The Identity Crisis of My Life

I think it’s time to say something. I’m going to keep it pretty short because I’m not ready to go long on it. Still processing it. Still trying to figure things out. One day maybe I’ll write on it with some length and depth but not until God has done a longer and deeper work in me.

I’ve been through the identity crisis of my adult life in the last year. No exaggeration. It has been one of the most excruciating things I have ever endured. After a lifetime of belonging – which, in itself, betrays a certain privilege – I tumbled into a season marked by the most alien sense of unbelonging. Some of it was imagined. Some of it was startlingly real. Some of it was temporary. Some of it painfully endures. I disappointed people I’d so wanted to please and I was disappointed by people I demanded to be heroic. In some very painful respects, I’d given the benefit of the doubt where I shouldn’t have and withheld it in a few places worthy of it.

Numbers of us who’d previously aligned and agreed – not on everything but on enough – were cracking and crumbling. Some people I thought I knew felt like strangers to me and I, to them. Each of us Christian, some of us would talk and talk and truly attempt to understand one another only to hang up or walk away exasperated, incapable of grasping the other’s view. New teams were forming and I felt like I was slipping on ice, scrambling to find the right one.  The one that would always be right on everything.

A fog had cleared that I couldn’t cloud back up.  I saw things I couldn’t unsee and, for a while, a dark cloud descended where that fog had been. I had the unshakable sense that, though it was dark, I was not to shut my eyes. That I’d see more in that dark place than I’d seen in years of sun-up.

Still navigating some of it. Still trying to keep my eyes open.

And mostly to things that need changing in myself. Ways I’ve been kidding myself. Ways I’ve been part of the problem instead of the solution. Ways I’ve been a coward. A people pleaser. A crowd pleaser. Ways I’ve been acceptably Christian in many circles maybe, but not Christlike. Make no mistake. There can be a wide gulf fixed between those two things.

My entire identity has been steeped in the church. In a people, not bricks and mortar. Started serving the church in 6th grade when I’d graduated out of VBS and began helping the grown ups. Church has been good to me, a harbor amid the stormy unstable home life of my upbringing. I have no horror stories about church. I’ve known love, acceptance, forgiveness, grace and growth in each congregation and never loved a church more than the one I’m presently part of. I can’t imagine life without church. I will serve it till I die.

But my identity is having to be reshaped in Christ alone. He alone cannot change. He alone remains unswayed. He alone is Savior. He alone can take the pressure of being adored. Everyone else we set up high is just another Humpty Dumpty waiting to fall.

I am sanguine to the bone. I love a group. I love my friends. I love my associates. I love familiarity. I love knowing what to expect and getting it. I love being able to fill in a sentence like this with confidence: I am a ____________________.

But the only label I know for certain I want to wear is this one: Jesus-follower. I want to go with Jesus. When pilgrimage gets to be a group fare, fabulous. Nothing is more fun to me. But when pilgrimage with Him requires more aloneness or more traversing with unfamiliar sojourners who make me feel awkward, that has to be just fine, too.

I want to do people good. I want to go to those margins where people need the gospel most. I want to love. Sacrifice. Wrestle. Change. I don’t just want to go where I feel like I belong. I just want to go where Jesus points.

Months into this ridiculous identity crisis, it turns out I didn’t lose as many friends or as much community as I feared. But what I lost was my naivety.

Good riddance I guess. Good but hard riddance.

I want to be brave for the sake of the gospel. Too much is at stake and too many people dying and suffering to take the cheap route. This was meant all along to cost us something.

Maybe fitting isn’t the point. The fact is, we don’t fit here. We fit someplace we’ve never been. Maybe the holes we feel in our lives aren’t all supposed to be filled. Let them sit there awhile and ache. Let them sit there awhile and speak. Maybe they’ve got something to say.

 

 

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  1. 351
    Stacie Schulz says:

    I want to encourage you that what the Lord is doing is rolling up your old heavens as a scroll (all of your past experiences in Him, your spiritual victories, even your old indentity of *who* you are within the Church etc.,) and He is bringing you INTO the new–the new of CHRIST ALONE. Whewww glory to God!
    I can truly say, from 2002-2007 the everconsuming fire HIMSELF consumed all that was not of the Kingdom–oh yes He did!–even those things that were OF the church but not of the Kingdom, His cleansing fire purged within me of it all.
    What has been the outcome? Glorious freedomby His grace I now follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes….and that has included speaking up for the oppressed & afflicted, of being made dead to my reputation, traveling to the West Bank and ministering to Palestinians, and having the honor of being slandered, misunderstood, isolated by many within the church *system* –yet knowing that I am beloved by our Father.

    Beautiful blessings of the Kingdom my dear sis…I am so excited for you…this new season is really THE NEW YOU!❤️

  2. 352
    Connie Rogers says:

    I apologize in advance for what I am pretty sure will be a lengthy ‘sharing’ but my heart goes out to many in the Body of Christ who I feel are going through some of these same types of situations, etc…that I have also faced at different times of my life. It seems that there is a ‘shaking down’ so to speak…to see what we really believe and what really is God’s will and purpose for these times and what are we going to do about others’ response to these new revelations that we have concerning God’s Truth? I have a burning in me…’shut up in my bones’…a desire to share from my heart…that seems like it must come out….so here goes…please take what is good and honors God and His Word…and please forgive my imperfections, etc. My desire is to edify and encourage the Body of Christ…His Bride…to be overcomers…all to the glory of God.

