By Shelly Brown
I don’t know the statistics, but having been around and worked in ladies ministry for many years, “rejection“ seems to be a foremost area brokenness in so many lives. The reason for this is, unlike anything else, rejection goes to the very core of who we are.
Right or wrong, it screams…
“You’re not good enough!“
“You will never measure up!”
“You’re not pretty enough!“
Over the last year, I’ve witnessed firsthand how damaging rejection is to the heart of a young woman. I’ve watched it manifest itself in the life of someone very dear to me. Her daddy walked away from her and chose another life. I’ve watched as she longed for nothing more than to spend time with him, without expectation of anything else. No expensive dinner. No fanfare. No gifts. Just time. Just him.
Rejected. I’m convinced that rejection from a parent is one of the greatest debilitating strongholds in a woman’s life (young and old).
It would’ve been better had the parent died than to be rejected over and over by the one who is supposed to unconditionally love and be there for her. I can say that with great certainty, because I have personally experienced both.
The Loss: The greatest loss of my life was the day my mom died. I was one month from my six birthday when she died. It was the most traumatic and painful loss of my life. Losing my mom was far beyond the average loss of a parent, because of the days that ensued. It was the last time I experienced a maternal nurturing and love. Just because a six-year-old no longer has that doesn’t mean it’s not needed. Yet, though I lost my mom, not a day in my life did I feel unloved by her or rejected by her.
Rejected: The day of my mom’s funeral my dad kissed me on my cheek and said, “goodbye.” I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever see my dad — abandoned.
Rejected again: A year and a half after my mom died, I was adopted by a couple who couldn’t have children. My adopted dad was amazing— certainly making up for the rejection and loss of my natural father. But my adopted mom? She chose me, and then, in her mind, decided that I didn’t measure up to the daughter she dreamed of all her life. She began to abuse me in unimaginable ways. Unthinkable rejection — rejected by the very mom who chose me.
Compared to the death of my mom, the pain of rejection went to the very core of my soul. It would have been better had she joined my natural mom and died than had she poured out her wrath and rejection on me.
To some that may sound harsh. I can hear some of you saying, “How dare you compare death to rejection!” Please know my heart. I would never minimize your loss. Death is painful. The void left behind is something that can never be replaced. Yet, with death, there is a natural grieving process. The process that allows you to work through each stage of grief, and eventually move on as you honor the memory of the one you lost.
Unlike death, processing and healing from the pain of being rejected requires much more attention. If left unattended to the wounds only deeper and fester overtime.
I watch this one, who is very close to me, as she tries to process the rejection of the one who is supposed to be there to protect and love and support her. She struggles to see her true worth as a result of his rejection. She wonders — if her own dad can’t love her enough to be there, how can God truly love her?
I assure her that God fiercely loves her. That only God’s love is perfect. That nothing can compare to God’s love for her. That she can laugh in the face of rejection because she is treasured beyond any human comprehension.
We were created to be loved, valued and excepted. To experience anything contrary to that from someone we trust and love, goes against God’s design for us—His treasured possession.
When we feel the pain and hurt of rejection it is primarily because we are placing our value and identity in the hands of the one(s) who rejected us.
How does one even begin to heal from the brokenness that rejection leaves behind?
A great place to start is with forgiveness. It’s time to release that person and leave them at the foot of the cross. You don’t have to tell the person you have forgiven them. It’s simply an act of no longer holding the offense against them.
Unforgiveness is like carrying a 100-pound chain around your neck. The day I finally let my adopted mom off the hook, I was sitting in my chair praying, and visualizing that I was kneeling at the foot of the cross. And in the ceremonious way I took both hands and remove the chains from around my neck and laid them on the ground at the foot of the cross. And then, I just sat there and allowed God‘s love and grace to pour into those broken areas of my soul and mind.
Since that moment, I’ve been on a journey to replace the lies that rejection told me, with the Truth of what God‘s Word tells me.
Value is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for something—and no one paid a greater price for you than the one who suffered the most torturous death in all of history—Jesus! I choose to believe that my identity and my value come from God alone.
No one aside from God, determines our value! NO ONE. As we embrace the truth of God’s Word and His love, we will know that we are valued and deeply loved. Rejection will never again have a debilitating effect on us.
We are not defined by our rejection! We are defined by the ONE who suffered the ultimate rejection, so that we can experience the ultimate acceptance — and with that acceptance come the ultimate outpouring of unconditional love …
This article does not appear in its entirety. It was printed in Issue #72 of An Encouraging Word. Limited quantities of back issues are available for $5 each. Click here to order a back issue.