July 24, 2012

Do I Belong?

I wrote this post for Internet Cafe Devotions. Even though it ran last week, I thought I'd share it here.

She was in seventh grade and excited to finally be in one of the popular crowds. Then one day her best friend—a girl she idolized—handed her a note. As she read the scribbled words, tears burned her eyes: “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.”

And just like that, it was so.

The rest of her friends followed the note-writing leader because that’s what middle school girls do. With one swift kick they booted her out. Yesterday’s friends now ignored her and talked about her. She was rejected, alone and heartbroken.

“What did I do? Why me? What’s wrong with ME?”

Through the rest of middle school she chose isolation rather than facing the pain of possible rejection from new friends.
Oh, middle school is a tough road for young girls to travel as they struggle to find their place in the world. Their transparent actions cry out, “Do you see me? Am I worthy? Do I fit in?”

As adults we say, “Whew! I wouldn’t want to go through that again!” and take solace in the fact that rejection like this ends in middle school, and that we’re so self-confident and secure now.

But are we?

Loneliness, depression and anxiety are epidemic among us. We may have figured out how to put on our big girl pants and get through the day to day, but inside so many of us carry wounds from life’s disappointments, hurts and rejection. Time and again we’ve wondered, “Do you see me? Am I worthy? Do I fit in?” Often the world has answered—or our inner voice confirms—“No.” We live believing the lie.

There’s a woman in the Gospels who knows about rejection. For twelve years she bled and no doctor could make her well. Because she was perpetually unclean she knew oh so well what it was like to have people move aside when she walked by. To be talked about, excluded and ignored.

After twelve years of living as an outcast, surely she craved acceptance, human touch and affirmation. When she cried out, “Do you see me? Am I worthy? Do I belong?” a “No!” filled her ears. I imagine the pain of loneliness was even greater than the pain of her illness.

Then one day she heard Jesus was coming. In her heart she knew this was her chance for healing! Desperate for a cure, she gathered her courage and pushed through the crowds. Finally she came behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak. Her bleeding immediately stopped.

Despite the crowds crushing against Him, Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’” (Luke 8:45, 47-48)
Jesus’ response touches the women in her most broken places.

Where she’d long received rejection . . . Jesus offered acceptance.
Where she was used to being invisible . . . Jesus saw her, and called her forward.
Where she’d wanted to remain silent . . . Jesus asked her to testify.
Where she expected to be chastised . . . Jesus praised her faith.

This woman pressed through the crowd that day with so many labels dragging her down— bleeder, unclean, outcast, unloved, unworthy, disgusting.

Jesus knew it wasn’t just her body that needed healing. With one touch He stripped away the lies of who she thought she was and showed her exactly as God sees her: Daughter. His actions proclaim, “I see you. You are worthy. You belong…to me! Now go in peace.”

Where are you most broken? Where do you need healing? What lies block the truth of who you are in God’s eyes?
What Jesus said to the woman, He says to you.

He sees you. He adores you. And He claims you as His own—Daughter. Reach out to Him in faith . . . for just a touch.


Pierre Eade said...

Powerful. I think we all struggle with the need for acceptance. We can feel the pain of the middle school girl, but realize well beyond those years. Do I belong? Thanks to Jesus, we do. Good word!


Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful blog post. Thanks for writing it.

Sassy Granny ... said...

This makes me think of Hagar, too. Alone, rejected, abandoned & bereft, she was - even in the midst of her struggle - able to see the God who saw her: Beer Lahai Roi.

How great a heritage have we!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I've spent the better part of my life feeling like the woman in this scripture. Forgotten. On the sidelines. Shamed by sin and a bleeding that wasn't easily bandaged. I've also known the touch of the Master along the way, great healing to my heart and soul after a long season of struggle. Some days, it's as simple as taking the time to notice Jesus noticing me. I always think it's about me reaching out to him when in reality, he's the one who initiates contact, placing his hands and his hem within reach.

Good to be here tonight. I hope your heart is well.

Blessings and peace~elaine

Anonymous said...

Kelli, great teaching! We all long to know deep in our hearts that we are loved and accepted. Thank you for lifting our hearts with the love and acceptance of God today! Great writing!
Blessings--jennifer wood


Powerful words, Kelli, for all women.

Sue J. said...

Remembering all too well how bad middle school was for me (and having to remember certain things about that later in life as I struggled with my identity as an adult), I now find myself guiding my daughter through this same tumultuous time. And it's not proving to be any easier for me watching her!

But my prayers for her are not so much "Lord, bring her through," as they are "This is the path You have chosen for her. Help ME to stay faithful to You and remember that she is Your girl...."

The world pounds us every day with its expectations and standards, which is all foolishness in God's eyes. The road may be long--years long, as the woman in this story shows us. But the healing comes in the presence of Jesus!....