blessed boy to have you for his mama!

      1. Diana Willis says:

        Thank you both for sharing and being so transparent. What I find is that when we open our lives and hearts to others, we find we more alike than different. We all have our daily challenges or in some cases, years, but with God and a wonderful support system, God allows us to flourish when we live a Christ centered life and with other like minded friends. It does take a village! For me, it has been doing life as a mom on my own at home and with our village which we are so grateful for everyday!! Have a blessed and joy-filled weekend ladies ~ Diana <3

    2. Lexi says:

      But God! Those two words I repeat to myself everyday. There’s rest there…peace there. I love your story. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  37. Melea says:

    I had no idea that when God called me to renovate my detached garage for a homeless man I met while doing homeless ministry would be so much like adopting a child – a child with severe behavior issues. It has been a disaster most of the past year and a half. I get the same disapproving looks and discouragement, from Christians I might add. I know God called me to this, but I struggle with the same: withdrawing but needing people. I haven’t learned to balance it either. Thank you for your words. They help more than you know. ❤️

  38. Joy says:

    Your words are spot-on. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share the truth. Adoption has been the absolute hardest thing my husband and I have done, but also a tremendous blessing. It’s hard to explain to those who have not experienced it first-hand.

  39. Yetunde Odutolu says:

    I haven’t adopted but I have felt the dilemma of balancing solitude and community in times of “wilderness”. I think at such time God is calling us to draw closer to him and let him fill the hole. Let him restore us.

    I’ve wondered whether he is showing me that my community as lovely as they are cannot fill that gap no matter how hard they try. At such times I’ve also felt him saying that I should allow my community more grace. Not to hold them to a standard or expectation they cannot live up to because no matter how kind they are and how God lead they may be, my reality is not their reality as such they may not always know what to say.

    But the one who made us and knew what our future holds will equip us to deal with our current realities. I’ve also found him providing new communities, in a friend or a neighbour who knows and just pops us at the most desperate of time. I still love my community greatly but my expectations from them is different, that way I can enjoy my time with them. Still learning and growing but ultimately relying on God more.

  40. Sarah says:

    I really like the analogy of the child on the swing. What a beautiful image of a person who is able to balance solitude and community. It is so easy to either spend so much time with community that you feel drained, or too much time alone that you are not filled by the joy of others. I am currently in a place where I am avoiding spending time with my Christian community. Some of them are different than me, and I have trouble connecting. I am angry at some whose personalities frustrate me. I am reminded in this study that although time alone with God is refreshing and important, time with members of Christ’s body is important too. My pride gets in the way of believing that God could be at work in our group. My ego gets in the way of reaching out to the members of my small group that perhaps need a friend. My hope for “the perfect Christian” community is not realistic, and I am ashamed at how stubborn I have been. Although God grants peace and comfort when we run to Him, he also does this in the form of community. I am longing for community, in which I encourage others and they encourage me. I long for people to really know me, and for me to really know them. Lord, I know that I am missing out on the joy you have given to your people in community. Help me to trust You in this. Help me to seek ways that I can be further invested in the community You have given me at this time.

    1. Shelia says:

      Thank you for sharing this. You spoke the words of my heart this morning.

    2. Emily says:

      While reading through the comments for this fantastic study, I was really struck by your comment, Sarah. This speaks very much so to where I’m at with my community right now…and I really appreciate your honesty when speaking about your own experience. It’s easy to fall into asking why the group isn’t what we want it to be without thinking about how we can be a blessing to the people around this. Praying for you, sister.

  41. Jenna Hof says:

    From a fellow adoptive mama let me give you a big hug. I’ve been there and we too are 6 years into our adoption. One thing I’ve learned is its essential to create a unique community that feeds you . It may be different than your old community. It’s doubtful family and friends will really “get” it unless they’ve walked the parenting journey of traumatized kids.

    For me I found community in an online Christian reactive attachment Facebook support group, a trauma and attachment parent child group in my city and for a while a great counselor who works with adoptive families etc.

    But I also found that I still need my old family and dear friend’s. I rarely discuss with them the challenges we face as a family but use that time as a break time to eat chocolate, laugh and be together for fun.

    Hiring a respite workers / sitter gives me a break and chance to just be jenna for a bit and focus on my own goals, to let go for a short time of the parenting challenges.

    Gentle hugs

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Jenna, hugging you right back! Praying for you and your sweet family today. Grateful you’re here.


