Oct 10, 2017 | Olivia Elder
Mistreated and abandoned
In a moment, my worst fears materialized. I had to face them all at once. What did I fear more than anything? I feared being mistreated, rejected, and abandoned by significant people in my life. My cerebral palsy only intensified my vulnerability and fears.
In high school, I was assigned a personal caregiver to help me with my meals, personal care, and all physical transfers. I assumed my caregiver would prioritize my well being and always be there for me. That is why I was shocked when she started to act mean towards me. It was subtle at first but I could feel her increasing irritation with me.
All my worst fears became reality in a moment. Without warning, the caregiver I was so dependent on started to yell at me. “You’re not working hard enough and others are doing all the work for you!” She then refused to help me anymore and left me. I felt alone and abandoned.
What just happened?
My thoughts raced for an explanation for her actions. Was it something I did? Was she just having a bad day? I knew that something was really irritating her, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
But I also had more pressing things to think about. How was I going to get home? How was I going to get all of my school work done on time? I was initially paralyzed with shock and fear. After I gathered myself, I finally made it home and all the emotion came out as I cried. It was painful to experience my fears become reality.
Looking back, I realized that I feared my caregiver more than God. I was prone to project my caregivers actions onto God. I still struggle to trust God with my fears of rejection and abandonment, even after surviving this experience. Join me as I unpack my fears and trust God to help me walk through them in faith.
“Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.” – (dictionary. com)
What I fear most will never happen
Sometimes I fear that God will someday treat me like my caregiver. In fear I question, “Will God lose his patience with me? Won’t he also get irritated with me? What if he abandons me and writes me off, refusing to help me anymore?”
But as I grow my faith in God’s word I am relieved to discover God is patient and endures with me even when I experience mistreatment, rejection, and abandonment from people. It is a huge relief to know that what I fear most will never happen. God will never mistreat me, reject me, or abandon me!
Facing rejection from people
I have no doubt that I’m accepted by God, but not everyone responds to me the same way God does. Especially because of my physical limitations given my cerebral palsy, I am still hesitant to see how people will receive me.
Because I can only speak with the aid of a device, my speech is very slow. Even as I type on my communication device I fear people will lose their patience and walk away. I struggle with the time it takes to explain myself. My inability to communicate effectively alone makes me want to curl up in a ball and hide from new people who don’t understand me very well. I am tempted to give up before even trying. Every time I am about to meet new people I need to rely on God to give me strength and boldness.
My fear is giving way to God’s love
I remember the first time I heard the verse, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18 ESV)
This is a foreign kind of love to me. It is hard for me to explain, but as I experience God’s unconditional love my fears are losing their power over me. Knowing God will never mistreat me, reject me, or abandon me gives me courage to face my lesser fears of being mistreated, rejected, or abandoned by people.