Category Archives: From His Heart

Special glimpses into God’s heart

Like a Willow Tree ~ Trusting in the Lord

Taken one foggy morning recently

Taken one foggy morning recently

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters…
Jeremiah 17:7, 8
NKJV

God promises that when we put our trust in Him, we will resemble trees planted by the waters.

I am most certain that the tree He has in mind for me is a weeping willow.  Rather than maintaining a constant plateau of rejoicing, I often find myself allowing my joy to weep out when encountering sad or disappointing circumstances.

It is not as though I go around depressed all the time; I think others would attest to the fact that I try to live life upbeat and encouraging.  There are just those moments when I cave towards despondency.  During those hard times, I’m as weepy as a willow.

However, an interesting fact about weeping willows is that although their branches do seem to weep, by cascading down, they are nevertheless remarkable for their toughness and tenacity to life.

God understands our human frailty.  Despite my tendency to weep when life gets rough, He uses each season of sorrow to grow me nearer to Him.  Along the way, He strengthens my faith and toughens me for the next time hardship hits.  He builds in me tenacity for the storms.

Do you ever grow despondent during of the trials of life?  God created us with emotions, and He understands there will be seasons of weeping.  Rather than beat yourself up because you sometimes let things get you down, rejoice knowing that God can use your sorrow to strengthen your dependency upon Him.

God can turn a weeping heart into a steadfast willow of trust.

Sue Nash/2013

Arise, God ~ Overcoming Life’s Rubble

Taken on a morning I really needed to see the sun rise

Taken on a morning I really needed to see the sun rise

The the people of Judah began to complain, “The workers are getting tired, and there is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves.”
Nehemiah 4:10
NLT

In this passage above, we see Israel trying to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, but the obstacles to doing so were great.  Their enemies tried hindering them every step of the way; however, there was also the problem of the rubble.

Heaps of debris, conspicuous evidence of their ruined city, needed excavating in order for the rebuilding to progress.  It was the clean up after the fall-out, and the task was overwhelming.

The exciting part of any rebuilding is in seeing progress, not in the drudgery of clean up.  Yet, without clearing out the mounds of debris, there is no room for successful restoration.

Life’s Rubble

Isn’t that how it is with devastating circumstances in life?

When faced with recovering from ruinous situations, whether of our own doing or not, we must deal with the rubble.  Mountains of fall-out from the destruction and change:

Consequences from poor choices, scars from regret, brokenness from rejection, damage from abuse, sadness about how things will never be the same and the list goes on.

The people of Judah encountered hindrances from opposition; there were those outside their city attempting to block their rebuilding efforts.  The rubble, however, was a hindrance from within.  Within their gates and from within their spirits, as fatigue caused them to lose heart.  The rubble problem was an inside job.

The same is true for us.  The wreckage leftover from damaging circumstances can hinder our progress from within.  It can cause us to feel overwhelmed and discouraged, thinking that things will never change for the better or restoration ever occur.

Help With Life’s Rubble

Ironically, when tempted to give up due to the enormity of the rubble, we must admit, as did the people of Judah that we will never be able to rebuild by ourselves.  On our own, and in our own strength, we cannot overcome the hurdles of rubbish.  We need help.

Christ must intervene to move the mountains of ruin.  He must come to our rescue.

Hindered from without and ruined within, Judah needed God to help them out of their trouble, most of which was from their own doing.  He did.  God came to their defense and helped them rebuild the wall.

Arise, God ~ Overcome Life’s Rubble

The enemy wants our lives to end in ruin, buried in mounds of rubble.  Yet, for followers of Christ, His very name is at stake in the midst of our circumstances.  No matter what brought about the devastation, when He hears our sincere cries for help, He responds.  God will arise to our defense, not because of anything we deserve but due to His very own name in us.

Arise, O God, plead your own cause; remember how the foolish man reproaches you daily.
 Psalm 74:22

Our enemy cannot stop Him from moving heaven and earthly rubbish out of our lives, if we will let Him.  Just as the damage may have accumulated over years, the rebuilding may take time.  However, God will arise to help us overcome the rubble and experience joy in seeing the walls of our lives restored.

