By, Grace Hayes
As a five year old, I was repeatedly taken out to our shed by a man in our church and sexually abused. Without even realizing it, this formed my identity. I was insecure, feeling alone and never feeling protected or safe. I felt insignificant and compared myself with others, both to feel superior as well as to remind myself of my inadequacies. I sought the approval of others because it made me feel loved and accepted. I viewed everything negative (and sometimes even the positive) through the lens of being unprotected, unsafe, unloved, insignificant, and always alone. This skewed identity became my prison. My chains. I began to feel as if I was in a loop. This never ending cycle of despair. Now, please. Don’t feel sorry for me. God has broken these chains through the power of the gospel through the work of Jesus on the cross, His Word/Truth, and the help of an amazing therapist. I have learned what it means to be freed from an identit
y imposed upon me from past traumas, experiences, or people. So girl, can I just share who I am because of Christ? Maybe you need to be reminded of who you are in Him as well.
I am accepted. Yep. Just the way I am. With all of my awesomeness and all of my flaws. He doesn’t roll His eyes at my mistakes, shrug His shoulders in disappointment, and turn away. Nope. I am eternally accepted.
I am loved. Can we just all admit that we can be VERY unlovable? And yet because of who HE is, He never stops loving me. He puts no conditions on His love. In fact, it is His love that continually draws me to Him.
I am safe. As a hen protects her chicks, He hides me under His wings. When the crazy comes my way, He allows it, not to harm me, but because He loves me. You see, the crazy is what He uses to gently bring my focus back to Him. The crazy allows me to get rid of those things that bear me down and hold me back from living out my life for His glory. But even through the crazy…I am still safe, completely protected in His arms.
I am significant. He knows me. He sees me. He actively listens to me.
I am unique. I am so thankful for what He has allowed in my life. All the good. All of the bad. All of it. You see, I am who I am because of who He is and my life experiences. Pretty cool right? So why compare? I have strengths and weaknesses. So do you. I have life experiences that have molded me. So have you. Is that not beautiful? I don’t need to feel lesser than or greater than you. I can appreciate your uniqueness and celebrate it as I do my own.
I am never alone. Being in ministry can “feel” very lonely and living in a foreign culture seems to magnify this feeling. And yet, He is always there. His presence dwells within me. I have access to His comfort, His counsel, His support, His guidance, and His power. So when the feelings of loneliness creep in, I just take a deep breath, and thank Him for never ever leaving me alone.
This is my identity. This is who I am.