**MAJOR SPOILER ALERT**
My stories of rejection do not compare to Kya's, but I - like many of you- have been wounded repeatedly by rejection.
I believe the enemy often uses one type of wound over and over until it only takes a tiny version of that wound to make us a bloody mess. For a long time, the slightest hint of rejection sent me in a tailspin.
Like Kya, I internalized the external circumstance - the rejections - believing this was my lot, my destiny.
Like Kya, I feared relationship, built walls, attempted to keep people at a safe distance - somewhere where the rejection, when it came, would not be so painful.
Like Kya, I believed two huge lies about rejection and abandonment.
The first lie: I believed there was something inherently wrong/different/weird about me - this is why the rejection came, this is why they couldn't stick with me. I am years beyond believing any of this nonsense, but this story - Kya - drove this point even deeper into my heart.
Reading about Kya, seeing how she faced rejection after abandonment after rejection, I saw in a new way how this was nothing but a destructive lie.
There was nothing inherently rejectable about her. In fact, our author builds us a character who is bright and precocious and loving. From the reader's perspective, Kya is beautiful and interesting and brilliant.
The second lie: I believed the actions of others occurred in a vacuum. I ignored, or was oblivious to, the brokenness of the other actor. They did not happen upon me and decide, based solely on who I am and what I did, to reject me.
I've never see this more clearly than as I read Kya's story. Every person who hurt her had their own story - they were living and choosing out of their own brokenness. And it's not an excuse - it doesn't make their treatment of her okay - but, and this was abundantly clear to the reader, it shows how their actions really weren't about her at all.
Her father was completely broken by the shame of his actions in the war. He was further ashamed of every horrible decision he made next. He was a run down, dejected, sad man.
Her mom was abused and broken and exhausted. When we hear the story of why she left and how she tried to return for the children and how she lived out the rest of her days - it is clear to the outside observer that her abandoning actions were not about Kya at all.
The same could be said of Jodie and of Tate - they were acting out of their own stuff, their own immaturity. Neither meant their actions as a rejection of her, and both, after maturing on their own, came to deeply regret how their actions hurt her.
In my own life, believing these two lies led to a series of self sabotaging moves. Here again, I saw my own story reflected in Kya's.
Her reactions, while natural and understandable, kept her isolated. Her expectations kept her from seeing where her perceptions were wrong. She was oblivious to some of the peripheral characters in her story who were on her side, who saw her, who cared for her.
The cashier and the truancy lady - one on the jury and the other sitting in the courtroom - she didn't even know they were pulling for her. She didn't know how they had pulled for her since she was a child.
And she was oblivious to how deeply loved and accepted she was by a core group of people.
In the courtroom, when the man from the publishing company gets off of the witness stand and joins the row of people behind Kya - the row of people who loved her, who supported her, who were literally and figuratively behind her - I wept.
I had to stop reading for a bit.
As a reader, I knew how each of these people loved and respected Kya. And, as a reader, I also knew how oblivious she was to their feelings. I knew how, though surrounded by people who genuinely loved her, she felt alone and isolated.
This is the destructive power of rejection and abandonment.
It whispers to us that we are not worthy, it convinces us to isolate more, it blinds us to love and acceptance even when it is staring us in the face. And it works. It works because we NEED to be loved, we NEED to be accepted, we were made to belong to each other and to belong to God.
Kya was not inherently rejectable. Neither am I. Neither are you.
This world is just not what it was meant to be. Neither am I. Neither are you.
We are all bouncing around, bumping into each other's bruises and scars, reacting out of our own pain, getting hurt, hurting others - this is still true.
But I am no longer at the mercy of every threat of rejection.
He says I am worthy of love. He accepts me exactly as I am right now and He loves me toward growing into the person I was made to be - He makes me more and more and more myself. He never rejects. He never abandons. He always loves - the love never stops flowing and it can't be taken away from me.
Love and acceptance from people are like cool waters washing over us under a summer sun - it is a lovely feeling, and comfortable, but when it is gone - when it is not immediately available - we forget.
Rejection though - rejection cuts bloody gashes into our skin. Eventually it turns to scar, but even one wound stays with us.
I know I can't hope to walk out the rest of my days on this planet avoiding rejection. I'll rack up a few more scars I'm sure, but any bloody gash from a human is immediately met with the cool washing waters of love and acceptance flowing over me 24/7.
We need love and acceptance that flows freely and never stops. We can't get this from people - the love of other humans is beautiful and a gift and something to be sought after and cherished, but it is imperfect. I need - we need - the perfect love of Jesus.
You can bump into me when your own bruises and scars flare up, you can hurt me out of your own pain, but my reaction now is not to isolate. I don't run away and nurse my wounds and convince myself to wall up and keep everyone out - I run to Him.
I loved this book. It showed me my own brokenness in a new way and it showed me my redemption in a new way.