The Subtle Art of Rejection


There is a strain in the religious world who have learned the art of rejection. They have fine tuned the elimination so well that it has become normal to know of someone in the church who has either rejected a relationship with a family member or they themselves are the excluded one. Shunning use to be so foreign. So Amish.

Religion, as opposed to true Christianity, has always had an ‘assimilate or separate’ mentality. We learn to behave this way in the family long before we behave this way publically.

Dysfunctional fathers who cannot see their brokenness and the women who willingly keep them blind to it for some sick kickback (and vice versa) do the only thing they know to do when they feel threatened. They dismember the very relationship that would help make them more Christ like. They do this instead of the very hard and humbling work of earning respect and living the actions of true love- 1 Corinthians 13 style.

And they’ve done this rejection so well, so subtly, that we hardly grieve anymore. Holidays come and go. Birthdays pass by. Children grow up without grandparents involved in their lives. That scar is so faint, until something inflames it.

It can be talking to a new friend about her dad passing, and you see the grief wash over her and you know that is how it’s supposed to be. You see grandmas and grandpas going to Grandparents Day at school and your child will have no one there. Easter dinner. Mother’s Day. Christmas Eve. Sickness. Celebration. We’ve no shortage of triggers to our loss or feeling the shame of our segregation.

But I want you to know there is a place where you belong. You won’t lose your seat at the table. You can’t ever be left outside to look in, you cannot ever be disowned, and you will never, ever be rejected.

One day Jesus stretched out His hands and claimed everyone who does His will to be His family. It’s the very nature of God to be inclusive. He always welcomes those of us in the margins to come in, come to the table where we belong, where we will never be rejected.

It really doesn’t matter how subtle the rejection was, does it? It doesn’t matter how reasoned their argument is as to why you deserved it. It will never ring true when it is laced with Bible philosophy and Christianity. Because it is not who God is.

Those who push away others in the name of God will never be like Him.

So come, sit with me at the table of God. Please don’t run from Him because of them. They really did not show you the true heart of God at all.


                                                                                                                            Matthew 12:46-50 Quote- Mr. Sparks Sr. 


The Strategy from Facebook- When Queens Collide Series

queens facebook

You are playing with professionals now. Professional females. Women.  I tell myself this because I forget. In a household filled with males I have often had a tactical advantage to my female gifts of persuasion and guidance. The menfolk call it wiles, I call it being a helpmeet. And dwelling with them according to knowledge. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. I know their love languages and what turns them off to my voice. I know the pitch and tone that they are deaf to.

I’ve learned the culture here on Mars, their oddities, their quirks. I’ve embraced their barbaric ways and their beautifully created souls that are fierce, loyal, and protective. I was called to live here on the totally male populated planet of Mars and I did not try to make it Venus. After three decades here in this place, I have learned a few shortcuts, several strategies, and God has even come to give me special goggles and lenses to help me see what it was I needed to see. To help them. To bless them. Never to manipulate. Ever. Ahem.

I wish I could say I’ve always had a pureness and innocence about me. But I’ve no need to pretend. Not all of my guidance has been without manipulation. Not all of my helping has been without wiles. At this moment my husband is now fist pumping and yelling, “I KNEW it!”. Okay, honey. Calm down. I’m no Delilah.

In all of my getting of wisdom and learning, I’ve come upon this gem. My daughter-in-laws are on to me. They, being from Venus know exactly what I am doing. They know my tones, when I’m diffusing situations, when I am building my home, and when I am resigning something to God. We speak the same language, these girls and I. And I better not forget it.

So why do I think I can say something on social media, say, Facebook, with innuendo, agenda, and guile and get away with it or go undetected? I. Do. Not. Know. I deceive myself. But I think this deception is an epidemic. There’s a whole lot of us thinking we can say things in tricky, hidden ways and somehow our intended meaning will sink into supple hearts and do some magical and spiritual work. But it doesn’t work that way. And it never will. 