      1. Joy says:

        Can you share the name of the reactive attachment Facebook group? Thanks.

  42. Bree says:

    For two years I’ve been without a church home, a community, and minimal involvement with other believers, other than texting and social media conversation. Two years ago I was let go from working at a church, a job in ministry I loved and thrived in. But I was let go because my attendance had been sparse. I was experiencing severe depression and a slew of health problems at the time, most of which I am still experiencing today. The lack of community and having a church home since i was let go and have since moved, has not sat right with me. In fact, i know the Lord has urged me on many occasions to find a local church and get involved. However, whenever I get to the point of having the courage and desire and determination to move out of my comfort zone, I have experienced crippling anxiety and panic that eventually overtakes me. I long for the days this is no longer a problem. I crave relationships that edify and revive my spirit. I know there has to be something more in this life than the little bit the Lord has used me this far. The loneliness, the anxiety, the fear, the uselessness are all things that isolation does not achieve. But I remember those days when I was so busy I craved solitude. I now know there is a difference between solitude and isolation. I’m thankful for this study and how the Lord is using it to work on me, I long for community and being an active part of the body of Christ.

    1. Melody Suarez says:

      I have dealt with anxiety and have met people who have dealt with similar struggles Bree. The hardest part sometimes is just walking into the doors of a church and getting inside. Countless people have told me that they’ve driven to church and couldn’t get themselves to go inside because they were so nervous so they went home. I would encourage you, even though it’s scary, to get plugged in a community. I know it’s hard and very frightening but the pros far outweigh the cons and if anything, that community will have your back and help you battle anxiety if they are a community that loves the lord. It doesn’t mean people are perfect and people won’t mess up but we’re all just a bunch of broke people trying to love Jesus and love others. That’s where grace comes in :)

      1. Bree says:

        I went to church this past Sunday :-) I don’t know if you will see this, but thank you for your relativity and encouragement. And most of all your prayers!

    2. Sarah says:

      I have and am absolutely with you. I know your pain and I am praying for you!

      1. Bree says:

        I went to church this past Sunday :-) I don’t know if you will see this, but thank you for your relativity and encouragement. And most of all your prayers ladies!

    3. Lexi says:

      I also completely understand your pain…it’s a hard, debilitating season. More often than not, bring at church feels “safe” to me…there are times during worship that I dream of just wishing I could live at church…because I feel most whole there. And then there are days, my bed is that same kind of place for me. Everyday can be different.
      So from one anxiety ridden person to another, I urge you to just step out in faith and find that safe church home. Your soul will be filled and find peace if only for that one hour…but God will be working in all the other hours. ❤️❤️❤️

      1. Bree says:

        I went to church this past Sunday :-) I don’t know if you will see this, but thank you for your relativity and encouragement. And most of all your prayers! It was not easy but I prayed nonstop throughout the morning, even when I found myself sitting in church waiting for t to begin. Every little prayer, God answered that morning to ease my mind and spirit. I have felt so refreshed since going and renewed. I’m really hoping to make it back in two weeks after I get back home from family vacation.

  43. jeanne says:

    My uncle has been in the hospital for about 3 months now, lingering on the edge of death. He actually did die, although very briefly, and he vividly recalls Jesus telling him that it’s not his time yet. He’s held on to that message, wondering why it wasn’t his time to leave, because he so badly wanted to. He’s been suffering for so long, and there’s no realistic cure for him, but he’s trying to trust that God still wants him here on earth. Relating to the scripture today, the most challenging part for him is that now his wife is filing for divorce, has depleted nearly their entire bank account while he was in a coma, and their church pastor has taken the side of his wife, saying this is all too much for her to handle. He’s been sick off and on for their whole 20 years of marriage, and she just can no longer weep with him… it’s very sad. His entire community and earthly life has vanished, all while being too ill to walk or even feed himself. He went from belonging to a church community, to being thrown into absolute solitude. Now he only has days left before he’s forced to leave the hospital, but he can’t go home because of his wife. He can’t live on his own because he can’t walk or administer his medication. He has to move far away from his home to live with my parents, leaving behind his former friends, former wife, former church, and beloved pets.
    While my heart just breaks for him, I’m eager to see how God moves in this situation. What community might God create (that now my parents could be a part of), what purpose does God have for extending, however briefly, my uncle’s life?

    PS– speaking of community, still rooting for the SRT local meet up groups ;) !