    I believe that there is too much at stake to not believe and stand up for ‘the whole Truth of God’s Word in our day and time…no matter how ‘mind boggling’ or unpopular that might be. We need the WHOLE truth of God’s Word in the battle(s) that we are facing and are going to be facing in what I believe are the end times. To ask people if they think satan has less power than he did when Jesus and the apostles walked the earth, the response will usually be along the lines that satan is still working today. If that is true, which I believe it is, why would God’s Word not be as true and effective today as it was in the early church?

    The most glorious truth, of course, is that God loves us all, He sent His most precious Son to earth Who willingly obeyed and out of love for the Father and for us…gave His life…all of His blood…He went to hell and took back the keys of authority from satan…He arose on the 3rd day from the power of God’s glory that we might be saved. But here are a few…very few…examples of other passages I would like to share based on this foundation of God’s love for us. These truths of God’s Word are a few that are in question by some today and even many believe that these truths have ceased and are not for us today:

    *John said that there was One who would come after him that would baptize us with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Peter said at Pentecost that this was a fulfillment of Joel 2 and that this was for you, your sons and your daughters, to those who are afar off, and to as many as our Lord God shall call. Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that we would be endued with power from on high and would be witnesses of Him when we received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
    *Jesus said: These works that I do…its because the Father dwells in me and He does the works. He also said that those that believe in Him would do the works that He did and even greater works because He was going to the Father and He would give us the Comforter to abide in us forever and we would be one with the Father just as He was one with the Father that the world may know that the Father sent Him. (John 14 & 17) Jesus also said that signs would follow those that believe and many other things that bring us life…and life more abundantly. (John 10:10)
    *Jesus said in Mark 16: ‘These signs shall follow them that believe: In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
    *When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils; and He cast out the spirits with His Word, and healed all that were sick; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matthew 8:16 & 17)

    The centuries old question is…do we believe everything that Jesus said is true and for us today? Another question is concerning what His blood bought for us and what role His Holy Spirit is in our lives today? And…my question is: How can we believe just a part and not the whole of God’s Word? I will not be able to share much but I do want to encourage us all to understand that we face situations that we need to overcome in and we can only overcome satan successfully in the manner in which Jesus overcame him and that is believing and declaring God’s Word…His Truth…that I believe is available to us today.

    The Bible says that we can overcome the accuser of the brethren by the blood of the Lamb…and the word of our testimony…and that we don’t love our lives to the death. (Rev. 12:11)

    Jesus already paid with all of His blood and the Father said He was well pleased and Jesus said “It was finished!” It was complete…no need for Him to do it again or to come up with something else…everything was paid in full…perfectly. No words can express enough thanks and gratitude for such a gift of Jesus’ blood. So the blood of the Lamb helps us to overcome the enemy. The next part of this verse concerns our testimonies….

    My testimony is: I believe the whole Word…especially the words that Jesus said. I began that journey of believing because of the courage of my parents. They made that choice of believing God’s whole Truth..in spite of the vocal opinions of others in their family and friends…when they began to be enlightened to more of God’s Word…back in the late 40’s…through the courage of some men and women who came and started ministering more of God’s truth in revivals held in one-room schools in my parents’ community. Consequently, my siblings and I knew from babyhood that God was just as real in our home as our parents were…though we didn’t see Him as we saw them. We believed in miracles…spiritually and physically…because our parents believed and stood on the whole Word of God by faith and we saw God’s faithfulness manifested. I am so thankful that through the courage of others to share God’s whole truth, this truth came to my family!!! I could share many, many miracles that I have witnessed in my life. One concerned my brother being born dead. He was blue…had a pointed head from my mother trying to have him for 3 days…wasn’t breathing…my parents were told that he was dead…but in spite of all these facts, they chose to believe God’s Word rather than what they were seeing and experiencing…to believe for a miracle. (God’s truth can supersede the facts in our lives when we have courage…faith…to believe.) They went to praying and the end of the story is…my brother is 68 years old today and a definite believer in Truth! Praise the Lord!!! I am so thankful that my parents overcame doubt & unbelief and grabbed ahold of faith in God’s word for miracles in our day and time. Were we a perfect family? No, we certainly weren’t and neither are we now…but we definitely are a blessed family who is still seeking more of God’s Truth…more revelations of His mysteries that Paul talks about in Ephesians. And…we have many testimonies to share of God’s faithfulness to His Word in our lives! That encourages us to keep the Faith in these trying times.

    The last thing that this scripture says is: “…they loved not their lives unto the death.”

    I believe that this means that we don’t love our wills…our way of thinking…our traditions, etc., etc.…more than we love God’s will. I am definitely open to more revelation about this….. I am asking for the Spirit of Truth to come and show me more…but this is what I see…in part…for now, anyway. We need to yield to God’s will…His Word…in our lives…even if it goes against what we have previously believed…perhaps even our church’s beliefs…our family and friends, etc. It may seem hard to us to overcome in this area but when we ‘deny ourselves and take up our cross’…yielding to God’s will…added to declaring the blood of Jesus over our lives and testifying of God’s goodness in our lives, we will overcome the lies of the devil and his power to overcome us. We will be victorious against the enemy…who is satan…not a neighbor, relative, co-worker, etc.! Hallelujah!

