I knew what I was supposed to do. Go into all the world and share the gospel with every creature. But something in me held back, and it’s been holding for so long. Maybe it was holding even long before I was born.

My Great-Grandmother was a young maid for a wealthy farm owner, and she got pregnant, just a young thing, before she was married. That baby, head full of curly red hair, was my grandmother, and she lived with her own grandmother instead of with her young Mama. Nine years later, she finally moved into the house with her mama and daddy and all her younger sisters. She was gorgeous, grew long legs, and became a majorette with a wit and beauty that snagged a handsome country boy. The country boy played a mean game of basketball. Together they had my mama and my aunt, but he didn’t stay.

It makes me wonder if we were all born into shame. Do we pass it down, pump it into umbilical cords? Something in every one of us has felt the sting of rejection. Some of us hold back all our beauty for fear of coming under the shame of rejection. I know my grandmother has had a hard time passing down the beauty instead.

Some people might call it a nudging of the Spririt, but I promise you, I felt God stand behind me and start pushing, while I dug my heals into the ground. I wasn’t being “called.”  I was being taken into ministry. I was asking for His Kingdom to Come, but then it terrified me, because I knew I was hindered in my walk. I began to work through all the things that kept me from loving others, because ultimately it was a lack of love that kept me from going freely where I knew to go.

So much of the world that I had tried to control began to crumble when I finally named it: a spirit of, and such a fear of, rejection. When I finally named it, called it an idol, and saw what lies it had fed me, I couldn’t help but turn and run in the opposite direction. What I’m finding in this freedom is completely new. It’s a race, and I’m finally running.

I’ve not only been released to love, but I have a new trajectory. I am no longer being pushed, but I am full-on running toward HOPE.

It’s funny how strange it is to have HOPE again. It’s what draws the poison out.

For a while now I’ve so overly empathized with those wrestling doubt and disbelief that I forgot about HOPE, and if we forget hope, we begin to only hear the shame. We nestle into the dark, disappointed left and right. But I remember it now:

“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).

The walls I’ve built against men, and the ones who look so fixed, and yes against my own grandmother, they are crumbling. Sometimes we just haven’t yet believed how loved we are. If we would listen – not as the world listens – but really turn around and listen, the Holy Spirit speaks to us within our own broken hearts. He shines light into shame, as when He spoke the word over the void dark of the deep: God loves you. You won’t be disappointed. Hope, let’s call it Kingdom. It’s here and more than that, it’s mighty and on its way. Get back up and run.

*This post is part 2 of Let the Game Changer Change the Game.*

*photo credit*

  • Grace

    My father had the same beginning. It is part of me, and I embrace her strength to keep and raise her son who became a pastor. Thank you for your beauty in your words.

    • Amber Haines

      Thank you, Grace. I love how we’re called to HOPE together.

  • Cathy K.

    Thank you for choosing to run! And, thank you for leaving a “trail” of your words, love and hope for those of us who are feeling God stirring in us…calling us to run as well! Bless you…you bless us!

    • Amber Haines

      Thank you so much, Cathy.

  • Anne

    I, too, have a fear of rejection but have been unable to identify its root(s). I was raised in a loving Christian home with no experiences that would cause shame. What is this that holds me back from loving openly the stranger, the sinner, those who are desperate for help? I have long pondered and prayed for an answer, yet still feel so helpless. I have an awesome husband actively involved in ministry and whole-heartedly support him, but have felt incapable of reaching out on my own. I sincerely feel God has more for me to do but feel paralyzed.

    • Amber Haines

      Anne, I know exactly this feeling! I found an amazing counselor to help me through and really process and pray.

      • Anne

        I think someone down the line (Beth Williams) may have hit on at least part of my problem–perfectionism and the fear of making a mistake! I have recognized it in some areas of my life but not so much in this one. Thanks for the opportunity to share and hear from others.

  • NinaRuth

    This is my story, too…and hearing someone else tell it is so healing…I can already feel Hope rising…!! :-)

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      I love that so much, NinaRuth!

  • Sarita

    Terrific post! Thank you

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      Thank you, Sarita!

  • Lisa E

    Thank you for sharing your story, it will help so many. My grandfather passed away when my mom and aunt were just 5. My father abused my mom, and she fled when I was an infant and my sister was a toddler. I always felt a sense of abandonment, never having met my father. I have been married now to a wonderful man for forty years, and what gives me hope is knowing my true Father is my heavenly Father, who will never leave my side.

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      He will never leave you nor forsake you.

  • Carrie Johnson

    This is one of the most honest, forthright and loving works of sisterhood I have ever read. I am an avid reader who reads almost as much as I breathe while awake. You are worthy of our Father’s blessings and my heart’s applause. May it give you joy to know you have truly blessed my day and I plan to keep my copy of this with my journal to renew later on.

