The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

When Your Buddy Bench Sits Empty (The Surprising Gift of Loneliness)

Welcome to the Overflow! Whether you’re an old friend or a new one, I’m glad you’re here.  This is a place where faith is spilled and souls are filled. I hope you’ll pull up a chair and stay awhile.

Today I’m over at Proverbs 31 talking about a little wooden bench called the “buddy bench” that’s helping to mend hurting hearts on my daughter’s elementary school playground.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you can find it here. But before you go, I’d love to tell you one more thing we’ve been learning from that little wooden bench…

She’s unusually quiet in the back seat as we drive home from school– no tales of recess adventures or girl friend giggles today. No laugh-laced echoes of lunchtime jokes or uproarious reports of rowdy boy pranks.

I glance in the rearview mirror and study her slouched shoulders, her downcast eyes. And I know there’s a story tucked beneath the hush.

But  her big brother is giving a play-by-play of the football game he won with a hail Mary on the playground, and her big sister is telling me about the paper she’s writing in lit class, and the road that winds home is slippery with fresh snow. So I fix my eyes on the road and listen to her siblings’ chatter, and I pray that as the afternoon unfolds, God will help me hear what’s NOT being said by the sullen eight-year-old in my mini-van.

When we get home, the silence gives way to surly quibbles. She argues with her brother, grumbles at her sister and yells at the dog. I give her space and grace and count down the hours til bedtime.

Then, finally, when the moon spills through her window, the sadness seeps from her sleepy eyes. As I pull the covers to her chin, she puts words to the churn inside. “It wasn’t my very best day today.”

I stroke her hair and wait.

“I felt sad at recess today…” she admits with a breathy groan.

“I couldn’t find my friends by the purple slide where we usually meet and the monkey bars were busy and the swings were all full.” Her lips quiver as she remembers. “And the boys were playing a really fast game of tag and I didn’t want to be it so they said I couldn’t play and my kindergarten friends were playing baby games and my thinking spot by the tree was muddy…”

Her eight-year-old playground woes dribble out between sniffles and whimpers. I listen with empathy, but when the ramblings cease, I gently remind my daughter that one imperfect recess need not ruin a perfectly good day.

“I know, Mom,” she agrees. Then she names the real source of her sadness.”But I sat on the buddy bench and nobody came…”

Her slender shoulders tremble beneath the blankets. “And that’s when I felt sooooo lonely.”

I feel her honest words in the pit of my stomach and pull her a little closer in the dark.

And I think about my own lonely seasons–

The year we lived abroad and the language barrier left me wading in shallow relationships and constant confusion.

The decade we changed addresses like stability was going out of style.

The days of being stuck home alone with wailing babies, demanding toddlers, and precocious preschoolers.

The times when my dearest friends moved away and their absence was as noisy as a thunderstorm on a sultry summer night.

Of course, my lonely seasons haven’t always been devoid of relationship.  Some of my loneliest seasons have been spent aching in the presence of the ones who love me most.  Because as Beth Moore reminds us,”We don’t have to be deserted to feel all alone. All it takes is being in a place no one else can fully enter…”

A girl doesn’t need second-grade-playground drama to know the bite of loneliness.  We’ve all had seasons where our “buddy bench” sits empty and our hearts feel barren. Whether we’re eight years old or eighty-years old, loneliness cuts deep.

But there’s something else that loneliness can do, too. And my daughter reminds me of that as we linger in the bottom bunk.

“What did you do then?” I ask after she describes those long lonely minutes of sitting unnoticed on that little wooden bench on the edge of the playground.

“Well,” she says with a jagged sigh, “At first I felt sad. And then I felt mad. I wanted someone to come talk to me.  But, finally, I remembered I wasn’t really alone. And I just started talking to Jesus…”

I nod my head in the dark, my eyes welling with a hot pool of tears.

Because my little girl had just named the upside down gift of loneliness.

Yes, loneliness can cut deep, but it can also be a short cut to Jesus.

Loneliness can feel like a dead end, but it can also lead us to the One whose love never ends.

Loneliness can make us feel unseen, but it can also open our eyes to the One who sees our need.

It’s often in our loneliest hours that we realize we’re not really alone.

And suddenly, that gap that no one can fill becomes a gift that no one can steal.

When the Apostle Paul scribbled his last letter from a desolate prison cell where he was awaiting his imminent death, he told of friends who had forsaken him and churches who had failed him.

Yet, in 2 Timothy 4:17, He pens this tender and powerful truth: “But the Lord stood with me…”

Each time I read those six simple words I feel a lump of tears rising in my throat.

But the Lord…

When there’s nobody to sit beside us, the Lord stands with us.

We may feel forgotten and forsaken, lonely or lost, but God meets us where others miss the mark.

God steps in when everyone else steps out.

