…and the Jesus who Loved Her
This comes from acclaimed author and speaker, Lysa TerKeurst, author of the bestselling book Made to Crave and President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, who shares a painful, yet beautiful thin place. If you’d like your own Thin Place story featured on this blog, click here.
The year was 1982. I was in the 7th grade.
With frizzy brown hair, bucked teeth, and a knock off brand Izod I walked down the pea green hallway of Raa Middle School.
It was the day after student counsel elections. The day after my classmates confirmed what I’d so desperately feared. If you didn’t have beauty, boobs, and boyfriends no one would vote for you.
I shuffled toward my locker wishing I was invisible. I kept my eyes down while I willed my feet to just keep walking. Finally, my locker was in site. That glorious metal box was my one space in this world of catty girls with cute outfits and spiral permed hair. The space where I could hide my face, let the tears slip, and pretend to be busy shuffling books.
But instead of finding respite in that tiny metal space, I found one of my election posters plastered to the front with the word, “loser” scrawled across the front. How do you quickly hide a poster sized proclamation by the world that you aren’t good enough, cool enough, pretty enough, or accepted enough?
Books dropping, girls laughing, tape ripping, poster board crunching were sounds throbbing in my ears as the poster board resisted my attempts to ball it up small enough to fit into the mouth of the hallway trashcan.
“Please fit, please fit, please fit! Oh God please help this stupid poster from this stupid election with my stupid face on it disappear into this stupid trashcan!”
The bell rang. And as all the ‘normal’ people scampered past me I heard Stephanie’s voice like a dagger’s death blow whisper, “Loser.”
I turned and saw my one confidant. My one friend. My one secret holder being welcomed into the popular girl’s circle. Her public rejection of me was her ticket in to the crowd we’d secretly loathed together. Together.
I sank down beside the stupid trashcan where the stupid poster slowly untwisted on the ground in front of me. Loser. It was a thin place. A place where the world rubbed the fabric of my heart so thin I felt bare, cold, and incapable of redemption. But as I revisit this thin place in my memory, I can also see how it paved a way for God to come close. I’m convinced had I not had these thin places in my life, I would have never felt a need for God. And that would have been a much greater tragedy.
I remembered this last night as I sat in front of a group of young high school students. Girls who vulnerably shared how hard peer relationships can be. They described tangled relationships and feelings of loneliness so consuming they sometimes wished the world would open up and swallow them whole.
I understood their feelings all too well. I have felt the sting of loneliness. I felt it in the flat chested stage of middle school. I have felt it in the sagging chested stage of adulthood. Relationships can be hard no matter what age you are. And here’s the real kicker.
I always thought my ticket to acceptance would have come had I won that school election. Not so. For I’ve discovered on the other side of achievements if you were lonely before you win, you’ll be lonely after you win. No amount of outward success can give you inward acceptance.
I’ve only been able to find that in the comfort of one who will never reject me. The one who knows what it feels like to be rejected though he should have been the most accepted. The one who will sit with me and remind me rejection from man doesn’t equal rejection from God. The one who whispers to the girl sitting at the foot of the locker, “Who are they to put a label on you? The label can only stick if you let it.”
Hebrew reminds me of a lot I need to remember…
v. 14- He (Jesus) shared in their humanity (He has personally felt what you feel)
v. 15- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery (He can conquer this tough situation)
v. 18- Because he himself suffered when he was tempted (He perfectly comforts those suffering)
v. 18 b- he is able to help those who are being tempted (and is able to show you what to do)
Hebrews 3:1, ” … fix your thoughts on Jesus,” (Don’t get consumed with the situation rather consume your thoughts with His perspective, His truth, and His certain victory for you.)
Hebrews 4: 15-16, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we many receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
And of course I have to throw in a little 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, “God is just; He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled…”
And all the Jesus girls who have ever sat crying at the foot of trashcan said, Amen! And Amen!
If you can relate to this post… consider reading my book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. If you have a book club or Bible Study you would also enjoy the DVD teaching series by the same title. You can find those here.