Because God doesn’t bless or put His fingerprints on word manipulations and public plays of aggression. One of my favorite narratives in the Gospels is when Nathanael hears about this Jesus and that He hails from Nazareth, he says what he means. It’s filled with bigotry, possibly racism. But it’s raw and it’s honest and God comes near to him and blesses him with a conversation and an invitation to eternal salvation. He had no guile. Whatsoever. It wasn’t that he couldn’t say what he felt, it was just not laced with agenda or manipulation.

Do we think we can’t talk or say what we need to say? Do we think any words that may be heavy or hard have to be left alone and swallowed?  For sure and thankfully, there are boundaries, constraints, and rules of engagement given to us.

Speak the truth in love, season your words with grace, meet face to face, humble yourself, give mercy if you ever, ever want to receive it- just for starters.

We are given tremendous liberty and freedom, even responsibility to handle issues if need be. So WHY, why, why do we toss such liberty and blessing aside as if it is a ‘less than’ option and go for veiled innuendos on Facebook? Or Twitter? Or anywhere and everywhere? It’s not a better option and our Bible is not antiquated.

There is the possibility things may not end well, but there is also the possibility that some ground, ever so small, will be won to your family’s advantage, not just yours. We really are losing the blessing of learning to sit, placing ourselves in a position to be humbled, vulnerable and open and talk matters out. It’s hard. It’s not easy. It requires strategic timing, not foreign to Esther and her supper and serving plan. It forces us to purposefully deposit large amounts of love into the love bank because we may be placing a withdrawal and we want there to be enough to cover the transaction. It’s smart. It’s strategic and it is God blessed.

I know the temptation to want to say things without really saying things. I know the need to share that there is pain or sorrow in subtle and hidden ways. But I am playing this dangerous game of guile and veils with professionals now. Women.

And women know women. 

We know snark. We know condescension. We know false humility. We can smell the guile for a mile. But we also sense true compassion, mercy and love. We are intuitive creatures that require honesty and integrity with each other. We don’t respect playing dirty and smearing people or relationship, of any sort. We don’t trust people like that. And we shouldn’t. Because they don’t respect or honor the boundaries God gave concerning how to deal with a problem: truly forgive or meet with them face to face, both of which are bathed in love and mercy.

So, if you’re taking notes on strategies on how to be a better mother-in-law, or friend, or mother, or Christian……learn this one well. Don’t type it. Delete it. Because they know what you are doing and what you mean. You say a whole lot of something when you say your nothing!

Remember, you are playing with women now and it’s not just men on Mars anymore. The Venusians speak the language you do. They’ve trained on the same grounds you’ve trained. They were birthed in the same halls and have the same nature. And they live among you now. You aren’t fooling anyone.

So let go of the guile. 

Click here to read the rest of the series “WHEN QUEENS COLLIDE“.


The Strategy from Marie Barone- When Queens Collide Series

When Queens Collide- Marie Barone

One can’t help but cringe when watching Marie Barone on the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond. She’s like watching a train wreck. You know the damage she is doing and you just can’t look away. She’s nit-picky, passive aggressive, meddling, intrusive, and manipulative.

She’s basically me when I am motivated by fear.

That’s why I get Marie. I am a mix of Debra and Marie, because of my age that lands right in between them but also because I am married to a man who is the fascinating mixture of Frank and Raymond. So I understand Marie. And I confess to seeing her in me and sympathizing with her and when the whole room of people watching the show with me groans with pain over her destructive path, I want to whisper a “there, there” and a “tsk-tsk”. I want to explain her to the haters. I want to defend her. Because I feel I know her, that she lurks deep with in me.

Fear is the fertilizer that will grow her inside of me. And I cannot imagine what kind of destruction I could wield in the name of love for my family. Like she does. It’s all too easy, you see. It’s easier to act on the fear. It’s more natural. It’s swifter and very therapeutic. It’s destructive activity dressed up in favors and suggestions.

