Wounds In Jars

Rejected: fail to show due affection or concern for (someone); rebuff.

Synonyms - Cast aside, turn down, refuse 

The word “rejected” conjures up some deep feelings within my soul. I think everyone has felt rejected at some point in their lifetime. Maybe you didn’t get a job; you got turned down by a boy, the school you applied for didn’t want you, or sadly, you felt unseen or unwanted at church. Being rejected might be the worst feeling in the world because it cuts right to the core of our humanity. We all want to be a part of something, to know we have a place. It’s built into our DNA. 

As a pre-teen and well into my teenage years, I felt this pain on a profound level. It could have been my horrible acne, the fact that I had no sense of style, or even maybe the insecurity l felt leaked all over everyone, and most people couldn’t help but reject me, at least the people I was trying to impress. 

I am in a season of life where I am learning that this specific rejection is a wound that never fully healed. A cut that has been exposed through parenting my pre-teen daughter. She started a new school at the beginning of the year with no friends she went to elementary school with. She is trying to find her place, where she fits within her peer set. With that comes awkward navigation and failed conversations that end in, at best, an eye roll, or at worst, exclusion---another word for rejection. 

This past week, I was “lucky” enough to witness her interact with some classmates. I ached as I watched them silently reject her. It broke my heart into a million pieces. 

Watching your children suffer the same pain you once felt is a much deeper cut than the first time around. If you aren’t careful to contain the bleeding, it might make it a huge mess for all parties involved. 

You see, I don’t think my daughter was as hurt as I was in this whole scenario. I most likely exasperated the situation and drew attention to something she was completely oblivious to. All because my unhealed wound started to affect what was never hers, to begin with. 

Our wounds are a part of our stories. They are useful and can be a beautiful offering to others but only if properly contained. In my quiet time this week, I read a passage from an old magazine article that describes how God intended us to use our hurts to help others: 

“As we offer up our own wounds to Christ and they begin to heal...the memory of the pain remains. It does not disappear, nor should it. Now it lives in a corner, like a precious ointment in an alabaster jar. From time to time, as we welcome a guest, we find it helpful to remove the lid of the jar to release its fragrance into the room. The fragrance reminds us of our own time of despair and healing, and from this memory comes both compassion for the other’s pain and the confidence that healing is possible.” 

I am realizing now that I’ve taken my jar of rejection oil, and instead of using it as a fragrance to help my daughter, I have spilled it all over the floor. Now I am slipping all over the place while trying to keep her from coming anywhere near the mess. I’m trying to prevent her from any pain while simultaneously preventing her from experiencing God's presence. I’m forgetting about what Jesus did with my pain and rejection and how He turned my hurt into a place where I found Him. I’m forgetting that I had to turn from others in order to turn to Him; a place of complete acceptance—a place where my wounds are healed. 

To actually help my daughter, I must find a way to take my jar and put it back on the shelf. Only when God asks me will I open it up just a little and let it be a sweet reminder of His mercy, grace, and most importantly, His acceptance.

  1. Recognize when you are operating out of an old wound. Before you continue in any conversation with another (be it your spouse, child, friend), ask God to show you where you are letting the past hurt affect your current relationship.
  2. Revisit the place where you were healed. If you have already been down the road of reconciliation, then use that place to begin again. Focus on what God did through the pain rather than what caused the pain. 
  3. Rally the troops. I need my friends to help point me to Truth. They show me where the devil is picking away at my scab and remind me what God is doing to continue the healing. 


JL McCarthy

September 28, 2021