If you are here, the very first thing I want you to read is this: Writing about a divorce can be sticky. I would never want to hurt B in any way. So, please know this post is about the divorce, not about B.)
In the past, I’d had friends hurt my feelings. I was dumped in college. There were jobs I wasn’t offered. There were times I wasn’t invited. But that was pretty much it. The rejection I had felt in my life was, what I would consider, typical.
When I found out B had filed for divorce, I was devastated. Normal, right? I think so. I was intensely sad and cried every day. This too, did not surprise me. In fact, during those first few months, I didn’t fight it. When the sobbing began, I would stop what I was doing so I could heave it out until that episode was over. I also expected the standard emotions that sadness brings with it; disappointment, depression, grief. I wept through each of these and these sorrowful emotions became increasingly better with time.
But then one feeling, that I was not anticipating, erupted inside and seemed to stick drastically worse than the others.
This rejection was not the pocket-sized kind I had known prior in my life. This was painstakingly different.
There had been a dismissal of our vow, a refusal to stay when it was hard, a complete change of heart.
In other words, it was a dismissal of me.
It was a refusal of me.
It was a change of heart towards me.
I had been, on all accounts, fully rejected by the man I had chosen to spend the rest of my life beside. Rejection was now my comrade, and it crammed its foul nails deep into every avenue; wife, step-mother, daughter-in-law.
Think of the little five-year-old boy who is standing among the crowd waiting to be picked to be on a team. One by one the two captains choose team members. And at the very end, he is the only one, the single child left, while both other teams look at him. His eyes awkwardly dart back and forth at both captains waiting for his name to be called, in front of everyone. He is finally chosen. Even still, he is so excited to be on the team. The season begins with lots of wins, but then challenges come and they have some losses. It’s at this point his team captain comes to him and says, “You aren’t good enough to be on our team anymore. We are better without you. We are leaving you.”
This revolting rejection feeling also spurred thousands of thoughts, but really, I can sum them all up like this: rejection = I wasn’t good enough.
What a beast. How was I supposed to battle this monster? I tried here and there. Some days went well, others I was just too worn out to deal with it.
Then Wes and I went to Israel. And the inexplicable happened.
One morning, our group sat together in the private Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had been there, on that very ground. This was where he pleaded for the “cup” to be taken from him. This was where his capillaries burst and a mixture of sweat, and blood poured out of his body. This garden. This ground. The first few drops of his blood were shed on this dirt. We were given time to be alone in this place. As I pensively walked among the olive trees, it was as if He gently whispered over me, “Lauren, I was thinking of you when I was here.” My heart wanted to burst. I ached to fall and lay at his feet, to place myself face down on that dirt and cling to his ankles.
Later we visited the dungeon where he was likely held by Caiaphas. It was all stone, and it would have been pitch black while he was down in those depths. My dad read Psalm 88 and I was overcome with a feeling of submission. He was in that dungeon for me. He was slashed, beaten, mocked, and then kept in a dark hole, alone…for me. His voice was palpably warm, “Lauren, I loved you enough to sit in this pit for you, knowing where I was headed.” I see why Mary knelt before him, took her jar of perfume and broke it at his feet. I felt that adoration and worship in this place, even two thousand years later.
The Savior had made himself clear.
He will never dismiss me.
He will never refuse me.
He will never change his heart towards me.
There is no rejection with Jesus.
What kind of a God meets me right where I am in the middle of Israel?
What kind of a God knows this repulsive word written on my heart and spends the week solidifying his total acceptance of me?
What kind of a God takes each spot of his home country and reveals how much he incontestably loves me?
He does that.
I came to Israel with rejection etched across my heart. And Jesus led me through his homeland and at every single stop, he threw his arms around me in a deep embrace.
I can’t fathom it. It was inexplicable. I will never forget it.