The story I’m about to tell you sounds like it comes straight from a Hallmark Channel movie, but it’s true!
Have you heard of the true story of a woman named Gwenllian, who was the daughter of the Prince of Wales? She was born around 1280 and was the descendant of duel Royal bloodlines. Her father was the Prince, and her mother was the heiress of the Royal family of Albert. Unfortunately, her mother passed away during childbirth, and when she was just a few months old. England invaded the country, killing the baby’s father in the war. Gwenllian, captured in her cradle, was placed in the care of the Prior and Prioress of Sempringham at the age of just seventeen months. She would remain there as a nun until her death fifty-four years later, on June 7th, 1337. For her entire life, she had no idea that she was a princess; she did not speak her native language and had never known her native land. She didn’t even know how to pronounce her real name.
Gwenllian’s throne stolen, she was stripped of her authority and lived a life of captivity, never knowing her true identity. So can you imagine being royalty and not knowing it? Can you imagine being the daughter of a King and being held in low regard, never setting foot in your home country your whole life?
Of course, you can!
Would it have made a difference in the Gwenllian’s life to know the truth about who she was? Would it have made a difference in her heart to know where she came from, who she was, and that she was, in fact, royalty?
Oh yeah. It makes a world of difference.
I’m not sure the first time that I asked myself, “Who am I?” I grew up in a strong Protestant household where being part of God’s family was a given. As an adult, you could ask me, “Who are you?” and I would very quickly be able to say to you, “I’m a child of God.” You could likely say the same thing. Yet, as an adult woman with a successful career and working in ministry, I found myself yearning for approval and fearing failure.
The Bible verses that kept telling me about who I was, that were meant to help me to feel secure, actually had me ending up feeling superficial. The reality was, what people said about me had more weight. Even though everything looked stable on the outside, the fact was that my day could be saved or destroyed by an email, by a look, by comparison, by rejection, or even a compliment – in a snap. So, I’ve come to realize over the last few years that I didn’t have an intimate knowledge of God’s love for me. I had it here, in my mind. I could tell you the words, but I had yet to make that experience in my, in my heart. How was I to know that God’s love wasn’t based on how I perform? How was I to know that the love that he tells me he has for me isn’t like everyone else that said that they loved me and moved on? How was I to know that?
What I realized is that I heard ABOUT God’s love for me from other people. I desired God to tell me Himself.
Has this happened to you?
I began asking him the question, “Lord, who am I? Who am I Lord? Who am Lord? Who am I?” Because to be honest with you, I thought that my past, my woundedness, my sin was me. I thought it was me. Sometimes when we get so up close to it, we can’t tell who we really are apart from our experiences. So, I waited and I waited for his answer. I’ll let you know one absolute truth that happened: He is quick to answer the question. Although we were introduced to the idea that we are God’s child, He desires to tell you personally and intimately who you are to Him, how much he loves you.
Let me give you an example. Let’s look at Scripture for a minute. We see time and again how the Lord spoke to people directly and personally about who they are. Go to the Old Testament. Abraham, you’re the father of many nations, Gideon, you are a mighty warrior, Daniel, you are highly esteemed by God, David, you are a man after God’s own heart. God’s Word is particular. In the New Testament., Peter- Rock. “Upon this rock, I will build my church.” “You are rock.” “Nathaniel, you are a true Israel light. Remember that there’s no deceit in you. Regarding Our Blessed Mother, “You are the highly favored one.”
You are statements
God wants to tell you very personally what’s going on with you. I wanted to show you something because I think that it might be difficult to imagine that the creator of all things would come and whisper into your ear these things. But he does and he continues to do so. It’s just a matter of us receiving what he wants to give.
Okay. I’m going to show you something.
If I were to ask you to tell me some words to describe God’s attributes, what would you say? Likely, you would say things like, He’s:
strong, merciful, humble, love, purposeful, patient, secure, wise, joyful, peaceful.
These are just a few attributes of God. We could never come close to listing out all his amazing qualities- He is infinite goodness!
Here’s the awesome part, Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him.” If YOU were made in his image and his likeness, then these attributes we just listed are yours, too!
The TRUE you is strong, merciful, humble, loving, purposeful, patient, secure, wise, joyful, peaceful.
Oh, do you see yourself this way? Do you see yourself this way?
The other side of us
Let’s talk about our sins. If we were to rattle off some sins, our list could be:
Impatient, jealous, prideful, controlling, judgmental, stubborn, envious, angry, hopeless, or complaining.
