bullying spiritual

Dear Sixth Grade Girl: When You Feel Left Out

12:07 PMHeather

You climbed into the car with that look on your face that said it all. And I knew. I knew that the storm that had been brewing had finally hit. I knew that when I asked what was wrong, the dam would burst.

But I asked anyway.

And your lip quivered as the tears began to spill out of the corners of your eyes. Your voice shook as you told me what happened and  how you felt anguish about what to do.  How to handle all the doors being closed in your face. 

The truth is, I didn't know either. And honestly, I still don't. Because even though I saw the signs of how it was going to go down, I still couldn't brace myself for how to best help you deal with being left out. 

We pulled into the driveway and ran into the house through the rain that matched our mood. You plopped on the couch, next to your dad, telling him what happened. As I sat down near you, my resolve broke. While you talked, my tears began, although I fought them. I grabbed a tissue and I cried with you. Sniffling together, sharing the pain of it. 

Actually, I was not only crying for you. I was crying for the sixth grade girl I knew in the mirror. I was crying for the teenager I once was, feeling completely alone during one terrible season of life. I was crying for the fact that whether you're 44 or 11, nothing hurts quite like the sting of rejection, especially from friends. 

I was crying because while my middle school years had their fair share of tears, reliving it through my own daughter feels so much harder. 

You saw my tears and you knew my love and empathy for you was sincere. You saw that your angst is my angst, in the unique way that moms experience when we watch our children hurting. 

What you didn't know is that when I went upstairs, I walked into my War Room, and I sat on the floor and I wept. I wept and sobbed and asked God for wisdom. I asked him how to help me walk you through this. How to speak to and help relieve the pain that is inevitable in life.

The words from that morning's Bible reading came to mind.

Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:1-3).

Fix my eyes on Jesus.

I literally turned my face upward and asked that Jesus guide me here. In this rough and strange new terrain of parenting a girl through the middle school years. While wrestling against my own familiar foes in the search for belonging.

Then I knew. I knew what to do. God planted the idea in my head with such certainty that I jumped up with a surge of hope and I went to your room to look for our Mom and Me Journal. 

Although I hadn't written in it in far too long, I grabbed a pen and sat and prayed and wrote the words that I felt prompted to share.

I wrote them for you. 

I wrote them for myself.

I share them here today for all the sixth grade girls who struggle with feeling left out.

I share them for all the middle aged moms and teenagers and twenty-somethings who still struggle with that feeling. Because relationships are complex and involve broken people whose own wounds and own agendas handicap the ability to love generously. 

This blog post is for all who hear the voices of rejection echoing in their hearts. For all who long to be loved and invited and celebrated and included.

May these words encourage you today.

 My dearest darling girl,

My heart is so torn for your sadness today. It's hard to feel left out--whether it happens on purpose or on accident. I've felt that way in my own life. You aren't the only one. 

Even at 44, friendships are tricky. Sometimes, you feel more pleasure from a friendship than the other party. Sometimes, you feel like you give and sacrifice more to a friend than they do in return. Sometimes, you mess up and the friendship is hard to repair. Sometimes, friends are just too busy or caught up with a new activity or hobby. Sometimes, friendships go through seasons. Seasons of closeness are followed by seasons of distance. Sometimes, the seasons of friendships nearly fade altogether, for whatever reason.

And while it literally makes my stomach hurt and churn in knots for you to be this sad, I never want you to forget this feeling. I never want you to forget the sting of rejection. I want you to stop and ponder and soak in this feeling so that it never leaves your memory.

For two reasons.

First of all, your Savior willingly CHOSE to leave the glory of heaven to come to earth. To go from perfection to our human mess. To be born into a family where is own brothers didn't believe his ministry was authentic. And they mocked him. He came to a broken world where the religious experts plotted against him, refuted him, schemed against him, and eventually planned to kill him. He came to walk with disciples who would deny even knowing him as he was beaten and spit upon and crucified. And there, on the cross, as he died, he felt the anguish of separation from his Heavenly Father, crying out, "Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?"

My sweet baby girl, never forget feeling rejected. Because your Savior CHOSE to be forsaken by man, by friends, by family and even his Father so that YOU could be accepted as a child of God.

Jesus knows your pain. He did something about it. He loved you to death. He promises to never leave you or forsake you.

That's where you belong. That's where you find full acceptance and satisfaction and fulfillment. Wrapped in the arms of the Beloved of God who calls you his beloved as well.

Second, I hope you never forget how it feels to be left out and rejected so that it might stir compassion in your heart for others who feel rejection's sting. Don't be bitter or angry. But choose to be better. Choose to be a blessing and an encouragement to those who wound you --- for the sake of Jesus' name. And be the one who is always looking for others who are left out, forgotten, rejected and the least of these. Go to them. Run to them. Stand by them. Stand for them. Just like Jesus did for you. Go to them with a kind word, showing the love of your Savior to them.

Remember how Jesus came to bridge the gap of our sin to give us belonging with the Almighty God. Remember the One who bore all the full weight of our ugly sins and became an enemy of God so that we could become children of God. 

When you remember the truth of the gospel story, may it prompt you to live that out for others. Because the gospel story boils down to rejection and acceptance. For we were separated from the holiness of heaven and Jesus chose rejection so that we are not left out. 

So shine that light of kindness and grace into the darkness of rejection felt by others. Be the one who tells and shows them that there is place of belonging.

And in remembering these things I write to you today, you will give purpose to the pain of rejection. And instead of being defeated by it, you can find victory over it. 

I love you to the moon and back. I will always get your back. I will always be your biggest fan. I will always receive you with wide open arms to remind you -- it's going to be okay. Because we have a Savior who threw out his arms as wide as the cross to welcome us to his home. 


For every hurting sixth grader, sixteen year old and sixty year old. May we remember. We were not rejected. We were not left out. We are not alone. We are not forgotten or forsaken. No matter what the world tells us, our Abba Father lavishes love on us as his dearly loved children. While others may simply tolerate us, he delights in us.

In the moments of rejection... let us fix our eyes on Jesus. The one who authors and perfects our faith. Who for the joy set before him, endured the cross.

To make us belong.

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