Dear Sister, I See That Empty Seat Next to You at Church. Do Not Lose Hope, I'm Praying for You.

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“I see you, girl. I see you sitting in church, by yourself, for the hundredth or the thousandth time, with an empty seat next to you where ‘he’ should be sitting. I see your frustration. Your hopelessness. Your grief. I see your thoughts. You’re tired of ‘doing this alone.’ I’m praying for you, right now.”

Kila Butts, a woman from Missouri, shared a post on Facebook that has resonated with thousands of women and encouraged them to continue to persist in their faith even if they are sitting alone.

I’ve been that girl. Recently.

Early in 2018, a relationship that I thought would end in marriage didn’t. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement.

For two years I grew accustomed to having him filling the seat next to me. We worshiped next to each other, we learned more about scripture together, and we served others together.

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When our relationship ended, I walked into a church alone for the first time in over two years and I felt the unwelcome sting of loneliness as I took a seat in the back of the auditorium.

I had been here before. In fact, for most of my life, I had spent most of my time in church either sitting next to either my mom or dear friends, but I had become comfortable with his presence next to me.

It made the months immediately following our break up extremely discouraging and difficult in ways I never foresaw.

That’s why when I read Kila’s post, it felt like she was speaking directly to me.

It breaks my heart to know that I’m not alone, that so many other women resonated with her message and are feeling the same pain I felt earlier this year.

Whether you’re married and your husband decided not to come to church for the third time this month or you are single and wishing for a spouse that will fill that seat next to you, her message may be  just what you need to hear today.

She said, “Whatever season you’re in, I urge you—DO. NOT. QUIT. Don’t stop coming to church. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop reading the Bible. Don’t stop pressing in to God. You aren’t doing this for ‘him’…you’re doing this for YOU!”

Her reminder that our relationship with the Lord is not dependent on the person sitting, or not sitting, next to us is such an important truth.

In the first two verses of Hebrews 12, Paul urges followers of Christ to run the race “with endurance,” setting our eyes on the man standing at the finish line. Our relationship with Jesus is the end goal of the race.

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“Your relationship with the Lord is the most important, life giving, fulfilling relationship you’ll ever have,” Kila continued. “In Him, there is wholeness. In Him, there is peace. God loves you immeasurably more than any man ever has or ever will, and He’s fighting for you!”

“You are not in this alone.”

She then encouraged women to allow God’s love to fill their hearts and, as a result, fill the empty seat and heal the sting of loneliness.

This is what He’s done for me, it’s what He’s done for Kila, and it’s what He’s promised He will do for you.

“You—young lady, old lady, somewhere-in-between lady—are exactly where you’re supposed to be,” Kila said at the end of her post. “I see you, girl. And He sees you, too ?”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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