For similar posts, see From His Heart

From His Heart for blogSue Nash/2013

The Parable of the Prodigal’s Mom

Bright sun with blue sky

Bright sun with blue sky ~ better days ahead

The Parable of the Prodigal’s Mom

When he came for his inheritance
To go see what there was out there,
His father consented to send him off,
But to watch him leave his mom just could not bear.

When he had been long gone
And his whereabouts were unknown,
His father was sure he would be alright,
But only on her knees in prayer did his mom keep hanging on.

When he spent his time in reveling
And his folly was rumored wide,
His father continued to stay afloat,
But his mom sunk to the ocean floor and cried.

When he fell flat on his face
And began faltering in his wrong,
His father waited patiently in silence,
But his mom spent sleepless nights fearing something was going on.

When he realized things were not working out
And started awakening to the truth,
His father remained unwaveringly steadfast,
But his mom only cautiously began hoping anew.

When he remembered how things used to be
And longed to return from whence he strayed,
His father expectantly awaited his return,
But his mom still wondered if she’d ever see his face.

When he wisely considered his ways
And began his journey back so full of need,
His father met him a long way off,
But his mom thought it was simply too good to believe.

When he met his father on the road
And found open arms instead of shame,
His father gladly welcomed him home,
But such joy his mom could scarce contain.

When he safely made it home
And embraced the love he once had scorned,
His father began the celebration,
And his mom at last rejoiced knowing her son had been reborn.

My prayer is that this will be an encouragement to any mothers of prodigals struggling to keep hanging on.  God loves prodigals, and continually woos them back, but He also understands the brokenness of a mother’s heart, whose child has strayed far from home.

From His Heart for blogSue Nash/2013

For similar posts, see From His Heart

The Sweet Fragrance of Christ

Gardenia beauty

Gardenia beauty

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.
2 Corinthians 2:15

Gardenias are one of my favorite flowers, mostly because of their sweet fragrance.  Preferences about fragrances differ, though.  I have a neighbor who detests plants like gardenias because of that same sweet smell.

Although I disagree, the reason for our dispute has nothing to do with the appearance of the flower, rather the characteristics of its scent.  Aromatic flowers like gardenias have what I call in your face fragrance.  A fragrance detected before you even see them, and one that grows stronger the closer in proximity you get.  When around gardenias, you either love them or not, because their aroma is distinctive and pervasive. 

My bouquet of gardenias

My bouquet of gardenias

I recently brought home a fresh-cut bouquet into our home, but had to move it from where I had it in the dining room to our sunroom.  Their scent can literally take over the air around them, and since taste involves the sense of smell, our food was beginning to taste like gardenias!  I don’t want them in my salad, but I still love them and look forward to their blooms each summer. 

The Fragrance of Christ is Distinct

Our lives as Believers should emit an equally distinctive and pervasive fragrance of Christ-likeness.  Our walk with the Lord should differ so from that of unbelievers that it is blatant.  No one should doubt to Whom we belong, because of the fruit of the Spirit, so vividly on display in our lives that even strangers spot the difference when we walk in the room.  The closer others get, the more evident the aroma of Christ.  At least, that is how we should live.

Arguably, though, we all fail in allowing the fragrance of Christ to pervade our daily walk. Many times, instead of a sweet aroma, we emit the stench of the old Adam by letting self-control quench a Spirit-led life.  Then, we merely blend in with the world around us.  Hindered is the sweet aroma of Christ, with its life-giving distinctiveness for a lost and dying world.

God knew we would struggle.  That is why He gave us the Holy Spirit, who continually changes us to resemble Christ.  Even in our frailty, God uses us as conduits of His aroma to the world.  Unfortunately, not all respond.

The Fragrance of Christ Confronts

Just as opinions vary on fragrances, the same holds true with the aroma of Christ.  It is the same kind of in your face scent.  When confronted with the presence and truth of Christ, it either attracts or repels.  Others either accept the Christ in us or refuse Him.  They either love Him or not. 

