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Truth in Times of Transition: A Summer Blog Series




“What does God say about you? Do you know who you are?”


These are the questions I stared at from a recent Bible study I’m reading through, surprisingly unsure at first how to answer.  What got me stuck? The question asking if I know who I am. For whatever reason, I felt like I had too many responses, some of them things I’m not sure I’m fully doing as well or as often as I’d like.


My answers were:


Wife

Mom

Grandma

Daughter

Friend

Youth Director (part-time, as an interim)

Writer (not writing nearly as much as I should for my current goals)

 

Then I looked at the other question, asking what God say about me. This I answered without hesitation and then felt quite foolish for having such a hard time answering these questions at all. When I think of what God says about me, answering who I am is so much easier.

 

What does God say about me?

 

God says I am fully and completely and always loved. I am his child.

 

A light bulb went off in my head. Why on earth did I not answer this question first?

 

Thinking on this, I realize it’s an easy mistake to make. Even after all these years, I can still fall off track. I can still lose sight of what matters most. I can get caught up in what I think I’m doing well and where I think I’m floundering. But I am always a child of God, and I am always loved.

 

1 John 2: 24-3:1 says this:

 

“So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.

 

 I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true –it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

 

And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.

 

Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.

 

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”




 

That last verse is what came to my mind when I answered that question of what God says about me. Clearly I had read it enough to remember it and recall it when I needed it, and clearly that is evidence of God working in me. It has absolutely nothing to do with me, my ability, my memory. It is quite literally God at work and a fresh reminder of how important it is for me to stay in his word and not let the distractions of life cause me to forget it.

 

I say this because I think the distractions of life are what made the questions a struggle at first. When John wrote in the passage above to “remain in fellowship with Christ” he knew we could get distracted. In my case, rather than instinctively answer the first question of what God says about me, my mind first went to what I say about me, who others might say I am, what my roles are, and whether or not I’m actually doing these things well. It is true that I am all those roles I listed, but they should not come first in my answer. My first answer should be “I am a fully and forever loved child of God.” Everything else can follow from that. When I place who I am in God first in my mind, every other role suddenly seems easier, or at least less like they all depend on my ability, because truth be told, I can do none of my roles well without God’s power and help. And if some of these roles change, that’s okay too, because what ultimately matters is my walk through it all with God at my side. He will lead me, and I can trust him.

 

This week while on a walk, I spent part of the time listening to Luke 8:40-53, the passage titled Jesus Heals in Response to Faith. In this passage, a religious leader named Jairus falls at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him to heal his only daughter who is twelve years old and dying.  Jesus is interrupted here, and takes the time to heal a woman who has been suffering with bleeding for twelve years. This interruption with the woman is itself an entirely beautiful and moving story of faith, one that always reminds me of Jesus’s incredible power and love for us. But the story of Jairus is just as important, and the fact that Jesus is interrupted from Jairus and still has time for someone else is also significant. Jesus’s love is big enough for all of us and his timing is perfect. When we’re waiting on something, we can still trust he’s working.

 

When Jesus turns his attention back to Jairus, it’s because a messenger interrupts his speaking to the woman and says to Jairus, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no troubling the Teacher now.”

 

Jesus then responds to Jairus by saying, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”

 

Next, when Jesus arrives at Jairus’s house, everyone is weeping, thinking the girl has died. But Jesus says, “She’s only asleep.” Then he takes the girl by the hand and says, “My child, get up!” And at that moment, her life returns, and she immediately stands up.

 

What a miraculous story, and what a beautiful reminder to each of us. First of all, we should never feel that something is too far gone to trouble Jesus about it, like the messenger tried to tell Jairus. Jesus is not troubled by us. He wants to hear from us. He wants to help us.

 

So, what feels dead in our own lives right now? What needs healing or help that only God can provide?

 

How might we hear Jesus saying to each of us any of the following:

 

“Don’t be afraid. Just have faith and (name the person) will be healed.”

“Don’t be afraid. Just have faith and YOU will be healed.”

“Don’t be afraid. Just have faith and IT will be healed.”

“Don’t be afraid. Just have faith and ALL will be well.”

 

And what about those final words from Jesus, “My child, get up!”

 

My Child ….. that’s what he calls her. That’s what he calls each of us to remind us of WHO we are and WHOSE we are and how much we are loved.


Can you hear Jesus saying to you, “My child, get up,” go and face that situation, that person, this day, this moment with me right here at your side?


The past few weeks at my church have been filled with milestones that celebrate and remind us of who we are. We’ve celebrated the confirmation of faith of middle school students, the baptism of my grandson, and then the graduation of high school seniors as they received their faith quilts. Each one of these celebrations has encompassed a body of people surrounding others in love and faith and prayer. Each celebration has been a reminder of who we are as God’s children and how we are all united as one family under Him. Each celebration has shown me the love of God through incredibly welcoming and light-filled people that I’m so grateful to know. Each celebration feels to me like one small snippet of heaven on earth.


As the interim youth director at my church, I have students in transition. They’re transitioning as they graduate, or as they move to the next grade level, or enter our group as freshmen in high school. This transition time for young people is not an easy one, but when I work with them, I’m reminded that the struggle of transitions and how to walk through them isn’t easy for any of us. When we’re in between things, or juggling multiple things, or unsure of what’s next, things can feel hard or confusing. The one thing that will always be stable for us is God. I hope to remind them of that this summer, and also remember it myself.


As a writer, I’ve also felt like I’m in transition as I think about what I can share with my readers while other long term projects are in the works.  I have another novel I’m working on with notes in journals and some chapters typed, as well as a children’s picture book soon to be out.  But I also have a blog that has been quiet for a while. I have journals filled with Bible verses, prayers, and thoughts, but I’ve been unsure of what I should share with readers. When I look at all the projects, I see a thread woven throughout them that is the same, the thread of the never ending, steadfast love of God and the awe of who he is.  I’m thinking that is what I need to share.


So this post is the first in a series that will reflect on the truth of who God is and in turn, who we are, whether in transition or not. I think summer is likely the perfect time for this, even though it actually is the perfect time for this every moment of every day. Whether we’re transitioning to new places, traveling in between places, or staying put, we are children of God –always, foremost, first. It is his spirit and work in us that guides us and makes us whole. If we stay close to the one who truly knows us, loves us, and never leaves us, by listening to his word and his voice above all else, we can have a peace, a confidence, and a hope that carries us through anything.  


Here’s a brief look at what I plan to share in this summer blog series:


·         Who We Are (the message in this post, which hopefully you got!)

·         Who We Believe

·         Who We Listen To

·         Who We Follow

·         Who Gets Our Attention/Who We Praise

·         Who We Know


I hope you enjoy these reflections and I pray you continue to hear God’s voice telling you, “You are my forever loved child. Don’t be afraid. Just Believe.”


Journal Prompts:

· Answer the questions “Who do you say you are? Who does God say you are?” How are the answers the same? Different? How can who God says you are impact who you say you are?


· Write a verse from this post or another one that reminds you of who God says you are. Pray over this verse and read it daily as a reminder.


· Write this part of Luke 8:50: “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith and ………..will be ……..” What can you write in these spaces that you can pray about?


· Write and repeat these phrases whenever you need them: “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” Or  “I am a fully and forever loved child of God.”


· Spend time outside, pay attention to creation.  Read Psalm 104, or any other Psalm that talks of all God has created and all he can do. Write a prayer of thanks for his works, including his work in you and others.

 

Some books and resources I’m currently reading or leading others through that you might enjoy:

Strong in Battle by Susie Larson

Get Used to Different by Jeremiah Smith and Amanda Jenkins


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