In Beth’s beautiful words: “Then, just when you think the isolation will overtake you, there He is. You can’t see Him with your eyes. You can’t hear Him with your ears. But the Spirit of Christ within you bears such witness to the presence of Christ beside you that you know you’re not alone. When everyone else is everywhere else, He is there.” (Beth Moore, Entrusted)

My daughter’s sniffling has begun to fade and her slender shoulders no longer quake. So, I wrap my arms around her in a snug warm hug, and I whisper a simple prayer in her ear. Words of faith for her heart and for mine…

Dear Jesus, Thanks for never leaving us alone. You’re the best kind of buddy a girl could have. Amen

******************************************************************************************************************************************************

If you like what you’ve found here at the Overflow, I hope you’ll subscribe to my blog so we can stay in touch.  (You’ll find a subscription box on the top right sidebar on my home page.) Once you sign up, I’ll send a splash of encouragement to your inbox now and then. Or, if you’d rather, we can stay connected on Facebook or Twitter.

Of course, my favorite way to connect is the old fashioned way—face to face so I can see your smile.  I’m scheduling speaking engagements for all of 2018, and I’d be delighted to bring a message of encouragement to a ministry event near you! (Contact me at overflow@aliciabruxvoort.net if you’d like to know more).

Also, as promised over at P31 today, I’m giving away Sue Detweiler’s book, “Women Who Move Mountains: Praying with Confidence, Boldness, and Grace.” This book will equip you to confidently sit down on the buddy bench with Jesus and share your heart. If you’d like to win a free copy for yourself or a friend, just leave us a comment and tell us what you’re praying about most right now.

 

 

 

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120 thoughts on “When Your Buddy Bench Sits Empty (The Surprising Gift of Loneliness)

  1. Linda Chandler

    For God to soften my heart, lead me to forgiveness, to repent from anger and bitterness, and the rebuilding of my marriage.

    January 5, 2018 at 3:42 am
    1. Jane

      Dear Linda, I hope your connection with the extraordinary love and comfort of God will soften your heart and help you understand what motivates others to do things that hurt you (although mostly unintentionally), so that your anger and bitterness will be replaced by forgiveness. You need to sit down and really contemplate what has motivated that other person, put yourselves in their shoes. Know that they too likely feel uncormfortable for their actions (even if they don’t show it). So we are all equal in these ways, and understanding is so important so that you can really deal with your feelings and move into a genuinely loving and acknowledging space with the other. A councilor may be needed to help with this transition. Best wishes to you. Jane

      January 6, 2018 at 2:25 am
    2. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, hear our prayer! Do a miracle in Linda’s heart.

      January 13, 2018 at 3:12 pm
  2. Naomi Charbonneau

    I’m praying for God’s hand on my 12 years old son who was diagnosed with leukemia 19 months ago. He is having many life hindering side effects to the chemotherapies and the specialists don’t know what to do. There is no litterature on the subject.
    Today’s devotionnal was so good. I am surrounded with loving friends and family but sometimes (like last night), I felt lonely because it’s so hard for people to fully grasp what life is like unless you have been through it..your post just validated that feeling. I love the idea of a buddy bench..I’ll be thinking of ideas to incorporate it in my world..
    Have a great day!
    Naomi

    January 5, 2018 at 4:36 am
    1. Hann

      I’m praying with you sister. For your sons healing and for your family in this hard time. Remember you are not alone and you are so loved. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

      Love from H in London x

      January 5, 2018 at 10:15 am
    2. Jane

      Hi Naomi, just responding to say what a huge trial you are facing with your beautiful young son. I will also pray for you both. I’m sure you’ve looked into every possible treatment, but I just want to share two things I’m aware of about cancer. The current thought is that cancer cells cannot survive in an alkaline environment. There is so much info online about diet required to produce that – if your son can manage to do it. The other thing, that has to help at least, is food grade Diatomaceous Earth. (ground foscilised shell). It has hundreds of health benefits. It’s over 90% silica, a mineral our body is often deficient in, kills any bugs or parasites in our system (also gets rid of heavy metals which have been linked to leukemia), is an anti-inflammatory, good for skin, hair, nails generally. Here is one link – but there are many more, in addition to youtube videos. http://www.lookgreat-loseweight-savemoney.com/food-grade-diatomaceous-earth.html I personally have been taking it for 6-8 months. Mainly for intestinal issues, but the unexpected result was the reduction of inflamation and pain due to arthritis. The pain I had that left me week and unable to use my hands, and limping on one hip, have now gone. But you need to try it yourself – the good thing is it can’t hurt, and you may get some benefits. It’s tasteless, just like a brown powder in water, but add half juice half water to a glass with a tablespoon of DE (build up 1 tspn twice a day – til you get to a tablespoon). Take an hour before meals and add an additional glass of water to help things get flushed out of your system. I do hope it helps your young son. Love and Blessings to you both

      January 6, 2018 at 3:20 am
      1. Jane

        Here’s a link to alkalanising foods and also how DE can help this process.

