Tag Archives: grace

Identity Crisis

It wasn’t the “who am I” identity crisis occupying my life for the last month. I’m not sitting around contemplating where I fit in this world. No, I was truly having trouble actually proving who I was.

With my license about to expire, my goal was to renew it with a REAL ID. For those of you not familiar, this is a federally compliant version of your old driver’s license needed after Sept 30, 2020 to get on an airplane or to visit certain governmental buildings. There are strict federal laws governing each state: Anyone requesting a REAL ID needs to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt who they really are.

My problem was I let my passport expire. I read up on the items needed instead. One of them was a birth certificate. I searched my house for weeks trying to find a document I wasn’t even certain I had. Finally, I gave up and obtained a new one from the county where I was born.

As women, we also have to prove our name change for every driver’s license. So I packed up my marriage license, my birth certificate, social security card and proof of my address before heading out to the DMV. Yet, I was still rejected because I brought my marriage license not a certified copy of my marriage certificate. Never mind this was the very document I used years ago to change my driver’s license, my passport, my social security card, all my bank accounts – you get the idea. The DMV’s logic seemed circular to me, but I did all that in a pre-911 world when I guess the government was more lax about my identity.

I was upset leaving the DMV for not even thinking about obtaining a state issued copy of my marriage certificate. I didn’t think the bar would be so high to prove I am me. Despite this huge frustration, I also was thankful God knows who I am, he has welcomed me into his family and no matter how many names I have, he has only one for me: daughter.

Yes, I was in the midst of an identity crisis of biblical proportions, but also felt God giving me a lesson about who he is and who I was called to be – his! Scripture clearly conveys God’s heart for the poor, the oppressed, the orphaned and yes, the rejected. He treasures those of us who have been rejected and made a way to adopt us into the family of God. He never wants us thinking we are left out any longer. Daughters, heirs of God, don’t whine and beg; they pray and believe in God’s love, power and affection.

My identity is firmly established in the finished work of Christ on the cross. His overwhelming victory gives me a place at his table of grace. 1 Peter 2:9 remind us: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (NIV)

Approaching the clerk at the DMV, I was filled with anxiousness and fear of rejection. But when I approach the throne of God’s grace, I am assured of God’s welcome and loving embrace. I will always be his forever, no matter what. That thought leaves me speechless, but in a totally different way than I was at the DMV. My wordless response there was of anger and disappointment that I had failed to prove who I was. Accepting my identity in Christ leaves me speechless in humble, yet awe-inspiring gratitude.

As an heir of Christ, I have nothing to prove – not even who I am – and all of eternity to live out that identity.

Let Go of Failure! Move forward! Live boldly!

“What do you mean?” My voice quivered that morning and I’m sure my eyes had that deer in the headlights look. The customer service agent was patient as she explained once again. “You booked your flight for 9PM instead of 9AM.” Again, I just stared at her. Mistakes like this don’t happen to me. I’m careful, I’m cautious and I double check everything. Then I remembered – that night I spent hours searching for a low airfare. When this one popped up on my computer screen, its low price entranced me and I booked it. In my haste, I didn’t check the actual departure time.

A line of impatient customers formed in back of me while I held back tears. Fortunately, the customer service agent offered me a solution. She would check my luggage and put me on the wait list for the next flight. A glimmer of hope, which was immediately dashed when she said, “This is a popular destination. Most of today’s flights are overbooked. You still might not get out until 9PM. Good luck.”

Walking towards my gate, a torrent of tears flooded my face. I felt utterly defeated, stupid and shamed. I failed. Disgrace poked holes in my confidence. My tears grew stronger. How did I let this happen? How would I explain my failure to my friends who were expecting me at noon and not midnight?

Entering the waiting area, a torrent of wetness flowed down my face. I heard God whisper, “Let it go! Give it to me.” My heart answered, “I can’t, Lord. I’m trying to, but I can’t release my failure.” For a few minutes, I wrestled with God. I was so deeply engrossed in telling God how I couldn’t surrender this fiasco to him, I almost missed the gate agent calling my name over the intercom. Moments later, with a boarding pass in hand, I was still berating myself for this misstep. Yet the tears had subsided and I understood more fully why God was telling me to liberate my inadequacies.

