My parents divorced when I was 20.
I know they say that adult children deal with divorce better than younger ones – and that probably is true to a point – but it sure doesn’t feel good or easy or right even when you’re grown and out of the house.
Let me back up for a second …
My childhood was just about as good as I could have ever asked for. I am the middle of three girls, our parents were young and fun, we lived in family-friendly neighborhoods with good schools and activities nearby. We grew up close to our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins spending a lot of time with them for holidays, sleepovers, every chance we could. We had traditions and memories, vacations and love. Truly, I could not have asked for a better childhood.
Which I think is what made the break-up of our family even more difficult to deal with.
A handful of factors led to that devastating moment when my dad made the choice to leave us. It never made sense to me – maybe it still doesn’t – how a man who adored his family and did everything he could to protect and provide for us could make the choice to walk away. I don’t think he knew what the true consequences were going to be. Maybe if he did, he would have chosen differently. I’d like to think so.
It still stings all these years later. I’ve healed a ton, but gosh my heart is still fragile. I miss him and feel sad and let down and even though I know their divorce was not my fault, I still can’t get over the feeling that maybe we just weren’t worth enough for him to choose us.
I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I guess I’ve just been struggling with some of the long-lasting issues that come with feeling not-chosen and it seems like something I should confess. Maybe you feel rejection in your life, too?
There is a whole string of moments throughout my life when I’ve felt rejected. Some are big ones (like my dad leaving) others more insignificant (not getting an invite to a party, feeling like a tag-along) and over the course of this year, they have all flooded back into my memory. WHY? Why now? What am I to do with these ugly-feeling memories and how am I supposed to grow from them?
It hit a low-point in Rwanda this summer when my soul nearly broken in two because nobody sat next to me on the bus. I know! I’m 35 years old and crying because the seat next to me was not taken?!! It felt ridiculous and yet, it felt real. That little moment broke me (well, the whole week was filled with every emotion, so I was already pretty broken, this just made the final crack). Thankfully, I had a dream-team of new friends there who spoke truth and honesty back into me and helped me see that:
1. even though I do have some decent-sized rejection issues to deal with
2. I am chosen
If I only look for all the times I’ve felt rejected, I’ll find plenty. And the truth is, it will continue for always. Over and over again I will not be chosen – that is just part of this life. I can surround myself with people who love and accept me, but even they will let me down at some point. It’s not something I want to fear and dwell on, but if I put all of my hope in my husband or kids or parents or blog readers always choosing me, I will have set myself up for disappointment.
I’m still working through my rejection issues. I don’t know why they have tumbled into my memory this year or what exactly I am to do with them. All I’ve been able to figure out is that I get to choose what I believe. If I linger too long in these memories playing over and over the hurt, the words, the feelings, I’ll almost always come to the conclusion that I’m not worth choosing.
If instead, I take my eyes off of myself and focus on Jesus, I’ll see this most gracious God who himself took on the highest form of rejection in order to set me free. He gave up his life so that I could be deemed worthy. It blows my mind and doesn’t make sense and this fragile heart of mine is still trying to let it soak in.
“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” 1 peter 2:9-10 (the message)
So this is what I’ll do. I’ll stand in his promise and tell others of the ways He has redeemed my story, our family, our hearts.
Life can be so hard, can’t it? It just hurts sometimes. But God’s grace offers us acceptance and peace and I’m so grateful for it.
I was so encouraged by the Message version of this verse – especially that last line – that I made up an artprint to hang on my wall. You are welcome to download and print these 5×7 prints as well. May the words encourage you today, my friends, wherever you are.
(To download the prints, log in or sign up for The Archive below)