        January 6, 2018 at 3:29 am
    3. Susa Hite

      I can’t imagine a chid or grandchild of mine going through Cancer. I have been in remission from Breast Cancer for 2 years now. It has changed my life. I became an empty nester this year and all my kids live 2 or more hours away. When I walk through my door every night from work I feel all my energy being zapped right out of me. Thinking about that Buddy bench means we need others just to say I feel for you. Hang in there. Realize that your son will look back on all of the things you have done ad will do to get hi through this. I will be praying for your family. And you for strength.

      January 7, 2018 at 7:58 am
    4. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Dear Jesus, draw near to Naomi and meet her in her loneliness as she walks a road that few understand. Bring healing to her son. Bring hope to her heart. Be her Comforter and Strength.

      January 13, 2018 at 3:12 pm
  3. Alyson Bucks

    Our son, Christian, started the buddy bench movement four years ago. While the past four years have been a crazy ride as it has spread to all 50 states and many, many countries, opening my “Encouragement for Today” email and reading your post made my heart overflow. To see the buddy bench applied in this way was amazing and something that I, personally, needed to read. Thank you!

    January 5, 2018 at 5:13 am
    1. Kathy

      I taught elementary school for 39 years and know how much the buddy bench is needed. You should be so proud of your son! What a tender heart he must have. And to see that we have Jesus waiting to meet us on our adult buddy bench, too, is very comforting.

      January 5, 2018 at 10:11 am
    2. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Alyson, WOW!!!! I’m so humbled and awed that you’d swing by and share your son’s story. THANK YOU to your sweet Christian for dreaming with God and starting the buddy bench movement. May the Lord use your son’s beautiful idea to grow HIS KINGDOM across the globe.

      January 13, 2018 at 3:07 pm
    3. On January 5, 2018 I also read Alicia’s Encouragement for Today devotion about the Buddy Bench, and was touched. As an retired elementary teacher I knew the Buddy Bench was an awesome thing. I loved the idea. I decided right then it would be the topic for my next blog post on 1/15/18. While researching I spent some time on the Buddy Bench website, and even left a comment about how I was going to use the idea on my blog and in a children’s devotional to further spread the word. Then today (1/15/18) while visiting Alicia’s website and reading comments, I was blown away to see that Alyson Bucks (Christian’s mom) had left a reply about the Buddy Bench devotional. God has encouraged me with the way He works all things together. Amazing.

      January 15, 2018 at 12:32 pm
  4. Mary

    Oh this resonates so much with me today and gave me the reminder I needed! My word this year is community and part of that for me is connection…being intentional in my interactions with others so that no one feels alone. This post gave me the words to describe where I’m headed this year…being on that buddy bench for the friend or family member who needs someone AND remembering that Jesus is always waiting there for me, too! God always puts what I need in my path, that’s for sure…thank you!

    January 5, 2018 at 5:29 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      What a BEAUTIFUL word for 2018, Mary. May God lead you as you live into that word!

      January 13, 2018 at 3:06 pm
  5. Amanda

    Thru seasons of my lifeblood I have struggled with lonileness but God has always been faithful to meet me with His love,comfort,presence I am praying for a Godly future Husband, Me and my children have been thru hardships due to other people choices in our life, with relationships etc. I have been a single parent most of my life and I have seen Gods hand &goodness favor in the midst of pain and hardships ! I want to do God’s will and fulfill His purpose with my soulmate. I am actively engaged in ministering to women and helping the down droden and broken hearted . Thru my trials I can relate to many different people ❤️ I am praying for my 17 year daughter that is a mother & 19 year old son they would be healed and come to the Lord and not be angry with God because of unforeseen circumstance &trials …I know that God has big plans for me and my family and the devil has attacked us in many ways thru out the years but I know God will redeem the pain and the is a purpose is greater then the pain.. I will appreciate prayers for me and family thanks God bless

    January 5, 2018 at 5:48 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Amanda, I AM praying for you and your family. Your kids are blessed to have a praying mom. May God use for good what the Enemy has planned for harm. Jesus, be the Redeemer Amanda needs day by day.

      January 13, 2018 at 3:05 pm
  6. Nancy

    I’m praying for my sweet sister as we are waiting for results from a test. The waiting is hard, but we know the Lord is Faithful. I love the Proverbs 31 devotions, and your story was so sweet just had to go read your blog.

    January 5, 2018 at 5:57 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Thanks, Nancy. I’m joining you in praying for your sister.

      January 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm
  7. Joyce

    I’ve wrestled in a mental/spiritual battle for almost 28 yrs and wldnt wish it on anyone else! Yet I’ve seen and felt the Lord’s presence in ways that I may never have otherwise! I long for victory, but in the meantime, I know I can find rest in His mercies and grace when I lean hard into Jesus!

