Have you ever been rejected? It hurts, doesn’t it? It uproots our identity of who we really are and replaces it with who others think we are.
When I started out in Junior High, I had many friends, but one spiteful remark stole them away. I will never forget the girl’s name. I still visualize her freckled hand cupping her mouth, her reddish-blond head and lanky frame leaning towards my friends. The widened eyes as they stole glances my way. The laughing. I still don’t know what she said, but I do know my life drastically changed. My friends disappeared, my confidence plummeted, and I often traveled solo through the rest of Junior High and High School.
I think it may have been around this time that my dad said to me, “You never were much of a daughter to me.” Years later, he said he didn’t mean it that way. I realized he lashed out in anger and he had difficulty showing love, and I learned to forgive him. Still the damage was done the instant he said it. The blow to my heart strangled the life and worth out of me. I ran out of the house sobbing. I headed down the road, my heart plunking into a dark pit where I wasn’t noticed and didn’t matter to anyone. My dad came after me in the car, stopped beside me, and said, “Get in.” That was all I remember he said.
A label fastened to my heart like gorilla glue. “I’m not good enough.” Later, other abuse, not being believed, and more betrayals magnified these thoughts that subconsciously ruled how I felt about myself. I figured since I wasn’t much of a daughter, I wasn’t much of anything. Wife, mom, grandma, sister, friend, Christian, writer, etc.
Rejection is “a message that’s sent to the core of who we are, causing us to believe lies about ourselves, others, and God.” (Lysa TerKeurst)
I still struggle with allowing those lies to dictate how I view myself. Through the eyes of what people said or did. Sometimes I think I’m on top of it as I replace the lies with God’s Truth. But they still lurk in my heart, ready to pounce on me in my most vulnerable moments.
Rejection also influenced my relationships with others. Fearing to say or do anything that might cause them to reject me. Taking words, actions, or silences personally through my skewed perception and my I’m-worthless lens. Thinking people can’t possibly love me, because I was unlovable.
Above all, I allowed rejection to cover the truth about God’s acceptance. I didn’t trust that He could love me like He does. I didn’t take it to heart that Jesus stood alone, utterly rejected, far worse than any of us will ever be. Why? To invite us into His loving arms. To welcome us into a safe place where we will always be loved just as we are.
But how do we get there? Deeply rooted rejection is a hurt we can’t avoid. We need to acknowledge how much it affects us, grieve over it, and process it. To step by step throw out who we thought we were and replace it with who God says we are. If we don’t deal with it, there will remain a void in our hearts. A void that we will keep trying to fill with things or people who will never satisfy.
Jesus wants us to offer up all our these hurts to Him. To allow Him to enter into them with us. To grasp the truth of His tender, never-rejecting love for us.
“At the core of who we are, we crave the acceptance that comes from being loved. To satisfy this longing we will either be ‘graspers’ of God’s love or ‘grabbers’ for people’s love.” (Lysa TerKeurst)
I want to be a grasper of God’s love, not a grabber of people’s love, don’t you? I want to in every situation bring the fullness of God’s love, not my emptiness. I want to live loved. To truly grasp onto and never let go of God’s love, so rich, so full, so free.
People will sometimes reject us when we say or don’t say, do or don’t do, please or don’t please them. But Jesus? Never! His love is like no other. So unconditional. We don’t have to do or not do things to make Him accept us or love us more. In Him, we are always enough.
We are not just enough, but we are loved and delighted in.
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
His love is unlimited. Deeper than the deepest ocean. Wider than the expanse of the sky. Warmer than the warmest sunshine. Nothing we do or don’t do will ever change His faithful love for us. People may and will reject us, but He will never, ever reject us. Do you feel His arms reaching out to you? Inviting you in?
“All that My Father gives Me will come to Me;
and the one who comes to Me
I will most certainly not cast out
[I will never, never reject anyone who follows Me].”
John 6:37 AMP
“With You, Jesus, I’m forever safe.
I’m forever accepted. I’m forever held.
Completely loved and always invited in.”
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel
Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely
by Lysa TerKeurst
Are the rejections in your past
affecting you yet today?
Then I believe this book will help you.
I know it has blessed me.
“The more we fully invite God in,
the less we will feel uninvited by others.”
Michael W. Smith
Laid behind a stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me
You are always welcome here!
This past week has been filled with storms, tears, sighs, burdens, troubles, and pain for so many of us. Some are more evident. Others are invisible to the human eye. But God knows who we are and what we need. He sees every tear, whether running down our cheeks or feeling like a dam inside about to break. He sees what we are suffering, and He hurts when we hurt.
You know who we are and where we are.
You care so much for us
that You suffered and died for us.
You long for us to fall into Your loving arms.
Please grant us
grace and strength for each day,
peace in knowing You are for us,
and light for the next step forward
when the way may seem so unclear.
