Samantha Wiraatmaja »

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Favor for the Unfavored

I’ve struggled most of my life with a secret shame.

Not favored.

I don’t talk about it much. Partly because it isn’t something one just casually slips into everyday conversation, but mostly because I’ve been so afraid that speaking it out makes it true – that those with whom I speak will see me in the very same light that has caused me so much anguish. Because I thought the shame would kill me.

But the Lord has recently taught me some things that I need to share with you, and shame seems a small risk/price that I’m willing to pay. This isn’t easy to write, but it’s so worthwhile if it could bring some comfort to just one soul.

So here goes.

“Every parent has a favorite. Sometimes it’s something small, but you can see it, you know? They smile a little brighter when one of you walks in the room. Laugh a little louder when one of you tells a joke.”  But it wasn’t me. I wasn’t the favorite.

“Unfavored” hung over my head like a giant neon billboard, casting its shadow over every area of my life.

Identities like – second rate, not interesting/fun/pretty enough, shameful – became coats that, though ill-fitting at first, were thrust upon me so repeatedly that I succumbed to wearing them daily.

(Important note: My parents are good parents who love my siblings and I very much. They’ve always done their best to be fair and loving, giving us the best they can. It just happens that sometimes people are drawn to different personalities in different ways.)

This cloud over my head grew more ominous when people began noticing + pointing out, “You’re not their favorite,” until one day, all the pent-up hurt and shame from childhood broke through the surface and brought me on a long journey through darkness (which I wrote about here) which, praise be to God, He eventually rescued me from.

But the belief systems weren’t so easy to evacuate.

You see, human beings , like the earth, have fault lines – places where there have been fractures, which are therefore weak and have a propensity for further disturbances. Places that need an extra measure of grace and surrender.

Because I carried those broken identities for so long, it (still) doesn’t take much to throw me back down into a spiral of self-abuse and self-rejection. It doesn’t take much for those voices – you’re second rate, you’re ugly, you’re unlovable, shameful – to begin their unending litany all over again. That is why I am a type-A (learning to embrace the mess) perfectionist, a mildly (arguably chronically) OCD neat-freak, and a (learning rested-ness) high achiever.

This has been my weakness, my hidden shame. Even though God took me out from the darkness, it’s taken a lot longer to take the darkness out of me.

Has there been progress? Yes. But slow, way slow. Mostly, I think, because God knows I’d die from the pain of dealing with it all at once.

The battle is real. Which is why the message I have for you today is not delivered with a lofty “Thus saith the Lord” or with flippancy from the vantage point of “Been there, done that”, but as a fellow pilgrim/sister/friend/comrade who is still learning to overcome.

Maybe you haven’t walked the exact same journey I did. Maybe, instead, it was a husband, friend, or your children who have made you feel less than enough. Wherever you are, this is for those of you who have ever been made to feel rejected, forgotten, abandoned.

“When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, He opened her womb.” — Genesis 29:31

“‘Because more are the children of the desolate woman then of her who has a husband,’ says the Lord.” –– Isaiah 54:1

This is the word of the Lord —

Beloved, I give great grace to the unloved.

To the woman rejected and disgraced, I pour My love and favor.

Come, My beloved. Find refuge and comfort in My love. My unfailing love for you will never fail.

Put your hope in Me, not in Princes or the strength of man.

I will take away your shame and give you a double portion.

I will remove your disgrace and give you an inheritance. Come to Me.

 

There is a promise of great fruitfulness in rejection and pain.

It might not always look like the fruit we were expecting, but it is more beautiful. Pain produces an eternal kind of beauty in the soul that nothing can else can replicate. It teaches compassion, empathy, a sense of justice.

The fault lines, areas of weakness, in our lives become the very places in which we begin to lean into the strength of Jesus. Like Jacob who limped the rest of his life so he would always lean on God, our weaknesses are allowed by God to teach us to lean. And lives like that – wholly surrendered to the Lord – become a guiding light and inspiration to others.

From the broken pieces of your heart, many will be fed. The bread that fed thousands had first to be broken in the loving hands of Jesus. On its own, it would’ve satisfied one boy. But there in the hands of Jesus, broken and offered up to God, it became nourishment to thousands.

