“If only you were prettier, skinnier, or smarter, then you would be the perfect wife for me. But you can’t change who you are, so I guess I’ll just have to take what you give me.” My second abusive husband told me these statements all the time. He used the manipulation of devaluing me to stay in control of how I viewed who I was.
Although his words hurt, somehow deep inside I knew he was wrong. He had to be wrong because Jesus loved me. My questions began my quest to find out who I was according to Jesus.
Your Beginning Can be Deceiving
Even though I had been a Christian since the age of seven, I thought I was a child of God AND what other people said I was. Because we aren’t born knowing God’s word we can be deceived. My deception began at an early age, which is true for most of us.
My mother was Native American, and she grew up on a reservation. She was abused in every way until the age of sixteen. The broken condition of my mom’s body made my life a miracle. However, when I was born the trauma of my birth caused her to hemorrhage and it triggered mental illness. In fact, she struggled with mental illness the rest of her life.
I grew up being told and believing that I was the cause of all of my mom’s problems. Because I believed that I caused her pain and mental illness, I thought I was bad. In my mind, the only way for me to become a good person was to fix myself or prove it by doing good things.
Up Rooting the Lie
I spent the first thirty-five years of my life trying to make myself better. I began to gauge who I was by the value other people placed on me. The problem was this valuing system is that it is determined by imperfect people with their own criteria. When I didn’t meet someone’s standards, I kept believing the lie that I was the cause for anything going wrong with anyone in my life.
The shame and guilt I tried to fix inside my mind and heart became so heavy it blinded me to being deceived into several abusive Christian marriages. The devil kept using my brokenness, pain, and unawareness to deceive me. All my pain kept me believing what was going on in my life was who I was.
But my faith and the Holy Spirit kept whispering that I didn’t know the truth. It was during my second abusive marriage that I began relentlessly pursuing who God said I was and why He made me. As I poured out my heart and studied God’s word, I read that God “knit me together inside my mother’s womb.” When I read this passage in Psalms, I realized I had been deceived all my life.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalms 139:13 – 16 NIV.
The freedom I felt from God’s truth made me hunger to know everything I could about Jesus. I studied the New Testament and learned his words, actions, heart, character, and life. He showed me how I am a new creation in him.
Free to Live My Christ-Life
I began to understand that my identity didn’t come from the conditions of my birth, what people said, how I felt, the experiences I had, or the value others placed on me. My identity came from God’s design and Christ living in me. Only I can choose to believe what Jesus says and what he did or what imperfect people say who I am.
God’s truth broke me free from the lies I had believed about WHO I was. In my freedom He also revealed my priceless value to Him as he sent His only son Jesus Christ to die for my sins. Knowing who I am in Christ takes away my need to fix or prove myself to anyone on earth. He made me new and now I can live in him.
I am the love and light of Jesus as I walk hand-in-hand with him every day. If Jesus can reveal my identity as a priceless and unconditionally loved child of God, he can do the same for you. If you are struggling to know who you are as a disciple of Jesus, the answer is, you are a new creation in Christ. You are the beloved child of God!