But here’s the differences between my life and Marie’s:  (1) I don’t have a laugh track following my words. (2) There are no Emmy winning comedians to play off of me and my actions. (3) There are no super rich sponsors paying me to make a mess of things just so other people can relate to life. (4) I don’t have script writers who are going to make my lines all work back to a happy ending. (5) And I don’t have a paycheck auto deposited into my bank for saying things to make family gasp, cry, scream, or wonder if they are even loved.

Life is not anything like TV.  What people will watch and laugh at in the evening hours is not something they are wiling to live with. They just want to watch and laugh. Because it’s funny stuff. Until it’s not.

Marie crosses lines. She implies. She meddles. She nit-picks. She has 40 years of cooking experience with time tested recipes to Debra’s 5 years. She has more time than she ever had. She’s more bored than she’s ever been. She’s lonely. She’s still got that big old mom heart and her sons don’t need her everyday. Or every week. She’s frustrated. She’s taken for granted. She’s unappreciated. She’s condescending. She’s over the top. She uses guilt like the ultimate weapon. She’s always on the verge of being sick and near death.

No one wants to live with that. Marie’s all about bad strategy. We learn what not to do because living an episode here and an episode there of Marie like behavior and you eventually have lived a whole season.

So what’s Marie afraid of? I think I know.

  • being replaced
  • not being needed
  • only being used
  • her life getting emptier while her son’s lives get fuller
  • no time for her
  • wasted time
  • not being listened to
  • not being recognized for all she has done
  • having nothing to offer
  • her daughter in law doing everything better than her
  • not being the most loved female in the family anymore
  • her daughter in law cooking better than her
  • her daughter in law being a better mom than her
  • her son finding out that his mom wasn’t nearly as good as his wife at the above mentioned things
  • being talked about in a bad light

Etc., etc., etc. What isn’t she afraid of? It doesn’t have to be legit to be a real fear. And fear manifests itself in so many ways, and all of them are destructive.

If I can just hold steady and not pull the trigger on situations and give myself the gift of time and ask what is motivating me, I can defuse a whole lotta’ Marie explosives. If it is indeed fear motivating what I’m about to do, I need to deal with it in reality. Take the Hollywood and the smoke and mirrors out of it. Foresee the scene like it will really happen if I act this all out. Take out the laugh track, because it won’t be funny. Delete the commercial breaks, because there will be no escaping the uncomfortable moment for a sales pitch. There will be no fast forward of the week. We, the whole family, will live through each brutal day with feelings hurt, emotions manipulated and resentful, guilt heavy hearts which leave their own trail of pain, and every family member will walk each day and every family function with the real world reality of my class act show.

It’s not Hollywood. It’s our life. It’s our family. It’s our son’s queen.

How can you avoid the Marie Barone trap of becoming the most notorious mother-in-law?

If there is a seed or kernel of fear about to sprout, it can be remedied. It takes about the same amount of time spent with an honest heart before God as it takes to watch and episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

1 John 4: 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.


Disclaimer: I am not above using food to beckon my sons home. I am not above that at all. 

To read the whole series, click HERE.


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The Strategy from the Waltons- When Queens Collide Series

The Strategy from the Waltons

I know both queens, the MIL’s and the DIL’s may be reading this, but I don’t want to get hate mail from the DIL’s on this. Don’t freak out on me, young DIL’s and don’t have a melt down. I am really writing to the mother-in-laws, so if you are panic prone, or if you were up all night with the baby, or if hubby was in a less than wonderful mood today and you are on the brink of hysteria, look away. Don’t even read this until you’ve spent hours in the sunshine with birds singing all around and until you feel like making the full twirling motion in the meadow like Maria from The Sound of Music.

Because I’m removing a safety net that lies between you (the DIL) and her (the MIL). And the removal of that net may directly affect you, or it may not. I’m going to ask her to not burn a particular bridge that has been more popular with these older queens than when they burned their bras. And I think throwing away unlit matches is scarier than tossing flaming ones.

Now, tenured queens………………

You remember the Walton family and the TV show? It was a good show and ran for a long time. It was strong on family values, individuality and overcoming hard times, personally and nationally. The time frame started in 1933. Before Social Security. And Grandma and Grandpa lived with their son and his bride.

I have a giant book called “The Timechart History of the World”. It’s huge on impact and quite large in actual book form. There are sixteen giant pages filled with a flowing chart of civilizations, rulers, and empires. 1933 is on the final page of that book. Not just the final page, but the last half of that last page, leaving fifteen previous pages to show the dwellings and recordings between humans. And the genius of the Social Security plan did not exist on any of those pages.

People worked until they couldn’t work anymore then they lived with their families and dwelled with them for their last years. That wasn’t a new concept. That was the normal. And sometimes it worked out beautifully and sometimes it just didn’t. For lots of reasons.

But now we have something new and something better. We pay all our lives into a system that (coughs) saves our money for us and when we retire we get some back every month to be used to supply our needs. And if we don’t die youngish, and after we can’t stay by ourselves anymore, we’ll transition to a home where the caregivers will get the money we earned and saved and we take visitors when hours allow it. It’s what it is. It’s what we’ve come to expect.

I don’t want to be political on this. I want to be spiritual.

We’ve been actively building bridges that move us further away from our families in our old years. We’ve been weaving a safety net with money and letting politicians save parts of our income to guarantee we will be self sufficient until we die. God removed this bridge from me and from untold millions of people throughout history. Even today, many people who have answered the call of God to go and serve, laid down their financial security, and followed Christ. It doesn’t matter how progressive or how business like the Church tries to become, there are untold amount of people who serve God without pension plans, 401(k)’s, and retirement options. They do what the millions have done, simply count it loss on this side of eternity.

But people like us learned something important. The queens of missionaries and pastors learned that much of their dignity will lie in the hands of others, mostly the daughter-in-laws. Whether we like it or not, God has placed us in a very vulnerable position. We do not have Social Security, retirement, or a pension plan. We live hand to mouth, and it is literally God’s hand to our mouth. We aren’t foolish people. We aren’t stupid people. We aren’t lazy people. We understood the cost to follow Christ when He called us to a small rural work. Ministry here does not resemble a business in any way. To the world, we’re screwed. And to most, it is unacceptable that God would require this or that we would agree to it. I admit, sometimes the ways of God are foolish looking- turning cheeks, forgiving trespassors, giving mercy if you want mercy. Hard stuff.

But I think the playing field between you and me is getting a quite a bit more level. You are not guaranteed much more security than me in this day, for all your saving and planning. Have you seen the news? People in every state for every sort of reason stand to lose their financial future and security. They are coming to find out what some have known all along. There is no security. In one signature from a leader, one filthy and wicked politician, one natural disaster, every bridge built by money or the promise of security stands ready to burn.

And yet the bridge we’ve been burning over and over is the one between us and the young queens. We will work to our death to save the financial security bridge and we will hack away at the timbers on the relationship bridge without a thought to the family being the original and intended source of care giving.

What I know is my behavior is affected by money, and by lack of it. Strip away a security to pay my way through a home and I will behave like I don’t need my daughter-in-laws. Remove from me a plan that doesn’t calculate Christ into the future and I will take less notice at the promises of God regarding behavior and reapings and sowings.

All I ask is this- if you lost everything for your future and were entirely dependent on your children, on your son’s queen,  to take care of you in your dotage, would you change anything? Would you be kinder? More respectful? Would you give mercy more because you will need more mercy? Will the promise of reaping what you sow bring you peace or will it snag itself on the emotion of regret in you?