He gives great grace to the unloved and a double portion to the desolate.

When God saw that Leah was unloved, pushed aside, He was quick to pour His blessing on her. But there is one thing we must learn from Leah. She started out by crediting her fruitfulness to God, but eventually the fruit became her crutch. She still sought comfort from man (her husband and/or her children), not God. She saw her children as a means to secure what she thought she didn’t have on her own – love, acceptance, achievement. When she saw that she’d stopped having children, she became desperate and began to do things in her own strength.

God loved Leah. She had never needed to prove her worth. He saw her, truly saw her. He was always quick to respond to her pain. And that is true for each one of us.

In the barrenness and dry desert places, we are loved.

When fruit begin to grow + blessings start to flow, we are loved just the same.

Blessings come and go, but our great reward is the Lord who will never leave us nor forsake us.

Let every fruit in our lives be attributed to the Lord. Let us rejoice in every weakness and trial, because it brings us a little closer to the heart of God. Let it be said of us, when our lives are done, “Every victory in her life came from God.”

Let His name be lifted up and glorified. For there is great favor for the unfavored.

  • Cheyenne @Rosevine Cottage GirlsJune 15, 2015 - 12:30 pm

    Such a great post!ReplyCancel

  • Coupon Gal (Andi)June 15, 2015 - 5:47 pm

    i definitely needed to see this today – thank you…ReplyCancel

  • SamanthaJune 15, 2015 - 9:00 pm

    Good reminder that the Lord will fulfill our needs when others do not.ReplyCancel

  • Kaci SesterJune 15, 2015 - 9:15 pm

    I love this! We are worthy because oh Him! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • TristaJune 15, 2015 - 9:48 pm

    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Yes, the battle is real and we need to constantly be in His presence to get strength to battle. Great post and love your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Deb WolfJune 15, 2015 - 10:43 pm

    You spoke so much truth to my heart this morning. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Samantha Ford-GodetteJune 16, 2015 - 12:10 am

    Wow. I have felt like this my whole life. My mom loves my brother and I but I know he’s here favorite. I used to resent it now I have made peace with it. Thank you for sharing something so intimate.ReplyCancel

  • LauraJune 16, 2015 - 12:30 am

    I really commend you on being so honest and forthcoming! It is a hard thing when we don’t have the relationships with our parents that we always wanted. This week I wrote about my non-existent relationship with my own father. It was a difficult thing to do, but I hope it will encourage others. Everything that we need to be fulfilled can be found in God…I’m so thankful for that!ReplyCancel

  • Mary CollinsJune 16, 2015 - 12:57 am

    Sometimes we just have to stand on HIs promises no matter what people on this earth may say or do to us. We are all treasured and loved by heavenly Father.ReplyCancel

  • MirandaJune 16, 2015 - 1:00 am

    This is beautiful. You truly have a way with words!

    I take this as an encouragement, because I too was broken down by life once, and I am learning to live in God’s grace.

    I also take this as a warning…to be sure that all 5 of my children feel loved and important. I definitely can see where one or two of them may feel second best, and as of today I am going to change that because they are all so important and worthy.

    I am sure that if your parents had been aware of what they were doing, they would have changed.

    God bless you for sharing your heart. Have a great week!ReplyCancel

  • Florence AchamaJune 16, 2015 - 2:42 am

    Samantha, I love the way you write – I think I said this before the last time I read your post. But on to the topic of today – you have captured the pain of it so well. I’m not sure if I ever felt like I wasn’t a favourite in my parents eyes, but I did feel like I always had to live up to a standard of how kids my age were back home. On top of that being quite a quiet and ‘strange’ child I was often left out and as you say that can make you feel unworthy. But thanks God He knows us so intimately and He has created each one of us with infinite beauty, worth and value in our own right. His loves is never failing, our goal is to try and fall head first into the ocean of His love so that it washes all our pain and insecurities away – often a life long swim.ReplyCancel

  • MarissaJune 16, 2015 - 2:50 am

    So true – there ARE fault lines in every single person. Thank you for baring yours in an attempt show where the calm comes from. God is miraculous in His ways. And while you didn’t get the title you wanted from your parents, He has given you the title you need.

