The feeling of being rejected, unaccepted and replaceable can be so damaging to one’s heart, attitude and identity.
Growing up, going to church was my life. My family and I volunteered; pouring hours of our time and love into our church to see it grow and thrive. I was raised to believe that my life was a blessing and if we have the hands and feet to help others and our church, then we are going to use them for that purpose and I LOVE that I grew up in this. I spent many years at this church and when the time came for me to head into High School we moved to another church.
This church had a youth group that I could attend, there was a lot more “young people” that attended this church than my old church. I was incredibly shy but quickly made some friends, one person in particular became my best friend throughout all of High School. I absolutely loved this youth group; I was not used to hanging out around people my age, singing songs that were picked for our age group, or talking about things that mattered to US. Time spent at this youth group was loved and craved every week, waiting at the edge of my seat for Friday to come around so I could go back to church. It wasn’t long before I was involved, at youth (I am sure you saw that coming) and again, it was something I absolutely loved. I poured hours into practicing for worship, playing keys, singing and learning so that I could be a Leader someday.
Fast forward a couple years later, I had spent all this time volunteering, attending and loving church that i eventually became a leader and was able to take on more responsibilities. Around this stage of life boys started entering the picture, not in a bad way, but in a way where I was beginning to seek who might be “for me” and was excited about it! I dated a boy for about a year and noticed a lot of change. My friends were not used to my time being divided, there was awkwardness throughout the youth group because I was “dating” and that was an “abnormal” thing to see at the time. Needless to say, there was some drama, gossip but nothing I couldn’t handle and shake off.
This relationship was something I thought would last forever but God showed me he had other plans for my life. When this relationship ended, I had a young man named Mark, who I have know since the age of 2, show some interest in me. I was actually not interested at first believe it or not, and I say this because he was a CUUTIIIE, but we eventually started dating and I was very happy. Let me also say that this cute boy I began to date is now my handsome, loving husband since June 29th, 2018. ️
Now, let me tell you something…I thought I experienced all the bad, ugly, unavoidable drama with the last relationship I was in, but I hadn’t seen anything yet. Cliques, gossip, eye rolling, whispering, abandoning, complaining…I could go on and on. I was so rejected at this point in my life and I had no idea why. What I thought would be a celebrated chapter in my life was treated to be the worst decision I could ever make. What I thought to be a inseparable family turned into a group of people I wanted nothing to do with, just within a couple weeks. Sad to say, this led into me leaving the youth group for a whole year because I couldn’t take it. I never stopped loving the Lord, serving in our usual Sunday Morning service and weekly events, but I did NOT go back to Sr. High Youth Group on Friday nights. I may have blamed it on school work and commuting issues from time to time, but eventually explained to the youth pastor that I was too hurt to set foot into that place on Fridays again.
It is easy to talk about hurt and healing when its not about yourself.
I spent many hours being the advice giver and shoulder to cry on to many people growing up. But, looking back at this moment, I can still feel the pain I felt then. The feeling of being rejected, unaccepted and replaceable can be so damaging to ones heart, attitude and identity. I became very bitter with many people and became very distant in my relationship with God without realizing it.
After a year of focusing on school and taking the time to calm down, I decided to give youth another chance. Another reason for going back was also because the people who so badly hurt me were not attending as frequently or at all for that matter. I did a lot of maturing and hundreds of attempts at forgiving through the course of that one year, which built up a lot of strength within me to give youth another chance. I continuously had to tell myself that “I go to youth because I want to be closer with Jesus and that I don’t go to youth just for friends.” It wasn’t exactly easy to be back right away, but to try and keep this post fairly short in length I am going to leave it at this.I immersed myself back into volunteering; I lead worship, I lead small groups, I developed more friendships and grew in my faith.
I learned what being a leader was all about and learned where to find my joy and worth which was in my heavenly father and not people.
Our church went through a big transition in staff which lead to our youth group needing major help. Mark and I realized that God had more planned for us at this church and it was only a matter of time for him to show it to us. Realizing that this was our purpose for our church showed me that we simply cannot comprehend the plans God has for us, and that it is our job to pray, listen and trust in him and everything else will fall into place.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” I want to leave this verse with you because it helps us to remember that everything is not in our hands. It’s an easy, important reminder that even though it may be hard at times, and even though we may not understand whats going on, it is important for us to leave all our cares and worries in his hands so that he can walk alongside us, because we are not alone.
With love and Grace.
Meet Ashleigh Stevens our guest writer for the week. She is in love with Jesus, Mark and coffee. She is a faith blogger at ashlauren.ca/… Also connect with her on instagram @ashhstevens and see all the great things she is doing.