Who You Are…..

identityinchrist

I try to lead by example and practice what I preach. So on Tuesday, when I asked you to pause and answer nine questions about yourself,  I paused and honestly answered the same questions about myself.

I think it is important to be transparent and honest. My answers are not always happy and rose-colored. Here’s one of my answers from Tuesday:

  1.  On a scale from 1-10, how tired are you? Can you pinpoint the reasons why you are tired- baby in the house, lack of sleep, dealing with stressful circumstances….?            

“Today I am about an eight!!! It’s been almost a week of sickness in our house. I still haven’t unpacked the suitcases from the trip. I have had extra loads laundry to do. Washing bedding multiple times, sometimes in the middle of the night, and disinfecting the house. The kids have been up at night. I am working through a difficult situation and praying about how best to deal with it in love.Side note: Conflict exhausts me. On top of that, I have been staying up too late instead of going to bed when I should. And we lost an hour of sleep with daylight savings time. Today, I am mentally, emotionally, and physically TIRED!”  

I want to tell you something that has been weighing on my heart all week and I think is important to get straight before we go on.

Your worth as a person is not defined by how you answered these questions.

You are not defined by your emotions.

You are not defined by exhaustion.

You are not defined by your circumstances.

You are not defined by your failures.

You are not defined by what others say that you are.

You are not defined by the car you drive, the size of your house or the clothes that you wear.

You are not defined by your past.

You are not defined by your inadequacies.

You are not defined by your housekeeping abilities (Praise Jesus!)

You are not defined by your time management skills.

You are not defined by your to-do list and how many items have been checked (or not checked off).

“God knows exactly who you are; He made you. He knows every weakness, every strength, and He loves you the same.” -Sarah Mae 1

You are defined by God alone and only God.

 God says you are…

His Child

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”– 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

Chosen

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will    Ephesians 1:4-5 (NIV)

A New Creation

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!–2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

His Masterpiece

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.–Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Loved

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.–Romans 8:37-39 (ESV)

Made Complete Through Grace and Mercy

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. –2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

Dear Reader, 

You are so loved! A kind, patient, and understanding God cares about you. He wants us to go to him weary, imperfect and exhausted. He wants to be our strength, shield, comfort, and joy.  As we move forward in our discussion of time, please grab hold of these truths and keep them close to our heart. We need to stat believing who God says we are and push aside who we think we are.  Let’s not forget to invite God along with us on this journey to move forward purposely in faith and working toward learning some new things.

Xo Shanna 

Click on the link below to the print the identity verses. Place it where you can see them often and be reminded of who you really are.  

MOPS Talk-Identity in Christ Who God Says I Am

 


How Instagram Helped Improve My Day

New PerspectiveSo we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,as we look not to things that are seen but to things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient but the things that are unseen are eternal.  ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

My deep sleep was abruptly cut short by a loud call from the other room, “MAMA, MAMMMA!!” Hazy and groggy, my bare feet hit the cold floor and walked the familiar path to where my warm, fuzzy robe hung. I pulled the robe off the hook, slowly wrapping its comfort around me and headed toward my son’s room.

For almost three years, day after day, this has been my morning routine. No alarm clocks needed in my house. When my son gets up, I get up. I normally do not mind an early start to the day. But today, with a dreary, grey sky and a ground coated with snow, I just wanted to curl under the heavy, down comforter that warms my bed.

I brought my son downstairs hoping that his cries did not wake his two big sisters. I started to think how nice it would be to have a few quiet minutes to myself once I got my son settled with breakfast and some toys. A very happy vision of me sitting at the kitchen table with my Bible and a HOT cup of coffee (not one that had been reheated in the microwave) started to perk up my senses and improve my mood. My thoughts were short lived.

Seconds after my son’s breakfast was served, the kitchen door flew open and two very sleepy-eyed girls walked in complaining that they had heard their brother and could no longer sleep.  The girls took their spots at the kitchen counter silently indicating that they were ready for breakfast. Some grumpy words and unspoken exchanges took place among us. I joylessly toasted the bread, rudely slathered on butter, smeared the jam, and pushed the breakfast plates towards my children.  Besides my son, who was happily playing, it would seem that us girls woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I needed to a “redo,” a restart of my day. Some fresh air would do me some good. My husband was up so I grabbed my camera, threw on some snow boots, and shut my bad mood in the door behind me.  The temperature was warmer than I expected and I breathed in the moist air. A couple of inches of snow had fallen overnight and a thin layer of ice crusted over the top. The snow crunched as I stepped through it. Each step seemed to lighten my mood. I lifted my camera and started to explore through its lens.  My bad mood dissipated with each click and shutter sound.

I am no expert photographer but I enjoy taking pictures. Since joining Instagram, I love photography even more. I often find myself looking at an ordinarily objects with a new fascination and with a different perspective. Pictures have turned into more than an just an image. Emotions and words come alive in them.

My kids were quiet and occupied when I got back to the house. I was finally able to sit down at the kitchen table with my Bible and a reheated-cup of coffee. I previewed my pictures and was captivated by this flower. The image led me to words and thoughts that brought my mood full circle.  I posted the following in an Instagram post.

New Perspective

“This flower reminds me of the verses from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. It has long lost its petals and brilliant color. An icy glaze coats its memory. But within it, a seed remains. A seed with the possibility of growing into a more beautiful flower than before. A seed that will take root in the nutrient-rich earth that was renewed by a long, hard winter. A seed that will birth a flower of more vibrant color, graced with bolder petals and a stronger stem. 

We are like this flower. Enduring trials, experiencing difficulties, surviving with God’s grace and strength. These are good things. Things that lead us to growth, a more beautiful self, and prepares us for greater service with eternal results for the glory of God. #deepthoughts #winter #growth #nature #flower #donotloseheart#2Corinthians #noticinggoodness”

One picture, one post, God’s voice heard, a changed heart and mind. My day started over then. Joy seeped back in. I hugged my kids. They hugged me back. I threw out my agenda. I surrendered and was blessed.

When I popped back on Instagram later that day, a comment was left under the picture, thanking me for the words that were posted. I thought how easily we can influence each other in our bad moods and in good moods, encouraging each other or tearing each other down. Social media can fuel many hurtful, unkind things. But it can also be used for the good. A tool that can foster creativity and community. A place where inspiring and encouraging words can be shared and perspectives changed.