For Jesus’ Sake,
“God Hath Not Promised”
As a tiger stalked closer to a water hole, a little boy and some wolf cubs hid behind a big rock. The mother wolf stood on top of the rock, and the rest of the pack lined themselves in a semi-circle in front of the rock.
The tiger paced back and forth, his eyes already devouring the helpless little ones. Eventually he sulked away, knowing he didn’t stand a chance against an entire pack of those fiercely protective wolves.
I saw this recently while sitting in the dentist office. I don’t know what movie it was, but it was showing in the children’s corner with the sound muted. My heart was pulled in by the scene, and my body tensed and empathized with the little boy. His eyes wide with fear, sometimes peeking around the edge of the rock. But I also saw a trust in his eyes that the wolves would protect him. I imagine they had done it before.
This reminds me of the story when Elisha’s servant panicked. (2 Kings 6:15-17) All he could see were enemy troops, horses, and chariots surrounding them. He cried out in alarm, “What shall we do?”
But Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then he prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes.
And wow! The young man looked up. And what did he see? The hillside around them was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
Sometimes we only see the armies of trouble that surround us, threatening to consume us. We tremble with fear under the attack of the enemy of our souls. We panic and cry out, “What shall I do?”
If we look through our eyes, our situation is hopeless and defeat is certain.
We need God’s lens. With eyes of faith looking to Him, we will see the enemy can never defeat us. There may be times when it feels like it. But God is still with us with His angel armies. He is and always will be greater than the strongest enemy ever against us.
As I am writing this, I can’t help but wonder about times of abuse. Isn’t the enemy defeating us when we are robbed of who we are? When shame crushes us to a pulp and we feel like we have no worth anymore? When Satan keeps piercing our souls with arrows of guilt that isn’t ours to bear?
God may allow things to happen to us, and the enemy can bring us very low. If God is for us, why do these things happen?
In hindsight I still don’t understand everything, but I do know that our sufferings lead us into a deeper understanding of the incomprehensible sufferings Christ Jesus has endured for us. Our troubles here build a bridge to a deeper relationship with Jesus.
It may feel sometimes like we’re defeated, but all the devastating events in life will never wipe us out when we belong to Jesus. He still has our souls in His safekeeping. No one can take our souls away from Him.
The little boy could see the hungry leer of the tiger, and he trembled with fear. But he trusted the wolves, especially one who acted as his mother, would protect him. In the same way, Satan roars loudly and can be so close we feel his hungry breath. May God help us to trust our Mighty Protector who will never let him devour us.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
“And I give them eternal life, and they will never, ever [by any means] perish; and no one will ever snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One [in essence and nature].” John 10:28-30 AMP
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NLT
Whom Shall I Fear? (God of Angel Armies)
God created each of us with unique interests. Finding those interests can help us to better understand who He has created us to be and help us to better use them to glorify Him.
Sometimes these interests get buried under painful memories, and it takes intentional work to recover them. Working through our pain can remove the blinders from our eyes, so we can more easily see what we loved as a child. To remember what made us feel alive and more hopeful in the midst of the darkness.
As a child, I didn’t know a loving Jesus. To me, God was angry, vengeful, and unapproachable. But as I look back, a God of love was still at work even though I didn’t see, feel, or know Him. He created in me interests that I now see as ways He made my life more bearable.
One of my fond memories was when my brother and I brought our Holstein cows from the pasture to the barnyard for milking. I loved smelling the country air and feeling it on my face. Hearing the frogs chirp in the creek making a ribbon through our pasture. Seeing the killdeer drawing us away from their nests with a shrill “Kill-deee! Kill-deee!”
“Kaaa Boss!” we would yell. Many of the cows would come when called and would head home in a long line, but there were usually those who stayed in the back of the pasture until we rounded them up.
I loved walking barefoot but it was kind of tricky when there were thistles to dodge. Once I didn’t see a dead one and stepped right into it. Ouch! My foot was still stinging when I plopped it smack dab in the middle of a cow pie so fresh it was still steaming. Yuck! And yet I remember the warm, soothing feeling squishing up between my toes. It actually helped take the sting out of my foot!
I loved animals, both the farm ones and wildlife. I was even intrigued by the ones others might call creepy, like bugs, spiders, and snakes.🙂
Animals became a part of my dreams, too. I wanted to be a marine biologist. I wanted to study chimpanzees or gorillas like Jane Goodall.
As I grew into a teenager, I also dreamed of owning an orphanage. I wanted every child to feel loved and cared about. I wanted to shield them from all harm. I never got what I wanted, but God did give me children to care for. As a teacher, then a mother, and now a grandmother. Sometimes my heart aches for all the children in this world, and I wish I could protect them all from evil. I know I can’t though and I have to give them into the hands of Jesus who loves children and invites them to come to Him. What I can do is be a part of making every child I meet feel noticed, loved, and cherished.
