Why rejection leads me to hope

Some friends come and go like the seasons. After wrestling with who I was and discovering who I really am, my eyes were also opened to who my real friends are. Then came rejection. Maybe it was a part of God’s plan that I walk through rejection the way I have, so I could see how others feel when we, as Christians, do it to them. I’ve been thinking about who I was when I was ‘accepted’ and it made me realize they never really did accept the real me. They only accepted the me they thought I was. I would imagine once they saw the real me peeking through they figured I was fake and dropped me like a hot potato. Yes, I was fake and I was doing the best I could to survive in their world. I can’t help but to wonder though, if they only accepted me because of who they thought I was, what does that say about them?

I couldn’t keep up with the requirements anymore. The requirements to be accepted were too difficult, because they weren’t who I really was. I didn’t go into that tribe trying to be fake. I was told that is how God wants me to be…to live by those requirements. In my heart I believed I needed to live up to those requirements and so long as I did I found myself fitting in a bit better. Yet, I never felt all the way ‘in’. It became too burdensome to keep running in circles and never arriving. I was never enough. I longed for the liberty of authenticity. Authenticity comes with a price, rejection.

I now realize my identity isn’t in whether or not I’m accepted by people. My identity is not in the rejection. My identity is in Christ. I know others may disagree with what that looks like in my life compared to theirs and isn’t that the problem?

Comparison

I wasn’t put on this Earth to attempt to live up to the expectations of others in order to fit in. Neither were you.

We already fit in.

Though not in that other realm, that earthly kingdom. No, not there at all.

We are not of this ‘world’.

We are citizens of the Kingdom and that’s where the real me (and you) fits in perfectly.

I’ve noticed something about myself that I still wrestle with. Why does it bother me that I’m rejected by people who don’t like the real me? Is this a self centered mindset? Am I thinking too much of myself in desiring relationships with people? Why would I want to have friendships with people who don’t like me? (pulls hair out)

I feel like I’m torturing myself.

Maybe the greatest act of love I can give them is the freedom to reject me without the guilt of doing so.

Grace.

dahlia garden by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

A reminder to myself of God’s love and the living words of my King,

“Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

A depth of love so amazing that it frees us to walk away without the guilt. He didn’t force me to love him, he gave me the freedom to choose on my own. He didn’t threaten me into a relationship with him. He gave me a freedom that made me desire him all the more. Then I discovered something so incredible, so unbelievable, it’s mystical. Even though he gave me the freedom to walk away, he never left me.

He didn’t walk away from me.

It’s not that I couldn’t escape his presence, it’s not that I was forced to have him by my side. It’s just that real love says, “I’ll stay with you even if you reject me and I’ll always love you and accept you as you are.” Herein is the truth of why I wrestle as a friend, as a woman who’s been rejected by some… I’m not Jesus.

I can’t be.

  • Why do I suffer with this whole in my heart, this longing to be loved?
  • Am I not fulfilled with His love for me?
  • Can we still feel lonely even though he never leaves us?

Yes, indeed. We have the freedom to feel.

We have the freedom to live.

We have the freedom to be human, just the way they created us.

“Let US make man in OUR image.” ~God

And he saw that we are good.

In all our human frailty, he embraces our feeble frame. He’s with us when we feel sad, lonely, rejected, and even angry.  He collects our tears and saves them in a bottle. He forms our experiences into something valuable for a larger purpose. He fashions us for something new, something useful. Off with the old and in with the new. A new fashioned us who always was to begin with, because of Him.

Christ in us, the hope of glory.

If it weren’t for loneliness, rejection, and sadness would we reach out for hope? Would we realize our need for it? Would we enjoy the hope that is given to us?

Hope keeps us going and gives us something to look forward to. Something we can’t see in this tangible realm.

Absolute reconciliation.

It’s fine for the time being that I’m rejected by them, it won’t always be this way.

There is coming a day when we’ll be reunited at the banquet table, fully reconciled to one another in Christ.

I look forward to that day when we will embrace one another without the prejudices that have kept us apart for so long.

 

Sisterlisa

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Hope for the Journey

Trying to find the words to express my heart has been difficult. I have so much I want to share with whoever is left reading my blog. I know I lost subscribers and I’m not angry about it. Not only have I questioned many things my sisters hold as sacred, but my blog had been attacked by several viruses during our move. I had taken a break from blogging until I could get settled into our new home and along the way I completely dropped the idea of a subscription. Keeping count of the subscriptions was too frustrating. I even contemplated closing off comments, because never getting comments is a bit disheartening.

I know how to compose controversial Facebook statuses to get a conversation going and I do quite well with that. However, my blog posts don’t get any attention. I am finding my place of rest among the blog world and approach my blog as my personal journal instead of trying to create a community among readership. It just doesn’t work for me, unless I’m slamming people and I don’t want to do that. I gained momentum with controversy on Facebook, but I found myself being attacked far too much, so I reserved my Facebook page for a specific audience. What I say there, I can’t say here without getting the same attacks again. Honestly, I become weary from all the attacks from people I thought were my friends, and even worse when it’s people I have admired.

That brings me to the reason for the prayer request I posted today.

When I left a toxic environment, I had to find out who God is to me and where Jesus really fit into the big picture in my own life. I recall the day I was studying a certain version of the bible (the one I was told was the ONLY ‘real Word of God’, infallible, and absolutely perfect). I had my Hebrew and Greek translation out and while digging deep into a passage I notice error. My mind raced with horror since I was taught that the only way to know God was through his perfect book and if this book had just become fallible then where does that put me with God? I suddenly found myself feeling like I was teetering on a tightrope over a deep chasm in the earth. I seemed to ‘hear’ screams and howls that bombarded my mind with doubt and fear then this sweet still and very stable voice whispered in my heart, “we have experience, you and I”. I took a deep breath and nodded silently in my chair and my soul whispered back, “yes, indeed we do.”

It was then that I had a sense of peace and assurance that I could ask any question I wanted. I knew my soul was safe no matter what. He would never leave me for asking to know him more, to understand him better, to deepen our spiritual walk together. He would never berate me for asking hard questions about what I was taught. I gently approached different idols of belief that had been erected in my mind. I would come near to each idol and tap on it, then knock, then bump it with my hip. If it was of the Lord it would not topple, shake, or wobble at all. If it teetered, I pushed hard! Anything that is truly part of the Rock would never fall no matter how hard I pushed.  When the idols began to fall and crash down into a million pieces, I heard gasp, screams, and anger from those around me. What I was doing was frightening people that didn’t understand what I was doing. My friends list on Facebook dwindled quickly, the comments on my blogs diminished rapidly, and I found myself in a desert. The adventure the Lord was taking me on was definitely for just him and I. No one else wanted to go. No one from my former circles anyway.

Along the journey he introduced me to other travelers who were wrestling with their beliefs and trying to figure out if they had real faith or just dogma. I knew how they felt. I needed to know what was truth, the kind of truth that held up against all my pushing , kicks, and screams. I had to know for myself how strong he really is and how powerful he made me to overcome the bondage I had been in for so long. I began with blaming the ones who told me those cows were sacred and with those who enabled the construction of what later became my prison bars. The problem wasn’t really with them, it was with me. I made every choice on my own. I didn’t realize that I could have said no at anytime. It was fear that kept me there. I was afraid of all the things I had escaped before, I was afraid I would fall back into those living nightmares again and lose everything I held as precious.

When he gave me freedom to challenge those sacred cows, I began to be empowered again. My faith increased and so did the confidence in the victory of the resurrected Lord. He conquered death and the grave on my behalf. Nothing could ever lead me back to those dark days and if he ever were to lead me through dark valleys, I knew he would be with me. If he stayed with me while knocking over sacred cows, he surely would be with me in dark valleys. He revealed to me the joy of knowing his unconditional love as I questioned his love and devotion. He was never offended at my questions (though many others were). He even gave me power and strength to question the most sacred tenants of the Christian religion. He never left me, he never hit me, he never yelled at me, and never threatened me. He never excommunicated me, never shunned me, and never belittled me.

He lifted me up and told me how loved I am. He reminded me of his eternal purpose. He affirmed me and confirmed the gifts he had given me. He assured me that even if I seemed to be all alone on this journey, he was with me. As painful as it has been to watch a vast majority of my friends walk away, he showed me how to really rely on him and how he really is all I need.

pastel park path by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

Now comes another hurdle, or several actually. Of those I met along the way, some rejected Jesus totally. While we had our fun knocking over sacred cows and toppling false idols, there were times when those towers fell on one another. We laughed, we cried and we picked each other up. We extended grace and offered support to one another. It doesn’t bother me that they came to different conclusions. We went through a lot together and even though we ended up with different perspectives of the adventure, I came to love them, appreciate them, and value them as human beings. They are my sisters and brothers in humanity. We don’t see eye to eye, but I admire them for the courage it took to walk away from God. Or maybe they just walked away from a false god. Some say they walked away from any and all gods! That is their freedom and while I still believe in Jesus I respect their decisions. The Jesus I know and have experienced will always love them no matter what. I have faith in him and I trust him to love them for eternity. I believe they are always going to have their souls safe in Christ. I know many will disagree with me and that’s fine too. I just have had such incredible experiences with the Lord that I cannot deny his love for me and for all humanity.

The next hurdle is this, what will my new friends say when I reveal the next part of my adventure? Will they have the same grace and support they gave me while I knocked over sacred cows with them? Or will they walk away like the others did? Maybe those who walked away before will mosey on back this way. I don’t know what will happen, but I’m taking this next adventure by faith too and we’ll just have to see what happens.

I do know this, I tasted and I see that the Lord is very, very good.

Will you come along for the journey?

Sisterlisa

Linked up with Joy’s “Life Unmasked

 

Expressing Gratitude in the Dark Valley

Scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I see a friend announce that she’ll be using paper plates for Thanksgiving this year…for the first time ever. I sat quietly for  moment pondering our Thanksgiving this year and I glanced over at the stack of boxes in my living room. My gorgeous white square plates are wrapped in newspaper and packed. We won’t be having a nicely set table this year and I took a moment to deeply ponder what I am thankful for this year.

My 16 year old daughter, Moni, is sitting on the couch painting her nails, Gina who is 12 years old is snuggling our puppy, and Timmy is watching a tutorial video on his computer. Jessica, who is 19 years old, is sitting across the room from me playing her guitar and singing. I’m thankful to have family.

FallLeaves by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

My husband and I are going on 20 years of marriage and moving to a new city, anticipating the newness of a large city lifestyle and saying goodbye to this smaller town. We are thankful for the trials we have had in life and Chico, California has been a place where we learned a lot about life, community, and trust. We experienced destruction and redemption. We’ve said goodbye to loved ones at the funeral parlors…loved ones who weren’t able to find their peace in life and chose to find it in death. We’ve said goodbye to neighbors, church communities, and abusive relationships.

This town has been a mix of laughter, community, and tragedy. It’s no one’s fault necessarily, it’s just a part of this life.

I am thankful for the years we did have that were peaceful. I am thankful for those who were supportive during our tough times. They were divinely appointed for those times in our lives and now we press on to a new life where new friends await us.

Being thankful for the trials in life is probably the most difficult sort of thankfulness to express. To be able to look at those past trials as learning experiences and as adventurous paths where we found mercy and grace.

To look at the darkness with a romantic heart knowing that is the place where we found our Savior, experienced his gracious embrace, and where we birthed our own redemption story.

Communicating that story may be viewed as glorious to some while hated by others and trying to find the most appropriate words to tell a story such as ours, can be arduous. I don’t intend to be hurtful, but blogging through the brokenness is not going to be appealing. I pray that the telling of my story can be engaging. My prayer is to find ways to tell our story in such a way that I can express the hope I have found in Christ and the faith I have placed in Him to guide us to a fresh beginning. My heart longs to close the pain of the past and see it transformed into a respectful passion to help others who are facing what we have already been through.

The heartbreaking past that we have is what gave way for this new birth and coming to understand the dark valley we have walked through gives us a perspective we did not have before.

Yet here I am trying to compose my words around my journey of gratitude so I can view those menacing memories as stepping stones and not terrors that haunt me every day.

Here is where I find what I am thankful for…experience. God has given us the experience needed for the future that awaits us. Oh, to be grateful for those dark valleys, the abusive years, the mental turmoil, and the spiritual terrorizing.

To find understanding for those who may not even realize what they’ve done. To forgive them when they deny any ‘wrong’ doing. To find courage and strength to walk away and trust that God has a purpose for it all and trust that he will issue proper justice (not revenge) in his due time….not my own.

May life launch us forth with passion and zeal to make a difference for others who have suffered. To help them find healing and to empower them to move forward in life in a loving community.

It is in my heart’s desire to become involved with helping in an anti-bullying organization. I want to take some communications classes and further my own counseling studies to focus on giving victims a voice so they can help turn their past into a stepping stone for others too.

Thankful for dark valleys that produced patience and experience.

Thankful for experience that gave us hope.

Thankful for faith and the Author of that faith that carried us through.