    January 5, 2018 at 6:14 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, give Joyce strength and victory in her battle. Fight FOR her, Mighty Savior. And make tender mercies known to her each day.

      January 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm
  8. Deb

    Thanks so much for this post and the one at Proverbs 31 ministries. It inspires me to provide a ‘buddy bench’ and to ‘be’ that for others. I, too, at times struggle with feeling left out, unimportant, etc and am learning to run into my Father’s arms yet…sometimes, I need Jesus ‘with skin on’ and it brings such joy when God sends someone along.

    January 5, 2018 at 6:16 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Deb, I agree- Jesus “with skin on” is a powerful gift. May we be that gift to someone today:)

      January 13, 2018 at 3:01 pm
  9. Lynette sauder

    I am praying for special friendships for my teenage son who is extremely shy

    January 5, 2018 at 6:34 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Echoing your prayer, Lynette

      January 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm
  10. Lori

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful perspective of the buddy bench that definitely extends beyond the playground! I am grateful that God lead me to your blog today…I needed a reminder that I am not alone!

    January 5, 2018 at 6:55 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Thanks for stopping by, Lori.

      January 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm
  11. Mary Jo Mueller

    My daughter struggling with bi polar depression and getting help.

    January 5, 2018 at 6:56 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, bring healing and hope to Mary Jo’s daughter!

      January 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm
  12. Kea

    I loved today’s message. I’m praying for my husband and I.

    January 5, 2018 at 6:59 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      I’m praying, too.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm
  13. Leslie

    I’m praying for a dear friend having hip surgery today and for my sweet son, who is dealing with a breakup of a 6 year relationship. Today i stumbled across P31 and the Buddy Bench hit home for me. We have moved 3 times in the last year and boy, I’d love it if my town had a buddy bench! I will be subscribing! Thank you!

    January 5, 2018 at 7:01 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Leslie, I’m looking forward to sharing this “buddy bench’ with you at the Overflow. Moving is HARD- may God bring some special friends to you in your new town (with or without the bench!)

      January 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm
  14. Michele

    That was such a good message. I have been overwhelmed with the feeling of loneliness and loss. At times it consumes me and feels suffocating. It can make me wish I were longer here and I ask (beg) God to take me home. In the quiet and lonely times when my buddy bench leaves me feeling even more alone I need to remember I’m actually not alone at all. The lonely feeling perhaps is an invitation to spend some time with God in the quiet of the feeling. To stop seeking fulfillment in things that only leave me feeling more empty and turn to Jesus and His promises.

    January 5, 2018 at 7:07 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Michele, your words are wise– May Jesus turn your emptiness into fullness as you SEEK HIM FIRST and let Him satisfy you completely.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:58 pm
  15. Kathleen

    Thank you for this reminder. I am praying for God to help me seek Him first and give me a heart like His. And for healing in family relationships and wisdom.

    January 5, 2018 at 7:11 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      God, give Kathleen the will and desire to seek you first. Make her more like you each day. And bring your healing and wisdom into her family relationships.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:57 pm
  16. Sarah

    Praying for the will and passion to read the Bible and pray each day. I know my soul craves it and it is essential for my health and well being but I can’t figure out why every time I sit down to do it I feel so distracted. Lord, help me draw near to you each day.

    January 5, 2018 at 7:14 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort
  17. Barb

    I am praying for my unbelief to return to believing again after the death of my beloved husband.

    January 5, 2018 at 7:31 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      I am so sorry for your loss, Barb. Echoing the words of Mark 9:24 for you– “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

      January 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm
  18. Cheryl Lea

    Thank you so much for this devotional today. I have gotten so good at building protective walls around my heart, I didn’t even realize how isolated I had become from everyone. I have been praying for God to give me an audacious love and desire for him (more Beth Moore words of wisdom!). As promised, He has been here with me the entire time, and is answering that prayer. And, while loneliness among humans can definitely be hard to deal with, I think it has been that very thing that drove me straight to God for companionship. Loneliness may actually be the thing that rescued me from myself!

    January 5, 2018 at 7:37 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Cheryl Lea, What a powerful testimony.. Loneliness may actually be the thing that rescued me from myself. Yes! May Jesus continue to answer your prayers and open your eyes to His presence day by day. Blessings in the new year!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:54 pm
  19. Nanette oster

    I’m praying that God will take away the depression I’m dealing with. I’m not sure why I’m feeling the way I am but I know God can take away the sorrow and replace it with a joy only He can give.

    January 5, 2018 at 7:40 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      May the JOY of the Lord be your strength, Nanette. May He shine His light in your darkness and stir renewed hope in your heart.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:51 pm
  20. Debbi LoCascio

    Oh, I love the concept of the buddy bench! Every school should have one. But, every child should also know that that Jesus is always there for them.The Lord has gotten me through some very hard times, I don’t know how I would how I would of made it without him. God is great!

