My name is Rhea.
I gave my heart to Jesus on July 23rd, 1998 at the outdoor altar of a church camp I was going to. As the words to the song “Just as I am without one plea…” were sung, they sounded more like a marriage proposal from a Savior than an old hymn. As I walked down the long isle and made my way to the altar, heart pounding, I said yes to the proposal. I didn’t understand in the moment everything that my “yes” would mean, but I knew I wanted to follow this man who would love me “Just as I am…”
My story begins with a father that did not want me. My father and mother weren’t married and my father thought aborting me would be the easy way out of his “mistake.” The night my mother told him she was pregnant they argued for hours about whether or not to keep me. When he realized my mother wouldn’t change her mind and that abortion wasn’t an option, he abandoned her and was never heard from again for many years. I often imagined myself as a tiny baby in my moms belly hearing from my own father…”this child will just cause us trouble, let’s just abort it.” Not her, just it. I was just an it. An unwanted, unloved “it.” The deep roots of rejection took place in my heart before I was even born. I often wrote letters to my dad to let him know I loved him and forgave him, but never heard back from him. He died a few years ago and I wept for him. It was a very empty feeling knowing he would never love me or accept me and possibly is spending eternity without Jesus.
I had a happy childhood and my mom eventually married a man who loved me the way a father should love their child, but that seed of rejection was always there. Always growing in me. Always condemning me. Always mocking me. Always reminding me that I was simply not enough.”
But in spite of the deep pain and sorrow I felt, and not being raised in a family that regularly went to church, by Gods grace I stayed hungry for the Lord who loves me “Just as I am…” In high school I began putting scriptures from my little King James bible all over my bedroom. Memorizing every word, falling deeper and deeper in love with God. But I still felt rejected, I still felt like I had to earn God’s love and grace. I tried to find approval in relationships but that only led to more rejection and more pain.
I eventually met my husband. I knew right away he was the man I would marry but ended up waiting for 3 years for him to feel the same way too. Both of us brought a lot of junk into our marriage. We both loved the Lord but didn’t know how to deal with each others differences. He didn’t know how to control his anger and I didn’t know how to control the feelings of constant rejection I felt. It was a mess!!! I felt like my life became a constant performance of trying to earn his love, trying to not make any mistakes, trying to be good enough so he would have no reason to reject me. It was a prisoner to the rejection I felt. It controlled every thought and every action. I became more consumed with the opinions of man than the truth of how God felt about me.”
“But then one day God led me to this story in the bible. It’s the story of blind Bartimaeus: “Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My rabbi, ” the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.”(Mark 10:50-52 NLT)
Bartimaeus was legally blind. He had proved himself to be blind and earned the right to wear a coat that proved to others he had a legal right to beg.
When Bartimaeus threw off his coat, he literally threw off his right to be blind. Jesus healed him and Bartimaeus began following Jesus.
I was hurt, I was rejected, I was wounded in ways only God knows. I had the right to feel wounded. I had been mistreated, unwanted, talked about… I earned the right to wear my coat. But when Jesus came there was a choice to be made. I could keep wearing my coat and continue being blind, or I could throw off my coat and be healed. I threw off my coat, ran to Jesus and never looked back! God healed me, *restored* my marriage and gave me a confidence in Him that nobody can take away. God turned
my messy broken marriage and my messy broken life into something so beautiful for His glory. Gods love restored every part of my heart. He blessed my marriage and allowed me to be a stay at home mom, pouring His love into our 3 little boys everyday. God is faithful!
Maybe you’ve been hurt. Maybe you’ve been abused or unwanted. Maybe slandered and mistreated. You have the right to be hurt, but I want to call out the strong women of God in you and say, give up your right and be healed! Give up your right and be free. Run to a God who always has and who always will love you… Just as you are.
“Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. ”
He will not deny you or reject you. He will love you just as you are…”The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (Psalms 51:17 NLT)
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is *marvelous*—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalms 139:13-18 NLT)