“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”
I was rushing to get to work one morning in 1990 when I had an unusual accident. While quickly combing my hair, the comb got stuck in my earring, and before I knew it, I pulled the small hoop straight through my pierced ear. The pain shot from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. It was so excruciating that I didn’t want anybody to touch it, and so I didn’t go to the doctor right away. I figured that with time, the wound would heal on its own. The pain did eventually go away, but my earlobe remained split. To cover it, I began wearing a small flesh-colored Band-Aid, which held my earring in place. That, of course, left me susceptible to all kinds of infection. To anyone looking from a distance, though, everything seemed normal.
Eventually, I recognized that the split in my ear wasn’t going to mend itself, and so I went to the doctor. Because I’d waited so long to seek help, the doctor said the skin would have to be cut off on both sides of the wounded ear to bind the flesh together again properly. Just the thought of that pain terrified me! So I left the doctor’s office and never looked back. Instead of going through the momentary pain to have my ear fully restored, I got it pierced again in a different spot.
The emotional wounds from rejection are the same way. We mask them for so long that from a distance, everything appears just fine. But upon closer inspection, we find a serious, old injury that first must be cleaned out, reopened (exposed), and repaired the right way before true healing can begin. God wants us to come to him raw, stripped of all the things we’ve used to mask our pain. But too many of God’s people don’t want to go through the surgery of the Word to achieve full healing. So, we leave those old wounds open, and rejection comes again and again, like a persistent infection, seeping into the core of us, keeping those old wounds raw and painful. My spirit was wounded. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It may hurt our flesh when it is being preached or read, but it will heal our spirit in the end.
It was about 1995 when I began to recognize the evil spirit that had been infecting my life. I was attending a women’s retreat in Pass Christian, Mississippi, with my church, when a woman approached me with a startling message. She was a prophet, and I had never shared my story with her.
“Stop being angry with your parents for sending you to live with your great-grandmother,” she said, looking directly at me. I knew it was God because she didn’t say “your grandmother.” She said “your great-grandmother.”
Immediately, I began to weep. This woman didn’t know me personally; this was God speaking to me through her. “You had to live with your grandmother for what God is going to do through your life,” she continued.
She went on to prophesy that she saw a vision of my husband and me in a church, and she described the details of the church down to the “funny” shape of the massive desk. By then, my pastor and the assistant pastor had told me they sensed a call on my life to teach, but I had not yet accepted my call, and my husband was still not yet serious about his walk with God. Yet, she saw us in a church –– as pastors! She absolutely blew my mind! For a month, I think I cried every time I thought about that moment. But her words brought comfort to me. For the first time, I began to understand why I’d experienced so much pain. God wanted to use me to help others through their pain, and he had been preparing me for my future. I had to live with my great-grandmother to know Jesus the way I did. While neither of my parents went to church regularly, my great-grandmother was the epitome of Christian womanhood and love. She loved God with all she had, she loved His people, and she loved me. She never judged me, even after I got pregnant as a teenager, and she never condemned me. She showed me how to love others, but most importantly, she introduced me to Jesus and taught me how to serve Him. Living with my great-grandmother in my formative years was God’s will for my life because He was calling me to preach. I’ve since learned that if I never accept God’s will for my life, I will never have the opportunity to understand God’s sovereignty over my life. My footsteps had been ordered by the Lord. Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
After that encounter with the prophet, God began pushing me to confront the pain that had me bound all those years, and allow Him to heal my wounded soul from the inside out. I realized that what I wasn’t willing to confront would never heal. Practically, what that meant is I began to have a deep yearning to know what was going on inside of me, why I was struggling, and how I could get over it to walk boldly in my calling as a minister of the Gospel. It took many more years of struggle to let go of the guilt and shame from my past, as well as the additional guilt and shame I’d heaped onto myself because I was struggling as a woman of faith. But God ultimately led me to a place of peace. He freed me from the condemnation I’d felt because of my struggle. He healed every wound caused by rejection. And when God is the surgeon, there are no scars.
The following is the process that saved my life. I am fully persuaded that if you trust God and believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, these steps can heal you, too.
Step One: Acknowledge that you’re dealing with a spirit of rejection.
If we don’t recognize the enemy, we won’t know how to confront it. Hosea 4:6 tells us, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Satan was trying to destroy me and keep me from walking in my purpose because I lacked the knowledge of why I behaved the way I did, why I responded the way I did, why I needed to be affirmed when I did something “good,” and why I always felt invisible and unloved. The enemy knew the stronghold that rejection and the fear of it had on my emotions, and he took advantage of every slight and every disappointment to twist my thinking. I’d inevitably end up in the same place, feeling ashamed, worthless, and unfit to preach the Word of God.
When my thoughts became suicidal, I knew that as a Christian, I shouldn’t be thinking this way. As afraid as I was of being condemned, I mustered the courage to talk to an assistant pastor I trusted at the church we were attending. Among other things, he told me that I was dealing with spirits of depression and suicide. I’d never heard this before, and so I wanted to know more. I soon began studying everything I could find about demonic spirits. Eventually, I would team up with my church sister and my closest friend, Judy Evans, who has since transitioned to Heaven, to search the Bible and supportive texts for everything I could find on the subject. I’d come to understand that anything Satan can use as a tool to block out God’s truth from our lives can operate as a spirit. So yes, depression and suicide were spirits, operating on the inside of me, trying to make me believe that my life wasn’t worth living and that I should end it all. But rejection is a spirit, too, and often comes first, making the rejected one believe things about himself or herself that are contrary to the Word of God. I began to realize that rejection had so infiltrated my thinking that I could not see myself the way God sees me and that the spirit of rejection had opened the door to other demonic spirits, including depression and suicide.
I didn’t understand it at the time, but recognizing what was going on inside of me was the first baby step toward my healing. Once I recognized that my destructive thoughts were just a trick of the enemy, I knew that I could learn how to fight back. It occurred to me that I must be really special to God. Why else would Satan try so hard to destroy me? What was it about my future that so terrified the enemy of God? I began to call that evil spirit what it is — a liar and a thief — and to declare that I am a child of the Most High God. When we do this, we put Satan and his imps on notice that they have no place in our lives.
In next month’s issue, I will continue to discuss the seven steps to healing from a spirit of rejection. This article was taken from my book titled: No More Chains: Freedom from Rejection and Depression God’s Way. Visit my website at www.chiquitaweathersby.com to get your autographed copy today.