I love gardenias so much that I have a hard time comprehending why others do not. To me, their fragrance is nothing short of heavenly.  I love the Lord so much that I struggle grasping why not everyone does.  His fragrance is heavenly, for Jesus was heaven-sent.  He wants the world to taste and see that He is good, but what is good to taste must first start with a savory aroma. 

Does your life routinely emit the fragrance of Christ?

Let us each be increasingly mindful of how our lives are a fragrance rising up to God, and grow by allowing the Spirit to emit His sweet aroma to those around us. 

In my next post, I will share some more gardenia photos and relate another reason I love them so much.

God’s Heart is Always Wide Open ~ Only His Love Can Satisfy a Longing Within

A photo I took of one of my Amaryllis blooms this year.  They are wide open with beauty ~ reminded me of God's love.

A photo I took of one of my Amaryllis blooms this year. They are wide open with beauty ~ reminded me of God’s love.

Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:31

A disclaimer before reading: this is not a Jane Seymour bashing post!  I admire her work and the efforts of the Open Hearts foundation.  I am not critical of those wearing her jewelry or joining her cause.  What follows is simply the challenge of a higher calling ~ a more excellent way.

A few years ago, Jane Seymour introduced a signature jewelry line called, Open Hearts. The premise behind her unique design is, “Keep your heart open, and love will always find its way in.”

Picture of Jane Seymour Open Hearts collection jewelry. Photo used for purposes of this blog only and not with any intentions to sell or distribute this product line.

Picture of a Jane Seymour Open Hearts collection jewelry piece. Photo used for purposes of this blog only, with no intentions to sell or distribute this product line.

The design is unique and highly successful.  More important than business success, though, is how she is using her concept to inspire others to join the Open Hearts community of followers, those who demonstrate they have embraced the philosophy of selfless giving even in the face of adversity.  Ms. Seymour best summarizes the idea:

“When you’re going through a challenge, instead of taking it all inside, if you open your heart, accept what’s happened, open up and in some way help someone else – you have a unique opportunity to have a purpose in life and to make a difference.” (Living With an Open Heart)

I applaud Ms. Seymour for her noble efforts.  The Open Hearts foundation is a very worthy endeavor.

I started thinking about their concept, though, of whether by opening up and helping others, love will always find its way in, and the foundation’s message that, when your heart is open it can never stay broken.  A lovely design and wonderful idea, but is it always true?

Helping others does tend to empower one to push beyond the pain of their circumstances, and many people have derived a sense of purpose by doing so, using the adversity they suffered as the impetus for moving forward in life.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not proposing that this idea is of no value; it is, and a whole lot better than the hateful acts daily displayed around the world.  However, an open heart does not equate with love always finding its way back in. 

Selfless endeavors, while worthwhile, do not in and of themselves guarantee a return of love.  It does feel good to do good deeds for others; it does give one purpose to show sacrificial love.  However, efforts to demonstrate love, in hopes of it filling the longing within every heart for love, fall short.  Sadly, loving deeds do not always translate into love.

Plenty of loving people are lonely and empty, because the bestowing of unconditional love does not necessarily fill one with love.  If the opening of the heart were all required, then the only lonely people should be the Ebenezer Scrooges.  Those out there trying to make a difference in the world should have crowds of followers and friends, and lives satiated with contentment.  But this is not always the case.

Just as merely keeping one’s heart open is no guarantee that love will enter, there is also no assurance that by doing so a broken one will never recur.  Selfless giving does help one look beyond their own hurts, and instead reach out.  However, it also renders one vulnerable to hurt, rejection and more pain.  As humans, none of us are so loving that we are completely resilient to assaults against the heart, and there are always going to be individuals who do unloving deeds to us.  Opening up one’s heart, though courageous, does not guarantee against a broken one; it can be an invitation for just that.

Simply having an open heart, as demonstrated by reaching out to others, offers no assurance that love will always find its way in or no longer stay broken.  Only a heart open to God can find such love.  His agape love is the only type that is truly unconditional.  Unlike human love, His can heal any brokenness. Only His love will never fail. 