    We have many things to overcome in life today but I believe overcoming these things helps us to become the mature sons and daughters of God…preparing us to be the Bride of Christ…the Bride proving that she loves and adores her Bridegroom more than anything or anyone else on earth…showing the Father that she is worthy of His beloved Son. (And God will have a bride worthy of His Son…will we be a part of this gloriously loved Bride is what we need to ask ourselves.) She does not take His sacrifice lightly and neither does she take for granted or ignore the purity, power and completeness of His blood…to accomplish what the Bible says it will accomplish. Only through the blood, the Name of Jesus, His righteousness, God’s Word, our testimony of God’s goodness, and the power of the Holy Spirit, will we be able to be a Bride without spot or wrinkle. Revelations tells us that those that overcome…the bride making herself ready…will rule and reign with Christ on high, be clothed in white raiment, their names confessed before the Father, they will eat of the tree of life, a new name written upon them, they will sit with Christ in His throne, etc. The scripture tells us that they are blessed who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Yes, indeed!!! Oh, I want to be there!

    What is the thing that we must overcome the most today? I believe it is doubt and unbelief that Jesus’ Word and His precious blood can set us free from all of the shackles of the enemy that is trying to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ us and cause us to be ineffective for the Kingdom of God today…this time that we have been ordained to be here on the earth. Jesus said that in this life we would have many tribulations but then He said to ‘be of good cheer for I have overcome the world’. Is that true for us today…that we can overcome because Jesus already did? I believe with all of my heart…YES…because Psalm 100:5 says “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.” ALL generations…that’s our generation, too…Praise the Lord! This is only one passage out of many that verifies…to those who will believe…that God’s WHOLE Word is for us today that we might be WHOLE…spirit, soul and body. Isaiah 53:5 gives us the synopsis of our Atonement. What a powerful verse this is that Jesus was careful to fulfill as stated in Matthew 8.

    It’s not easy to be one of the ‘five wise virgins’…time is going on…oil burning…tired…hard to stay awake…but ‘hungering and thirsting’ for more of God will help us to have our lamps filled with oil and ready for the blowing of the trumpet. Holy Spirit, please help us to ‘hunger and thirst’ for more righteousness that we may be filled with the fullness of God. When the door is shut by the Bridegroom, oh, may I be on the inside and may all of you be, too! It will be worth every pain, heartache, sacrifice, etc., etc.!!! Everything will pale into non-existence when we compare it to being a part of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb…and an eternity in heaven…which will far surpass anything that we can imagine or dream of with our finite minds here on earth.

    So, let us ‘consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as we see the day approaching.’ (Hebrews 10:19-25) Let’s do as Joshua 1: 8 & 9 tells us: “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein both day and night, that you may observe to do all that is written therein; for then you shall make your way prosperous and then you shall have good success. Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed; for the LORD your God is with you whithersoever you go”. Whithersoever! I love that word! :o) So let’s exhort each other to be of good courage, stay in the Word, be one with the Father as Jesus was and prayed for us to be. Choose intimacy with God…time with the Father through praise, worship, being still…listening and just loving Him…in whatever way that the Holy Spirit leads us in because He knows the will of the Father and what pleases Him. He will help us become vessels that God can trust to pour His glory into…and through…knowing that it…His glory…will all be reflected back to Him. Hallelujah!

    May God bless Sister Beth and her family…and all of you, too, who may read this…with more of His divine presence…His glory. May we all be strengthened to overcome and accomplish what each of us has been uniquely assigned to do for His Kingdom and to be the Light in the darkness of our world so others may come to know God’s Truth, also. May we also declare the Father’s ‘will to be done on earth as it is in heaven’ just as Jesus did. If something here on earth would not be God’s will in heaven…such as sickness, depression, poverty, evil deeds, etc…then it isn’t the will of the Father for it to be here on earth either. Isn’t that good to know! Also, if something falls under ‘steal, kill & destroy’ it’s of the enemy but if it falls under ‘life and life more abundantly’ then it is of God (John 10:10)…use the Word of God as your ‘road map’…your ‘plum line’. We must not live behind the Light that we have been enlightened with…to do so…I believe…is drawing back..and Hebrews 10:38 says: “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” We must go forward in faith and the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us in to all Truth (John 16).

    One more thing has come to me that I want to encourage you to use in prayer…I Timothy 2:1-3. Pray first for our leaders…that we may have peace and safety. I truly believe that this is so important for us to be doing everyday…first of all…before we pray for our family, others, ourselves, etc., even though those things are important to God. Our leaders need it so much to be able to overcome all of the ‘fiery darts’ that they are encountering…they need our intercession for them. And what good will all of those things be that we are praying for ourselves if we don’t have ‘peace and safety’ in our land? We need to also pray for Israel as God blesses those who do…especially the nations…and curses those who don’t. Let’s be obedient to pray as well as read God’s Word and I know that God will be faithful to ‘heal our land’ and bless us with ‘peace and safety’. Thank You, Father!

    Thank you for your patience in reading this L-O-N-G ‘sharing’ from my heart.

    To God be ALL of the glory. Amen.

