I’m not really sure why someone like me got to write a book. Because I’ll be honest: I often feel like I’m a total mess. I think many of us would like to read books written by experts who have their lives together and can offer a lot of answers. And, well… that just doesn’t describe me. I wrote a book because I have questions and fears. I wrote a book out of my brokenness and longing. I wrote a book because I desperately need Jesus, and I want to want Him above all else.
You see, I have spent most of my adult life wondering how God feels about me. Throughout my life, I’ve experienced a lot of pain–just about every kind you can think of–and I often find myself asking Him why. Why me? Why those experiences? Why did they happen when they did? Why am I like this? I sometimes rant at Him that if even one of the painful experiences could have been dropped or averted, maybe I would not have some of the issues I do today. Choosing to trust Him hurts so much sometimes… If, in those moments, I choose to trust that God works everything out for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose, I can adjust my focus to Him rather than myself.
But is it ok to think about myself and who I am? If I’m a Christian, if I’m truly in Christ, how should I view myself? I know from Scripture that I am loved, accepted, chosen, redeemed, adopted, forgiven, blessed, and made righteous, holy, and blameless. I want desperately for these things I know intellectually to permeate my day-to-day reality. I want to live like I know these things are true every minute of every day. One of my daily prayers is that God would fill me to overflowing with His Spirit, so that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the markers of my life. There are moments that His Spirit and my obedience meet, and they are sweet moments indeed. I just wish I had more of them.
In the past two years, I’ve had my first child, left my career in publishing, lived in three different homes, and moved 2500 miles across the country. So many of the things that I clung to as part of my identity have changed or disappeared altogether. Things that I thought were for sure have fallen through. People have hurt me deeply. I’ve battled depression. I’ve questioned who I am.
So… yeah. In the midst of this total identity crisis, I wrote a book. About our identity in Christ.
Learning to view myself as “in Christ” revolutionized me. The entire Bible speaks about who we are in Him, and I found myself landing in the Book of Romans. (You know, one of the “easy” books. Ha.) While investigating aspects of our identity out of Romans, I found examples could be seen in faithful people throughout Scripture. And I started to see pieces of my own life and identity, even the broken parts, coming together in light of God’s Word. If you know me, you know I’m passionate about people being able to study and understand the Bible for themselves, so as a tool I share what I call Fluid Study Elements (more on that in a future post) alongside text from Romans.
I pray that God will use this book…
… to draw us to repentance and trust in Him.
… to restore our hope in Him.
… to show us our significance in Him.
… to challenge us to be who we really are in Him.
Even if I am still a bit of a mess… God isn’t.