Being left out, invisible. Ignored. Or reluctantly tolerated with much little-concealed grumbling and many put-downs, as in being the last picked for teams as a kid because my skill level was — and is — shall we say, noticeably lacking. Chronically being the last to know important news because no one thinks to include me in the announcements. (the upside of Facebook is that it alleviates much of this problem because the news is posted and I can read about it whether anyone remembers to tell me personally or not)
Many of you can probably relate similar experiences that leave emotional scars of being marginalized, trivialized, patronized, condescended to. The humiliation and insult can cut deep, especially when it comes not only from third-party class or age mates but even from those closest to us who should know better or at least take more care not to hurt our feelings. Well-meaning -or not- so-called friends, family members or even members of our church family that should be safe places of refuge when we are hurting can perpetuate the stereotype into which I am cast and cause deep hurts. Perhaps unintentionally or perhaps because in their minds they are trying to “help,” give “constructive” criticism, help me “grow,”; or perhaps it is just their own pride and sinful nature peeking out and wreaking havoc and destruction in spite of their theoretically good intentions.
Regardless of their motivation, it stings, it hurts. It leaves me feeling discounted and ignored, causing self-doubt, feelings of impotence and questions of whether it is even worth trying when anything I say or do seems to be lost in translation to those who don’t really seem to care about my thoughts and feelings, all (sometimes self-righteous) protestations to the contrary. Even if I forgive them and let go of any grudge or bitterness toward them — I am left with the reality of not really belonging or being fully accepted for the person God made me to be most anywhere I go.
When you add to that circumstances of life that perplex most people who cannot truly relate and do not know what to say, other than to parrot the same pieces of advice (or generic advice that doesn’t really fit the specifics of my situation because they can’t really comprehend nor want to take the time to truly understand the differences) that a million others have already shared, and which I am already doing, have done and will continue doing because short of an instantaneous miracle of God it is the only way to walk out the situation and I already know that (thus do not need the constant reminders to do that which I am already doing as if it is the magic answer that will solve everything overnight, if only I would….!), the stress of alienation from acceptance and belonging just skyrockets. Frustration and soul weariness wars with resolve and determination to do whatever it takes to make a new normal for my family.
But into the midst of that God speaks to me from Ephesians 3: (paraphrase)
You are not an outsider, a wannabe, a hanger on. You are My daughter and My heir, a full member of My kingdom with rights to enter My very throne room unhindered. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You are always welcome in My house, by My side. I am always glad to see you and want you to be a part of what I am doing. Don’t hold back and alienate yourself from the life I am offering out of fear that you don’t belong here, are not welcome here. You are My daughter — act like it. Be bold, full of confidence that the good news that I bring to all is for you personally. Leave aside your despair and discouragement and cling to Me in faith, even in the midst of your trials and tribulations. Do not lose heart nor give up the fight but trust that I am working out something beautiful through all your troubles, that I have your best interests at heart and will not let you fall to destruction. I have a greater goal in mind than you could possibly imagine for yourself. Rest your faith in My unchangeable goodness.
Because you are Mine and I will not let you go, I kneel before My Father and pray that you would know the incalculable worth of bearing My Name and My image. You are not invisible or left out and I am not ignoring you. I have blessings upon blessings to bestow upon you out of my abundant storehouse for My own glory and your good. You are an important part of My plan, not an afterthought, a sideline or the B plot. You are not just a side hobby….you are My masterpiece and I want to bring good things to your life.
Let Me strengthen your inner heart that you do not fall into bitterness, discouragement and frustrated inaction. Let Me infuse you with My Holy Spirit to work out all the goodness and blessing that I want to bring about in your life. Let Me take up residence in your heart and mind, to renew and refresh all the broken places, to grow deep roots of firm and convinced assurance of My love for you and unshakeable faith in My heart to bless you and do you good all the days of your life, regardless of the distractions of the circumstances of the moment.
I want you to fully understand the all-encompassing scope of My love that goes beyond all that you can see or know and rest with settled assurance that it is true for you personally, not just some spiritual sounding nice words or religious platitude. Know it, let the Truth of it really sink into your heart, mind and spirit and lift you above the doubt of discouragement and weariness. Let it fill you to overflowing, that it would bubble over and spill out for all to see and know that you are Mine. Let it overwhelm your desire to understand the specifics of how and when for My love and My ways go beyond human knowledge.
Just trust that I’ve got your back so if you stick with Me, My love won’t let anything utterly destroy you, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I am with you and with Me comes only goodness – though it does not always feel good in the moment. When you hurt, when you cry, I am there. I am wiping your tears and pointing you at greater goodness because I love you beyond all that you can fully comprehend.
Trust in My love, that I am able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that you ask or know to desire in this moment. Whatever you think you want, My plan for you is infinitely better. Believe, trust and obey so that I may lead you into the Way Everlasting and pour out every blessing that is on My heart to bless you with. You will be pleasantly surprised — trust Me!
Give Me the glory and the praise for every good thing that comes your way and let me give you more of the same that your children may learn through you that My goodness is from everlasting to everlasting and come to trust in My heart of love towards them as well, that your faith would be passed down from generation to generation and bless your family beyond the time allotted for your life. Hear the encouragement I speak to your heart and mind and continue to fight the good fight of faith for in faith and love I will honor your devotion to Me and remove the stench of defeat, shame, regret and failure.
“Do not fear for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your GOD, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3
(C) 2013 Sparrow Records
Tamara Christine and my God, my King and my LORD!