Growing up in a divorced home meant two of everything–a double dose. Two homes, two birthday parties, two Christmases, two sets of grandparents nearby, two churches… Being double blessed and double loved was nothing to take for granted, but it was extremely easy to feel like you are living a double life. With that, the enemy began to put thoughts in my head. “Jerilyn, you just don’t belong.” “You don’t fit in with either.” Writing this, I am thinking, “You know it’s not true. Tell your readers that it’s just a lie and you easily shake the doubts.” I wish I could say that I shut Satan out my head, but honestly, I do not. A majority of my life, I felt like I did not belong.
Disclaimer:I have been raised in two loving homes with two parents who care for me deeply. This is not about them, this is about my battle with my flesh. You see, Satan knew that this was my weak and vulnerable spot. He knew this was what could get me to slip and face-plant into concrete. For the longest time, this was the devil’s greatest tactic to get me to live in a mindset that I am not enough, I am a fraud, I am not loved, and I am not important. I would tell my friends this, and of course they told me what any good friend would, but I still couldn’t shake it. I could not get rid of the feeling of never belonging. This was evident in almost every area of my life. For anyone who knows me, they can attest to the fact that I have been a part of mutiple churches, schools, friend groups, jobs, etc. Although it often appeared that I was “Miss Independent,” I was really just “Miss Trying to Belong.”
The more I would feed into the lies, the more I felt like a burden to my dear friends, loving boyfriend, supporting family, and sound churches. This is exactly where the devil wanted me, because isolation is his tool to get me away from where I am supposed to be and from what I am supposed to be doing.
Now, listen, this is not to throw a pity party or to grab any attention from you. This is a post to show you what my God can do, and to remind you that you are never alone.
In ninth grade, when I finally began feeling as though I fit the mold at my high school, I remember the Father tugging on my heart to go back to my old school. When I say tugging, I mean completely pulling my heart in the direction He wanted me. I kept pulling the other way, however. (Perhaps I have trouble with resisting my stubbornness…) I told Him that I would start a girls Bible study where I was so that I did not have to go back. The tugging did not stop, even when I started the Bible study. My Father opened my eyes to hurting people, to a good opportunity, and to His will for my life. I left to go back to my old school, but let me tell you… It was rough. I missed my friends, comfortability, and support. I was completely on my own when I switched schools, and I certainly did not find my place right away. Here is the irony—the Father put me in a place I did not belong to show me to Whom I belong. It went a little like Hosea 2:14 says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” My Jesus took me into the wilderness my freshman year of high school to show me that I belonged to Him. You see, I have battled a majority of my life believing that I do not belong and that I have no place to call home. I would be lying if I said I still do not struggle with that, but the Lord constantly reminds me that I belong to Him. I had this sweet verse written as a reminder to me on the front of a notebook, “You are precious in My eyes and honored and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4a)
My Jesus constantly reminds me that I am not only His, but that I am His beloved. He chose to love me—He constantly chooses to love you too. It is so easy to believe that we do not belong, but that is not the case. Believing that I do not belong is a daily battle that I enter. If I do not go in with the proper armor, I will get shot by Satan’s dart every single day of my life. He really knows our weakness!
What is my armor, you may ask? First and foremost, Scripture is my sword. We must use truth to demolish the lies. Second, remind yourself of His love and all the darkness, doubts, and loneliness disappear. Lastly, remember that He also surrounds us with people to help in order to defeat the devil. Sometimes it takes an army, so look to His recruits and never be too afraid to ask for help.
Beloved readers, fight. If we are not sober-minded or fueled by the Spirit, we will lose every time. He has given us to grace, love, strength, and support we need to fight.
Never forget, you are so loved and you belong.