    [Other scripture references referred to above may be found in the following passages: Luke 3; John-Chapters 3, 10, 14, 16 & 17; Acts-Chapters 1 & 2; Mark 16; Revelations-Chapters 2, 3, 11, 19,& 21; Matthew- Chapters 5, 8 & 25; Hebrews 10; Isaiah-Chapters 53 & 60…)

    • 352.1
      Jamie says:

      Thank you so much for this “sharing” of your heart. It spoke straight to my heart and has helped me in so many ways. Yes it is Long but I’m so thankful I began reading it. Thank you thank you. My heart is so grateful for you for posting this. Thank you.

  3. 353
    Cecilia Williamson says:

    Beth,

    I really want to thank you for posting this. I too have been in the worst identity crisis of my life. So much so I have had to let go of small groups and the like. I can’t explain it. I just feel like an alien. I know and trust in my salvation but yet there is something brewing in my soul that I can’t put my hand on. I feel God is trying to show me total dependence on him and yet it is scary.
    I am just thankful to know that we are all going through some type of season. I am thankful someone verbalized it. I am keeping a journal because I know something wonderful is coming out of this. I will be praying for you. Asking God to continually show you what he is up to.

  4. 354
    brooke says:

    Beautifully written! Powerful words that resonate in my soul as well…May Jesus continue to be the foremost desire in ALL of our hearts! Love you sister! 🙂

  5. 355
    Veronica says:

    I have always mentioned you as one of my favs! But today in your blog,your honesty about the season you are in, spoke to my heart. I feel sometimes the same way you describe it. I will let the holes speak maybe they have something to share! Love it ❤️❤️

  6. 356
    Elizabeth Baehr says:

    Thanks for sharing. Your vulnerability it inspiring. I have been on a similar journey and am in the process of learning that it is not the church that defines me. It is my God.

  7. 357
    Lori says:

    I get it, sadly. I’m in that place myself. Trusting God to do a great work in me and show me his way. 55 years with one spirirual family. Alienation does create an identity crisis. Remember, the devil is at the center.

    Blessings dear Beth. Don’t let him get a foothold!
    Lori

  8. 358
    Beverly says:

    Beth…I have always loved and respected you. Jesus is so evident in your life…I praise God for all He is doing in you and with you. I did several of your Bible studies years ago and I always felt so loved by you, as well as Jesus. I praise Him for all He is doing in your life, growing you even deeper. Oh, how He loves us! Just don’t grow weary…keep on loving, keep on giving, keep on growing!

  9. 359
    Joyce Watson says:

    When the music is silent in the song,
    When the words on the page have left the writer’s thoughts,
    When the painter’s canvas is left blank,
    When lost blessings turn to sorrow,
    And your prayers are uttered in broken pieces of grief.
    The morning flowers will flourish and grow,
    The mountain sky will shout out into the night,
    The sea waves will rush against the mighty rocks,
    And the heavens will rejoice,
    For God will lift you into His hands, so you can dwell closer to Him.
    For the Lord will make glad through His works
    His sovereign presence,
    His praises through His creation will exault gladness,
    His faithful love will bring inspiration,
    Under the shadow of the Most High,
    Your eyes will see again,
    Your ears will hear,
    and Your thoughts will become His thoughts.
    The music becomes a song of the heart,
    The words become a love letter,
    The painter’s canvas becomes a masterpiece,
    The lost blessings become a testimony,
    And your prayers become a praise. ~joyce

  10. 360
    Karen says:

    Beth, I’ve always felt like I don’t fit. I’m a supervisor and a gentle spirit. I’ve gone through a lot with aloneness and the hatred directed toward me and I take on their problem. I have to continue to seek Jesus and say “bless me with your peace Jesus” or I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I get pushing into the One who loves me and losing my naivety. Thank you for sharing.

  11. 361
    Nancy Ford says:

    I think that many of us are feeling the way that you do. I think it’s God’s way of starting to detach us from this world, knowing that the kingdom clock is ticking faster. The enemy is having his field day right now and it sadly affects our fellow Christians, as well as ourselves. The lines between right and wrong have become so blurred that the only thing we can (and should) do is follow Christ. Denominations will fail us and people will fail us, but He will not. You are wise to be obedient and to look at the darkness, because you know that Jesus will expose it to His light and it will have no power over you other than to leave you with a greater wisdom and ability to continue the ministry that He has entrusted to you. May God bless you in the journey. I keep you in my prayers.

  12. 362
    Stephanie Donovan says:

    Beth,

    Thank you so much for posting this. You were able to put what I (and now I know, many others) are going through. The time is here when the Church (God’s People) must rise, speak, and act. Some of us still don’t get it. Like in Nazi Germany, they think- it can’t happen here. We know better. God is humbling this nation in response to it’s arrogance. Let us pray it is not to late for us to find our voice and be heard in defense of the defenseless.

  13. 363
    Liz Millinor says:

    Beth –

    You have poured out so much of yourself and loved on so many of us over the years! No one can take that away – from you or us! Jesus used you to strengthen my faith when I was coming back to the Lord. Jesus used you to make me understand who I was to marry (like no joke – scriptural confirmation through one of your Bible studies 18 years ago – and that man has stood by me through thick and thin, moving many times with the military, infertility, children – one who has Type 1 Diabetes, systemic autoimmune disease and now breast cancer and I’m only 43). I may not know your specific struggles, but I can completely relate to an identity crisis (and for me a crisis of faith) as an adult. It’s a lonely road. But know, you’re not alone! And God uses our weaknesses to make others stronger! That is my hope in life! That all of these painful things I have endured will ultimately lead others to Jesus, even though I haven’t felt him in years. I know He’s still there and I know He is the only one that can heal these wounds – even if it is on the other side of eternity. I’ve seen Him use your life struggles and vulnerability and I know He will again – of that, I have no doubt!