Nowhere in Scripture does it say that you ARE your sins. Jesus took our sins upon himself to free us and reconcile us with the Father. He became our sin, but we never are defined by our sins. We are and always will be through our adoption- a beautiful daughter of a loving Father.
You have choices to make, many times a day. Will you chose your true self? When you chose your true self- that’s the path to holiness. It’s how we let God know we love him.
When He looks at you, He sees a reflection of Jesus in you. All those God attributes…that’s what He sees in you! Isn’t that amazing? When He sees you, He sees a good woman that was made good. He sees your generosity, your strength, your forgiveness, your purposefulness, your peace, your joy. That’s who he sees.
We are all a unique reflection of him in this way. When you think about what we have to offer our Lord, it’s literally nothing. I’m even a gift to myself! Every day when we have a decision to make on how we’re going to react to something. We can choose to reflect who God created us to be, like Him, or we accept otherwise.
When you opt for sin, you already know that you are betraying God. But have you ever considered that you are betraying yourself, too? Have you ever thought about that? It’s a personal betrayal. When we go to confession, we say, “Lord, I’m sorry that I harmed our relationship. I even turned away from who you made me be. I want you to ask for forgiveness for this.” We are forgiven!
I offer you one additional step, sisters.
It’s a great next step to ask yourself for forgiveness for betraying who he made. Putting our focus on maintaining our relationship with God and on our identity is like a rain that pushes out impurities. I’m hoping this is a fundamental shift in how you see yourself, how you see your decisions.
How does it apply to your everyday life?
What does it mean to live from this truth? I’ll give you an example which you can appreciate. I was with my 11-year-old daughter when we saw a woman that was walking across a parking lot. I know the woman very well. There have been times I’ve been jealous of her. Absolutely. It looks like she has it all together. She’s the quintessential “perfect woman.” My daughter innocently suggests, “She looks just like you, but way younger.” Well, truth be told, she’s my age. I was thinking. I can either go with the temptation to be jealous, go online and buy a hundred dollars in face serum, and rev up my judgmental attitude or not. Right at that moment, I had a choice, and I’m going to tell you honestly, a few years ago, I would have opted for the pity-party and not thought twice. It would have ruined the rest of my day( if not two or three days). The record of lies playing in my head, “I’m not good enough. I’m not beautiful. I’m not as successful. I’m not, I’m not. I’m not.” I had a decision to make. I’m sitting there in the car, thinking, “Oh, I have a decision to make.”
I chose to see myself as the beautiful daughter of a loving Father. Our Lord was so happy that I decided to see myself in who he made, not comparing myself to anyone else.
My mother said to me maybe six months ago, “I have noticed that you are much more patient than you used to be.” People start to see the difference. They begin to see what’s going on. “She’s living more joy.” Like the things that used to bother her aren’t bothering her as much anymore. We start to think more of others and have more compassion because you can relate so much.
It’s about transformation. It’s about allowing God to show you the areas that he wants you to see more clearly. We cannot do this work on our own. It can only be accomplished with grace. We are to relax into the Father’s arms and allow Him just to speak the truth to us. That’s all we’re doing. You’re allowing Him to tell you who you are.
There are two main ways that we can start to build our identity.
- One is that we have to hear it directly from Him. No more reading books about it. No more of that. The idea is you ask him directly and wait for the answer. He will answer you, and it’s the most life-changing, transforming experience you’ll ever have. You just have to wait for the response. He’s quick! How does it come? It comes in all kinds of different ways. He can tell you; he can show you something, you can see how someone responds to you in a particular way. You look for it and anticipate His response.
- The second easiest thing is choosing to live according to your true identity. You’re just opting for reality. Just say yes to who you are! I’m going to choose to be humbler. I’m going to choose to be more joyful. It’s the smallest decision, but yet sometimes it can feel the biggest. That’s a smokescreen of the enemy.
How are you doing?
What’s happening in your heart right now?
Pray with this beautiful video!
Diane Gervais says
Thank you so much for this Melissa. It is a balm to my soul. I heard you on the Love Life Conference this weekend and this morning on the Pentecost Novena Reflection. I am a Regnum Christi member here in northern Alberta, Canada.
I too have been horribly abused as a child. Every time I figure, I’ve worked through it, I find that my way of dealing with things goes back to those ways of hiding, running away, shutting down, not letting anyone in, not even God, and pity-party. These behaviours come and blindside me.