    January 5, 2018 at 7:53 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort
  21. Kim

    Strength and endurance and financial provisions as I continue to be a care giver for my mother.

    January 5, 2018 at 8:26 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      May God provide ALL you need, Kim.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:50 pm
  22. Grace

    I’m praying for my children, especially one who is suffering with lack of self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, leading to self-destructive behaviors and she doesn’t know the Lord.

    January 5, 2018 at 8:29 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, pursue Grace’s children with your relentless love- capture her daughter’s heart and put her feet on the path of abundant life!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:50 pm
  23. Amy

    This was such a great devotional! A great reminder to be looking for others who are “sitting on the buddy bench” to reach out to them in their time of need, and to remember that Jesus Christ is always ready and waiting for us as our friend when we are lonely. Praying for a closer walk with the Lord in 2018 as I strive to meet with Him daily in devotions and prayer.

    January 5, 2018 at 8:52 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      May He delight you as you meet with Him, Amy!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:48 pm
  24. joanna kearns

    Restoration Redemption Provision of all of me and my elderly father’s needs beauty for ashes gods will for a good job at his perfect time for me

    January 5, 2018 at 9:03 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Praying these things for you in Jesus’ name, Joanna.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:48 pm
  25. Megan L.

    I’ve been going through some faith struggles lately, feeling like I’m alone. I’m praying for God to make me more aware of His presence, to turn my heart back to Him and show me what He wants me to learn in this season now.

    January 5, 2018 at 9:22 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Megan, those are exactly the kind of prayers God LOVES to answer. I’m echoing your prayers!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:48 pm
  26. Joann

    I forwarded the Proverbs 31 email to a friend who I know will be blessed reading it as I was. I do realize that when our friends aren’t there for us when we’re going through something hard, or they just don’t ‘get it’, Jesus knows us through and through and always ‘gets it’! Thank you for sharing from your heart!

    January 5, 2018 at 9:37 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Thanks for sharing my words, Joann.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:47 pm
  27. Melinda

    My word for this year is REST. I’m praying God will show me how to get His rest in every area of my life.

    January 5, 2018 at 9:38 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      What a beautiful invitation this year, Melinda. May you discover more of Jesus as your heart learns to rest in Him in new ways!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:47 pm
  28. Janet

    I have two struggles that I have been praying about. My son came home for Christmas break and is not sure he wants to go back to school. I’m also praying for my husband to find a relationship with God. Hoping that would help with his negative thoughts and feelings.

    January 5, 2018 at 9:42 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Praying with you for both of “your guys”, Janet.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:46 pm
  29. Agnes

    I needed this today …. reading it thru tears as I’m struggling with the battle of depression and loneliness in my marriage. “Dear Father, I come to the Throne of your Grace and Mercy and Love… your ‘Buddy Bench in Heaven’…. Thank you 🙏🏻 “.

    God Is with us all in our struggles, pain, loneliness and various trials. Will you all join me on God’s Throne, His Mighty Buddy Bench?

    January 5, 2018 at 9:49 am
    1. Kathleen K.

      I have been going through health issues. My only son moved and got married a year ago. I am alone and my health issues has caused me to become reclusive due to the pain. I loved the idea of a buddy bench. I am a teacher and see my students struggle with loneliness. Th am you for this post today. It touched me deeply.

      Praying for everyone who has posted that our precious Lord will hold each of us in His care and meet the needs that we have. God bless each of you. He is a faithful father.

      January 5, 2018 at 4:12 pm
    2. Alicia Bruxvoort
  30. Kat

    Honestly, grace. as I process the loss of my son. This is truly a season unlike any I have ever known, and as much as I wish I had a “buddy” on my bench, I have found that this loneliness has driven my heart to Jesus like nothing else. Thank you for the words of life

    January 5, 2018 at 10:52 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      May our God of GRACE meet you in your pain and heal your broken heart.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm
  31. Powerful read thoroughly enjoyed. My prayer in this season is for my Father to “show me to myself” and equip me to continue working to help others despite my hurt. This “buddy bench” has absolutely sparked my energy on this day. Being reminded that God is always here- that’s life!

