Pioneer Women: Alone on the Range

To read installment one of this series, click here.

Installment two of this series can be found here.

She stood outside her dilapidated home and took in the view. Amber fields, ripe and ready to harvest waved at her. The milk cow mooed in the distance. The hot breeze that assaulted her disheveled hair into a tangled mess whispered mockingly in her ear. “There’s no one out there. No one to offer you sympathy over how tiring it is to tend to your children while you attempt to clean up the house. No one to discuss the latest fashion. No one to hear what a great dinner idea you had.”

I wonder if, as this strong woman fought off the urge to dwell on these thoughts, she began questioning why she’d ever put herself in this position in the first place. Didn’t she know she’d be away from civilization, sometimes for months at a time, when she packed up her wagon and headed west? Surely she looked past the sparkle of adventure in her husband’s eyes and voiced her concerns for getting help in medical emergencies. Almost undoubtedly, she never talked to him about the nagging fear she wrestled into submission each mile she put between herself and the home she left behind. The fear that she would be isolated, an island in a sea of wheat, with no one to share the sweetness of friendship.

The fear was not a new one. She’d fought it as a child when her siblings said she was too little to play with them. She’d choked it back when she was a young woman trying to not look foolish while her peers giggled comfortably with each other. At church dinners when everyone else had someone to talk to and she could only seem to get in the way, she willed herself to hold back the tears. In fact, perhaps it was because of her need to get away from all the people who made her feel so alone that she decided to escape the misery and bury herself in the busy life of a farmer’s wife on the prairie.

Yet the feeling of being alone seemed to haunt her no matter what setting, season, or circumstance. Even as her children ran busily around her, her husband shared the day’s events with her over dinner, and she walked the streets of the nearest town, she felt that no one was truly enraptured with her life, feelings, or dreams. No amount of busyness remedied the ache in her heart. The more she tried pushing it out with a longer to-do list, the more hopeless she felt.

At last, she listened harder to the whispers in her mind. A promise from a still, small voice sounded just a bit louder than all of the hurtful ones that plagued her days, urging her to listen to His promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Her cynical heart scoffed at this statement. Hadn’t even those she loved done one or the other to her for as long as she could remember? Hadn’t she done it to those she loved? How could it be possible that anyone would always be there? Yet there He was again saying the same thing, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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“I will never leave you nor forsake you” – a timeless promise from God alone that is just waiting to speak to women at any time in history. No one is exempt from those feelings of loneliness, but the same percentage of us want to admit it’s true. We’re all created with a gaping hole in our lives that only God can fill. We try with all we have to deny it in so many ways, but God waits patiently for us to believe He’s there. It’s a difficult process to embrace the truth, yet it’s necessary to find peace in fully knowing that if we are pursuing after God, He is faithfully with us each intricate step of the way.

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

 

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