My goal in writing this is not to criticize Jane Seymour.  I admire her valiant efforts to encourage acts of selfless giving.  I wish that there were more in this world with her kind heart for others.

Without the love of the Christ being the center of such efforts, though, they will fall short of providing the doers of such, and those to whom they are bestowed, the promise of real love finding its way in.  Since God is love (1 John 4:8), only His heart is always open, only He can satisfy our longing for love within.  When we invite Him into our hearts, we find the kind of love that stays, and can then offer others the only hope of love this world has.

From His Heart for blogSue Nash/2013

For similar posts, go to From His Heart

Beauty Amid Ruin ~ Satan’s Attempts to Destroy

Photo from my Little Gem Magnolia tree

Photo from my Little Gem Magnolia tree

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
Isaiah 61:3

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about God’s gradual work of perfecting us into His beautiful image, a process which will not be completely finished until we reach heaven.  In my photos from Progression to Beauty, I illustrated this sanctification process by showing the gradual opening of a Magnolia flower to its marvelous beauty.  What I intentionally withheld was a picture of what happens to that same flower a few days later.

The beauty of a magnolia flower seems ruined

The beauty of a magnolia flower seems ruined

As God is working this sanctification in us, Satan is right along side trying to destroy anything beautiful in our lives.  His mission is one of opposition to God; hence, he is always on the lookout for anything good that he can attempt to ruin.  He cleverly deceives many into thinking that their is no hope of recovering any beauty amid the ruined circumstances life often brings.  Creation itself groans under the curse of sin’s ruin.

Some of you may feel that way.  You may think that because of past sins, or failed attempts to serve God that your life is beyond repair.  Convinced that you have gone too far, you think that your life can never again be restored to beauty. 

Yet, amid the very ruin itself are the seeds of new life.

Next years seed pod

Next years seed pod

God knew in advance that Satan would attempt to thwart His creation.  As a result, He provided the way back to beauty by sending Jesus to die in place of our sin.  You might ask, though, how is the cross a thing of beauty?

When Christ died on the cross, the enemy thought that he had won, but buried inside the tomb was the Seed of resurrection, simply awaiting His designated time to come forth.  With victorious glory, Jesus arose, giving hope to all that God’s intended beauty can indeed be restored.  Nobody has strayed too far that His love cannot reach.  No attempts by Satan can destroy God’s promised work of beauty in our lives.  God can bring back to life to any ruined one.  It is our choice whether or not we will accept what He has already done on our behalf to restore that beautiful new life. 

Are you tempted, like I sometimes am, to lose hope that God will restore to beauty someone or something that seems ruined beyond repair?

Let us together remember that God can and will bring forth beauty from ashes.  He is in the beauty business!

From His Heart for blogFor other similar posts, see From His Heart

God is Near ~ Our Hearts Weep with Oklahoma

A lovely garden angel

A lovely garden angel

Let us weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15

Our prayers are with you Oklahoma, and our hearts are saddened over the loss of all your precious angels.  May you draw comfort and strength in knowing that God is near and He cares.  Below is the link to a song that I pray will encourage any of you hurting over this tragedy, or for any readers in a storm of your own. 

Are you broken?  Do you feel hopeless, wounded or in need?  If so, call upon the name of Jesus, the Defender and Deliverer.  He is a shelter in the midst of any storm.

Defender (Call Upon the Name)
by Travis Doucette

VERSE 1

He is near to the broken,
He is close to the weary of heart.
In His Name is a refuge,
Safety for the weak and discarded.

PRE-CHORUS
There is help for the hopeless,
For the wounded in need.
In the presence of Jesus,
There is power unleashed.

CHORUS
Call upon the name of the Lord,
He’s our Defender, our Deliverer.
A Shelter in the midst of the storm,
Jesus, our Savior, He is King over all the earth.

VERSE 2
I will sing of my Redeemer,
Testify to the touch of His hand,
Lifted me from disaster,
Set my feet on a solid rock to stand.

PRE-CHORUS

BRIDGE
God is our Refuge, our Strength, and Salvation,
A Mighty Fortress is the Lord Almighty.
There is no equal, no power beside Him.
Forever our Champion is the Lord our God.

