Verses of Hope {When You Feel Rejected}

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

It's bound to happen to you. You won't escape it. There is not a person on the planet that won't feel at some point in life the sting of being cast aside. Even Christ, God Himself, has familiarity with this phenomenon. One of these days {if it hasn't happened already} you will be rejected.

For me, I have lived a lifetime of rejection that has arrived from many different avenues. Sometimes it was family. Or friends. Or fellow Christians. Other times it was potential employers. Regardless of the source, it can sting, especially when we put our hope in that relationship or position. There can be as many different reactions to rejection as well. I know in the past I have felt sadness, anger, anxiety, depression, and even disdain for those that did the rejecting.

The beauty of experiencing rejection {yes, there is beauty in it!} is that we begin to walk in Christ's shoes. We can start to understand what He went through for us...being rejected by the very ones who were supposed to accept Him {the religious community}, He found His niche among the outcasts because He was an outcast Himself.

I get the outcast. Over the past few years I have had a "starring role" as the unwanted one. A few weeks ago, a dear friend wrote to me,

 "Dear Debbie, I think you are a wonderful and beautiful daughter of God. I see His power and grace in you. I see  you winning over the rejection you've been given. I see you as strong and rooted in His unfailing love. I love you and respect you 100%."

To a person who has been rejected over and over again, her words brought life to my soul, but her words also got me to thinking. How do we become rooted in His unfailing love? When the world rejects how can we be strong? If mere men will reject us, does it give us any hope that God will accept who we are?

God's Word is filled with Christ's rejection experience and also words of acceptance. When rejection strikes we can go to what God says about us. We can rest in the fact that we have a fellow sufferer in Christ. He gets the heartache of rejection. Time and again I have ran to His Word to battle the angst of rejection.

7 Useful Verses When Dealing with Rejection

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  John 15:18
We will never be able to trump Jesus. What He endured is the ultimate in rejection. Think about it. You are God, and in the eyes of those around you you aren't enough. Now that's rejection!

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Psalm 27:10
We can even experience rejection in some of the most important relationships in life and still be accepted by God. We never really will experience total rejection. God in His grace will always deem us worthy.

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:16
Our God doesn't write us on His hands. He ENGRAVES us {perhaps our names?} on His hands {perhaps with nails?}. The relationship is permanent. His love for us will not be undone.

But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the LORD, because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares. Jeremiah 30:17
I seriously think that God loves the underdog, the outcasts, and the "throw-aways" of this world. It is because we are outcasts that He seeks to restore us to a position of health. Rejection causes deep wounds, but God desires to heal those gashes in our hearts.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
I used to think that the answer to the question "If God is for us, who can be against us?" was "plenty of people"! Sometimes the whole world can be against you {or at least it feels that way}, but the real answer to the question is this: If God is for you, it doesn't matter who is against you. God has the final say in your worth, and He declares you worthy!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are  in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
You may feel condemnation from others. Actually, rejection and condemnation tend to go hand in hand, but the reality is if God doesn't condemn then you are not condemned. End of story.

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Isaiah 43:4-5
We are precious. Honored. Loved. And remember when I said that rejection can cause anxiety? God says don't be afraid. The world may walk away from you, but He is not going anywhere.

Wisdom from Literature

Monday, March 2, 2015

I love to read. Honestly, without a good book in hand I can feel rather lost. As a homeschool mom, I have been able to relive my middle school and high school days by reading great literature in order to teach my boys. There was so much that I missed in those years. I have come to realize all over again the power of a story. They can teach about life and impart wisdom. While I believe God's Word is first and foremost when it comes to doling out wisdom, we can also glean great ideas from the stories we read. Over the next few Fridays, I will be sharing my favorite quotes from literature I have read in the past...Austen, Dickens, Hugo and a few others will be on the list.
Here's a look at what's coming up...

Les Miserables {March 20}
J.R.R. Tolkien {April 3}
Silas Marner {April 10}

{Please note that links will be live on the date of posting.}

Will you join me? What are your favorite quotes or tidbits of wisdom from literature?

How to Move Forward and Move On {Verses of Hope}

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sometimes we all need a new start. The past is too painful. We need a new direction. We need a different way of doing things.

