This is a short chapter, but oh so powerful. Do you ever think back at times in your life when you were "rejected?" There are several in my life and most of the most damaging times occured during my middle school or high school years. I can vividly remember a time in 8th grade where everyone turned against me. I probably did something silly or immature to give them something to talk about, but one girl wrote me this five page letter filled with very mean things---I'm talking in detail mean things---about me. She even took her chocolate pudding and drew a picture of me on the letter and wrote "Pudding Tat take That!" Well, I remember sitting in Mr. Davis' class and everyone passing this "letter" around and finally it got to a girl (whom at the time and even up until I was in college thought this person was my friend) and she gave it to me. Every single person that I thought was my friend signed their name to this letter, except for one. Her name was Kelly. I will never forget that day. What is it about rejection that can make someone crumble? I carried this in the back of my mind for a long time. Of course, by the next week, the group was mad at someone else, but the mean words and the "Pudding Tat" lingered. I have forgiven all of the people of course, but again, what is it about harmful words or actions that are hard to forget?
When I think about the rejection that my children could possibly face at different stages in their lives and I immediately want to protect them from it. Stormie Omartian reminds us That even though it is God's love that is ultimately most important in anyones life, a parents love (or lack thereof) is perceived and felt first. Parental love is the first love a child experiences and the first love he/she understands.
Here are some highlights that I want to share from this chapter:
*It is never to soon to start praying for a child to feel loved and accepted--first by God, then by family, then by peers and others. Pray about this concern throughout their lives.
*The feeling of rejection is at the root of so much evil that we hear and read about in our society each day.
*Love and acceptance brings out the best in a person.
*A person may not actually be rejected, but if that person believes they are rejected, the effect is just as damaging as if it were true.
*The love of God can change the feeling of rejection.
"I have chosen you and not cast you away" Isaiah 41:9
"I have loved you with everlasting love" Jeremiah 31:3
"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8
"neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present or things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8:38-39
*We must pray that our children understand these truths; they are the solid ground which love and acceptance are established in their character.
So how do we do this?
*Ask God to help you really love your child the way He wants you to and ask Him to teach you how to show it in a way your child can understand.
*Ask God to show you how to communicate love to your child.
*DON'T listen to the devil weighing you down with guilt about past failures.
*If you are feeling like a failure in this area, confess your thoughts to God and pray about them, put your fears in God's hands.
*Pray that God's love will penetrate your child's heart, as well as for your love to be perceived and received.
*Children need to see love manifested toward them with *eye contact, *physical touch, *loving acts, *deeds, and *words.
I just loved that part that Stormie talked about. We are such a "lovey dovey" family and I think it is so important. People used to make fun of me because I talk to my sister Sara all the time on the phone and whenever we get off the phone, we say "love you-bye." (I say that with ALL of my family members.) I remember doing that around a big group of people one day and they just looked at me. One person said, "That wasn't Cary. Who did you just tell you love them" When I told them that I was talking to my sister, they looked puzzled!!! I bet I tell my girls that I love them a hundred times a day, my husband too. We all do. I don't think that takes the meaning out of it by saying it a lot, I just think it is important to hear that you are loved.
If you have trouble doing any of the above mentioned, Stormie suggested trying this out...Look your child directly in the eye and gently touch their hand and say, "I love you and I think you are great." See if you notice an immediate change in their facial expressions and demeanor.
*One of God's main purposes for your life is to fill you with so much of His love that it overflows onto others.
*Praying for your child will not only be a sign of that love in your heart, it could also be the very means by which that love is multiplied to overflowing.