I stood in a room full of people, but I felt completely alone.
Laughter drifted past me, and voices carried the pain of my loss as they floated around me. Pain and grief were my constant companions. My husband was in prison and I had been left alone out here to carry a heavy load. I felt sad, isolated, forsaken; I was lonely.
The thoughts of being an outcast, unwanted, and abandoned fed my loneliness after Ron went to prison. Loneliness threatened to take me out of the fight. It is hard to be strong, and nearly impossible to be victorious when you are lonely. Loneliness is an idea, a thought, a belief that no one cares about you and that you have nowhere to turn for help. The longer you nurture these ideas, then the deeper loneliness takes root in your soul. If you let it, loneliness will rob you of your future success.
Having a husband in prison doesn’t mean that you are ALONE.
You may feel alone, and you will certainly experience more than your fair share of judgment from others, but you are not alone. Your husband, your children, your true friends, and your family (at least SOME of your family) are all in this with you. Prison is an isolating experience if you let it define your life. It is not a “me against the world” experience; it is an “us against the odds” experience. Therefore, your entire family is on the journey with you. If you fall into the trap of loneliness, then you will shackle your children to the belief that having a parent in prison has ruined their lives.
Prison does not have to ruin your life
Prison is awful. It puts extraordinary strain on your family. However, prison does NOT have the power to ruin your family unless you let it! You have the power to restore, revive and reunite your family despite prison. Opportunities to create a better life are everywhere. But you must be able to see clearly in order to recognize them. Loneliness keeps you focused on you, so you miss opportunities right in front of you. The only way you can be successful at saving your family is to overcome loneliness.
Overcoming loneliness takes a lot of resolve. It is so easy to allow the mind battles to take over your will to succeed. Giving in to feeling sorry for yourself seems like the safest path to follow. After all, you are suffering greatly because of your husband’s incarceration, and it is true that society is not making it easy for you to hold your head up high and keep moving forward toward your dreams. It is hard work to keep your dreams alive for everyone – however, it takes exponential courage to dream again after prison has stolen your dream. Winning your mind battle over loneliness furthermore makes it possible for you to dream again.
Winning is not optional
I know it is hard to heal, difficult to keep moving forward, and equally grueling work to establish a new mindset. If you want to save your family, then you must take up the challenge. As you conquer fear, doubt & unbelief, you will also win the battle against loneliness. Winning this battle is not a trophy to display, it is the very foundation of your family’s future. Winning is not optional.
If you are battling loneliness, I want to share with you the key things that will help you overcome it and become victorious in your life. But first, you need to ask yourself these questions: Am I tired of being the victim? Am I done with letting other people dictate my future? If you answered yes, then you are ready to break the negative impact of loneliness in your life! If you answered no to these questions, then you, my friend, are stuck in cycles of self-destruction. (check out my blog on the cycle of self-destruction here)
Here are five things you need to do right now to move out of the mindset of being lonely:
- Examine your faith. What do you believe? Who do you place your faith in? If you are trusting your own abilities or your husband’s guidance to get you out of this situation, then you are not going to make it. In reality, only God can bring about the transformation in your mind and your life that you need to overcome every obstacle in front of you. He can, and He will if you will allow Him to have control of your life.
- Stop seeing yourself through the eyes of other people. After all, you were created with some amazing talents. Therefore, find those talents and start connecting with other people who can help you unleash your potential.
- Slay the day. Every day will have challenges—starting with your own mind battles. Start taking control of your thoughts by thinking of the goodness in your life every day. Face your challenges, put your intentions into actions, and accomplish one positive thing every day.
- Make friends. If loneliness plagues you, then get out there and start investing in healthy friendships. You can friends at church, your job, your neighborhood, your children’s school, any place you see people! The trick is to get engaged. Don’t be a bystander, go talk to people and then connect with others who share your same interests. Play cards. Fish. Work on cars. Knit. Do something with someone else. As a word of caution, choose your friends wisely. With this in mind, develop friendships with people you want to be like.
In short, don’t let loneliness rule your life and stop you from reaching your dreams. By and large, having your husband in prison is not the life you wanted. It is, however, the life you have. Prison is not the end of your family legacy; it is, therefore, the beginning of the rest of your life. Use it to create the most amazing life you never wanted!
I am rooting for you!