    Big hugs to you, my sister! Standing by you, lifting you up in prayer, knowing we are all human and only God can make all things new and right!

    Liz Millinor in Jacksonville, FL

  14. 364
    Sue Powell says:

    Dear Sister… How would we grow if not by our” rollecoster lives”. Our identities are meant to grow and change as God uses us.
    You are in great company sweet sister; fear not, for He will make a way!
    Sue Powell

  15. 365
    Jennifer says:

    I can’t believe I read this post just as my husband and I are mourning the same thing with our new church body! So God speaking through you. It hurts. We KNOW people are people but don’t we expect our family in the faith to be the best kind of family? Less dysfunctional, less abusive, less WORLDLY-unconditionally loving? Thank God you have your immediate family so close and your church so ministering to you-I promise it’s so much harder when neither of those things exist.

  16. 366
    Kathy Acton says:

    Beth, I read this post earlier. It stayed with me. I woke up early this morning and searched for it and reread it. I hope one day you can explain further. But for now, I thank you for being a consistent
    Teacher of the truth of God’s Word. I just finished the Entrusted series and was so stretched and blessed. Thank you for laying down much of your life to teach and share His Word. I am praying for you!

  17. 367
    Belinda Nagle says:

    God Bless you always and thank you for being so real and transparent. I am praying that you, your family and team are all well today. Harvey is still pounding Houston according to the news here in PA. Continued prayer for safety and protection for your area of God’s green earth.

  18. 368
    Cathy Harris says:

    Thanks you for your transparency. I have been struggling with similar questions. It started when my husband died. I lost him. I lost my way of living as a rancher’s wife. My career, which I thought of as my ministry, funding dried up, I lost my home which my husband I had moved into before we even had children, when I moved into a town close by after living on the ranch for 40 years and raising our 3 sons. I even posted my struggle with invisibility on
    my blog:https://pressingin4him.wordpress.com/?s=Invisible
    Yet God has never forsaken me. I am trusting that He is transforming from being a “people” pleaser into the God pleaser that He created me to be. Praying for you as we both battle the forces of the enemy who connive to take us out but we can cling to Our Rock and Our Redeemer during the storm, which will change us and we will rise from the ashes and be beautiful, more real and ready to say “Yes, God, I will follow You.”

  19. 369
    Lynn Watson says:

    Beth, Dear dear Beth,

    I want to be only a Jesus follower too. I’m right there with you.

    You don’t have enough time for me to tell you how much I’ve been impacted by your teachings, books, studies, Wednesdays With Beth and now your very own amazing weekly TV broadcast!

    I read Audacious last year when I was 65, and it is helping me to just get out there and do what God’s calling me to do!

    I love you so much! I’ve had the privilege of hearing you in person five times but I’ve never gotten to meet you and give you a huge hug. Please know that I’m praying for you in this season.

    Love you, precious Beth!
    Lynn

  20. 370
    Anissa Meyer says:

    I love that line “we fit someplace we’ve never been”… my demographics have never fit the norm. I took the late train out of the station in life, and I have never found my “fit”, but it helps so much to know (and expect) that we are sojourners, and the story He writes is so different for each us. Sometimes there is a traveling companion or two or more, and we can be thankful, and sometimes, the ticket is ours alone for awhile (I am not speaking of not being in Christian community here)… Indeed, we aren’t home yet, so we shouldn’t be surprised when it doesn’t feel like it.

  21. 371
    Valerie says:

    I am so so so encouraged by this. Oh I can’t tell you what it means for me that you bare your soul so openly. I mirror your crisis sister. You’re loved. I’m loved. Christ is so so good. But yes, to sojourn alone as a sanguine is so very hard.

  22. 372
    Tarah says:

    I love you, Beth. You have been a spiritual mom and mentor to me for two decades even having never met you. I have always appreciated your heart and passion for Jesus and His Word. Even so, I know you are human. You are doing the best you can to serve Him in a broken and confusing world. And no one does it perfectly. (and you have never pretended to) Life is hard. Satan’s attacks on those who love Him are vicious. When I think of you, I pray that you can stand up under them, that you can believe what is true and let go of what is not. God is your defender. Keep on loving Him with all your heart. Thanks for your years of vulnerability and example and ministry of teaching. The Lord has used you! Someday I will hug your neck in heaven!! You are loved.

  23. 373
    Charmell Carr says:

    Just today I realized I’m feeling doubtful. I was thinking, is it weird for someone to think they don’t know much about themselves? I mean I could make of list of things I enjoy doing and a few people I am but, what do I really know about myself? Am I just a single mom who will go to the moon and back for her kids, or someone that people like because of the crafty things I can do? Will I ever be able to rise above the poverty line that seems to have grip on my life no matter what kind of a job I have or how many?
    I know I am a child of God but is there or will there ever be more?

