Seen, Known, and Loved: Finding Healing from Rejection and Abandonment
When we are rejected and abandoned by others, especially in our earliest experiences in family, we experience an insecure attachment that seems to rob us of the beauty that accompanies being vulnerable in relationships with others. This disrupts our ability to experience the wholesome nature of love. It deprives us of the wholeness that love’s affirmation and identity can bring.
Subversively, it initiates complications with connection, frustrating us in our attempts to have relationships that celebrate who we are and the unique value that we add to our families and other relationships.
Instead of being able to engage with God and others in healthy ways, we struggle. We enter these spaces (including the ones within our own souls), with a heart that hungers for the right things yet seeks them in the wrong places. This can be in unhealthy ways, and with people who don’t see, know, or love us as we were intended to be.
Reconciling the pain of rejection and abandonment.
As much as we want to mute and silence the pain of rejection and abandonment into submission, it has its own story that reveals itself in our beliefs and behaviors. We may not even realize that we’ve been living this painful story out loud. It reveals us in public ways, dishing secrets that we can be needy, often clinging to connections and then outright rejecting emotional intimacy or avoiding vulnerability in subtle or overt ways.
Our lives are often dotted with broken relationships, unfulfilled hopes, and interpersonal collisions. These are marked by shallow connections and repeated cycles where we reject and abandon people and opportunities. We can end up doing to others, including those we love, what was done to us.
While it seems easier to stuff the pain of rejection down again and cover it with a habit, codependently focusing on someone else’s needs to distract from our own issues, it is not that simple. Rejection and the fear that abandonment causes want to gain the upper hand and govern our perceptions and upend our peace.
Although God is grieved and moved by our pain, He reconciles us and redeems us, making something worthwhile out of it when we are willing to partner with Him. He sees and knows us. In every facet of His Heart, we can find healing from rejection and abandonment, being forever accepted and beloved by our Heavenly Father.
To the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved. – Ephesians 1:6 NASB
God sees the entirety of our lives and sees us clearly, though rejection and abandonment appear to wreck His Image in us. We can gather some encouragement from the place in Scripture where God was acknowledged as the One who sees (Genesis 16:13).
Many are familiar with the story in which the Father had promised Abraham and Sarah, the fore-parents of our faith, a child when they were advanced in age. It seemed impossible to them, so they took matters into their own hands, much like us, to bring it to fruition in their preferred time.They involved their female slave as a surrogate and concubine. When the relationships soured during Hagar’s pregnancy, Sara treated her harshly and Hagar escaped to the desert. Feeling invisible and unloved, God met the young woman in the literal wilderness and counseled Hagar’s heart. She acknowledged Him as Jehovah El Roi; and He engaged her as one who was truly seen, known, and beloved. He did with Hagar as He longs to do with us.
We may have found ourselves caught in between our family members or people who influenced our lives. We may have trusted them to make sound decisions concerning us, but instead, we felt used and cheapened, then rejected and abandoned in the times and places we most needed connection and affirmation.
Not only did Abraham and Sarah’s actions result in catastrophic consequences for all directly involved, but their decisions shifted history. This part of the overarching story of Scripture serves to remind us that God sees, knows, and will come to and for us to help, heal, and deliver even in difficulty.
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” – Genesis 16:13, NIV
Jesus didn’t die just for us to have life after death, in Heaven. He came to bring us new life in the here and now. As we commit our lives to Him, we experience the miracle of conversion, becoming new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). While our spirits are made new, our souls still undergo transformation until we encounter Him face to face (Philippians 1:6; Romans 12:1-2).
As we continue to surrender ourselves, transformation occurs in the soul that houses the mind, will, emotion, affection, and imagination; but it takes time and maturity to develop the character that conforms us to Christ’s Image (Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:22-23).
As we continue in our relationship with Christ, we shed the old nature, its mindset, and its behaviors. We grow in our awareness of our true godly identity and authority. In this progressive experience, the Lord wants us to present our entire selves to Him in our fragmented and wounded state.
He wants to bring about an exchange, trading the pain we have harbored and protected. Instead, He longs to shape us into the masterpiece that He has designed and always known us to be.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10, NIV
God loves.When we do encounter past pain in present circumstances, we need to acknowledge the truths noted in the Bible. The eternal Truth is that God loves us, regardless of the details and dynamics that construct our personal and family history. It isn’t foreign or reprehensible to Him.
The bloodline that He designed to give rise to His own and only Son, Jesus Christ, was littered with scandalous characters who engaged in every sort of illicit practice that might seem ill-fitting for a righteous King. However, God works through our family lines to illustrate His redemption and compassion.
The most challenging parts of our stories cannot eclipse His unconditional and ever-abiding love. It is because of His Story of love, and not the rejection and abandonment of our families, that we can know true agape or God’s kind of love, and thereby know God Himself.
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” – Jeremiah 31:3, NIV
Next steps for healing from rejection and abandonment.
As you navigate this site, remember that the issue you may be facing from your past is not too much for your Father. God is not only the Creator of Heaven and Earth, but He is also the Wonderful Counselor who has made tools and resources accessible for you to use along your journey (Isaiah 9:6).
Search our site and select a counselor. Schedule with him or her for the next step forward. While God has always regarded you as His masterpiece. He wants you to recognize how seen, known, and loved you already are and have always been.
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