Not all our dreams come to reality in our lives and seasons in our lives change. Sometimes because of circumstances, we have to let go of pursuits that gave us such joy, and that can be painful. Sometimes even those dreams we have that line up with passions we feel God has given us fall by the wayside. We don’t always understand why, but God can help us to grieve and move forward into the plan He has for each of us.
Through the heavy weight of not dealing with past abuse in my life, the long, difficult road of finally dealing with it, and this continuing journey of healing, there were and still are times I cannot see, feel, or appreciate the deep-seated interests God has given me. But God still preserves the makeup of who I am. Both children and nature still bring me joy and hope. I am still fascinated by the complexities of God’s creatures. All of God’s creation is God’s gift of love and grace. It inspires me to open my heart to His beauty and remember He is in control of our lives.
His creation includes you. I really do care about you readers. I don’t know you all by name, but God does, and I can still pray for you. I long for you to know the joy and salvation there is in Jesus. And I long for Him to set you free to recover interests He Himself has given you. Those interests that make you who you are.
Are there God-created loves inside you that got buried in the heaviness of life’s troubles? Interests you had as a child that made you feel more alive and hopeful even when you didn’t know God? Do you take time to enjoy them today as God’s way to give you more hope in the midst of the turmoil of our hearts, lives, and world?
If you are one of those children who were so abused and neglected that you weren’t allowed to enjoy anything or truly discover where your interests lie, I’m so very sorry. I hope you have gotten or will get help to work through the pain and to recover them. I pray God will uncover and revive the special person He made you to be, that unique, wonderful person He filled with special gifts and interests meant to glorify Him.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.“
“For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
When I decided to take a break this summer, I was so overwhelmed. Every time I went back to the computer, that feeling would become even worse. It was time to step back and rest in body, mind, and spirit. Time to examine where I was in my relationship with Jesus and my purpose on this earth. These are some of the lessons I learned or relearned:
I need Jesus like the very air I breathe. Without Him I will suffocate in this journey of life. I have had times in my life where it felt like my bronchial tubes closed up and I couldn’t breathe. I thought I would die. Without Jesus breathing His love and life into me, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, I will not survive.
I can worship God just by taking time for Him, by resting in His love and rejoicing in His goodness. I don’t give more glory to Him by doing more. I need to be more concerned with filling up at His fountain instead of how much I “do.” When my well is dry, I can’t offer refreshment to anyone.
I need to concentrate more on encouraging one person at a time, whoever is placed in my life’s journey. I need to quit beating myself up over not making enough of a difference in this world. At the beginning of this break, I thought that without my blog posts I wasn’t encouraging anyone. But God opened my eyes more to the needs of people He sets in front of me each day and reinforced the truth that even a smile or a compliment can encourage and make someone’s day, whether to a loved one, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
At the beginning of the summer, I was struggling with rebellion against chronic illness. I cried out – Lord, I am so weary of all this. Won’t You just take me now? What good am I doing here when I can’t even think to write a blog post? Why won’t You heal me, Lord? Why won’t you make me stronger in body and mind? Why does this have to get worse as I get older? How is this to Your glory? And on and on. At the same time I felt guilty that I was feeling fretful and complaining so much. After all, don’t others have it much worse than I do? I should be ashamed of myself. But God taught me that it’s okay to bring all my questions and troubles to Him. What is invisible to others is so visible to Him. Even when others have it worse, that doesn’t mean I should chalk off my own troubles as nonexistent. It’s still important to acknowledge I have a chronic illness and emotional trauma from past abuse and to grieve the losses. But it is also important for me to open my heart more to what I can still do that others can’t. To open my heart to all the blessings still surrounding me. To be grateful for His upholding love and grace through every loss in my life. To remember that He can transform the physical and emotional weariness into the beauty of growing stronger in Him.
I want to open my eyes more to the beauty around me. To see God’s beauty everywhere. To thank Him more. Even for ordinary, everyday things like seeing a dog as he sticks his head out of an open car window, the wind flapping his lips into a silly grin. So happy in the Creator who created him. I want to automatically whisper, “Thank You, God, for showing me this.”
I put too much pressure on myself to perform at this website. If I don’t post something every week, I feel like I’m a failure to God, to others, to myself. That’s not true. If I feel in my heart I need to rest from it, I need to listen. It’s ok if a new post doesn’t come out every single Tuesday. It’s ok if I don’t feel strong enough to write vulnerably every time. It’s ok even to just share nature photos and/or a sentence or two. God can make one word or photo breathe hope into someone’s heart just as well as many words. Nothing is impossible with Him!
“Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”
Matthew 6:31 NLT
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 The Message