  24. 374

    Dearest Beth,
    It is apparent to all how much you have helped healed generations of women. Hopefully, I am at the end of a three year “slide”, for me a season of pain and grief. In all honesty, I logged on today because I was way late for the last scripture memorization posting. Not that I have memorized any of it. My mother died January 14 and truth be told, words and The Word did not comfort me. But I posted because I hoped that signaled to both me and God that there was no loss of faith, even though my own identity was greatly diminished. Reading and studying, for the first time ever in my 52 years, did not sustain or comfort me. But the Holy Spirit showed up in many random ways, in people and places, and I have been sustained by the love of those who, NO MATTER THEIR BELIEFS OR THEOLOGY, walked the talk. And on that, I am hanging my faith hat. Prayers and blessings for your safety, peace of mind, and sojourner’s heart. XOXO

  25. 375
    Laura says:

    I feel, on the much-smaller-scale of my much-smaller-life, I could have written this. It resonates so well with the past year of aching experience. The specifics may be less similar, perhaps, but I feel this to my soul.

  26. 376
    Kelly Rogers says:

    I love you, Beth! Thank you for sharing. My circle was huge once upon a time, but now is small and cozy. I look forward to your words as God guides you through this.

  27. 377
    Elisabeth Guidry says:

    Beth,
    How are you and your family doing? Have you all been affected by Hurricane Harvey? New Orleans is praying for y’all and remembering the love y’all showed us after Katrina.

  28. 378
    Carol Streets says:

    Amen! I have been traveling the same road for the past year. I have had more growth in my faith and trust – while at the same time my naïveté has disapated. Consider it all joy. Jesus has shown me so much….Praise the Lord as He opens our eyes. Praise the Lord, as He works in us and those around us – knowing the gulf between us and those that we thought were like-minded, may grow. Praise the Lord as we grow bolder and stand firmer and remain at peace during our trials – knowing He is in our midst, in control, loves us unceasingly and our purpose is to be more like Him – kind, gentle, patient, peace-filled, joyful, self-controlled. We have a limited amount of time to help those in bondage, who still have a veil covering their eyes. Yet, many rocks are sitting in our path, wanting and waiting for us to stumble. Battle on Christian soldiers!!! Do what God tells you to – not what man tells you to do. May lose friends – but God is also showing us that they might not be friends, or they may be lost or very broken. And it’s sad but OK – it’s everywhere. We do what we can to be at peace with everyone and then we turn it over to God. Can’t even tell you the number of times that I have apologized to people so as to be at peace with them – when I have done nothing wrong except possibly spoken truth in love, only with God’s approval….. most of the time?? (Have to be really careful here). Truth is hard for people to process and many times, God has said “not now, not yet, or they can’t hear”. People or more divisive now than ever before ……I can’t tell you the number of times that the word curmudgeon has crossed my mind since attending LPL in mid-July……. such an excellent descriptor!!!! Keep on the path set before you! Love your heart and the messages God gives you. You are a blessing to many!!!!!

  29. 379
    Carol says:

    I am your age. I’ve been serving Christ all my life. I love this post! After serving a church for 10 years, we have moved and I too am in an identity crisis. I too have had to search my life with Christ and realize that it is in Christ alone I stand. And I think – isn’t it wonderful and just like HIM to cause us to stand back and look and seek and grow every once in a while. No sitting back and relaxing on our laurels. No status quo for us Christ followers. It is grow, than grow some more, molding us in HIS image until we are called to be with HIM. Painful, hard, but growth. Lord, may we always be willing to be used by you and to grow as you call us to grow.

  30. 380
    Tonja Weed says:

    Lifting you and your family up in prayer! Praying for all of Houston, your staff at LP, and your friends and neighbors. May God protect you and sustain you. Love you!!

  31. 381
    Linda Lee says:

    I totally understand. I get it. Went through it. Major paradigm shift. Split the “box” wide open! The Holy Spirit is my “box” now! No limits. ID# JESUS.

  32. 382
    Paige says:

    As someone who began this feeling of “there HAS to be more than THIS” about six years ago, I WANT TO ENCOURAGE ALL OF YOU.
    Yes, there IS so much more than what is portrayed weekly in a church building. Yes, God WILL answer your prayers as you earnestly seek Him and His will for your “more.”
    Not to bore you with too many of my details, but because of church circumstances (see? not even from the world!!), and getting tired, frankly, of the weariness (in me) and apathy (in me and in lots of others), I EARNESTLY sought God (for probably the first time in my life) and stuck with it! I committed and disciplined myself to read through the Bible daily so that I could discover His will for my life personally. I “knew” that there was more to this life, but I didn’t know what “it” was…all I knew was He had the answer!
    Long story short, God gave me the courage to start a discipleship group with 3 other ladies – we are reading through the Bible together (in the hopes that they will start their own!). The benefits of this are TOO NUMEROUS to count!
    My husband and I downsized from a 2200 sq foot house to 1200 this Spring – who wants to clean ALL THAT for the rest of their lives?! Most importantly, the move will open up opportunities for us to do more for the Kingdom because of less “domestic responsibilities.”
    God also pressed on me to head up a couple of ministries at church – which scared me to death (bc I am SO unequipped – but what’s the old saying??? He equips the called…). Exciting times.
    Life is so, so short for us to waste the time God has given us to be just…”vanilla.”
    It is SO important to REMEMBER where you are starting in this journey so that you can later share what God has done on your life. As we all search for this whole “authenticity” thing instead of relying on our faulty emotions to guide us, I wholeheartedly welcome the challenge from God to find the “more.” God Bless You All 🙂

