Abandoned No More
“I looked at him as a father figure."
Abandoned by his birth parents, this young man bounced between several foster homes in New York. He was uncertain of who he was or where he belonged until a kind foster father showed him love and mercy even though Schwartz felt unworthy of either emotion. Shortly after being adopted by this man, his father became very ill, and another man, his high school basketball coach, assumed the role of mentor and father figure. Not wanting to disappoint either of them, the young man began to change his destructive habits, accepting the unconditional love that was shown to him.
Schwartz recognized the correlation between the acceptance shown to him by his two mentors and the mercy and love that is given by our Heavenly Father. These men were able to save an at-risk youth by mirroring God’s grace.
Thoughts to Consider:
The importance of mentoring: Many at-risk teens have no strong male role model. It can be a life-changing experience for the child and the mentor. Statistics show that teens, especially males, are more likely to be involved with gangs, alcohol, drugs, and crime when there are no positive male figures in their lives.
“God’s definition of success is really one of the significance-the significant difference our lives can make in the lives of others. The significance doesn’t show up in won-loss records, long resumes, or the trophies gathering dust on our mantels. It’s found in the hearts and lives of those we’ve come across who are in some way better because of the way we lived.” -Tony Dungy
Words to Live By:
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV).
“Friend, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person who does good does God’s work. The person who does evil falsifies God, doesn’t know the first thing about God” 3 John 11 (MSG).
“But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” Matthew 19:14 (NLT).
The fear of abandonment often stems from a significant loss in childhood and affects the individual emotionally well into adulthood. This can include the loss of a parent through death, divorce, or an emotionally rejecting or detached relationship with a significant person. When abandoned, this can lead to low self-esteem and self-worth, along with a craving for love and validation. A child may believe strongly that they have done something wrong and are plagued by guilt. Abandonment makes someone vulnerable to depression and anxiety. It can be hard to trust and get close to others for fear of eventually losing them. If you have ever felt abandoned, you’re not alone. This is a common experience for a lot of people. The first step to healing this dynamic is to acknowledge the abandonment and any emotional pain associated with it. Secondly, it can be helpful to think about and reflect upon how abandonment has affected your life. This self-awareness is important to navigate healthy relationships and overcome any abandonment depression and anxiety. Thirdly, there can be great comfort in understanding and accepting that we are never truly alone with God in our midst. God is already aware that you feel abandoned. By trusting Him, the intensity of feeling abandoned can lessen over time.
Finally, you can help yourself by reaching out and helping others who have been through what you have gone through. With God’s help, you can turn your life around while giving comfort to others at the same time. No matter what you have gone through, there is always hope that you can overcome this issue.
The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently – Tony Dungy