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Outside of Family - Inside of Christ...

Encouragement for those that feel ostracized by family...

A family should be a place where you feel seen, known; affirmed. However, for some people it may feel like you're on the outside looking in. Like you're attached to one another by a common ancestor, blood, but feel as though you're not apart of the unit. This can lead to low self-esteem, feeling displaced, and misunderstood. Sadly, this ostracization can be caused by no fault of your own and sometimes the ones doing the ostracization aren't even the slightest bit aware of your feelings. Furthermore, depending on why you're left feeling ostracized they may not care about your feelings and sadly some may go on to invalid your perspective.

On my mothers side of the family I am the Granddaughter of the mother who was born out of wedlock to a teenage mom - my grandmother. My Grandmother was 17 when she had her first child and 19 when she had my mom; in the late 1950's this was a big deal. My biological Grandfather, who I was unaware of until I turned 14 and later met at the age of 24; he was not involved in my mothers life or ours; his grandchildren, however who I knew to be my Grandfather, my Grandmothers husband, he was awesome. On my fathers side of the family I am the Granddaughter of a man who was an alcoholic, molester; deadbeat. I loved my Grandfather, but I knew many didn't. It wasn't until years later that I found out why.

I share this because growing up I always felt something was really off with how I was treated by both sides of my family. It showed up at birthdays, holidays, and lack of presence at monumental events. Because I was the offspring of my Grandfathers it altered the way my family saw me, interacted with me, and evaluated every action of mine. Anytime I did something displeasing it was, "you got them ways like your Granddaddy and his people." I never felt accepted by my family, especially my fathers side and because of this I struggled with self-worth, setting boundaries, and people pleasing. However, the beauty of the Gospel is, I don't have to be held accountable for my grandfathers actions, seen through the lenses of them, or feel as though my very existence is a mistake.

Sadly, some families are all too comfortable with handing down trauma, dysfunction, and multiple fathers or fatherless homes and calling it normal. In such situations, it's the children who are brought into this dysfunction that pay the heaviest price. The children are the ones who absorb their parents misplaced anger, their jealousy, their generational pain as the parents slowly mix together the same ingredients of their childhood into yours, with the hopes of you feeling their pain and able to empathize with their internal unhealed child.

Some parents and families are so broken and they break everyone in their path that seems to have a glimpse of joy or anyone they perceive as having more than them or who's confidence exceeds their own. These people seek to find and expose your insecurities. They see your achievements, but will never compliment you on them but instead will wait until you're at a low moment and compare you against you ("You use to do so well in ___"). Furthermore, if you were to ever express your dislike of their treatment towards you they will invalidate your claims by comparing your life against their struggles. That is how you spot their unhealed areas.

When I was younger I used to be in disbelief that my own family would either ignore me when I was around or go above and beyond to make me feel unincluded, especially when my sister was around. My sister and I share the same father, but different mothers and for some reason, although I know they meant well, they believed that making my sister feel included meant that I must be excluded. They would tell me, you have your parents, or think about how your sister feels. However, they never knew what it was like inside my home, especially leading up to my parents divorce and life thereafter, they never knew that everyday I was going to school contemplating suicide because the teasing was so horrible, they didn't know the same treatment I received from them was the same on my moms side too. All they saw was a mom and a dad and filled in the blanks from there. It shouldn't be a who has the biggest struggles contest, no, it should be we are family and from the oldest to the youngest we will stick together. This is why the Gospel was so AWE-mazing for me.

At the age of 24, God brought my husband and I to a small new church plant in East Point, GA. It was there where I heard and understood sin, more specifically, what sin is, why I sin, and why I struggle with it. In the same instance I heard the Good News, which is, Jesus (Yeshua) saves - repent and believe. The sudden awareness of sin and grace was so overwhelming that I begin to sob profusely. The thought of this outsider, that is, the girl that never fitted in, in school or in her family, could be accepted by God was so overwhelming. People look at circumstances, prestige/notoriety, and appearances whilst God looks on the rich and poor, young and old, famous and everyday blue collar person the same and His grace can't be bought or earned and that is what makes it AMAZING!

If you find yourself on the outside of you family, on the outside of society; I pray that you will accept the invitation of being apart of inside of the Body of Christ. Your bloodline may connect with certain people, but the blood of Christ shed on the cross for a sinner like you and I is what makes us family. Christ himself said this of family in Matthew 12:46-50:

"While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

In closing, so many people live their whole life based on the labels placed on them during childhood. Sadly, how they go on to treat people, including themselves, finds its roots in childhood. Though the desire is there to the change the narrative they can't seem to breakdown the wall of pain to accept love and give it properly, but it doesn't have to be that way. There is freedom in Christ, their is restoration in Christ, their is acceptance in Christ. What the world calls awkward, a mistake; misfit is a mighty tool in the hands of God for the building of His Kingdom.

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