Alone and discouraged, I stared at my computer screen. I was frustrated by the way my life had turned out. I’d worked hard to hold onto remnants of hope for my marriage, but each day that summer I could feel it slipping through my fingers. I felt so alone. God was still there, I knew, but I longed for people who would talk back. Late at night, I wished I could communicate with someone who might understand my questions and respond with compassion. My heart ached with the pain of rejection. I felt so ashamed when I faced friends who knew us as a couple. It seemed like my world was falling apart. I needed encouragement. So here I was, seriously considering going into a chat room.
As I stared at my screen, I wondered. Would there be people who were safe? Would I be able to connect with others who would remind me of what I’d been taught as a child — that God loved me even then, that he’d not given up on me? Would I find friendship or face rejection because of my journey? Perhaps I would remain silent; I didn’t have to share my pain. I had heard the online world was a strange one, and I’d never seen a chat room. Cautiously, I clicked on the button inviting me to chat.
Welcome to chat
“Welcome to the room, we’re glad to have you! How’d you find our chat room?” someone asked. Soon I was welcomed not only to the chat room, but into some amazing relationships with women who cared.
Over the next several weeks I began to share my journey. Here were ladies who knew and loved God. They knew his compassion toward the broken-hearted and were willing to listen to my pain. Like salve on an open wound, their care brought comfort to a wounded heart. I didn’t know it that night, but they would continue to build into my life over the next several years. They took time to share the hope that they’d found as they too had faced the unexpected. We spent time in prayer together as I faced a healing journey, one not of isolation but of renewed community.
As I opened my heart to new friends, I found a place where I could be real with my hopes, dreams, questions, and disappointments. These long-distance friends reminded me that God would never turn his back on me. He would keep his promises. Over and over they reminded me that his plans for me were good plans, ones full of hope and purpose. With their support, I began to reach out to others who were hurting and to share the way God was working in my own life with women who faced similar challenges.
God had not set me aside
In time I realized that life was not over. God had not rejected me nor set me aside. I had an opportunity to reach out to others. I could help. The chat room became a place of hope and excitement as I saw God actively at work in my own life and the lives of others! As I opened my heart toward others, my own life was changed.
Every week I would me visitors from around the world. Some came with the pain of a broken relationship, a shattered dream, or a difficult question. Others brought with them the lessons that they’de learned on their own journey as well as gifts of hope, refreshment, and friendship. Each visitor came with a story and a heart that is seeking. The search may be for a friend, for someone to listen and understand, for advice, for new direction, or an affirmation that God still cares.
I was thrilled as I saw uplifting friendships develop in the chat rooms. As we shared our lives and hearts with one another, many of us saw growth and change! I thank God for the way he used online friendships and discussions to restore hope in my life. For those who reached out to me, I cannot thank you enough. My life has been touched and changed.
Have you ever wondered what kind of help you might find online? Although chat rooms are no longer as possible as they once where, thelife.com offers an online mentoring service that is free and confidential. If you would like to connect with a caring and compassionate Christian willing to join you in your journey, why not fill in the form below? Online mentoring might be just what you’ve been looking for.