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Release the Pain, Embrace the Joy

By Michelle McKinney Hammond
(Regal Books)

About the Author

Relationship expert and author of more than 15 books, Michelle McKinney Hammond shares her insights on Scripture principles for relationships with sparkling humor, heartfelt conviction, and abounding empathy. She is the cohost of the Emmy-nominated show "Aspiring Women."

Visit Singles' section each day this week for more from Michelle McKinney Hammond.

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Moving Past Rejection

Michelle McKinney Hammond

CBN.comSo Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. Genesis 21:14, NASB

Hagar moved numbly forward, not knowing where she was going. Left to her own devices, she would have crumbled to the ground and huddled in a fetal position to ward off the waves of grief that overwhelmed her. But for her son’s sake, she stood upright.

Never had she imagined this. Yet here she stood, facing an uncertain future. Life once had seemed so simple but now... oh, what she would give for one yesterday!

Hagar felt so unprotected, victimized. She had served Abraham’s wife faithfully. In her desire to bear a son, Sarah had offered Hagar to Abraham, in hopes that she might bring forth an heir. Sarah had never imagined that what had transpired between her servant and her husband could be more than just a physical act.

And yet, Hagar now knew differently. She was merely a servant, but when Abraham laid with her, something had happened inside her. Something took further root as his son grew within her body. The truth was that Hagar had been joined to him not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well.

Sarah sensed this, too, and treated Hagar harshly. So harshly that Hagar ran away. But the angel of the Lord had bid her to return. And return she did, until Sarah could bear the sight of Hagar no longer. Abraham had looked apologetic as he sent Hagar and their son away, but he was determined to keep the peace in his home. Peace at any price.

The ache within Hagar grew as she watched Abraham walk back toward his home, shoulders bent, weary from the bickering of the two women who contended for his love. Hagar knew she was not entitled to his heart. And yet, the fruit of their time together had wrapped its arms around her, tugging her back to present reality. She would never be able to call the love of Abraham her own, but the ever-present reminder of their union was manifested in the life of her son Ishmael.

She treasured this bittersweet gift; it was all she had left to comfort herself, the sole reminder of a season when she felt loved. No matter how brief the moment, it would have to be enough ....

No matter how short the encounter, the act of giving yourself to another plants seeds within the soil of your heart—seeds that bear lasting fruit. You can be sure that every relationship leaves a permanent mark upon your spirit. Long after that person’s departure, the evidence of his or her presence remains.

Dealing with the residue of past relationships can be an overwhelming proposition. How do you break free from the constant reminders of that lost love? How do you come to terms with the injustice of being cast away in spite of all you have to offer? And worst of all, how do you deal with having to hurt alone when life seems to go on without a ripple for the one who left you weeping in rejection’s wake?

Even through the pain of being rejected, we can take comfort knowing that God is near to us and is able to turn the bitter to sweet if we embrace His counsel. For He uses every experience to perfect us into greater vessels bearing fruit for his glory.

Dear heavenly Father, I have been the victim of bad choices. Some deliberate, some against my better judgment. I have failed myself and failed You. I admit that I was not prepared for the consequences of my actions, and the burden of them seems too much to bear. So here I stand, looking to Your hands for healing. For support and help. Whom have I in heaven but You? Whom have I in the earth besides You?

After all is said and done, You alone are the only one who will not spurn my offerings of love. Forgive me for taking so long to see this. But now I come, mistakes in hand, asking You to take what the enemy meant for evil and make it good. Redeem my past failings and pain and grant me a new beginning. Give me a reason to live and love again. As I embrace You, fill the spaces left behind by those who rejected me and set me apart for your purposes, to the praise and glory of your name, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Excerpted from Release the Pain, Embrace the Joy by Michelle McKinney Hammond, © Regal Books. Used by permission.


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