PHOTO by Unknown

Seven months ago, I collided with loneliness to an extent that was altogether different for me. It was my 33rd birthday. I was overcome with a mixture of third trimester pregnancy hormones, emotional confusion over a developing family issue, and perceived thoughtlessness from my closest friends. And… I was alone, all day. Every past inkling of feeling left out, less than, and rejected suddenly swelled my brain and in a brief moment of total darkness I seriously considered whether anyone would miss me.

Loneliness and rejection are terribly painful, in that they all too easily deceive us into believing that we’re unique in our plight.

One week later, my second daughter, Palmer, was born. All my fears projected and in rushed a charge to protect her from the same doubts that have ailed me. Instantaneously, I developed an acute sensitivity related to the topic of inclusion vs exclusivity.

It used to be that I didn’t mind exclusivity. Perhaps because I knew I had the skills or the savvy to find my way into the “in-crowd”. I’d was proud to be included when others weren’t – when I’d get to sit in the comfortable chair, sipping a warm drink, listening to privileged stories, as others stood outside in the rain. I’d look out the window, catch a glimpse of those left out, and my sense of worth and value increased. It’s ugly. I’m ashamed. I didn’t open the door and invite you in, because it made me feel better about myself.

Now, as mom, when I think about my own daughter in the aforementioned narrative, I realize I don’t want her cast in either role. The thought of her being excluded and rejected explodes my heart and sharpens my typically rounded nails into metaphoric claws. And, knowing first-hand the hollow insecurity that comes with being a wannabe “it-girl”, tears well in my eyes imagining her consciously or subconsciously putting others in the “less than” category.

I hope both my daughters are kind. I hope they are servant leaders, welcoming and inclusive to everyone, including (and especially) those that have nothing to offer them. I hope they feel so deeply loved that it overflows out of them, spilling onto everyone they interact with, genuinely and without effort or performance.

I want that for myself, too.

I want to love you – husband, family, friend, stranger, enemy. I want to love you out of a remembrance that I am loved, from a confidence that I am wanted. I want to trust that my most shameful and dark crevices are fully known and yet accepted, that nothing – no extra pound, no guilty past, and no present mistakes ­– makes me unlovable.

I believe there’s a God that knows all, not only about the metaphysics of the universe, but also the seemingly insignificant details of every follicle on my head. And I believe He loves me more purely and perfectly than I am humanly capable of loving any person, any thing, or any experience. And I believe that same God loves you. Carte blanche. No exceptions.

But, I often don’t remember. I often doubt. And when the unbelief settles in my heart, when evil whispers confuse me into thinking I need to work for my worth, when I let rejection convince me I am not loved, I simply can’t love you. I’ll try. And, honestly, there’s a chance you might not know the difference. But my words and actions will really be selfish attempts – vulnerable questions disguised as statements, asking Am I enough for you? Will you validate me? And we can only play that game for so long.

Loneliness and rejection are terribly painful, in that they all too easily deceive us into believing that we’re unique in our plight. It’s me verse them – all of them, as in everyone else. We perceive that everyone is sitting in the comfortable chair, enjoying the fruits of recognition, acceptance, and belonging. But the more I talk to women, the more I share my story, I’m starting to think that, perhaps, we all feel caught in the rain (at least at times).

I believe that same God loves you. Carte blanche. No exceptions.

I can’t open someone else’s door for you. I can’t promise the rain will stop. But I’m writing this post today, because I want to remind you, or share with you for the first time, if that’s the case, that the One that controls the rain will sit with you in it. He loves you enough to give up his seat, the best one by the fire, in fact, and He’ll come outside to lay down in the puddle beside you. And no boom of thunder will keep Him from hearing the cries of your heart.

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