  33. 383
    Leah Womack says:

    How all is well for you and family. Praying for all of Texas & all affected by Hurricane Harvey. I am loving TBN on Wednesday nights. You have not been in Oklahoma in a while- since Stillwater. Aug 23,17 show part 4 of the talents. You read something about hearing God’s voice I tried to record it on my phone and since it was the first time I tried it I did not get most of it. Oh course it hit home, so precious. I would like a copy to share with some of my sisters and my Aunt that I am trying to witness to. She thinks she is alone. I pray for you and your ministry that the evil one will be bound for they are His enemies and they don’t win.

  34. 384
    Beth Collins says:

    AMEN!!! No matter what stage of maturity we are in, growth is possible….and I praise God for that. Even though it is excruciating at times. People disappoint, but God never does. And I’m so thankful He shows us how to love those who have hurt us. It brings tears to my eyes to see how Jesus endured such hatred while giving the ultimate sacrifice for all. I’m praying for you, Beth, and your wonderful ministry which has ministered to me during overwhelming dark times. I praise God for allowing you to reach so many in this dark and dying world. I praise God that this world is not IT for us!!!
    Love to you and your family as Houston rebuilds. ❤

  35. 385
    Nancy Griffin says:

    Nancy from Drew, Ms

    Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.

    Psalms 119: 11 KJV

  36. 386
    Nicole says:

    There are no words adequate enough to express how this here blog post blessed me. THANK YOU… THANK YOU! May our good Father keep stirring up His gifts in you. Amen.

  37. 387
    Wendy Luikart says:

    Thanks for being transparent. Keep that heart soft and pliable so He can use you as His vessel just like always! Blessings, Wendy

  38. 388
    Carol Beth says:

    This post resonates with me. What does unity look like? Fractures all around us. The message in Springfield was helpful. Salt! I need the basics drilled into me more times than I would care to admit. Imperfect people in an imperfect world.

  39. 389
    Louise Denton says:

    Dearest Beth,
    I am just
    getting caught up on the blog posts.

    I have been struggling with myself on the feelings
    you have expressed here, its good to know that
    we can bounce back if we listen and understand
    who we truly are & where we are going. You inspire me to dig deep and then listen to what God is saying for me I dont
    have to be perfect, but willing. Thank you for your
    honesty and conviction.

  40. 390
    Dianne Artim says:

    Beth, I am so sorry that you have gone through this. I know that we go through things so that God can grow us, but it is usually very painful. i AM WRITING TODAY because I am concerned about you and your family after Harvey. Did your home get damaged, and also, what about your church. Please write and give us an update. Praying for the entire Houston area.

    • 390.1
      LPM-KMac says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Dianne. Beth and her family are doing very well, as is her church. The church has been a major hub for relief work, which they will continue with the long-term partnership of NAMB. We bless God for them to use their disaster expertise to help in recovery of our city. Your prayers are gold to us!

  41. 391
    Angela Hougas says:

    Not fitting, shifting. It has been a long (midlife?) season for me too – one that requires a “just me and him.” I’ve been enjoying John Eldredge’s “Beautiful Outlaw,” letting him convince me that though churches may crumble and fold, religion, friends and leaders disappoint, it started with me and him and that is the way through the fog!!

  42. 392
    Kelly JS says:

    Beth, one of the things I love most about you is your Love for the Word and The Word made Flesh, Jesus. Keep these always first – they are the only Rocks we have that will stand in these days of apostasy. I pray the Father will pull you beneath His wing, comfort and protect you, as you stand firm on His Word through storm!
    His Shalom be yours, Kelly

  43. 393
    Kathy says:

    Thank you for this raw & vulnerable post. You exposed my heart. I have feeling like a cog that no longer fits in the machine. I used to fit but no more. Unlike you, I have a turbulent background so I assumed it was my fault I no longer fit. I now understand God is calling me to seek my identity in HIM ALONE; and stop to trying to fit in. God bless you and keep you. I pray His shalom upon you.

    • 393.1
      Nancy says:

      I am, much like you, beginning to understand that the only identity I have that will stand no matter the storm or changes surrounding me, is in Christ. I am a child of the living God when all else is stripped away and that is all that matters. I am His and desire to simple be his servant girl, hearing and obeying HIM when He beckons.
      Blessings, Nancy

  44. 394
    Mayela Parsons says:

    1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

    1Sa 16:7  Y Jehová respondió a Samuel: No mires a su parecer, ni a lo grande de su estatura, porque yo lo he rechazado; porque Jehová no mira lo que mira el hombre; porque el hombre mira lo que está delante de sus ojos, pero Jehová mira el corazón. 

  45. 395
    Donna Berkley says:

    Beth,

    I remember that you went through an experience that was like a spiritual desert which you described in a study called “Measureless Love” – it is one of my favorites. At the end of the dry experience where you could not feel the Spirit working around you, God told you that he’d given you the experience so that you could teach about it. One of the most remarkable things about the ministry that God has given you is the way that your personal experiences seem to tap into the issues and pain faced by so many of us. (And joys too.) Obviously, from the many comments above, it is resonating again. You are not alone and there is purpose in it. Your willingness to share about these crises points in your life is part of what keeps you an effective witness.