TAG
Our Savior, He is King over all
Our Savior, He is King over all the earth

Father, in a way that only You can do, please provide healing, strength and comfort to all of those affected by this terrible tragedy in Oklahoma.  I pray that You will make a way through their suffering, where there seems to be no way.  Open up hearts to You that have never sought Your love, and heal every hurt with Your healing touch.  Do what only You can to make sense of this suffering.  In Your name, Jesus, our Defender and Deliver.  Amen.

God is Enough ~ How Hannah Found True Happiness

A photo I took of some wild grasses

A photo I took of some wild grasses

Some friends of ours have eight children, each home-schooled and phenomenal.  Their mother is the kind of person that always looks gorgeous and has an immaculate home.  She is so together that you just want to slap her and ask, ‘Would you stop being so perfect, already?’

I would never really slap my good friend, but instead am very proud of her.  I think she and her husband should teach Parenting 101 classes all across the nation!  I just cannot fathom the responsibility of raising so many kids.  God knew who could handle eight, so He wisely bypassed me!

For some, such as those unable to have children, you probably would not mind having eight.  You would love to have even one.

Am I not enough

Hannah understood the pain of wanting a child.  She had tried for years, but was unable.  Her husband tried to ease her emotional suffering by showing her extra love.  As a constant companion should, he went out of his way to show her that even though she could not bear a child, he still loved her.  Out of exasperation of doing everything in his power to show her unconditional love, he asked, am I not better to you than ten sons?

Sadness had so consumed Hannah, she could not respond.  She probably wondered how her husband could even understand her pain, since he already had children by the other wife.  Hannah was barren and that was all she could process.  Her husband’s love, though genuine, was not enough to overcome her sorrow.  It was not enough to soothe the festering wound of an empty womb. 

God understands our pain.  He wants us to accept His love and grace as enough.  Just as Hannah’s husband wanted her to know that he was there for her, God wants us to know that He is constantly working behind the scenes to reward us with good.  As our constant companion, who is fully able to understand our struggles, God asks of us, Am I not better to you than ten sonsThan ten of what the enemy has stolen or brokenThan ten times what you want or need.

Is God’s grace enough for us?  Or does our happiness depend on something more?

Is a son enough

Every year, Hannah went with her husband to Shiloh for their required sacrifices, but she went in anguish of soul.  Her pain seemed incurable and her sorrow unbearable, until something changed.  Like all the other trips, she entered the temple with a sorrowful heart; however, this time, she did not leave the same.  She entered broken, but this time left overjoyed.

Most agree that the likely source of Hannah’s new found joy was from her faith that God answered her prayers for a son.  At the altar, Hannah had laid bare her anguish and let completely go of her burden.  Eli, upon hearing of her heartfelt cry, confirmed to her that God would favor her with a child.  Completely confident in her promised son, Hannah left overjoyed.

However, the real reason for her joy had to go deeper; it must have been from something more.  What lasting joy could come in knowing that the very thing desired, she must soon afterwards return?  Part of her promise for a son was contingent upon Hannah’s vow to commit him back to the Lord.  A son, no doubt, but she would in essence live apart from her blessing.  If her source of joy came only in knowing she would give birth to a son, it could not possibly have sustained her against the inevitable sadness resulting from having to give back the child for which she yearned.

God is enough

More than being simply glad over the promise of a son, Hannah’s joy was a direct result of her realization that God was enough.  She reached the bottom of herself, by surrendering her sorrows completely to the Lord, and in the process found that her sufficiency was in God alone.  She cast her burden on the Lord, and He did sustain her.

How does Scripture bear record of this?  In 1 Samuel, we learn that God did open Hannah’s womb, and she gave birth to a son.  Faithful to her word, after weaning Samuel she lent him back to God for lifelong service.  She did so, not knowing if she would ever have children again.  What’s more, upon relinquishing her only child into the care of Eli, Hannah then prays a very telling prayer.  A prayer that revealed Hannah had discovered the true source of joy.

