“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
In 1996, I was a burned-out missionary ready to walk off the mission field and go work at Kmart. Rolland and I had spent years in Asia and Europe and a year in Mozambique ministering to the poor and lost, and I was tremendously weary from trying to give out of my own strength. I didn’t fully understand who I was in God’s heart. Thankfully, God in His great love profoundly touched my life at a conference in Toronto, Canada and began to teach me about my true identity. Randy Clark was preaching that day and spoke a word from God over me. “God wants to know, do you want the nation of Mozambique?” he cried out. My heart responded with a resounding “Yes!” Struck by the presence of almighty God, for seven days and seven nights I was rendered completely helpless so that He could get my full attention and speak directly to my heart. Unable to walk, talk, or do anything for myself, I simply lay on the floor of the church in God’s presence. I was carried to a car at night dropped off on the bed in my hotel room. In the morning four people came back to carry me to the car and take me back to the church. Gently, He took me up and into His heart, directing me to the Book of Ephesians. With a great deal of effort, I was finally able to speak the word “Ephesians” to Rolland who began to read it to me. For days he read to me, over and over until the words of Paul’s letter were burning inside of me with a holy fire of radical love, transforming my identity. My time on the floor with God in Toronto was only the beginning though. From that place of surrender I have been learning to live in God’s great love that is always on full display if you have the eyes to see it.
Since our time in Mozambique, God has continued to teach us about the fullness of our identity. I have come to appreciate that each one of us has a unique identity given to us by the Father, so that together the “sum of the parts” brings the wholeness of His presence to us individually and corporately. I now know what it is to be so free that I’m not afraid to receive blessings—so free that I can live in the darkest slum with great joy because God is there with me. Like Jesus, I can give myself away fearlessly because of who God is. I have come to understand that my identity is not found in what I do but in who I am in Christ. Because I know this truth, I can say “Yes” to Him always and everywhere.