    January 5, 2018 at 10:57 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort
  32. Judith

    My prayers are for my 4 son’s. There is a huge alienation between them and my youngest son. Both sides have childishly contributed to this. All have been deeply hurt. But neither seem to be able to forgive. As parents it breaks our hearts to see and hear the uglyness that has evolved between brothers that were once so close😔

    January 5, 2018 at 11:08 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Judith, my heart is hurting with you and for you. Echoing your prayers for your boys.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:44 pm
  33. Janice

    Praying for my husband and self that we can overtake the pain that is in our hearts and grow. My husband has told me is has been to addicted to porn and sex most of his adult life and has been going to girly clubs where there is complete nudeity. He now wants to quit and become complete again with our marriage and God. I have forgiving him I think but can’t get the thoughts out of my mind looking at young women throwing themselves for money on him. How can I ever compare to them and keep him satisfied? I struggle with the vision in my mind and it scares me. I love this man very much I just want to help him and help myself with my thoughts please help

    January 5, 2018 at 11:29 am
    1. Kassandra

      Oh Jancie my heart hurts for u cuz i know what this feels like…its been a few yrs but im still learning how to deal with forgiveness and the images i get, the comparing myself to those “other women”, that ridiculously hard hit to my esteem, the greiving in my soul that felt like someone died and my very being was ripped out shredded with no mercy..u have every right to greive right now cuz u did lose something, the trust and peace of ur marriage, and u feel like u lost the security of Gods love in ur life but i promise u he is there, he will take u through the fires of oppression, u may feel the waters rise and the heat turn up but he will go through it with u(Isaiah 43:2) it will get better but only with God, may i recommend something thats helped me “the longing in me” by Sheila walsh -she duznt talk about marriage or adultery but she will address the hurting of ur self confidence and security..these things almost took my life cuz of what my husband did but im here cuz he (my God) Never left…Father we lift up Janice to u and we ask that u would wrap your loving strong arms around her, that u wud give her peace as she will go through many valleys and climb many mountains on this journey of restoring her marriage.We know this circumatance is awful but we praise u that her husbands sin has been exposed and brought to the light and that he seeks reconciliation with u father janice. God let janice know u love her and u never stopped loving her and that even though this happened in her marriage u still have a good plan, a hope and a future(jer 29:11) fo her and her marraige…we wait in expectancy as u mend her heart and heal her mind, we rebuke and renounce in the name of Jesus that spirit of fear that makes her compare herself to those other women, that spirit that says cant ever please or be good enough for her husband, we remove every lie and firery arrow sent her way from satan and we cancel the chaos the enemy has sent her way. We thank u father that she is more than a conqueror in u, keep her in prayer and in ur word Lord, give her a heart that will cling to u and not on her husband or his past, in Jesus name Amen…
      Sorry for the long post Janice but i felt God wanted me to tell u every word. U are in my prayers- u dont sit on the buddy bench alone
      Sincerely,
      Kassandra Velasquez
      24yrs old
      Marriage destroyed in first 3months now restored and been married 5yrs

      January 5, 2018 at 12:06 pm
    2. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, YOU are a chain breaker and freedom fighter. Bring freedom to Janice and her husband, break the chains that threaten to steal their joy, re-build their marriage on your Perfect LOVE.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:43 pm
  34. Kassandra

    This devotion hurt so much…I was asking God why i feel so lost so stuck, like im suffocating and drowning and choking all at the same time just why do i feel so terribly lost spiritually and as i turn to proverbs31.com there is todays devo verse, i read it and look at alicias picture & my heart stops cuz i know on my worst days God puts ur devotion up just for mw to read…i pause though with a clench in my stomach but i heard God say “read it kassandra”.I feel the hope breathe on my weary heart again and now i just hurt for how often i forget that my God is always there and that he never left…Im hurting cuz i feel so broken and lost but i now feel some relief that u, alicia and God reminded me Im not alone just cuz i feel so lost and stuck…God bless u Alicia, did u know God would use ur life stories to type out one day to save me (on many occasions- like evrytime u post on proverbs31) thank u God and thank u Alicia

    January 5, 2018 at 11:37 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Kassandra, I am so glad that God would use my scribbles to breathe HIS hope on your weary heart. I am praying for you— for light in your darkness, hope in your trials, and direction in your “lost-ness”. May Jesus show Himself mighty and faithful in your life.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:42 pm
  35. Kathy

    Praying for my aunt who has stage 4 cancer that the doctors say is very treatable, but she is so weak and tired. For my mom who is in round two of her cancer battle, doing well, but I can see the differences as I go and gladly help her. For my husband and I to adjust to the new schedules and routines in our jobs. Figuring out how to get everything done and still have time for each other has us really struggling. For my brother who has been struggling with a life altering decision that I fear will take him away from the will of God, but I’m still trusting that God has him in the palm of His hand. So many other family and friends, we each have something that we’re working through. I praise the Lord for the opportunity to grow in faith and I beg him for help to keep on in the faith. Thanks for your message, very timely.

    January 5, 2018 at 12:22 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, strengthen Kathy as she continues on in faith and draw each of these family members mentioned nearer to your heart.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:40 pm
  36. Marik

    I loved your reflections, and your little girl is so wise for her age- figuring out already the ultimate best solution: if you feel alone, you can always talk to Jesus. I definitely was not anywhere near 8y.o. when I finally grasped that 🙂 .
    Actually one of the key things that have been on my heart in the last several months is loneliness (that it would not eat at me, but I would be content no matter how many humans are around me or available to spend time with me- that having instant access to God would be absolutely sufficient and would still keep my heart and mind content and joyful).
    Another one is solving an ongoing conflict with my mom which has been on for far too long. I’ve tried every solution I could think of but at best it brings ”band-aid results”. I have been praying that God would provide His divine permanent solution to our conflict, so we can live in peace again for the glory of His name.