God is all about new things. He makes all things new. He is the great Restorer and Renovator. He moves on. He makes things new, but how do we move on with Him? How do we perceive the new that He is making in our lives when we feel stuck in the past? For the past two years I have been working to move live a new life in strange circumstances. I have pushed through the pain to forgive and move into a new season.  Here are some ideas to help you move forward when you are stuck with the past...

Perceive it. Look for ways that God is moving and working. For me, I had to create a special gratitude list of all that He was doing in my life NOW even though I was trying to process the past. I made note of how things were changing and the good that was coming from those new events in life. Sometimes it was new words. Words of affirmation spoken over my life brought healing and a new perspective. Other times it was new relationships. Meeting a new friend for coffee helped me move on from the pain. Finding a new purpose in life has helped also.

Don't consider it. Don't allow yourself to dwell in the past. Yes, deal with it. Face the past to heal from it. Go to counseling if need be, but also don't needlessly focus on "the things of old". Sometimes using "mind control" is the best way to deal with the past. Going down that dark road over and over again in your mind is not healthy.

Know that He will make a way. You may not understand how in the world God can make your life circumstances new, but He promises us  He does. He can make a way in the bewildering wilderness of what has happened. The key is to trust Him to where He is taking you. Be content and accepting of what has happened and is happening as much as you can. Ask Him to help you accept the past so that you can move forward in the way that He is making for you. This has been one of the biggest challenges for me...seeing how He will make a way for me and heal me so that I can move on.

What do you need to move on from? How can you help yourself perceive the new thing that God is doing in your life?

Are you in need of hope? If so, here are some more Verses of Hope.

Writing in Your Bible {Five Ways to Use a Journaling Bible}

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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For about a month or so now I have had an ESV Single Column Journaling Bible. It has given me the freedom to write in the margins and take notes on concepts that strike me. In the past with other Bibles I have mainly just highlighted verses, but with the space now provided for me I can write down my thoughts and the connections I make to His Word. Here are five activities that I am doing with my new Bible...


Highlight it. I have always loved highlighting verses that stand out to me. When I ordered my Bible I also got these Eco Highlighter Pencils and LOVE them. They don't bleed through and I love the feel of them better than using regular highlighters. All the colors show up well so that you can readily find what you highlighted.

Write about it. For writing notes I use these black pens. This brand does come in colored sets, but I like using just black at least for the time being. Maybe I will change it up in the future. This is my favorite part of using a journaling Bible in that I can write down my thoughts beside the highlighted verses. I may reword the verse, write what struck me, or refer to a life circumstance and how it correlates to the verse. Here are some examples from my Bible...

Connect it. Another thing that I will do as I read through a book is to connect ideas and verses. Notice on the first and third photos of my Bible how I reference other parts of Scripture. Sometimes reading one verse will trigger thoughts or connections to another passage. It is helpful to connect the two by writing down the references.

Question it. There are times when what I read hits me as strange or I plain don't understand what His Word is saying in a passage. So I write a question beside the verse. Later I can come back to it and ponder it some more or even write some ideas down as answers as I study further.

Date it. I recently started dating each entry so I know when I recorded my thoughts. I have done this previously a bit in another Bible that I had, and it was interesting to go through it and see the verse I highlighted and dated years ago as a high school teacher during the time that the Columbine shooting happened. The verse? Psalm 16:1..."Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge." What a testimony it could be to look back on your Bible years later and see how your life and His Word intersected!

So, do you have a journaling Bible? How do you use it? What do you write in it?

SALT: How to Preserve Your Relationships

Sunday, February 22, 2015

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Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. 
Mark 9:50

Ever wondered how to keep your relationships from falling apart in a fallen world? With brokenness all around how does one prevent more heartache? Is peace even possible with people? Only if you have some salt.

The concept of salt has been popping up in my Bible study time over the past few weeks. First, it was in a sermon I was listening to by Andy Stanley. Then in Karen Ehman's book, Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All, and then finally in my daily Bible reading {which happened to be Mark}. When I read Mark 9:50 I really started to think. Why does God ask us to have salt in our lives? What does the salt represent? How can we practically put that salty flavor into our relationships in order to preserve them?

It then hit me: Salt is where grace and truth meet. Christ was full of grace and truth. We should be the same. I will probably struggle for the rest of my life on how to have the perfect combination of grace and truth. I just don't do the combo well. I tend to be more grace than truth. Others that I know tend to be more truth than grace. Some totally lack grace. Others, the truth. Somehow there is a happy medium, but it takes wisdom to know what to do in each situation. Here's a few thoughts on how to muddle through using salt (grace and truth) to improve our relationships...