You are very blessed if you have been able to plan and work for your future by the strength, opportunity, and job God has given you. And I am just as blessed here with no plan or ability for my future but a total reliance that if I love my family well, and particularly the daughter-in-laws who would care for me, I will be taken care of.

God stripped away my options when He called me to this missional life. Options to build good sturdy financial bridges burned like the burning bush and He magnified my need and privilege to build a better bridge- to the queens.

The Walton life is not so far from us. It’s closer than ever. The” Depression Era style of living” show is reality for most of the world and has been for the fifteen and a half pages of my book.

There is a lot of power with in my hands and my words. I’ve been a queen for a long time. I’ve got a lot ways to wield it. So do you. Just burn the right bridge if you have to burn something. Don’t burn a relationship bridge banking on the financial one remaining secure. Because it won’t. Things built with money don’t last and they don’t work the best. It’s not the perfect plan.

Family is.

And if you are in ministry like me, and you weren’t given a financial safety net, let’s free fall this together. Don’t let Satan twist God’s incredible and forceful command that we leave everything, every option, every security and follow Him- and make us afraid. There is no fear if we love well.

Dear Krystle, Shaina, Amelia, and my Yet To Be Named Queen,

It is hard for me to know that the cost of following Christ so completely has left me in a place I may need to rely on your grace and love. But I cannot regret it all, because I see what God did. He removed excuses and options I could make to build bridges away from you, rather than to you.

I would be content with a little room in each of your four homes, staying a week in each one. I would read to your children and tell them funny stories. I would do your dishes and make you tea if I could. I would sing songs and I would put my hands on your head when you cry and tell you to not be afraid. And then I would tell you the lifetime of stories and miracles God did for me and reassure you He will do them for you.

I will share my herbal folklore knowledge and save you lots of money and help you keep the good bacteria count high so your household remains healthy. (ha) I would ask God to make me a light in your home, to add to your light that pours from your walk with Christ. I would do all God reveals to me to make your home healthy as well as your bodies.

And when I can no longer stand because I am so feeble, and when God takes away my sight, and when I  can no longer do much more than take up space and take up your time, I will lay there and I will pray for you with all my heart. I will thank God for you loving my sons so much that sometimes it cost you. I will thank Him that your are beautiful mothers with hearts that will lead your children to God rather than scare them away from Him. I will ask this Father whom I know so well to help you with your hard burdens and your pain, and your decisions. I will praise Him for His plan to make us friends and for you to love me enough to be near when I cross over and see the Savior first of all.

And if this is the way it all goes down, and Aunt Mo and I don’t get to become Bingo Queens of the senior center, if I have no options but to live under your cottage roof, then I will say I have been more blessed than others.

Love you,

Momma Coe

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The Strategy From Chess- When Queens Collide Series

queens chess

Queens. Colliding. Strategy. Chess.  Pshaw. What in the world was I thinking?

I wrote over two thousand words . And then I deleted them. Repeat that process over and over and you will understand the delay in time from the last post in this series until now. I heard voices that sounded a whole lot like “Who do you think you are?”.  To which I answered, “No one. I am no one.” And I sat in this spot for days knowing it wasn’t true but still feeding the monster within that said otherwise.

And then they came. They brought me food and they brought me the grandchildren. They filled my house with noise, good noise- the noise you hear on the planet Venus. Giggles and words like ‘nail polish’ and food talk and when the normal loud-on-the-verge-of-a- hysterical-yelling-match-over-the-funniest-things started, lo and behold I had some help holding down my side of the festivity. And they cooked the hardest and most expensive part of the meal. And they took the dishrag from me and filled the sink with the bubbles and water. They stood there and washed all the dishes and put them away.

And I knew then who I was. I was a woman loved by the brides of her sons. The love filled my home and it was evident. So who am I? I am not someone who is going to write this series because she knows what she is doing. I am someone who is going to write this because God knows what He is doing.

I am not writing MY how to. I am writing God’s.

