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  My son marched over after the post-game huddle, shoulders looking too broad in pads and white jersey. "That last touchdown for them? The ball didn't even cross the plane. It was only his head!" The outrage was clear in his voice, the disgust evident on his face. The scoreboard showed a final score of 35-13, a bitter loss bringing their overall record to a losing one. It's been a fun season, one in which he's learned a lot, but I think I've learned a lot, too. I've learned that my boy, the one who was 6 pounds at birth and wore preemie clothing home from the hospital, can be hit without breaking. I've learned he has an infinite capacity for playing Madden Mobile, and I've learned I can be one of those mamas yelling a little too loudly from the sidelines. But I've also learned that to my son, the world is black and white. The rules are the rules, and if you block him in the back, he's going to have something to say about it. If the ref misses a call, he's going to bring it up later. And by all means, if a touchdown is not really a touchdown, he's going to...


  Lord, Some days I feel like such a screw-up. I wake up wanting to stay in bed, sleeping away the minutes you've given me. I want to do what's comfortable for myself and what will bring me most satisfaction, all while forgetting you didn't make me for me. You made me for you. So God, I need to confess. I confess that most days I think more about myself than I ever think about you. Even in the work that you have given me, I look for ways to take myself higher. In the relationships you've gifted me, I look for ways to have my way be the way. In the life you have presented me, I make it all about myself. I confess that I spend far too much time thinking about what others think of me. I listen for their opinions while ignoring your truth. I repeat their praises and insults to myself, disregarding your words about who I truly am. I confess that my fears motivate me far more than my faith, and I quickly assume the worst of you rather than believing the best. When things don't go my way, I think, "It's because He doesn't love me" rather than "It's only...


  Sometimes I despise Christian radio. Don't get me wrong - my car radio is usually tuned to Christian stations, but I have moments when their talk shows come on and they sound so self-righteous I want to scream and change the dial. Recently, there happened to be an "expert" on families and marriage talking about "broken" families. You know, families like mine. Families who have experienced divorce and deal with remarriage and, in his eyes, need to be called "broken." (Side note - if you did not grow up in a "broken" family and have not experienced divorce yourself, are you really an expert? What do you authentically know about divorce? Can you really understand the experiences of step-parents and step-children? Your reading a book about it and looking at families like mine as a case study in your PhD program do not, in my eyes, make you an expert whose advice is more valuable than my experience. And your condescending tone and pitying banter leave MUCH to be desired. But I digress.) Good grief, what a term. "Broken" families. Listen. I understand. I understand that God's design is for one mother and one father to live together forever in holy matrimony and to raise their...


  When you've experienced rejection in your life, a serious rejection of all that you are, you see everything through the lens of being unwanted and unworthy. Worthless, as a matter of fact, and disposable. You very easily operate from the assumption that who you are is never enough, and you believe with every fiber of your being that even your presence in a room is tolerated but never wanted. Every interaction is guarded, and you wait for the inevitable moment when you will be pushed aside, cast away like the rubbish you are. Small slights from others reinforce your beliefs about your value, and self-preservation begs you to build walls to protect yourself from further destruction. You isolate yourself because you know you are an outsider, a person whose purpose is to be seen but not heard. Noticed but not acknowledged. Tolerated but never loved. The rejection becomes something not just done to you, but your very identity. You weren't rejected - you are rejected. It's never a past-tense action; it's ongoing and assumed in the future. It's the air that surrounds you, the enveloping presence with you forever. Living as one rejected is excruciating, and without intentionality, it becomes your default and...