    January 5, 2018 at 1:04 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Marik, thanks for allowing us to pray for you. May Jesus give you wisdom as you seek peace with your mom and joy as you turn to Him in your loneliness.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:38 pm
  37. Chris

    Been feeling very alone for way to long. Been forced into “retirement style” life about 10 years ago because of the condition of my back. I am unable to work, my friends are still working so they don’t understand, the only people that I come in contact are those that are 10 years older than me and retired. I don’t fit in anywhere. seems like most of my children have abandoned me also. My husband works very full time.

    January 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      So hard, Chris. I am sorry. Jesus, be the friend Chris is longing for… lavish her with your love today.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:37 pm
  38. Courtney Parrish

    I’m currently praying the most right now for my marriage & my day-to-day impossibles due to increased A.D.D. complications & unsourced health frustrations.

    January 5, 2018 at 1:41 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, meet Courtney in this hard space and do what only you can do. Give hope, healing, strength for the moment…

      January 13, 2018 at 2:36 pm
  39. Staci

    I am praying for a family who lost a loved one on Christmas day.

    January 5, 2018 at 2:43 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Staci, I’m joining you in prayer—so heartbreaking. May the Savior we celebrate on Christmas day carry this family through the days ahead.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:35 pm
  40. Thank you for sharing this reminder that God is always there waiting to sit and listen to us. I’m praying right now that in this New Year, my family and I will all be drawn closer to God and experience Him as never before. I’m praying for healing over some broken relationships and guidance as I walk the teenage/young adult years with some of my children.

    January 5, 2018 at 3:35 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Praying with you, too, Jennifer.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:34 pm
  41. Amy Dowty

    My new life as a Mama. Simeon will be 7 weeks old on Sunday. Mostly praying for him and to treasure these things in my heart like Mary did with baby Jesus. The birth of Christ and his death and resurrection hit me in a whole new way Christmas eve as I held my first born sob. Amazing love. Amazing Grace

    January 5, 2018 at 4:27 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Amy, praise God for His precious gift to you- and sweet Simeon is one lucky boy to have a praying mom. I remember holding my “Christmas baby” (my fourth) and weeping in the lights of the Christmas tree as Christmas struck me in a whole new way with that tiny miracle boy in my arms. So happy for you:) May Simeon grow to know Jesus as His best BUDDY ever!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:32 pm
  42. Geralyn Miller

    I am praying to KNOW God more and more so I can know who I am in Christ.

    January 5, 2018 at 7:15 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Beautiful prayer, Geralyn. I’m echoing that one, too… for both of us:)

      January 13, 2018 at 2:30 pm
  43. Donna

    Thank you for the devotional. I have been feeling extremely lonely lately. I appreciate the reminder that I am never alone. I have a constant companion, I just need to remember to speak to him.

    January 5, 2018 at 10:20 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Donna, praying that God will open your eyes to see Jesus right there beside you; open your ears to hear His voice… bring you comfort in this lonely season.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:30 pm
  44. Jane

    I was reading your blog on the Buddy Bench and thought what a wonderful idea, and how moving the story was of your precious daughter confiding in you her experience of sitting on the bench and still no-one coming. The wisdom of this young girl to understand the value of this lonely time and how it allowed her to turn to Jesus was so amazing. I am also looking for some comfort for my dear friend who is suffering terribly due to being denied contact with her grandchildren who she desperately wants to love but who’s mother (Daughter in Law) wants to keep her removed from them. I think the ‘Women who Move Mountains’ book may be a source of comfort and empowerment for her. Thank you for sharing your Blog with the world.

    January 6, 2018 at 3:37 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Thank you for taking moment to “sit here” with us at the Overflow, Jane. I am praying for your friend- so grateful she has a praying friend like you to do life with. May Jesus build a bridge where there appears to only be a pit of pain right now.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:29 pm
  45. Sharon G

    Praying for strength, wisdom, and blessing as I persevere in this season of life. Also that I will be a blessing to others.

    January 6, 2018 at 9:25 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Praying that with you!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:28 pm
  46. Patrice

    Yes, I certainly feel like your daughter who had no one to sit with her on the ‘buddy bench’. Our 25 year old son died last week and no one in my extended family has done anything except e-mails, maybe one card. It is sssoo painfully hurtful!!

    I know my precious heavenly Father is with me and my dear hubby but it sure would have been nice for siblings to draw near too.Sigh!!

    I carry on but in pain.