    MarissaReplyCancel

  • Aimee ImbeauJune 16, 2015 - 4:01 am

    Our brokenness is so beautiful to our Lord when we lay those shards at His feet. He can do such amazing things with those jagged, crushed pieces. Sometimes we get impatient for the healing, thinking it is taking too long. But it really is the perfect amount of time for His healing and restoration.
    I am going to share this on my blog round-up 9.ReplyCancel

  • AudreyJune 16, 2015 - 6:41 am

    This was so beautiful. I really love your writing, I could feel your pain and then your hope in Christ through your words. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. God bless!ReplyCancel

  • DariaJune 16, 2015 - 9:09 am

    Beautiful post! Even though I’m an only child, I felt your pain… Thanks for sharing and may you to continue to grow in loving yourself…ReplyCancel

  • Homestead WishingJune 16, 2015 - 11:42 am

    I feel like we are one in the same. I felt like I was the unfavored child too. I am thankful that God is much stronger than I am, and that I can lean on him anytime. Thank you for this post. I really needed this today!ReplyCancel

  • Adriana ReneeJune 16, 2015 - 12:49 pm

    Love this! I can relate so much, but I’m so glad that I know God’s love is so deep.ReplyCancel

  • MatildaJune 16, 2015 - 3:00 pm

    Samantha,this post is a real blessing to me and many out there. I will add that just as God saw Leah, the more we get closer to God, the more we have a better self-esteem. Afterall God who created the entire universe loves u, what else matters….ReplyCancel

  • AndreaJune 16, 2015 - 6:00 pm

    the more that I see this 😀ReplyCancel

  • Mary HillJune 16, 2015 - 9:11 pm

    God is so loving and true. He favors us all. It is such a miracle when you think about it. How can He favor all His children, those whom He has saved? He can make you feel like His favorite child in times of despair. He can lift you up and heal your broken places. Thank you so much for your sweet and poignant post. So many truths to put in my heart and savor.ReplyCancel

  • Victoria @ Creative Home KeeperJune 17, 2015 - 3:46 am

    This spoke to my heart today. Feelings of being unloved, not the favorite, and being overlooked are often feelings I have struggled with. Satan definitely has feed me lies over the years. Thank you for your beautiful words and the reminder that God sees knows and loves us more than we can ever comprehend.ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie Lyn SmithJune 17, 2015 - 5:29 am

    Love this: “You see, human beings , like the earth, have fault lines.” That is so true, and I love your reminder that our pain is always used to refine us and build us more into what God can use to spread His love to others! Blessings!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly O'BrienJune 17, 2015 - 6:44 am

    This is a huge eye opener of the perspective of the unfavored. I have seen what favoritism does and it broke my heart to watch my step daughter go through that! It is such a good reminder as parents to not be respecter of persons! Thanks so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • ChariJune 17, 2015 - 9:18 am

    Thanks so much for sharing with us! It is great to know that God favors us no matter what!ReplyCancel

  • JanellJune 17, 2015 - 10:37 am

    Great post! I’ve been there. I was invisible for most of my childhood. It’s so hard to see how God views us after viewing ourselves as nothing for years.”You see, human beings , like the earth, have fault lines.” Love that! It’s so true. Praying God’s grace would fill in those cracks!ReplyCancel

  • Brandi @ penguinsinpink.comJune 18, 2015 - 12:45 am

    Love this post. Being unfavored can stick with us for life if we let it. But God favors us. We need to remember that the creator of the world loved us so much He sent his Son to die for us. If that’s not favoritism I don’t know what is!ReplyCancel

  • KatieJune 19, 2015 - 3:07 pm

    What a beautiful post, thank you for your honesty in sharing the pain and truth xoReplyCancel

  • Lauren EnglishJune 25, 2015 - 12:45 am

    This is beautiful….I love how you describe each person as having “fault lines” along which we can easily break. Thanks for sharing your journey here and encouraging other women to find freedom from shame!ReplyCancel

  • NatOctober 28, 2015 - 8:00 pm

    my mother openly admitted she liked my sister more, even through I was usually the first one to listen to her, reach out to her and comfort her and care for her. I’d always known it but hearing it out loud in person really shook me. the shame is unbearable. thank you for this, I really needed to hear it.ReplyCancel

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