Abandonment, the act of being abandoned, left. An act we feel as early as infancy when our tears our met with silence. An act we feel during adolescence when we weren’t chosen, picked or asked. An act we feel as adults when we are looked over, skipped past or never even considered.
Abandonment was not a word I felt deeply until later in life. I had a typical childhood with two parents, two brothers and best friends that lived within walking distance. We weren’t rich in the world’s eyes but didn’t go without. I remember family dinners around the table and typical fights with my brothers. I recall secret clubs and trips with friends. I had it all. We would eventually move to a new city, nicer neighborhood and bigger school. I would suddenly experience insecurity and feel like I was not enough. My desire to fit in was so great that I became a chameleon, adapting to whoever and whatever I was around. I wasn’t the best at anything, so I tried to be enough for everything. Then came college. I moved once again, on my own accord this time and embraced my independence. I had a boyfriend, a job and was in school full time. That relationship would eventually end but my zest for life did not. I searched for something to fill that void and I found a church. It was so different from anything I had ever experienced before. Growing up Catholic, I was used to the hymns, prayers and rules, lots of rules. I went because that’s what we do and prayed out of obedience. But this church was different. I was hearing messages that spoke to my life and music that lifted my soul. I felt seen for the first time in my adult life and pursued by a God I knew little about. Little did I know then, how much I would need Him now.
As a mom, I have very little time for self pity. Okay, no time. It’s not in my DNA to feel sorry for myself and so I quickly look for an escape route to focus my frustration on. When that friend stops calling, I move on. When that plan didn’t pan out, I go to the next one. When I’m overwhelmed, I simply stop. Rather than giving myself time to process “why” it’s not working, I simply chalk it up to life and just keep going. This survival skill has served me well for 37 years. Or has it?
I sit here and see my unresolved anger, hurt and abandonment issues. I ran instead of sitting with what was causing me pain in those moments. Those offers that never came, that friend that walked away, the family members that stopped coming. I find myself seeking approval from anyone that will give it and losing my identity in the opinions of broken humans.
It has to stop.
When do we stop running? Stop searching? Stop caring what everyone else thinks? When do we start seeking, learning and believing in the identity that we were created in?
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
We were created in the image of God. Not the image of him, her or them. We bare the characteristics, personality and beauty of God. He who is above our earthly understanding. He who bares every origin, color and tongue. He who is patient, kind and good. He who is slow to anger and quick to listen. He who is faithful and holy. He who is love. This is who we are at our inner core. This is our truest identity. So what happens when we struggle with anger? Anxiety? Or impure thoughts? We run. We instantly feel condemned by the faith that defines us and turn to the earth to fill us. The earth that is temporary, broken and with much sin. We turn to money, relationships and substances. We seek a temporary high that ends with the destructive desire for more. So we go back and repeat the cycle. Until that money is gone, the relationship is broken and the substances hurt. We feel so broken we give up, we stop trying. We accept our life for the mess that it is. Until we don’t. Until we say, enough is enough and I’m done feeling useless. I’m done just existing. I’m ready to live.
If this is where you are today, done existing and ready to live, you are not alone. You are not beyond repair. You are not hopeless. YOU, my friend, are chosen.
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 14:2
Being chosen isn’t a gift for the holiest of holy. This isn’t preserved for missionaries or monks. Being a nun is not required. Being chosen is for ALL peoples, ALL nations. If your heart beats, you are chosen. If you live on this planet, you are chosen. If you have breath in your lungs, you are chosen. This doesn’t mean you aren’t broken, we all are that, but you are still chosen. Meaning your life has purpose and is here for a purpose. Whether you are on your third marriage, battling addiction…again, or are in prison (physically and metaphorically) YOU are with out a shadow of a doubt…..chosen.
Abandonment is a feeling but redemption is an action. An action that Jesus made when He hung on that cross for you and for me. When He faced the ultimate feeling of abandonment, so we wouldn’t have to. God chose you so no one else has to. You were not created for that guy, that job or those sweet precious babies. You were created by God and for God to love Him and love others. Loving those that hurt us doesn’t involve lashings, it involves forgiveness and boundaries. Trusting God doesn’t mean we will always have the answer, quite contrary, it means we will never have the answer. It means we will take the next step in faith, knowing He is there, even when it’s scary. Allowing our identity to be in Christ doesn’t mean we won’t get hurt, it means when others do hurt us, it won’t define us.
As a self proclaimed words girl, Enneagram 7 with words of affirmation as my love language, words of others deeply impact me. BUT, what I am learning is to not let them define me. When I am not chosen by them, I remind myself I was already chosen by Him. And He has promised me (and you) that He will be with us, wherever we go.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I pray these words make it to who they were intended for (me included). This world is hard. This life hurts. But all that pain and pursuit for happiness will end. We will join our father in paradise. We will be reunited with our creator and we will feel whole again. This isn’t heaven….this is life. Heaven is our reward and this life is our battle field. So grab your bow and make sure your quiver is full, the arrows are plenty and our strength is found in Him.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13
You got this.
Melanie Ortiz, Mothering in the Mess