I went before you and tested Him on His ‘how to’ and enough time, enough trouble, and enough grace has passed that I can tell you His way works. It’s not always easy and the time frame between sowing and reaping feels unfamiliar with our time frames. But His way is right and His way brings health. So, that’s who I am. A witness. Now can we talk about chess?

Jacob’s Twitter bio says:

“Man of war. Covered by Yahweh.
Waiting for my Queen.
#NoCompromise #Coe Nation”

Do you see it? Can you see my very first lesson as a mother in law to girls I had to learn? Maybe it only affects the moms with all boys. Maybe it comes from living on Mars for prolonged periods of time. Perhaps my womb that only knew how to bring forth warriors still yearned for a princess. But marriage doesn’t bring princesses into families. It brings queens.

They were young queens, these Coe brides. And their crowns didn’t quite fit as snug as mine. But it was clear, I was not the only queen in the game anymore. In chess, the queen protects her king. She may even give her life for her king. She had boundaries she cannot pass and quite surprisingly, the game can go on without her. But when the two queens come near, there is a single truth. They are equal in authority.

This was a good diffuser for me because I sense down in myself I could become a dictator within my own family. And princesses would satisfy that in me. Me outranking them. Because I’m older. Because I’m wiser. Just because I was here first!

But daughter-in-laws come in with a lateral move, not a vertical one. You know that verse that was really easy to name and claim- the one about leaving and cleaving? Our sons have dibs on that verse too. And in that ceremony of vow making and lives melding, another little home is established. And it is not connected to mine except with bands of love. It is a whole unit of their own. King and queen 2. King and queen 3. And so on and so forth. I and my husband were king and queen 1 in case you missed that.

So how was I able to go from looking at these brides as princesses for me to seeing them as queens, my equals in authority, rank, and as my peers? One word: RESPECT.

I put away my trump cards and I pulled out some words from the Bible that I was going to test. Here are the ones I applied to this Queen-to-Queen relationship:

1. I trusted the Spirit of God would be their supreme teacher and the one to guide them. It wasn’t my job to be their director. That was the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Do I trust Him to do His job or not? John 16:13

2. I took the instructions literally-no fighting, be gentle, teach when instruction is wanted, be patient. This is what respect looks like. It can be seen and felt by the queens of our sons.   2 Timothy 2:24

3. I know it is written concerning pastors and elders, old ones and young ones, but could the principle work with queens? Yes. The age matter is tossed out the window in this relationship, and it is the position that is honored. And it went both ways. Each recognizing the position of the other and honoring each other. Reread Jacob’s twitter bio. He’s already given her the position of queen. She won’t grow into it. Time, babies, bills, adventures, fears, blessings, joys and sorrows will help her grow into the crown, but she’s already got the title. These verses reminded me to respect and honor her for that. 1Peter 5:3-5

This isn’t about me being a good mother-in-law.  It is more a testament to the fact that when we decide to on purpose live the Words we’ve been reading every day, things happen. Good things happen. Relationships become fertile for love and respect to grow. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes grace. But it always yields good fruit. 

And one day, love is more than words. It is a strong bond that has voice and hands and feet. And my little home with my king welcomes my sons and their queens and respect has pushed contention out the door. Respect has welcomed humility to our table where we honor each other. This grew from God and His word. And it had no effect when it was just words read and highlighted. They had to be taken from the book and applied to a situation, to many situations, to bad situations, to seemingly small situations.

This love from queens to queens pulls away burdens and yokes we put on ourselves when we try to maintain queen to princess status. Know yourself. Know your heart well. Do you feel superior in position? If it’s inside, it’s going to come out sometime, somewhere. And she will feel small and you will feel big and the kings will be forced to chose sides.

Respect. Queen to queen. Because you are not the only queen in the game anymore.

And by the way- Jacob found his queen!


Read all the series here: When Queens Collide

When Queens Collide