    January 6, 2018 at 10:16 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Patrice, I am SO SORRY for your loss, for your pain. Praying that God will send you a “buddy” in the flesh to walk beside you on this hard path of heartache. And may Jesus show Himself faithful in indescribable ways in the days ahead.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm
  47. Can

    I am praying for guidance and strength. As a mother to a 17, 20 and 21 year old who didn’t raise my children in a christian lifestyle but am now saved, my heart aches when I see them struggle but won’t put their hope and trust in the Lord.

    January 6, 2018 at 2:58 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, pursue Can’s children with your relentless love!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:25 pm
  48. JESSICA

    Praying for wisdom with my children. Patience.
    Forgiveness. Healing from this deep pain I still feel. Lord I’m desperate for you.

    January 7, 2018 at 12:08 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, you are the giver of wisdom and the ultimate Healer…meet Jessica moment by moment with all she needs. Restore what has been broken, redeem what has been lost, be her HOPE and her JOY

      January 13, 2018 at 2:25 pm
  49. Karyn

    I’m praying for my sweet daughter as she heads back to college today. She believes she has friends, yet I fear they maybe the wrong type of friends. Regretfully, the love she had for Jesus as a young girl is far from her now. Therefore, I pray for a renewed belief in Christ and His deep, deep love for her. Oh that she would know again that He is waiting for her at the buddy bench.

    January 7, 2018 at 7:04 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Karyn, I’m echoing your prayer. May your daughter find Jesus in a new and powerful way at college this semester. May she re-discover that He is the perfect buddy!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:22 pm
  50. Trina

    Praying to be more sensitive to those in need for someone to listen. To see if someone is in that buddy bench.

    January 7, 2018 at 12:12 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Me, too, Trina! It’s so easy to walk right by those “empty buddy benches” in the midst of my hurry and busy-ness. Jesus, open our eyes to see!

      January 13, 2018 at 2:21 pm
  51. Lori

    Wow! How wonderful to be reminded that we are never alone! As an elementary school teacher, I was part of a project to have Buddy Benches installed at our school. This inspirational message will help me to see the purpose of these benches from an uplifted perspective. Thank you!

    January 7, 2018 at 2:46 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Lori, I’m smiling at the thought of those Buddy Benches at your school.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:20 pm
  52. Laurie Kurlin

    Praying for my mother and sister both going through so much. Let them feel the Lord wrap them in his loving arms to feel his love and comfort and to know that they are not alone he is always with them. Thank-you and God Bless.

    January 7, 2018 at 4:52 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Jesus, Hear our prayers! I’m lifting your mom and sister up to the Lord with you, Laurie.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:19 pm
  53. Pam

    I am trying to find peace and praying for my adult son that has been an addict for over 13 yrs. I wish he believed he had a buddy bench other than the crowd he hangs with. I have tried everything to help him and there’s nothing more that I can do other than pray the Lord will take care of him. This was such a timely reminder for me that I am never alone in my time of need and pain.

    January 8, 2018 at 4:26 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Pam, I will join you in your prayer for your son—for hope and healing and life-giving friends. Oh, how my heart hurts with you—I can’t imagine this pain as a mom. I’m praying for you, too… for Jesus to speak to your heart and to meet you in your pain in the way only He can.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm
  54. Frances McGough

    I am praying for all the people who posted comments. I wish we all lived in the same town so we could be buddies for each other. Life is hard but God is always there!

    January 8, 2018 at 4:44 pm
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Frances, THANK YOU for praying for us all. I agree- it would be a gift to all sit on a buddy bench together 🙂 Such a beautiful thought. I’m glad we have a Savior who connects us all despite the miles between us.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:16 pm
  55. Lynn

    Thank you so much for this blog! My prayer has been for my children and their walk through the hardest thing they’ve had to do, the death of their only child and nephew from cancer. My prayer has always been and will always be that they know not only in their head but in their heart that Jesus is always there..as you so aptly put it “sitting with them on the buddy bench”.

    January 13, 2018 at 6:51 am
    1. Alicia Bruxvoort

      Oh, Lynn, my heart is breaking for your children. I am SO SORRY for their (and your) loss. Praying with you for comfort, for healing, for tangible encounters with Jesus in the midst of this heartbreak.

      January 13, 2018 at 2:15 pm
  56. Lorinda

    I lost my husband to another woman 3 years ago after 4 years of marriage . We had a lovely hard to cope . I wished I did not loved him and that I could move on but I couldn’t . I never knew how to stop feeling like bad. I degraded myself begging him to come home all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. As I was browsing through the internet one day, I came across a comment by katty white that suggested that Dr. Mack helped her solve her marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he did a spell for me. 3 days later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my family are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr. Mack. If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you. if you have any problem contact him, I give you 100% guarantee that he will help you, This are his details E-mail: __________dr.mack201@gmail. com,

    January 19, 2018 at 2:14 am

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