She barely hung up the phone before the tears poured out. “Oh, God, why are you letting this happen? Why??” She just saw all the pictures—accidentally—of the family holiday party. She had no idea there was a party because no one told her about it. They simply had a family party and excluded her.
What the hell??
She was unspeakably angry, immeasurably hurt. She’d scrolled on her phone as she sat in her jammies bingeing on Netflix when she saw the Facebook pix. She still couldn’t believe her family had had a holiday party and invited everyone but her.
She had been exceptionally kind to them—giving them time to adjust, answering their often intrusive questions. And she thought they were okay with her. But apparently, she was no longer part of the family.
So she called her mother—her mother—and her mother said, “Well, we thought it was not a good influence to have you there, what with all the cousins and everything. And you know, you have made your decision.”
What decision had she made?? What was she—an alcoholic? A druggie? A child molester? No! She was simply attracted to women, not men. She was a lesbian—and there was nothing she could do about it. And had been honest with her family about that.
“God, I’m crushed. And I’m LIVID,” she said, pacing the floor. “What kind of family just rejects and eliminates someone they don’t agree with? HOW IS THAT FAMILY??” She thought of the many ways she’d been there for them, all of them, over the years, in their various situations. OMG. The more she thought about it the angrier she grew.
“God, you’d think I’d done something terrible. Mom telling me, ‘I’ve made my decision.’ What a bunch of crap. The only decision I made was to be authentic with them—and with myself—and follow how God was leading me. Decision?? They have no idea what they’re talking about. So they gathered all the rest of the family—all of them—who apparently are all perfectly fine. Uncle Hal’s alcoholism? Oh, that’s fine! Aunt Jane’s overeating to suppress her deep, gaping wounds? Oh, no prob, Aunt Jane. You come right on in, because we welcome eeeevveryboooddyy. Oh, except the lesbian. Noooo, we can’t have that. Grandma gossips about everyone, Dad had an affair with his secretary, and Mom is a compulsive hoarder. But me? I’ve ‘made a decision.’
“NEWSFLASH, MOM: I DIDN’T MAKE A DECISION.”
She sat on the sofa, her head in her hands. “God, I’m asking you to help me here. You know that I prayed for years about this, I never asked to be gay. You never took away my gayness—and now I have to pay for it… again. And knowing them, for the rest of my life.”
Her Mom and Dad, and of course her siblings, got to tell her what they thought of her. “Because they are perfect,” she said aloud and then shook her head. They had no idea what it was to be in her shoes, zero, nada, and they really didn’t try. Yet they KNEW she was wrong and that they should exclude her. That’s “tough love”… “in Jesus name.”
“This is so NOT Jesus,” she said aloud.
“No, Jesus always defended the ones being hurt, and he called out the religious leaders who were hurting them.” She was talking to God again, because she always talked to God. And even in her anger and pain, she had always had God. And she’d come to terms with knowing God was not angry at her, not disappointed in her… not sending her to hell.
It had taken a while to get there, but she’d come to peace with knowing God had made her exactly as she was and God delights in her. What a relief to finally embody that.
“But God, this hurts,” she said. “I feel flattened. They say everything’s fine and then they leave me out. I am crushed.” She let out a long sigh and just sat.
Sarah! She heard in her thoughts that small, gentle voice she knew so intimately.
Sarah, I know this hurts, but be at peace! I made you exactly as I wanted you, and I have many people for you to speak to, people who are hurting as you have hurt, and you will help them through their pain because you have had to work through yours.
She knew people were hurting over so many things. So many issues people need help to heal. (Even her family had so many issues they had simply swept under the rug—too many to count—but she couldn’t help them because they weren’t willing to work through their stuff.) But there were many who would love to be loved, and she knew how to do that.
You, Sarah, have brought everything to me, she heard in such a loving voice, and I have carried you. I have been preparing you to speak to those who have also been shut out of their family. I will bring them your way, and you will have much comfort to offer them. I did not bring you here to abandon you, my beloved! Take heart—this is all part of your journey it is only beginning!
Sarah wiped away tears as she thought of others who’d been abandoned. Who has time for tears? She’d better get busy—she had her own holiday gathering to plan… and a lot of people who would love to come.
My Dear Readers… This is pretty much a true story, slightly altered to hide identities. So many of you have been through your own version of this, and it has been terribly difficult, especially during the holidays. I give you this story with the hope that you find your own comfort. Wherever you are, you are not there by accident. You are far too beautiful and amazing for that. And God is far too loving for that. Take heart! You need not seek community from a family that is unwilling or unable to give it, but allow community to emerge from those around you. Chosen family.
You are worthy. You matter. You belong. You are beloved! You have much to offer.
If you are struggling with this, come say hello here. I would love to chat with you and help you get connected with others.
With all my love, Susan