I’ll be the first to admit that free-writes for the SMCW Blog sometimes give me the worst case of writer’s block. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say—if you’ve met me, you know I’m usually never at a loss for words (for better, or worse). It’s that I just can’t seem to settle into any particular message until (what seems like) the eleventh hour, often because there are so many ideas swirling around in the ether of my brain. I’ve been chewing on several things that I’m betting you’ve thought about, too, at some point or other. Follow me here, and I hope it will all come together by the end.
Monday evening of this week I was sitting out under the stars. The view is glorious from my back step on a clear night. I live out in the sticks, so it’s really easy to lose yourself in counting all those bright dots in the night sky. My boys, along with some neighbors, and I were awaiting the Antares rocket launch. I was struck in those moments by just how fascinating and smart and able we (read: HUMANS) are. I mean, we are like tiny little grains of sand to our big, big God, but we just sent supplies up to a space station to replenish the astronauts (more HUMANS) up there! And we, that is the aforementioned gang hanging out at my house, were able to watch that happen from a state away! We humans are amazing creatures! And this says something about just how much more amazing our Creator is. He made us, and look at what we can do!
And then I got to thinking about how I needed to do my homework for the new SMC Single Moms Small Group on Tuesday night (nothing like waiting until the last minute…). Our reading for this week’s group is about identity. I think we all work through figuring out who we are at different points along the way—even if you’ve never divorced, and/or found yourself a single mom. We have moments or events that shape us and help us define ourselves. BUT, as I’ve learned from experience, and worked through even more with our reading for this week, many of the “labels” I’ve given myself, or allowed myself to own, aren’t definitions of WHO I am.
I once labeled myself as “his wife” or “their mom.” I was a “Tar Heel, born and bred” and, at one point, “a teacher.” But those tell of my marital and parent statuses, my affiliation with a particular longitude and latitude (and well-earned piece of paper, to boot), and what I used to do. Are these really who I am? Some of them don’t even apply now – so what do I do about that? Is this how my big, big God defines me? How about “rejected”? Or “failure”? “Unloved and unwanted”? Maybe I’m not that amazing creature who figured out how to send a rocket to space…but who am I? Some of those labels carry some hefty weight, and negative connotations. And who told me I was any of those things (or any other label I’ve attached to myself over the years)? As the author of “Hope and Help for the Single Mom” points out, “feelings [often] caused the false labels” (pg 17).
So, how do we un-label ourselves? How do we answer the question “Tell me about who you are?” (pg15). I’ve learned over the last several years now that we should believe God when He whispers to us that we are who He says we are.
Included below is an excerpt from pages 18-20 about who God says we are—each and every one of us. You, me, everybody! I encourage you today to read these, believe them, own them, and live them.
I am the apple of God’s eye Deuteronomy 32:9-10
I am the salt and light of the earth Matthew 5:13-14
I am God’s child John 1:12
I am Christ’s friend John 15:15
I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life John 15:1, 5
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit John 15:16
I am a personal witness of Christ Acts 1:8
I have been justified Romans 3:24
I am free from condemnation; I am holy, blameless and covered with God’s love Romans 8:1, 2; Ephesians 1:4
I am assured that all things work together for my good; I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected Romans 8:28; Philippians 1:6
I cannot be separated from God’s love; I am united with the Lord, I am one spirit with Him Romans 8:35-39; 1Corinthians 6:17
I have been sanctified in Christ 1Corinthians 1:2
I am righteous and holy 1Corinthians 1:30
I am God’s temple; I am a member of Christ’s body 1Corinthians 3:16; 1Corinthians 12:27
I have been bought with a price. I belong to God 1Corinthians 6:20
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God 2Corinthians 1:21, 22
I am a new creature 2Corinthians 5:17
I am one in Christ; I am complete in Christ Galatians 3:28; Colossians 2:10
I am a saint Ephesians 1:4
I am forgiven, and my sins have been take away; I am set free from my sinful nature Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:11
I am God’s work of art Ephesians 2:10
I have been brought near to God Ephesians 3:6
I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit; I can come into God’s presence with freedom and confidence Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12
I share in the promise of Christ Ephesians 3:6
I am a citizen of Heaven; I have eternal glory Philippians 3:20; 2Timothy 2:10
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me Philippians 4:3
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind 2Timothy 1:7
I can find grace and mercy in time of need Hebrews 4:16
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me 1John 5:18
These are beautiful definitions given to us by our good, good Father. This is who He says we are. These are the words of God for we, the people, of God. Thanks be to God. Amen.