Category Archives: identity

Letter to a Teenaged Daughter

(name),

You are a young lady on the verge of being a woman.  There are probably many things going through your mind.  You most likely act like you know so much yet feel like you know very little.  We all feel that way.  Even as adults.

 

Through your questions, through your confusion, through your searching, there is one truth I pray you discover.  No matter what happens to you, no matter who comes into your life, and no matter who leaves your life, there is one Person who will never leave you, never abandon you, and never turn away from you.  One Person who will never condemn you, shame you, or hurt you.  One Person who will always have your best interest at heart and want good blessings for you.

 

That person is God.

 

And as you walk into womanhood, I pray that God really impacts your life.  I pray that God gets a hold of your heart so deeply, so intimately, and so passionately that you are overcome by His love.  That His love becomes so real that it vibrates (echoes) through your thoughts, your actions, and your choices.  That His love becomes so true that you never doubt it, no matter how difficult life gets or what kind of choices you make.  That His love becomes so rooted in you that you will never be shaken, no matter what happens to you and around you.

 

Ephesians 3:18 is so true.  There are no limits to God’s love.  There are no boundaries to God’s affection.  There are no fences around God’s presence.  There are no ground rules to God’s grace.  His love is wide enough to accept you just as you are.  His love is long enough to last through all your days.  His love is deep enough to cover every choice you make.  And His love is high enough to encourage you to aim for His best.

Letter to a Teenaged Daughter

Everything you have been, everything you are now, and everything He has called you to be is encompassed by His love and blessed with His grace.

 

So I pray that you will find confident assurance in God’s love.  A steadfast trust that will keep you focused on the right things, grounded in His purposes, and confident in His care.  A resolute faith that knows He walks with you, no matter where you go, and will never forsake you.  An unshakable hope that He has great plans for you all the days of your life.

 

Your life can be guided by His peace.

Your life can be defined by His love.

Your life can be enhanced by His grace.

 

Where does it start?  Get to know God.  Find out who He is – loving, merciful, gracious, forgiving.

 

And in getting to know God, you will figure out who you are.

 

You are not defined by a boyfriend.

You are not defined by what you have done.

You are not defined by other people’s expectations.

You are not defined by the stuff you have.

You are not defined by your job, your house, or your church.

You are not defined by the world.

You are not defined by society’s standards.

 

You are defined by God.

He says you are poetry in motion, His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

He says you are a princess chosen specifically by Him (1 Peter 2:9).

He says you are “wonderfully made” according to His unique design (Psalm 139:14).

He says you have a great future ahead of you (Jeremiah 29:11).

He says you are clothed with honor (Proverbs 31:25).

He says you are a new person not held back by the past (2 Corinthians 5:17).

He says you are completely forgiven (Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 1:7).

He says you are blessed (Ephesians 1:3).

He says He sees you as precious (Isaiah 43:4).

He says He knows your name (Isaiah 43:1).

He says He knows you down to the smallest details (Matthew 10:30).

He says you can always come to Him (Matthew 11:28, Hebrews 4:16).

 

God knows you and loves you.  He has great plans for your life.  He turned Saul the Christian hater around into the apostle Paul, who went on to impact the nations around him with an influence that is still active today.  He redeemed Peter after he denied Him and gave him the leadership of the new Christ movement.   He can do the same with you and use you in big ways.  You can impact the worlds in bold ways.  He will do amazing things for you, in you, and through you.

 

So here is my hope – that God gets a hold of you and fills your heart with all these truths.  That you search for God with an unrelenting passion and an incomparable hope.

 

Because you will experience a lot of things in your life.  People will come into your life.  People will walk out of your life.  And no matter what happens, God will be in control.  God will have a plan.  God will use all your experiences to make you a better person.  He will redeem your tears, which are healthy since they cleanse you of hurt feelings and negative emotions.  He will encourage your smile, which will draw other people to His love.  He will embrace you with love, so you always feel secure and confident of your value.

 

God has already showered you with a lot of blessings.  He has given you a loving family and friends to support you.  He has given you God-fearing parents who love you and encourage you and pray for you.  Don’t take any of them for granted.  For God will show you His love through these people and shower His grace on you through these relationships.

 

So please don’t ever limit yourself.  You can be more and do more than you think possible, because God will be with you (Ephesians 3:20).  Please don’t ever doubt God’s love.  It is real and it never runs out.

 

So here would be my prayer for you:

May you embrace His grace.

May you dive into His love.

May you relish His redemption.

May you find freedom in His forgiveness.

 

And as you do, God will show up and show out.  Because “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”  (2 Corinthians 9:8)

 

So in all you do, consider God.  And you will never go wrong.

 

Marie Fremin.  6/28-29/16.

Inner Circle

Have you even been having a conversation and heard something profound come out of your mouth?  I love when these moments happen, because I feel like God is talking to me as He talks through me to someone else.

I just had one of these moments at work.  I was talking to a property manager, and we got into a conversation about how everyone thinks he/she is special and should be prioritized over someone else.  How their issue with needing an internet circuit should take precedence over someone without power or A/C.

And I found myself saying, “Yeah, because that’s how our mamas raise us.”  I was quick to clarify that our mothers are fabulous human beings who go above and beyond for us and do things other people wouldn’t.  They take their time and energy to make sure we are happy and healthy.  They have our best interest at heart, and they are willing to do a lot of (unusual or selfless) things for us. But society isn’t our mama, and most people we meet won’t do ¼ of the things our mama will.  Because we aren’t special to those people. They don’t know us and they aren’t invested in our well-being.  And we both laughed at such a profound yet simple truth.  She quickly agreed with me.

