I’m reading a book and connecting to a sister that can relate to some of my raw, hidden wounds. Suddenly, I’m in Mrs. Powell’s 6th-grade class a, proud of wearing my new purple silk shirt with a vest; I feel like a princess as I admire the intricate design and deep colors and a fleeting thought escapes, “Maybe this new outfit will gain you notice.” It did. One of the “popular girls,” Molly, smirks, “Didn’t you know it was picture day?”
I never fit in with the in-group and their perfectly sprayed hair and white Keds. I loved being smart and artistic, for those outlets brought me joy, but I just wanted to belong. To be wanted.
A year or so later and I’m in a home-school co-op of delinquents, using words I never used before and talking about things I’ve never done and listening to Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and feeling more dark and forgotten than before. And doing anything to fit in. To be wanted. But, do I belong? Do they know me and want me? I feel more alone than before.
Through high school and college, I endured my fair share of broken hearts, feeling used and betrayed and unwanted.
As an adult, you want to proclaim, “I’m past all that.” After 35 years, I should be able to say with confidence, “My identity rests solely in Him. He is mine and I am His.” And that is enough. But, it transfers over: instead of popularity, we strive for success. Instead of recognition as a beauty or a smart kid, we want to be recognized as a good parent, a good friend, a good Christian. Somehow we are still striving to reach an unattainable mark. For as soon as I feel proud of accomplishing this or that, I fall flat on my face in another area.
Much like children, we forget the truth. We listen to the lies that point fingers at our failures and wrap wounded hearts in sandpaper and defeat. And we put on the black wool vest that brought us shame and resign ourselves, “It’s just who I am.” But, is it really?
Our Savior came so that no one had to be the abandoned black sheep again.
My kindred friend scripted these words last week:
“Not even the darkness can hold back His light. So His Son was born in a stable with dung, drafts, rats, and animals. In the same way, when we ask Him to be born again in us, the Christ child and the Man as Savior are born in us, even in our own wretched states. However, we do not have to make excuses for our own made messes, the idols in the corners and the other sinners at our table. A choice is all that is required, to choose to let Him in and He will show us the way to live better. He will clean us up. To ask Him to stay and make our hearts, our bodies, and mind His home. And just as a new baby fills the rooms with our laughter and his cries to be fed and loved to grow, the Spirit of God moves inside us to nurture those parts of us abandoned by us or others, to protect parts of us that have been broken or ignored, and the parts of us that are stunted and need change and growth.
God is with us – the baby, the Man, the Son of God.” –Lindsey H. Lawson
We are the broken stables with animal dung on the floors and drafty holes in our walls and yet, He says, “May I come in and make my home here?”
God with us.
This Christmas may not be a time of comfort or renewal for you. You might walk into a home and feel like you are that rejected, mislabeled kid again. Or perhaps your kids are the ones that have put the black wool vest on you and you feel unappreciated and abandoned. Maybe you just feel disconnected and unknown. Maybe you are truly by yourself in this world.
Regardless of your situation, you don’t need to feel alone this Christmas. He has come to our barren places to fill up the void and make a way for us all to be “in” in Christ. Our hope, our Savior,
our Immanuel. (Isaiah 9:1-7).