  44. Laura says:

    Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for the Bible verses to encourage me and help me remember who I can always lean on. My teenage son is battling stage 4 cancer. He lost his leg almost a year ago now and has been regularly having chemo treatments since October with no end in sight. I still have no clear answers for the balance of solitude and community while we travel this heart-breaking road. But your honesty and encouragement help. Thank you.

    1. Laura says:

      Wanting to add. There is a mentor/friend of mine who chastised me for not reaching out and asking for help more often. Although I felt there was some truth to what she was telling me, in the end I have pulled back more because I don’t feel understood. I am not judging whether what she said, or my reaction, was right or wrong – just wanted to explain what happened.

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Laura, I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing with us today and giving us a peek into your story. I’m reminded of the gift of “me too!” and am praying you are surrounded with that kind of encouragement. Grateful for you!


  45. Melody Suarez says:

    I feel that exact same way with community. It seems the closer I get to the people in ministry that I do life and leadership with, the more I set myself up to get hurt, bashed, or gossiped about and judged. Sometimes I feel like quitting church all together but then I remember how community saved me when I was at my lowest of lows and was dealing with depression and had no accountability. I remember how my friends constantly texted me with encouragement and exhortation. I remember how beautifully broken we all are and how we are just a bunch of sinners trying to chase after a perfect love. And then I remember how Jesus died for the church and how much he meant life to not be down alone or in solitude. I definitely have figured out throughout the years that I need my quiet time with God to fill up, but to give up on my church family would be mistake. If anything, it has shaped me and molded me into who I am today. It’s allowed me to learn how to forgive, restore and experience reconciliation in my life and those gifts I could never replace.

  46. Penny says:

    Rebecca, thank you for this post. I am also a mother of adopted children, 2 boys. I feel so comfortable at home, isolated from the world, away from those that would judge me because of the often inappropriate behavior that our boys display in public. It’s been a difficult journey for us. But I also know that community and fellowship brings so much good into our lives. I need to remember that because I tend to pull away too much.

  47. Kristin says:

    Just what my heart needer today as we just got 2 boys in foster care. This could not ring more true. Thanks for this reminder.

    1. Kristin says:

      I relate to this on a spiritual level

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Thanks for joining us today, friend. Praying for you and your sweet family today.


  48. Tami Rodriguez says:

    Beautiful. I am so sorry for your struggle but totally relate although in different circumstances/ways. It is such a crazy hard life and balance. We DO need community and we do NEED solitude. It is an ever swinging pendulum. Thank you for sharing your heart and your story.

  49. Caroline says:

    Whew! I posted about this exact same thing today: the importance of support and community. I don’t know where I would be with out it. The community we surround ourselves with is what reminds me to keep moving forward!

  50. Colette says:

    A few years ago we had our third child who had a severe and life threatening birth defect. We planned for the worst and prayed for the best. After a long NICU stay, repeat hospitalizations and more than the average struggle to adjust to 3 kids- we also found ourselves floundering between the desperate need and desire to withdraw partnered with the knowledge that God has created us for community. We needed to heal and recover- to celebrate and also to mourn the things that were lost. We didn’t know how to fully explain the scope of our confusing emotions and we didn’t have the strength to even try. As I think back over that time I thank God for those who were gentle but persistent in their love and support- assuming nothing- not needing to understand but just trying love us and be Christ’s love to our family. This has caused me to want to be so much more intentional about loving others well in the midst of all of life’s messy stuff. I so appreciate the honesty of this post and pray that we can all be more honest and open and that can allow us to love and support one another well as sisters in Christ. May the way we love and encourage one another make Christ attractive to all those who see it!

  51. SusieP says:

    Ladies – you humble me. And lift me up. So thankful for this group of Godly women and the real life application you bring to His word. This is a sacred place to me; a place of honesty and grace, and a joyful reminder daily that He always provides in all our circumstances. God bless you all!

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      So grateful for you, Susie! Thanks for joining us today.


  52. Lindsey says:

    Rebecca, thank you for this post. My oldest daughter was adopted from China at 18 months. This July marked 3 years home. I can definitely relate to all that you said. It is always comforting and encouraging to hear from others experiencing the same things.

  53. Delaney says:

    Community is what initially drew me near to the throne of Christ. Community is how I learned who Christ was; my family didn’t teach me, nor did I read the Bible until His people showed me who He was. But at the same time, it’s easy to feel rejected as a new believer because I know so little about being a Christian. I love having quiet time with God, but I also hate too much solitude. It’s hard to find a fine line between the two. But it’s also good to know that where community is wonderful, solitude doesn’t mean we’re alone. We’re never alone, the Spirit within us never goes away. And though it may be difficult to remember sometimes because we can’t see the Spirit, it’s important to know that solitude doesn’t mean loneliness. More than anything, it’s an opportunity to build our relationship with the Lord.

    1. Sareena says:

      So true. Solitude to abidied in Him will always bring us back to the reality of eternity.

  54. Janice says:

    ((hugs)) Just hugs. I feel for you. I haven’t adopted but am trying to help provide care for two grandsons who did not have a great start….and we have often felt the same way. Especially as we work to establish routines and change behaviors….it’s hard, sometimes moreso than others. We keep reminding ourselves that God has placed use in this moment and these boys need us – US. Depsite our imperfections. Beyond that I have no words of wisdom – So yes, (((hugs))), just hugs.

  55. Amy says:

    I can relate to much of the feelings expressed here. Community is great until it isn’t. Sometimes life gives us hard stuff and we don’t know whether we need people other than our family or if we need to just huddle down and cherish the ones right under our roofs. One thing is for sure, we always need God. My son has cancer. There are days I crave time with my girlfriends, but all too often I leave feeling like I wish I’d just stayed home. What my family is walking through is hard to relate to unless you’ve been in it. I understand that because I was also a parent without a child with cancer 21 months ago. I was so ignorant to cancer. I get it. I’m learning to love my friends even when they don’t get it. That’s not easy but if I don’t learn how, I’m most likely not going to have community.

    1. Brandi says:

      My India Grace was born with cancer so I can relate a little to your story! Our Father is such a God of Grace and still a Worker of Miracles! Praying He will meet every need.

    2. India grace says:

      I’m that India grace. And today I am thankful to be here. I can still do everything anyone else my age does. There are still some struggles I have due to treatments or problems that the cancer created. But I’m stronger because of it. Miracles do happen. Don’t give up sister! Praying praying praying!

    3. Rhonda says:

      Praying for you, your son and your family…

  56. Marcia Myers says:

    Today’s message and challenge of balance regarding introspection versus community resonates remarkably with our far broader day and age. Should we live in self-focused, self-important, [albeit tidy] church circles, or are we to live Biblically, sacrificially, authentically? I am reminded, the old adage: ‘children raise parents’, remains ever true!
    Thank you for stretching HARD against personal comfort , presentation, peace and pleasure to reach with respect to those who have ‘walked it before’. We with experiential decades as viable-single parents, widows and Caregivers professionally through the decades, know our shortfalls, can encourage the young adult journey and by God’s grace , reflect the ‘light’ on the path ahead.
    Community versus isolation, offers opportunity for much needed personal repentance and grace. And isn’t that, after all, The Calling?

  57. Kelley H says:

    I’ve often said adoption is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. On several levels. I can relate to all you’ve written, and I know a handful of paragraphs can’t possibly explain everything this topic entails. Thanks you for your openness. It’s encouraging to know that others out there DO understand.

  58. Nora says:


    What wrote wrote resonated with me as we have two
    adopted children. Life dreams have needed to die due to physical illnesses and emotional issues with the
    children. It is lonely and isolating as you described so well.

    Thank you so much for sharing. Few people understand these situations that permanently alter our families
    and make daily living exhausting. I appreciated so much your honesty.

  59. Rose says:

    Not only was this a beautifully honest post, the comments below are also amazing. This is such a wonderful community. I am so glad you all are here. Dear Lord thank you so much for this day. I’ve read She Reads Truth for a very long time, but was always afraid to read the comments because I know how destructive they can be on other amazing sites. But this post and community brought me to tears this morning. Powerful tears of joy. Thank you. God bless every single one of you.

  60. Rachel says:

    I didn’t adopt to make orphans miserable, either. Or my bio kids, or my husband.
    We’re only 2 years in, but I also feel my light is weak.
    I’ve never read anything quite so honest and quite so on-target. Thank you for sharing.

  61. Ging says:

    Thank you for your honesty. I am right where you are at. Adoption is beautiful, messy, and so hard. Trying to reflect Christ and love unselfishly is a tiresome task. No easy answer or fix, just learning to empty myself out daily and ask God to do a work in my heart so I can give from His unending supply. Thanks for your honesty. Learning how to live in the same tension.

  62. Churchmouse says:

    To you, sweet Rebecca, and to all you weary mommas out there, please know you are in a season and this too shall pass. Be kind to yourself. When you have little ones, do not expect to be doing Beth Moore Bible studies. (no offense to Miss Beth!) The homework on top of housework on top of carrying for your squirmy ones is just too much. I know! I tried. And failed. And thought I was somehow disappointing God. But, back then, through a friend who had been there before me, He led me to Lisa Harper. I could read and cry and laugh. And hug Jesus through my day. It was a season. I remember the day I got up early, got myself ready for church, looked good, fed our infant daughter, got her all dressed up like a baby doll, so proud I had it all together to get to church on time, and then she promptly threw up all over my shoulder. And down my finely pressed dress. All my pride just shattered. We stayed home. And I cried. It was a season. Today that same sweet baby doll has a baby of her own. She comes to my home to meet with other moms of all ages to study God’s Word and share life. She can’t anyways make it because… Little ones interrupt. But she is making an investment in fellowship when she can. And daily she is investing in her mission field named Julia. It is a season. There is a time when it is easier to gather together than at other times. There is a time when it is easier to get away. What is great is that God is always there, always available. He will meet you in Bible study and church. He will meet you when you’re hiding in your bathroom (you know, when you just need a couple minutes to yourself!). He will meet you in your tears. He will meet you in your laughter. He loves you so much! So you mommas , hang in there! We who have been there, are pulling for you, praying for you, cheering you on. You are doing God’s work. You are doing a hard and holy thing. It’s a messy mission field but He is in the mess with you. And He is so proud of you. Look in His face. He’s glad to see you. Happy to be with you. Wherever. Blessings this morning to every one of you out there!

    1. Laura says:

      That comment was a gift. Thank you.

      1. Michelle Buzek says:

        Thank you for this encouragement, I so need it! I’m raising teenagers now and I feel, for me, it’s sometimes harder than when they were babies! I never thought of them as a mission field, but you are absolutely right! Thank you!

      2. Sarah says:

        Oh I agree! Thank you for this comment gift today! ❤️

    2. drasch says:

      Oh my goodness, thank you for this. You have no idea how much of a blessing this comment is.

    3. Chanel says:

      Thank you so much for that encouragement! It was uplifting and freeing! I will refer back to it often. Thank you!!!!

    4. Maria Peters says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I agree it was a sweet and precious gift this morning.

    5. Nikki says:

      Thank you for those words. It is the encouragement I needed!

    6. SuzD says:

      Well said Churchmouse . Bless us every one.

      1. Carrie says:

        This was exactly the reminder I needed this morning. Thank you for your heart, encouragement, and reminder that He will see us through. This mama stuff can be hard…but we’re all in it together.

    7. Brandi says:

      Thank you so much! Right on target! Have had children in my home for 25 yrs now – 7 of them. And you are so right. The seasons come and go. But it’s so easy to forget that and get caught up in the messes. Father, enable me to keep my focus on You and the manna You have provided for this day!

    8. Rhonda says:

      Amen! I’m in the same season as Churchmouse…absorb her words of wisdom for she is so right! All of you with “littles”, savor this season and give yourself grace. Blessings to you!

    9. Emily says:

      Thank you so, so much for this encouragement today! Our daughter turned one yesterday and much of the joy of her infant year was robbed from me by postpartum depression. I finally feel like I’m starting to come out of it, but there was a time I really felt abandoned by God. Thank you for acknowledging the good amongst the difficult in the day-to-day of mothering!!

    10. Cari says:

      So perfectly said, thank you so very much! This was a much needed reminder today!

    11. Kathie says:

      I’m a teacher and begin my new year on Monday. Today’s devotion struck a chord with me. There’s times at work that I need community and times I need solitude at the work place. Not everyone understands that, and I’m sometimes viewed as not being part of the group. As mentioned, the children God has entrusted me with are a mission field. Through the sweet and the messy, may I be mindful to remember that God is happy to be with me in all circumstances.