This side of heaven, we will never have total victory, but we will have some. Each and every day, God is transforming you, changing you, remaking you in his image. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

My bigger mistake was not handing my failure over to the God who loved me enough to say “let it go.” In that airport, instead of crying, I should have handed my broken scars back to my heavenly Father. Let go of my insecurity and taken hold of my true identity as a child of God. Let go of my shame – of the feeling no one would love me just the way I am – and taken hold of the grace God was offering me.

When victory, even a small one like this, becomes yours, celebrate them! Don’t miss them as I almost did that day beating myself up for my failure. Seize the victories. Rejoice! Move forward and off of those self-deprecating thoughts. Don’t let failure overcome your heart – celebrate the times when victory is yours!

Celebrate the times when life hands you victory out of defeat.

Celebrate when you didn’t answer a curt word with one of your own.

Celebrate when you forgot the milk at the grocery store and didn’t call yourself a failure.

Celebrate when you didn’t yell at your kids or your husband for leaving their stuff cluttering the living room.

Celebrate the time taken just for you to gain perspective on the day rather than enter it feeling defeated, dragged down and disgusted.

Live boldly knowing God honors your progress and offers grace for the times you fall short.

Stop feeling you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not lucky enough, or just not enough, period. Let go of the feelings that sabotage your confidence, move forward into the arms of God and live courageously knowing God has taken hold of you. Then boldly celebrate all the small victories in your life.

Torment, Torture and Terror

I started envying people who live in grass huts. Everything they own, everything they need in a small, compact place.

Our home’s closing date was looming just as large as the piles of stuff waiting to be sorted, packed or disposed of. When did we acquire so much?

move 001Never did I realize how taxing it would be – emotionally, physically and mentally draining – to pack up a house. Three weeks were filled with torment, torture and terror because it seemed impossible to vacate our home on time. Even a week and a half after the sale, I want to chase the quiet and just relax, but despite having the burden of packing lifted, my to-do list is long. It feels like it is constantly screaming at me, “Keep working. You have too much to do to relax.”

I am tired – down to my bones tired. I wish I could say I am also fine. But I’m not…really.

Life goes that way somehow. One of my greatest talents is organization, but I’m so disorganized right now along with being completely tapped out. I’ve been running on empty for too long.

My ever-growing to-do list probably looks similar to yours. Tell me, do you cross off an activity only to have it replaced with two more things? Somehow, you make a conscious decision to slow down, to enjoy life instead of being project-minded, to linger and enjoy, but then life crashes in and speeds up. In the end, it drags you along – like a raging river, you just can’t control the force.

There is a promise in the Bible I need to hear and believe, even more than I need a really long nap. You might need it also in the beginning of this New Year. Matthew 11:26 – Come to me all you who are weary and heavily burdened and I will give you rest.

I can’t honestly tell you the last time I slept well, but I can tell you I need rest. Come to Me and rest. Oh, how that word delights my soul right now: rest, rest, rest! What a gift from God. When I meditate on that verse, it is if He is standing right next to me saying, “I see you. I know you are tired. I know your body aches from all the work. I know you are trying to give your best to others in the middle of a chaotic time. But it is time to rest in Me.”

God provided so much during that time of hurried packing, cleaning and worrying. One of the greatest gifts was amnesia. No kidding. So many pleasant memories permeated that house. My heart was pained selling it. I dreaded closing day, of walking away from the joyous life lived there. Yet, when that day arrived, when the time came to drive away from the house one last time, I have no memory of it. Seriously!

It sounds silly, but He provided a means to slip away from our home without an emotional upheaval. And once we got to the hotel where we spent the last night in Chicago, there was time to savor the beautiful, crazy, loving memories of that house. God provided. It is what He does…it is what He did…it is who He is.

Just as He did mine, he understands your struggles. He sees you trying to make ends meet, of rising early and working late, of the questions you have – the ones that keep you up at night. He knows when you are scared, unsure and nervous. Still, He is always there beside us. We need only let our roots sink deeper into Him.

“Come to me,” He says.

In the midst of the disorganization, the exhaustion and the uncertainty, I’m resting in Him.

And all I can answer is, “I’m coming.”