My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
1Samuel 2: 1

Hannah had found the true source of happiness.  Having her husband’s love was not enough.  Having a son was not enough.  God alone was enough.  She got her promised child, but ultimately found that God was her truest reward.  He is the promised salvation of her soul.  God now meant more to her than even 10 sons.  Since the same God who is our reward, also loves to reward, Hannah could now believe that He might just bless her back by giving her those same 10 sons!

I love my son, but I know that I could never have handled eight.  My hat’s off to my friends!  Like for Hannah, though, my joy and sufficiency cannot be dependent on others, not even my son.  Only God can give true contentment.  Only He can sustain every burden I cast at His feet.  He is the source of true happiness.

God continues to ask each of us, Am I not better to you than 10 sons?  We may believe that He is, and even say so.  Like Hannah, though, we must show Him by surrendering our all at His feet.  The joy of God’s salvation we receive in return is better than 10 of anything!

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Brenda’s Irises

Always a special color since my son picked these out when young.

Always a special color since my son picked these out when young.

My name, Sue, has several meanings, one being flowered one.  That meaning describes me best.  Some people like flowers; I need them.  Some can visit gardening stores and walk away with a plant or two; I leave with a trunk exploding with blossoming color.  My name precisely matches my fondness of flowers.

Last fall, I dug up my iris bed to divide them.  Since they had performed poorly the previous spring, and were thickly overcrowded, I figured thinning them might jump-start more blooms next time around.  After separating the tubers, I had plenty left to share with a few of my neighbors.  That way we could all enjoy their floral beauty.

As spring began warming their roots, my anticipation of an elaborate display gained momentum, as daily the iris leaves broadened and their grassy green shoots rose.  With certain expectation, I anxiously awaited the thickening bulges at the base of each leafy cluster, telltale signs of pending blooms.  I waited, yet nothing happened.  At least not in my iris bed. 

Although I had thinned them, fertilized them and shared them, my anticipated showcase of irises never arrived.  My iris bed was instead only clumps of greenery.  For one particular neighbor, Brenda, one of those with whom I had shared, her iris bed was lovelier than I had ever seen in my own.  It was if my flowering showcase had packed up and moved next door.

Brenda's Iris 2

At first, I was a little miffed.  Jealous and pouting, I wondered why hers had bloomed so prolifically their first time out.  I reasoned that I deserved beautiful blossoms this year, too, especially since I had shared.  Sadly, my pity party revealed a heart as lacking in genuine concern for others as my flowers were in blooms.

With a gentle prick at my heart, the kind every rose gardener recognizes as a prompt for caution around thorns, God reminded me of the hardships this neighbor was enduring. Suffering from a variety of physical ailments, some which have lasted years and for which there is no cure, this sister in Christ has few times in life when she is not sick.  Currently, she is not able to drive and rarely ventures out.  With much deserved reprimand, God gently scolded me for my selfishness and revealed to me the reason her irises were so magnificent.  I may have needed them, but she needed them more.

Not long after my scolding, I saw my neighbor out front with her husband.  By then, I had repented of my wrong attitude, and had instead been enjoying the beauty of her flowers as I drove by them each day.  I had also begun praying for her more earnestly.  Thus, by the time I met with her, God had straightened out my priorities and I was genuinely able to applaud her splendid spring flowers.  As I saw the gleam in her expressions, and her delight when discussing her enjoyment of the irises, I was so thankful that God had changed my heart.  My little trip to the woodshed with God had replaced pathetic selfishness with abundant joy in giving.

Perhaps the greater lesson I learned is that those flowers I keep referring to as my own, even by one named flowered one, are not really mine at all.  They all belong to God.  One day, I will have all the flowers I could ever need and more.  Until then, and to help me remember my lesson, I have decided to name my irises after my neighbor.  Now, instead of mine, they are all Brenda’s Irises.  

From His Heart for blog

Identity

Identity

  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Alzheimer’s is a highly prevalent and very cruel illness.  Affecting an estimated 5.1 million people, it causes a gradual deterioration of memory and thinking.  This devastating diagnosis is particularly horrible because it robs one of identity.  Lost somewhere in the fog of the illness, the person remains; however, it is as if the person’s true personality has vanished, and an imposter has moved in, taken over and stolen their identity.