    12. Heather (MNmomma) says:

      Thank you….I was brought to tears… boys are now all teens – my oldest will be 18 in a week…and I wish I had heard these words when I was a very young momma. I tried to prove everyone one wrong – to prove that I was capable of being a mom, wife, student (we were married after my sophomore year in college and became pregnant with our first during my junior year), etc….I spent my 20s feeling like I was constantly having to have it all together. My being a working mom (I am a nurse) was not understood by some family and I felt the need to juggle it all perfectly. Balance was not something I found until my 30s….. your words are such a blessing! I think I may print them off, stick them in my Bible and pull them out for the day my first DIL has a baby shower <3

    13. Caitlin Eckert says:

      Thank you for the precious words Churchmouse. I am in the messy stage with a vivacious 1 year old. She has a zest for life which is beautiful to watch and also challenging to parent at times. I will keep your words close to my heart today. ❤️

    14. Megan C says:

      Wow, I needed to read that. Thank you!

    15. Mary Anne Tubbs says:

      Wow God used these words you wrote 6 months ago in a big way tonight. I actually found myself crying on the bathroom floor today! I have 8 month old twin boys, a marriage that is on the rocks and am feeling tapped out in every way. Thank you for your honesty and wisdom for this trying (but sweet) time of life. I am going to refer back to this often.

  63. Carly B says:

    Praying for you and your family today, Rebecca. What you are doing is such a beautiful reflection of God’s love, but must also be so challenging. Praying that you find strength and encouragement in God today, that you manage to find times of rest and solitude in the midst of the busyness, and for people you can be honest with who can love and support you all.

  64. J Cox says:

    Oh I feel your pain and uncertainty. But know it’s not just adopting parents. I felt those same swings and doubts with 3 children 35 years ago. Pray to enjoy them and give them Jesus.

  65. Deb says:

    I can really relate to this! Although today our children are adults and we have grandchildren, twenty years ago we were a blended family with three boys: two from my previous marriage and one from my husband’s previous marriage. It was tough, for us, raising three boys together from two different families. Sometimes all the hard work was destroyed quickly by certain family members when we visited as they preferred “their” family members over the others. We did eventually choose to pull back and not see them very often. Unfortunately the long-term result has been that the kids are not very close to these relatives. That makes me feel sad even though it was the right thing to do. On the other hand, the family members who accepted them all are still the ones they have very fond memories of and enjoy visiting them!

    Even through the tension of those unwanted experiences, however, we learned a valuable lesson: God can work good things through all of this. We learned how to exercise a great deal of patience over the years and to be understanding of friends and family who parent/think differently than us. We learned to love those who weren’t very loving to us, or to our family. We learned to forgive people more easily also (this was the toughest thing for me to do).

    We learned more and more about, and cling to, the peace that comes with knowing that Jesus is really the only one who gets to judge us and that even with all our mistakes, He loves me, all my family members, and all my friends…everyone! We serve a wonderful God! Praying for God’s peace and Grace for everyone going through this tension!

  66. Gema Muniz says:

    This message is so appropriate to this season in my life. We are all struggling with something in our lives that robes us our peace and produces stress, for some is our jobs, family, finances, whatever it is how great is it that at the end of the day we know we can come to God and lay them at his feet. How great is it that we can give him our burdens and he provides us with peace and the strength we need to carry on. Thank you God for all you are and you give. God bless you sisters. Holding on to Gods promises.

  67. Lucy Wann says:

    This was so precious and so true! My little brother is adopted and I see my family all wrap up with the pretty bow on top in this blog! It has been painful and joyful adopting and loving a child from another parent beyond words. My precious mother passed away six years ago and my brother who is now 48 yrs old is still looking for his birth father. He recently found that is birth mother passed away 33 yrs ago. My brother was loved and cared for with more love than any family could give and he still had that aching pain inside of him to know who and why! It was such a struggle for my mother to have him be content that she was his momma! He loved her and our family beyond, but the conflict still remains!!! Blessings and love to all who understand this hardship!

  68. Amanda says:

    Oh wow! Today spoke volumes for me. We’ve got a special needs family situation and so often feel exactly as you described, unable to adequately explain that it’s more than just a case of childhood squirminess! ❤️❤️❤️ to you!

  69. Marie Smith says:

    Prayers for you in this challenging time.

  70. Rayo says:

    I am thinking about all the mountains that God moved to make sure that on this day, this morning, as he removes my unbelief and replaces it with His faith and teaches me and my flatmate to wait for him as He has given us our word of victory, this is the passage and text we read. This comfort and assurance that we needed this morning. I am thinking about how God works in the past, present and future to give us all we need as we seek and trust Him. And all I can say is, God, you are awesome. You are amazing.

    1. Gema Muniz says:


      1. Sheila says: