Paula sat down on the edge of her bed, gripping the envelope. Her heart raced and her fingers shook as she flipped it over and ran her thumb under the flap to expose the letter inside. She let the envelope fall to the floor as she pulled out the single sheet of paper, neatly folded in three parts. She could just make out the cursive writing that shown through to the unwritten side.
It’s from her. It has to be from her. She got my letter the agency sent and she’s responding!
Paula had spent years looking for her birth mom. The months she spent waiting for a response to her letter were finally worth it. In a moment, she would read her letter, and they would finally be able to meet and start the relationship she had only dreamed of as a child. She had waited so many years for this moment. Paula took a deep breath and tried quieting all the thoughts swirling in her mind as she gingerly opened the letter, an excited smile forming on her face. After a moment, her smile faded and her shoulders dropped as the tears welling in her eyes rolled down her cheeks and onto the paper.
There would be no joyful reunion. No cookouts forging new paths. No heart-felt tear-jerking embrace that would bring Paula the acceptance she so desperately desired. There was only more rejection.
She doesn’t want to meet me or my kids? Even now, she doesn’t want me. She never has.
Paula let the letter slide out of her hands and drift onto the floor next to the envelope. She stared down at both, fixing her gaze on the corner of the envelope which should have contained a return address, but didn’t.
I had asked my readers for blog topics, and there was one in particular that really tugged at my heart strings. It was about dealing with rejection from a parent or family member. I can tell you from personal experience, there is nothing quite so painful as facing abandonment from someone who is supposed to love you, but doesn’t. Whether that person physically or emotionally abandons you, both leave wounds so deep, that there’s great risk of infection, and even death.
The death I speak of is not physical, but emotional. And the kind of infection that causes it is the kind that grows in your mind and heart as a result of the pain that rejection causes. It damages your filter and can cause you to see yourself in an unhealthy light. It can also make you to see others in an unhealthy light.
If you have been the unfortunate recipient of a deep rejection – a parent or sibling rejecting you, a divorce, a hate crime, a lost job, or your child closing the door on you – then I want to offer you a new letter. Not like the one our fictional character, Paula, had in her hands, but something better.
One that has a return address.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
This might be a commonly known Scripture, but it’s also a deeply personal message. A love letter from God to you. For God so loved the world. He isn’t talking about the dirt or the trees or the sky. He is talking about you. You are His love, and He loves you so deeply, He sent His only child to face torture and death, so a way could be made to spend eternity together. He pursues you no matter where you go (Psalm 139:7-8). He leaves the ninety-nine other sheep to look for you when you’re lost (Matthew 18:10-14). The depth of God’s feelings for us is unfathomable. We can’t possibly wrap our heads around the unconditional qualities of His love and acceptance.
You might be hurting as a result of experiencing rejection, but consider the source. People are flawed and they will always disappoint on some level. The closer they are to you, the more it will hurt. But that hurt has a silver lining. To every ying is a yang, and to every example of imperfect relationships is the proof of love – the consistent, trustworthy, and all-consuming love of God.
Don’t focus on what is behind. Keep your focus forward. You need not look any farther to find the One who not only wants you, but loves you… exactly as you are. No strings. No conditions. Just His love. Of course, there is so much more available when we choose to love Him back. He gives us all an invitation to abide in Him (John 15:4), find rest (Matthew 11:28), and learn from Him (Mark 1:17). Best of all, is the invitation to spend eternity in His loving presence (John 3:16). An eternity where rejection leaves no wounds and acceptance is the sweet perfume of Heaven.
Cherished One, I pray you can feel the loving arms of Jesus wrap tightly around you as you drink in love letters from the King of kings. Forgive those who reject, and allow God’s love letters to heal your heart and give you hope of what is real for you today, and what is to come. He will be with you always, to the ends of the earth (Mark 13:27, Psalm 98:3).
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8