Has a person in your family dropped off your radar? Is no longer present at family gatherings? Is silent and virtually invisible?

These are signs of estrangement, a voluntary withdrawal, or alienation, as one member separates himself or herself from a member or members of the family.

We don’t discuss this within the church, yet estrangement is a growing problem within families today. In fact, Psychology Today states, “Some data suggest that as many as one in four people are estranged from at least one family member”.

A lot of unanswered questions and confusion are raised by estrangement. Please don’t misunderstand. Sometimes it’s necessary to step away from a person who is abusive and destructive in their physical or verbal behavior. I’m not speaking of that.

If you deal with rejection by a child, a sibling, or a parent, your heart is hurting. Besides the pain, you also feel branded by the stigma attached to such a separation. If your child no longer visits or refuses to allow the grandchildren to visit, your pain is deep, compounded by shame and the humiliation of your love being rejected. You will struggle with feeling unworthy, of not being good enough to quality for your loved one to treat you with respect or kindness.

Hallmark has taught us that while estrangement is sad, even if it’s lasted for years, magically, in a matter of moments, everything is set right and all will live happily ever after. But that is an illusion. It ignores the deep wounds of the heart, doesn’t answer the questions or remove the shame. The reality is, when the integrity of a family is broken, it may continue for years with no satisfying resolution.

If you experience estrangement from a loved one, it’s likely you’re uncomfortable sharing it with others. Have you ever thought that the person worshiping beside you may be suffering in silence, fearing more rejection or disapproval?

We love simple answers in the Church. It’s easy to say, “If you just do xyz…, then everything will be all right.” Or, “Just trust the Lord.” We love to fix ourselves and each other. The thing is, the Lord doesn’t engage in fixing us. He comes alongside us in the thick of our pain and grieves with us.

I encourage you to be a safe harbor for those who hurt.

Today, if you are hurting, I want to say there is hope. Don’t give up on that person. More importantly, don’t give up on yourself. The Lord Jesus loves you. If He is your Saviour, then He is always with you. He will never turn His back on you and walk away.

I love Romans 8. The Lord promises:

* The Spirit will be present to help you in your infirmity and He will pray with compassion, interceding on your behalf.
* One day, He will work all things together for good; continue in His love.
* The Holy Spirit is at work conforming you to the image of His dear Son.
* God is for us—who can triumph over us when He is our Saviour?
* The Lord will never condemn you or accuse you.
* Jesus intercedes for you.
* Nothing can separate you from His love. Nothing means NOTHING!

So take courage, Dear Heart.

The Lord loves you with an everlasting love. Keep praying for your loved one. Ask the Lord to watch over them and heal their heart. Release your pain to Jesus and daily forgive the one who rejects your love, refusing to walk in the joy and unity of community with you.

Please be gentle with yourself – take time to be alone with Jesus, who understands your pain. Though He is perfect, many are estranged from Him and reject His wonderful love. So rest neath His wing; allow Him to refresh your spirit and comfort your heart, knowing he understands your pain. 

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