Salt preserves. We can hang onto our relationships if we use a little grace and truth. When someone is being critical or condemning sometimes the best avenue is grace. Not defending yourself. Walking away from the fight until you both cool down. Lavishing love on them regardless of the behavior. Yet, truth preserves also. Sometimes you need to be honest with someone in a loving way about how his/her behavior is affecting you. Being honest may save the relationship in the long run instead of boiling on the inside and exploding. Once you explode in anger there may be no saving it.

Salt heals wounds. It prevents infection. It draws out the unhealthy. At times you may need grace and love to heal a wound. A gentle touch for the hurting. Other times to stop the spread of an infection you might need to stop a gossip or speak up on someone's behalf. It will be truth staring them in the face if you do that. Sometimes the truth stings {just like pouring salt on a wound}, but better to stop the ick before it spreads.

Salt melts ice {and cold hearts}. Grace can melt a hard heart. Loving on an unlovable person can eventually soften them, but so can truth. How about a truthful apology? When we own {truly confess} what we have done to another in heartfelt repentance and with a willingness to restore the relationship, we can melt the heart of our offended brother/sister.

Too much salt and you ruin your recipe. Too much grace? You are going to get stomped on. Then you are going to get mad to the point that the relationship may be done. Too much truth? You are going to stomp on another person. He or she may walk away never to return. Too much of one or the other may spoil the relationship.

We need salt: grace and truth to navigate our relationships. It is my prayer for all of us that we have the salt we need to create and maintain those links with the ones we love.

This I Call to Mind

Friday, February 20, 2015

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
{Lamentations 3:21-25}

There are days that I am consumed. By worry. Will I get everything done? What happens if...? By heartache. Will I ever heal? By unforgiveness. Can I just get past it so that I can treat them with love? By loss. Will life ever be the same?

There are days when you are consumed, too. You feel you will never make it through, get past it, or triumph over the impossible. There are too many broken pieces in your life, and you don't even know where to begin putting it back together. It would be so much easier to sit back, give up, and let life consume what little is left of you.

But the problem with giving up? God doesn't. Each morning He covers us in compassion. He stands by waiting to fill in the gaps between those broken pieces. Our job is just to hold on. Wait on Him to work out whatever we are experiencing. Seek and trust Him in the details.

Each morning is a new day with new possibilities. Sure, the problems are still there, but so is God! My story is not over. Neither is yours. We can wake up each morning know that the Author of our stories is all we need to hang on to hope.

Need a bit more hope? See all the Verses of Hope.

Scripture Journals

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

These days life is busy, and I have very little time to create. Very little time to let myself do a project. Over Christmas break...after all my "chores" were done {lesson planning for the new semester, deep cleaning of the house, etc.}, I decided to pull out a journal a friend had given me. I was having a rough morning of anxiety that was through the roof and needed to have something to focus on instead of the thoughts swirling in my brain. I decided to get out my crafting supplies and write out a few of my favorite verses and decorate the pages. I needed some "spiritual whitespace"...some time to breathe and slow down. I picked out some verses and got started telling myself that the mistakes didn't matter...the idea was to create and focus on His Word.

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A Scripture journal could be as simple as paper and pen: writing out verses and doodling around them or recording verses and your thoughts on them. I am not much of an artist so I pulled out my stamps, stamp pads, watercolor crayons, and pens. Here are some of the items that are useful...

Watercolor Crayons-I love using these to give the page and the art color.
Water Brush-I use this to spread the color of the watercolor crayons. Very cool tool!
Date Decorative Stamp-To record the date I did the page.

I have been learning over the past few months to slow down especially when it comes to reading God's Word. Many times I fly through my Bible study or reading in the effort to move onto something else I have to do. It is my goal this year to take a few verses at a time and really focus on what they are saying. To ponder. To have them soak into my soul. Working on this journal has been a way to take in God's Word at a slower create that spiritual whitespace I so desperately need.

If you are interested in reading more about spiritual whitespace please check out Bonnie Gray's website and book...Her book gives ideas on how to create time with God. It is also a memoir of her life and the healing God brought to her by carving out time for Him. So worth the read!

Faith Barista
Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest