Who Am I?

“I am a blessed, holy, forgiven child of the one true God; a living testimony to the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross to redeem my sins.  And because I gave my heart to Jesus I am assured in everlasting peace and grace in glory.”

By Shelley Loring
The Flame Volunteer Writer

I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother. I work full time and have for most of my adult life, that is until last November when I lost my job.

No matter the reason, losing a job is a humbling and life changing experience and difficult because when we spend so much time and energy at our work, it becomes a huge part of who we are.  It can become our identity.  Think about it, when we meet new people, one of the first questions is often, “what do you do” or “where do you work?”  Even if you don’t work outside the home, you probably still define yourself by your association with others.  “I’m Sam’s mom” or “I’m Joe’s wife.”  So when those things that define us disappear, like when we lose a job, our spouse dies, or our kids grow and move away, we often feel like a large part of who we think we are disappears.

Once while shopping, I said, “Hello, how are you?” to the saleswoman.  With joy on her face she responded, “I am wonderful because I am a blessed, holy, forgiven child of the one true God; a living testimony to the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross to redeem my sins.  And because I gave my heart to Jesus I am assured in everlasting peace and grace in glory.”

I was stunned. The sales woman introduced herself with the only identity that she thought mattered. With that short rendition, she provided a full witness to her faith and testimony of the love of Jesus Christ. That identity was something that no one and no set of circumstances could ever take away from her.

When we proclaim that we are Christians, we set our lives on a path different from the world’s.  Following God when everyone around you is following the way of the world can be difficult. Lest we think that once we proclaim our faith, that will be it, we have to remember that we are human and by definition we will falter and fail. Only by having a relationship with God and surrounding ourselves with a community of believers who encourage and pray for us, do we stand any chance of success. Failing that, we run the risk of forgetting that He created us and He named us; that He loves us; that He will give us rest; that He will comfort us; that He will provide for us; that He has forgiven us.

We run the risk of forgetting Him.

And that is when doubt, despair, loneliness and shame can take over and push you even further away from Him.

When I lost my job, a huge part of my identity was ripped away. It was then that I realized I had let my identity as a Christian fall away. I still loved Christ but I had become an acquaintance who touched base occasionally with Jesus and my Christian friends even less. I had gotten lazy and distracted. I let busyness turn my head and, to some extent, my heart away from Him. So when I thought my professional life was gone, all those feelings of doubt, despair and loneliness started to fill the void and threatened to drive me further away from Him.  But fortunately for me, He was not about to let anything take away what was His. I was greatly troubled; He gave me rest. I felt desperate; He gave me hope. I felt alone; He gave me community.

He wanted to get my attention, and He did.  When my work was stripped away, He replaced it with people who reminded me that the only identity worth having is one as His daughter. Once I stopped neglecting my relationship with Him and my Christian community, and once I grounded myself in Him, my life changed.  I am happier, healthier, I have greater peace and I have a higher mission. When He decided I was ready, He answered my prayer for a job with less stress, fewer hours and a closer commute to my home.

Allow me to introduce myself.  I am a blessed, holy, forgiven child of the one true God.  A living testimony to the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross to redeem my sins. Because I gave my heart to Jesus I am assured of everlasting peace and grace in glory.  I am redeemed!

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