    One of my favorite verses is Philippians 2:13 because it reminds me that God is the one at work in my life and he leads me to act in ways that bring about his purposes as he works through me. I take that to mean all my actions not just the “good” or seemingly “purposeful” ones. They are all used by God for his purpose. It helps me to think about that when I think I can’t do anything right. If I feel led to drive down Maple Street instead of Pine – well who knows but what God doesn’t have a reason for it ? He prompts me to act in ways that fulfills his purpose. There are no coincidences with God. He even uses our screw ups and our smallest actions.

    Sometimes God leads us down a path that seems like it can’t possibly be the right one but still, it IS. There is something at the end of it that is worth making the trek for. Your present journey may seem a bit like that. As long as you know the Spirit of God is guiding you then it’s the right path no matter how uncomfortable it is, or how unproductive it may seem. God is a very patient God. He goes to great lengths to accomplish his will even in the smallest details and sometimes we allowed to be part of those small things. How can we know what is important ? Maybe our whole life is about having a donkey colt tied to the right fence, at the right spot on the road for God to borrow when the time comes ?

    Interesting. I think God may have just spoken into my own spirit there.

    I think all I really wanted to say, Beth, is it’s just another season. God is still God and you are still you. And your calling and mission remain the same. Press on.

    Donna

  46. 396
    Elita says:

    Oh goodness, Ms. Beth. This ministered to a tired soul this afternoon. Thank you for sharing–your words gave form to what I’ve been feeling these past few months. There’s nothing quite like ministry – where we feel that tension between pain and beauty and desperately desiring to fall “on the right side.” It hurts in the best way. Thank you again. I will re-read this often. xo

  47. 397
    kate says:

    Thanks for sharing openly about your struggles at the moment. I am sorry it’s been a hard road lately. I don’t know the specifics of what’s been going on, but reading through your post made me think of “The Calling Journey”– you’re probably aware of it, but if not, your post made me think about the “identity” portion of the timeline. You’re already really walking in your calling.. and I wondered if whatever you’re going through is that “valley of identity”… Again, I am sorry to hear of things going south with some friendships, ministry relationships… So many people love you & appreciate your gift you bring to the body. May God’s amazing love & wisdom comfort & guide you in this time. x

  48. 398
    Hillary Humberson says:

    Dear wonderful Beth, SSMT, Co-Sojourner, Teacher, Sister,

    I love you and thank God for this life saving/soul saving post and every single response! I could have written your article, nearly word for word. Then reading the responses…oh my gosh-I am suffering so from the very same thing…things that you and every sister described in these comments. I’ve written and re-written responses and yet can’t quite articulate the depth and pain in my being over this same “Identity Crisis”. Tears sting my cheeks right now as I push through what once felt like I counted and was counted upon that no longer has meaning. Yet I feel His Presence and hear His Words to Be Still. I know now that He is at work in you, me and each sister that has responded in these posts that affirm our transformation(s). Oh Dear Lord, prepare The Way, prepare us, grow us, transform us to be what You need us to be. To do what You need us to do. Lord remind us that we do have eternal value and let us minister to what is right in front of us…our husbands, our families, our children and grandchildren, our neighbors, our widows our orphans…help us Dear Lord to see that Your Light within us is The Light of Hope and Promise!! Emmanuel! Finally Dear Jesus I ask a huge measure of comfort on our sister Beth. Beth allow me to now comfort you and tell you, you are a mighty warrior for God! You are a GIFT to us! Jesus has you sister He has you and is doing a mighty work in you, in me and each and every sister that is going through this same identity crisis. I want to write more and encourage you more but I’m so tired. Until tonight this whole thing has worn me down so….but now I feel that I have that blessed assurance once again. And, it’s all because of this ministry. Oh Beth, you matter so much to Him and to us! Hoping its okay to send kisses and hugs! xoxoxo

  49. 399
    Cristie says:

    I am so thankful for Living Proof Ministries and your willingness to teach. I am thankful that my youngest daughter has been doing your Bible Studies as well. I pray my oldest daughter will one day as well but in this season she has her hands full with 2 toddlers. Sleep is precious much less quiet time for her. We’re praying her through!Your words in this post spoke to me. We all want to be acceptable Christians and it can be easy to get comfortable right there and not pursue to be Christlike. Thank you for sharing. May God swaddle you as you keep your eyes open in this darkness. I know He will then use it to teach the rest of us. No Doubt! This is the quiet for the rest of us as He works through you but oh my!! I can’t wait to see what’s next. 🙂

  50. 400
    Karen Kerl says:

    Beth I can relate and am going thru same thing. A friend of mine told me you were taking a couple of years off to help those hurt by Harvey in Texas. I haven’t seen it anyplace is that true???what a blessing and outreach you could have if true. I’ve been doing your studies for several years and you are such an inspiration to me. I have grown in God so much but have so far to go!!! Just starting The Quest. May God be with you always…In Christ’s Love and Joy Karen Kerl of Modesto, Ca.

    • 400.1
      Media says:

      Hi Karen! Thank you for your kind words. Beth has helped with Harvey relief through her local church, but she is not taking time off. So glad you are joining us for the Quest!

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