mx more :: acceptance
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I was 14 when I first realized I don’t fit in. The insecurities began to creep in. My middle school and childhood friendships started to drift.  I started a new school and remember walking those halls feeling like I was the only one who felt out of place. The only one with damage and hardship going on at home. The only one who wondered if my life mattered. The only one who didn’t truly feel connected with any group of people.

I remember walking through the cafeteria with my lunch tray in hand and a pit in my stomach. Now what? I looked around at all the tables. There were the jocks, the preppy kids, the drama kids, the geeks, the book club, cheerleaders; and there was me… I couldn't fit into any of those molds. My heart craved and desired so deeply to feel connected and accepted, but at that age, I began to believe I was too different and no one would see me otherwise.

I had some friends, sure. But I never felt complete or comfortable or accepted by any of those relationships. I never let anyone in. Not really. I was scared. No one really knew me.

At this point, I knew of Jesus. But I didn’t truly know Jesus. Not yet.

During that season I eventually gave up trying to find a way to fit in with the other kids and instead spent my lunch breaks in the library. I figured I could hide in there behind a mask of “studying” or “busyness” and no one would be able to see my brokenness or insecurities. One day I pulled out my Bible and decided to find out more about Jesus. I started writing down my thoughts and wrestling through the emotions and hardships I was dealing with. I talked to Jesus about my insecurities. I read His story and I prayed that someday I would find why I’m here and where I belong.

And he met me there.

I remember His words just coming alive to me. I read in Deuteronomy 31:8, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

He captivated my heart and I soon found acceptance with Him. An acceptance that wasn’t conditional. I began to see that He was with me all along. That He never left me and He promised to always be there. In fact, he handcrafted me on purpose before my parents even knew me. The Bible says in Psalms 139:13, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb”. I was His before I was theirs. I was just too distracted and consumed with my own high school reality and struggles to respond or hear His voice.

From there, the cafeteria hierarchy and trying to find my ‘group’ didn’t matter or affect me anymore. Because I had discovered the most precious treasure I ever could have found: the truth. Jesus says in John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

And it did just that.

I looked forward to lunch breaks and times that I could go back and be with Jesus. He was where I found completeness. The only place I could find real peace or joy amongst a dysfunctional family, hurting hearts, damaged friendships or temptations, and fears, was in the arms of Jesus.  

It has since been an amazing road of finding acceptance with other believers too. Knowing that we are all family and we are connected by the Blood of Jesus. I now can honestly say I have an incredible community of people that accept me and love me with the love of Jesus.

When no one saw me. No one cared. I was alone and confused. Jesus saw me. I pursued Him and realized He had been pursuing me all along. He cared for me. He reached down to hold onto me. He brought me out of confusion and He gave me a love I will never deserve. A love I will passionately live out for now and all of eternity. He has sealed me as His own. I am adopted into His family.

Ephesians 1:5 says “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”

And if you accept His invitation and grab on to his open hand, He will do the same for you. He says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jesus is where hope and purpose is found and encountering Him changed absolutely everything for me.

Only by Grace, Tiffany

Tiffany Parker