About eighteen months ago, my husband and I made a decision to move our family south for several reasons. The primary reason for moving was my health. I developed arthritis several years ago and living in the Pacific Northwest was getting harder with each winter. So, we packed up our family and moved to Southern Nevada. While it was (and still is) the right decision and we are glad we moved, we didn’t anticipate one thing. My eighteen-year-old old daughter and I (who are the social butterflies in our family) are lonely. We don’t have the fellowship, yet, that we had in Washington.
Our first year in Nevada was much harder than I thought it would be. We moved last March and spent the first couple of months trying to get used to a new area, new culture, new routine, and trying to get settled. Things basically got unpacked and moved in, but the house consistently got rearranged as we tried to figure out where stuff should go. At the end of May, my eldest daughter got engaged and wedding plans were being made. During this time, my husband was learning a new job, which was more demanding than his old job, and we were trying to find a church to attend. Summer was filled with wedding details and health struggles for my second daughter. By fall, I was starting to struggle with fatigue, headaches, numbness in my face and arms. We spent the fall and winter months in doctors’ offices as we tried to figure out her issues and mine. The wedding came and went in October and the rest of the year was adjusting to new routines and to life without one of my daughters.
As the year was ending, we were looking forward to the New Year. I got news that my dear grandmother’s health was failing; she passed away on New Year’s Day. January was lost through grief, missing my daughter, my husband’s busy schedule, and health needs. Even childhood baggage came back to light. So, when other issues came up in February (outside immediate family), I was at a loss. My loneliness amplified with the outside struggle we were dealing with in addition to the mounds of health issues we were (still are) going through, it all seemed too much to bear and I started emotional eating again.
After a few weeks of this, I fell on my face before God and repented. My year had been hard, and I was turning to the wrong stuff for comfort. I have always had an issue with turning to food for comfort instead of Christ. Despite my loneliness and health struggles, my family needed me, and I was digging myself deeper into a pit. I have always relied on others (especially my husband) to help me out when I get like this. I have studied the Word of God; I realize that it is one thing to have help and support, but another thing to be dependent on that support instead of taking responsibility for my own actions. I got myself into this mess and I had to get out of it relying on the strength that I have through Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t be able to start this journey without Him.
I gathered Biblical resources on emotional eating, food addictions, and a healthy diet for my needs and I got to work. My first focus wasn’t the food. I had to start with the Word of God, which is where we should start in anything we do. What does God’s Word say about gluttony? I didn’t even consider it a sin until about four years ago. What does God’s Word say about loneliness, about grief? What does God’s Word say about the food we are to be eating? A verse I keep having to come back to is 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
I knew this wouldn’t be a quick fix and I knew it would be hard. I kept telling my daughter, “God did not promise us an easy life.” My personality is such that I tend to run from conflicts and escape my problems rather than deal with them; but I can no longer do that. Five years ago, I could possibly plead ignorance, but having spent three years studying The Institutes of Biblical Law, I know better than to escape. We are to be obedient to God’s Word even when we don’t feel like it, and even through our struggles, and even in times of sickness and death.
So, one foot goes before the other as I slowly walk down a path that I have never travelled before. I am in a season where I feel alone (outside of immediate family), dealing with trials that are stretching me, trying not go to food for comfort, struggling to prioritize the important things and let go of what I need to. I am striving to walk with my Lord as He guides me, being there for my family who needs me and hoping and trusting that my life will look different a year from now because of the sanctification God is doing in me and through me.
- Jenni Zimmerman
Jenni is a homeschooling mom. She and her husband, Chris, live in Washington state with their four children. The entire family are earnest students of Biblical law.