I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you (Jeremiah 31:3 AMP).
In my life experiences, God has shown up most powerfully amidst my darkest moments. These moments have fallen under two themes in my life: rejection (see “Rejection” and “Emotional Abuse” posts) & forgiveness (see “Extending Forgiveness” post). Even though the details of these seasons may be unique, I believe that most people have experienced rejection and needed to extend forgiveness to those who have offended them. It is my hope that as I reflect on these memories it is clear they are no longer just darkness, but a source of light in my life as well. A source of hope and encouragement. A testimony of God’s relentless love.
Rejection. At Momcon in 2013 Alexandra Kuykendall posed the question: “What is it that makes you not feel beautiful?” Immediately I knew my answer: Rejection. I had never named it before that moment and I was surprised how quickly it came to me. However, it made complete sense. I have faced a lot of rejection in my life.
I shared previously in length about rejection I have faced in my childhood, including that my mother was emotionally abusive. As an adult, the emotional abuse has continued, but expanded to include emotional abuse from not only my mom, but my sister as well. This emotional abuse has been directed at not only me, but my husband as well. They have completely fabricated lies about us as a couple to make us appear bad in the hopes of losing the respect of others.
My journey of hope and healing with my rape has empowered me to not just accept situations or harsh treatment. I have learned to be more assertive and confront issues when they arise. To speak up and let my voice be heard. In the hope of moving toward healing and a healthy relationship, I have tried to confront these hurtful words and issues as they arise. When needed, my husband and I have done this as a couple as well. However, these attempts have not been well received.
We finally had to move toward establishing healthy boundaries for our own sake and cutting ties with my family for a season. However, with the birth of our first child, and my parents’ first grandchild, they wanted back into our lives. Establishing healthy boundaries to protect and shelter my family whilst always trying to keep the doors open for a healthy relationship has been a difficult journey.
My mother has said to me as an adult: “I love your sister, but I have no idea where you came from.” I know where I came from: the grace of God. God stepped into my life and completely transformed my heart. He has shown me that living my life mimicking others is not how he has called me to live. He has called me to live a life that mimics Christ. As a child, teen and young adult I was looking for the acceptance and affirmations of my family, when I should have been looking solely to God for His acceptance and affirmations.
As I have grown in my faith, my struggles with my family have increased as well. I have had extended family members reach out to me to offer comfort and support. I realized through these interactions that there has been a legacy of emotional abuse, rejection, hurtful words, and seeking affirmations that were withheld in my family for several generations. However, God stepped into my life. God ended that destructive cycle with me. God has greater plans for me.
Now when I am faced with hurtful comments by my family, I am not surprised. I am not as wounded by them, because I am not seeking their approval or affirmation. I am seeking God’s approval and affirmation. The God of the universe loves me! He has created billions of people. Who am I that He should even be mindful of me? These incidents are also reminders of God’s goodness in my life, because if not for God’s grace, I would be in the exact same place as my family. I would be basing my actions on what had been modeled by people in my life and not God.
My soul is anchored to the love of God and I am firm and secure in God’s love (Hebrews 6:18b-19a). I have accepted God’s unconditional love for me. Not only that, but I have realized that God has relentlessly pursued me with His love. Now when I face rejection, I remind myself of God’s relentless love. He has loved me since the day I began to form in my mother’s womb. He has pursued me when I was not seeking to be pursued. I am in awe and wonder of the depth of God’s love for me. I have found peace and hope in God’s relentless love for me. I have found healing from rejection in God’s relentless love for me.