Stolen Identity

Equally insidious, but obviously not as devastating, is the crime of identity theftIdentity theft is a form of stealing someone’s identity, in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person’s identity.  They falsely pose as another in an attempt to steal funds, personal data or contact information.  Although not comparable to the devastation of a permanent, life-altering illness, identity theft is also very cruel and wrong.

Sadly, I was a victim to this recently when someone hacked into my email account, and then posed as me in an attempt to sell a diet program to all of my contacts.  Fortunately, I discovered the personal invasion rather quickly, but the damaging effects took much effort to resolve.  On the outside, to my contacts, it appeared that I was the one soliciting support for a weight loss program; hidden behind this fraud, the real me had no intentions of such.  

One’s recognizable identity is not just on the outside.  As with Alzheimer’s, even though the person may look the same, this cruel imposter steals from within, rendering the person unrecognizable in a different way.  How others know us is as much by personality as appearance and mannerisms.  I have heard it said that our bodies are like the hardware, whereas our personalities, the software.  Together, these characteristics and distinguishing personality traits make up what others know as us.  They form our identity.

As Creator, God formed those identities.  He made us uniquely us, down to the minutest of detail.  A former pastor of ours once described his amazement at God’s design of even the human face.  Considering the enormity of variations of distinctive human facial features, but knowing that He used the same basic parts for each – eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc.- it is a marvel as to how we all ended up different.  If left to men to invent individuality from those same basic components, we would have quickly run out of creative variations. Soon, our faces would start looking alike.  Our Creator, however, formed what identifies us uniquely and in amazingly varied ways.

From the idiosyncrasy of our personality types, the subtleties of our fingerprints, to the contrasts of our bodily features, everything about us is unique, yet nothing hidden that God does not know.  We may be good at hiding who we really are from others, but not God.  He knows us inside and out.  God knows us, and values us so much that He formed us to resemble Him.

Lost Identity

God’s original intent was for us to align with His intended purpose by identifying with Him.  In the Garden, though, Satan came as an imposter and craftily stole that identity; hence, his was the original identity theft.  He deceived by convincing that our identity instead be self-centered and self-determined, in essence shirking the constraints of God’s design.  Since he does not care about us, as does our Creator, he usurped God’s intended purpose, and now enjoys watching the destruction his deception has wreaked on humanity.  Separated from God’s original intent, we flounder instead in a state of lost identity.

Our hope of restoration lies in the fact that despite wayward identities, we are still only clay.  Moreover, God is a Potter who knows what is best for the clay, and how to shape us back to what He purposed.  If allowed, He takes our identity, and as with a King’s insignia, imprints His onto the clay of our hearts.  Upon accepting Christ, He takes and seals us with the Holy Spirit, therein realigning our identity with Him.  Then gradually, over the course of our born again life, He works us as clay by forming us more and more into His image.  If allowed, God takes our identity and shapes it precisely as He intended.

Intended Identity

When my son was very young, I made the above imprint of one each of his precious little hands and feet.  When I look at it, it reminds me of that sweet time in his life.  I also think about the promises God has for his life, some yet unfulfilled.  Just like for my son, God’s plans for us are good and right.  Only by aligning with Him, will we ever fulfill our intended destiny and realize our genuine identity.

When back to the way God designed, our feet will no longer follow paths leading to destruction, but will instead follow in the footsteps of Christ, then walk on streets of gold.  Our hands, freed from worthless pursuits, will instead embrace what matters to God, and one day strum melodies of praise.

God wants our identity hidden in Him, so that by our lives reflecting His glory, others may find their way back to Him.  As we grow closer to His image, it as if He tucks us gently under His loving arms and whispers, just wait!  Then along with all creation in heaven, fully restored back to its original glory, He will unveil us for who we really are.  Reunited to walk with Him, and the identity thief banished forever, we will finally see Him face to face, and others will know us as He does.  We will be free to be who we really are. Children of God, our intended identity.

From His Heart for blog