Post by Faith Reboot’s Amy Sondova (SheisBeloved.com)
“If I’m You’re beloved, can you help me believe it?”
The lyric caught me in the heart. As I was driving 60 MPH on Route 22, time seemed to stop. I turned up the volume on my car stereo and replayed the song. I waited, with baited breath, to hear it again, daring the lyric to play. And when it did, my soul screamed, my gut heaved, and tears flowed strong and fast.
After seven years of wandering, I had finally reached the end of myself. I knew I could no longer live in anger and bitterness at the wrongs of the past, at the church, and most of all, at God. I figured God only loved me because He loved everyone, but that He didn’t much like me.
But this song—“Remind Me Who I Am” by Jason Gray—was infused with the truth my soul asked over and over again—did God really love and care about me, not as just another human on planet earth, but me with all my struggles and failures and broken dreams? Was it still possible that I was God’s Beloved? I played the song over and over again, crying so hard I could barely see the road.
Inside my red Chevy, I was torn apart and my soul was laid bare. What had become a typical drive turned into a holy moment. When I pulled into the parking lot for my appointment, my face was red, eyes swollen, but I felt peace, like maybe everything would be OK. God has reminded me of my name.
It wasn’t just the lyrical question that gripped me; it was the word “beloved.” See, as a child, I learned my name “Amy” is derived the French word for “love,” often times changed to “beloved.” I really wanted a name that has a more interesting meaning like “flower” or “princess” or “warrior queen.” I wanted something with power or beauty or a better etymology, not beloved.
Great, my parents loved me, but it didn’t help me get a boyfriend.
Despite my misgivings about the lameness of my name, as I grew whenever someone used the world “beloved,” it got my attention. Seven years away from church and Christian fellowship is a long time and I was starved to know if God still wanted me, if He could still use me, and most of all, if He still loved me. Sure, I read Scripture that assured me His love was constant and never-ending.
I felt that grace was for other people, not a woman who got her Master’s degree from seminary and a few months later had a nervous breakdown.
I was surely not God’s beloved. If I was, my life would have turned out the way I planned. (Oh, the things I could write on God’s plans versus my plans!)
As I pondered this experience over the next few days, I realized I had no idea who I was. Who did I want to be? What has God called me to be? Most importantly, who did God say that I was? I read Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which showed me how God was involved in every intricate detail of my life and that He would use every, single broken piece for His glory.
I looked for Bible verses that showed me who I am in Christ, including Neil Anderson’s handy printable from Freedom in Christ Ministries (Who I Am in Christ.). I made a small notebook of what I call God-formations with statements like, “God has a purpose for my life” and I tied them to Scriptures using the word search feature on BibleGateway.com. When I started to have doubts, I read through these verses. I accepted them as true, silencing the voice of my inner critic. As I still wrestle through my doubts, I look to these verses, which aren’t just in a lifeless journal or taped on a mirror, but engraved on my heart.
Identity in Christ sounds like a buzz word or a great conference theme, but the living of it is so important. I lost sight of that and in turn, lost sight of who I am in God because of what Christ did for me. Now I am grateful for my name—Beloved—because it so perfectly sums up who I am in Christ.
Before all things, I am His Beloved Child and that will never, ever change. But believing it—truly grasping what it means with my finite brain—has changed everything about who I believe I am.