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      Thank you, Carrie.

  • Beth Williams

    Loved the post Amber! Thank you for sharing such open honest words! I am positive it will help many many women!

    My fear is not so much rejection, but of making a mistake. I have a hard time speaking in public or getting in front of crowds, and yet–God has helped me to cure that fear a little. I get up in front of my church and do sign language to music. At times I am scared, but mostly I just let the Holy Spirit and God work through me to bless the congregation.

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      Beth, it’s interesting that you share this. Perfectionism is another one of my biggest struggles, and a friend helped me see that behind that struggle is an issue of control. That’s how it is for me anyway. It’s almost like I’ve had to get rid of my acceptance issues to even see how deep the control issues go. It’s hard to leave results with God, but it’s terribly goofy not to – at the same time.

      Thank you for sharing.

  • Kathy @ In Quiet Places

    I absolutely love the verse you shared, Romans 5:5, oh those words, “the love of God poured out within our hearts” have reassured me so many times of God’s love for me!

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      Yes! Me too. I love it so much. It’s the way to recognize the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, too. That love.

  • tammy@meadows speak

    Sometimes I believe it’s not just rejection, but fear of never being accepted in the first place {by others or someone in particular}, as if I’m trying to get “in” somewhere. I’m looking forward to your journey. And the way you’re writing in all of it, I likey a lot.

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      Thank you, Tammy. Yes, this one is hard. It’s kind of a constant turning over for me.

  • Bev Duncan@ Walking Well With God

    Beautiful post…finally believing how truly loved we are sets us free to pursue what God had intended for us all along. He keeps whispering words of love until finally we hear. What an awesome God we have!

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      Bev, it’s so true. It’s like something clicks. When I’m believing that He loved me first, my entire life seems to pull in the direction of HOPE, and from that, I am genuinely loving others. It has an exponential effect.

  • alli

    Good can come from bad beginnings. Jesus was born in a stable

    • Amber@theRunaMuck

      I know it, Alli. I keep thinking that. Jesus was born into shame. I’m so grateful that we even get to know that.

  • Jeni

    This version is (NASB) “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).
    But if you click on the link it is: English Standard Version (ESV)
    and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

    Romans 5:5 (NASB)
    and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

  • Valerie Hohenberger

    Amber, thanks for this post. I too have been a victim of shame, and control issues. I am working on it, but it is a hard habit to break! With God’s help I WILL!

  • Marcy

    I’m right here in this… “I’ve so overly empathized with those wrestling doubt and disbelief that I forgot about HOPE”. There are multiple moments daily to choose the hope. Thank you for encouragement to keep choosing just before this day ends!

  • Nancy

    Rejection has been a large part of my life. If I did not know that God loves me and have the hope that one day I will be home where I will never be rejected again, I would not have the strength to face each day.

  • Joy

    My momma died when I was 4. My father would do horrible things to me & my three siblings & disappear sometime for days, sometimes for months. One day he left my younger brother & I and never came back. He kept my sisters though, i supose they were good enough. My brother got adopted. Everyone wants a baby but I was already 6. I lived in 9 homes in about 2 years. Some were really good some were very abusive. When I was 8 I got adopted by distant family but they never treated me good either. A couple months ago they decided that they didn’t want me anymore either. My very gracious & godly English teacher opened her heart & home & has welcomed me not just to live with them but to finally truely have a family. I understand the fear of rejection. It’s been a pretty common theme in my life so far. Thank you for your beautiful words. They sung to my soul. I know I can get back up & run because as It says in Psalm 27 “Though my father & my mother forsake me The Lord will lift me up”.

  • Kelly @ Love Well

    This is redemption, Amber. The bravery that comes from tasting His sweetness and refusing any other drink in His stead.

    Cheering you on, woman of valor. So proud of you.

  • karina allen

    Amber, this is beautiful and beautifully conveyed! Shame, fear and rejection are totally passed down! I have been plagued by these emotions my whole life. Only now, in my 30s, is the Lord setting me free from them. It is a struggle at times but I know that getting free is worth the fight. There are others on the others side of my freedom that need to know God’s truth and promises that I am learning.

    My prayer is that I begin to fully realize how wide and how high and how deep is God’s love for me. I know that that is what will give me hope and a sense of identity.
    This is my fave quote! “… the Holy Spirit speaks to us within our own broken hearts.”
    That just resonates in the depths of my soul. I am SO thankful that He pursues us and speaks life, hope and healing to our hearts.

    Grateful that you shared this truth and what the Lord is doing in your heart. We are all journeying together. Have I mentioned that I am proud of you? Because I am!!!!!