I recently realized that I have been carrying a deeply rooted fear inside my heart. It has hidden in the deepest and darkest corner of my heart for many years now. As you can imagine, when it surfaced it was emotionally catastrophic. I talk about this in depth in two of my latest podcast episodes that you can listen to wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Podcast Interview with Stacey Tadlock from Faithfully Failing: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-cold-coffee-cotton-stems-podcast/id1455496781?uo=4
Abandonment + Traveling + Stay-At-Home Mom Blues: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-cold-coffee-cotton-stems-podcast/id1455496781?uo=4
I am scared of being abandoned. Left. Forgotten. Separated from those I love the most.
At first, I thought it was just my extrovert personality needing more socialization or maybe I was just being a needy Enneagram Type 2.
The fear of being abandoned and left behind without a second thought is crippling if you have been abandoned in the past. This realization hit me as waves hit the coastline during a summer storm; furiously. It was catastrophic emotionally and mentally. However, it was the turning of a page in my life and walk with Christ.
A part of my story that is difficult to share is the part where my parents divorced and my father moved across the country. I was in high-school when he left and he never came back for good. Although my Type-A, independent self acted like she didn’t care; she did. She was hurting and was still scared of experiencing those feelings as a nearly twenty-four-year-old woman with a family of her own.
When my father left the feeling of security also got packed away in his luggage and flown across the country. Every little girl wants her daddy to keep her safe. God intended for a family to be a woman and a man and for the father to protect his family until the end. I felt unsafe and as if everything was unstable.
Flash-Forward to present-day me experiencing every emotion possible while my husband is completely confused as to why I am having such a hard time. It wasn’t his fault that this had happened to me and without realizing, I was projecting those past hurts onto him.
Throughout this journey of healing, I learned three key lessons.
1. No one tells you that it will surface at the worst possible time
I find it ironic that I came to this realization at the most inopportune time in my life. I am married with children of my own and thought I had fully dealt with the pain in my past. When my husband had to unexpectedly start traveling for work, I lost it. I started dreading the days he would have to be gone overnight and I would have panic attacks before falling asleep alone in our bed some nights.
In my mind, I knew that he would come back and all would be well in the world. I married an amazing man. I don’t say that lightly either or because I feel that I have to. He has always put our family first and I have never once had to worry about him walking away. However, my mind wouldn’t rest when he was gone and I couldn’t shake the fear that he might not come back the next day. I would worry he would have an accident or that he would just not show back up at our front door. It bothered me for a while and caused many fights in our marriage before I realized that I was letting my fear of being abandoned steal my peace and joy.
2. Being abandoned is emotionally destructive
Oftentimes we lose those we love most by way of death or illness or they leave on their own free will. I have talked with women who have lost a loved one to an illness and they still feel the same pain of being abandoned that I did when my father moved. Abandonment can come in all kinds of forms and leave us grieving what we wish we could have had. The most difficult part of being abandoned is the looming question you ask yourself daily; Why was I not good enough? Although you have nothing to do with being abandoned you still ask yourself how you could have changed the situation. It is as if you walk through life with this constant need to prove your worth.
Amid all the unanswered questions and tirelessly trying to prove my worth, I learned the most important lesson.
3. Jesus will never abandon us
All those years of trying to prove my worth; Jesus never once left me behind. He may be hard to see when you are feeling unspeakable pain. He may be hard to hear when you are feeling vulnerable and fragile. He won’t leave you.
Jesus will never leave you.
Psalm 68:5 says, “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.”