I vividly remember a conversation with my oldest daughter during a particularly difficult season of middle school. She was having trouble with feeling left out and while I didn’t doubt the perspective I probably chalked it up to age and stage a little too much. A wake-up call came when two friends reached out to ask me if I was aware she was being bullied.
My daughter had not used those words, but other girls had gone home and shared this news with their own mothers. I was sick, after all, this was a small Christian school and the word bully wasn’t used nearly as often 10 years ago. I began to ask a few more questions and to listen a little more closely. She began to share more. As she did she described a pretty horrific experience that stirred just as many emotions in me as it did in her.
“Mom, when we were in gym today a bunch of girls were standing in a circle. “ She named them. They had all been to my home many times. I knew their parents well. I led a bible study in which they participated. She went on to say, “When I walked up to join them they made the circle tighter and I couldn’t get in.” I asked if she meant they physically moved in closer thinking that perhaps she simply felt emotionally unable to break in, to which she replied they did in fact physically make the circle tighter and smaller.
My heart sank. I pictured the hurt and the rejection of the scene. I spoke softly and told her how very sorry I was that that had happened. Tears began to puddle in her eyes as I acknowledged the pain. I went on to suggest that perhaps even though it was hurtful it may be Gods protection for her heart. Maybe these were not going to be friends for the future?! And then the most “real” words in the world spilled out of her lips and over her quivering chin, “Mom, I just want to be in the circle.” The tears no longer puddled they poured. I cried with her. Not because I thought that this middle school yuck was the end of the world but because I know how it feels to “want to be in the circle”, to want to belong. We all want to be wanted. We do.
As a 51 year old woman who gave her life to Christ at 36 the flavors of rejection have been many. My worldview changed which impacted a change in beliefs, behaviors, choices, boundaries, commitments and desires. My life changed. Conviction causes contrast. I was a new creation and those who knew the old creation weren’t always so sure the new Suzanne was going to fit into the old circle.
However, the truth I learned to grasp was it was impossible to truly be rejected because I had been more than accepted by the Creator of the Universe. I had been chosen. His acceptance trumped man’s rejection and comforted the pain of separation more than once. Mamas, your Heavenly Father will lead and guide you. He will convict your heart and say “This is the way, walk in it.” He desperately wants you as you are, all the time. There is no more powerful offer of belonging than to know you have been chosen by Him!