And then the profound thought jumped up and grabbed me.  I told her it was like Jesus – even He had a bigger group of followers that He sized down to the 12 disciples (Matthew 10:2-4) and then even further to His most intimate 3 guys (Matthew 17:1). And at the cross, He entrusted His mother Mary to His most precious follower (John 19:26).  Sure, everyone mattered to Jesus.  That’s why He entertained the crowds of people and healed regularly. That’s why He sent out the 72 disciples (Luke 10).  But to Jesus, He had 12 people that were extra special to Him. People He chose to eat with, sleep near, and teach.  The 12 were always with Him, and He chose them specifically to learn His new way of thinking and loving.

Did this mean Jesus didn’t care about the crowds or the 72 closer disciples?  No.  It just meant that Jesus chose a handful of people to be in His inner circle and know Him personally. To walk with Him and watch Him and know Him more intimately. To carry on His legacy and His teachings once He was gone.

And that’s what we have.  We have only a handful of people, our 12, who love us and care about what happens to us.  We go through life with these people, and our well-being matters to them.  We make a point to stay in touch and interact. We share our highs and lows, our triumphs and defeats, our moments of wisdom and stupidity, our calm and crazy (angry). They are our go-to people who hug us, love us, laugh or cry with us, and make us feel better. We need them, and we hope they need us.

Does this mean we don’t care about society around us?  No.  We help when and where we can.  We try to make a difference. We give where and when we can to help people and causes.

But at the end of the day, we come back to our 12 to share the details and the challenges.  We return always to our 12 with smiles or tears, with happiness or sadness, and with praise or prayer reports.  And we know they will always be there for us. To listen to us. To comfort us. To guide us. To know us. To accept us. To pray for us.

So who is in your inner circle? Who do you turn to regularly? Who is a great influence in your life?

Inner Circle

Have you taken time to love (hug) them today? To talk to them? To show your appreciation?

And then take it a step further. Be the inner circle for THEM. Listen to them. Help them. Love them. Reach out to them. Be engaged. Be present. Be purposeful and bold in loving people.

As a result, your attitude will be better and your outlook will be brighter. You will be walking in love as Jesus commands us to do (John 13:34). You will find your life more purposeful and fulfilled. You will have more joy and peace.

For in engaging with people we find ourselves. We discover who we are and who we desire to be. We find a reason for our being – to love. We find and appreciate the truth of Genesis 2:18 (“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone’”).

We were created for community. We were created to interact. We were created to love and be loved (first by God, then by our fellow man).

And it starts with our inner circle. We need these people to become the person God created us to be. They shape us and influence our lives, our decisions, and our thinking.

So appreciate those inner circle people God gave you specifically to help you get through life. Allow them to invest in your life as you invest in theirs. And the rewards will be “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Marie Fremin, 7/30/15 and 8/9/15

Call Me Frankenstein

The concept of Frankenstein has been rolling around in my brain the last few weeks.

It started at work. It seems the goal of my company the last few weeks has been to define me as a monster. To color me as difficult and somewhat impossible. To shape me as an overwhelming and judgmental perfectionist who delights in the errors of others.

And yes, it stings a little. I’m human, and these words hurt. Especially when it seems the accusations are just misconceived perceptions. Because these people don’t realize how much grace they are shown on a daily basis. Because these people haven’t gotten to know me. Because these people assume to know my intentions and intonations without ever asking me.

And as I turn to God to figure it all out, I jokingly tell myself that I should change my name to Frankenstein.

Call Me Frankenstein

So I think about Frankenstein and remember that this is the creator’s name, not the creature’s. The creature did not have a name – he was created and then given this identity as a monster based on the nature of his creation.

Then I remember this quote by Shakespeare, who asked in Romeo and Juliet “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”

But names are important. No matter how much we argue about it, your name is important. And the identity associated with that name is important. For society, your name is the start of your identity – and your labels.

It starts with simple labels: daughter (son), sister (brother), granddaughter (grandson), cousin. Then we get a little older, and our world expands to include “more important” labels: girlfriend (boyfriend), fiancee (fiance), wife (husband), mother (father), aunt (uncle), grandmother (grandfather).

But these labels are never good enough for society. Because everyone I meet and interact with is going to try to “define” me. They need to know what box or category to put me in so they can understand me. If I am ____, then they can say ____. If I act like ____, then they can react like ____. If I refuse to ____, then they can judge me as ___. For society, it’s a simple A-B formula.

So as we’re enjoying our life and our simple labels, the world steps in and tries to label us with new and categorical labels with their A-B formula: hard worker, lazy, know it all, slow, easy, troublemaker, quiet, loud, easy going, bossy, imaginative, boring.

It seems these labels are the boxes that define how (easily) society can interact with us. Boxes that describe who we are as people, friends, and employees. Boxes of who society judges us to be.

But we’re humans, and we weren’t designed to live in such rigid boxes. We are complex, multi-emotional creatures that feel things on so many levels. We can’t be rightly described or accurately summarized by two or three adjectives.

So where does that leave us? I keep reminding myself of this simple truth – these people don’t define me. They don’t determine my worth, and they don’t control my joy.

And why? Because they don’t really know me. They haven’t taken the time to know me. They have judged me by their standards based on a few things they have seen or heard or assumed.

And why? Because God is in control of all. He is the loving Father who created me and knows me and cares enough about me to want a better life for me. He is the one who put these people in my path to help shape me, mold me, change me, and grow me.

And God definitely doesn’t fit into any human boxes. He is I AM, an ever-present, all-knowing, unconditionally loving Father who wants the absolute best for us.

And His work definitely cannot be contained by human boxes and labels. Because the box won’t expand to accommodate all the changes God is bringing about.

So you can call me Frankenstein. You can call me perfect. You can call me impossible. I’ll take it all and consider it part of God’s process. Sure, I’ll have a moment or two where I am frustrated and possibly obnoxious. But I will stop and pause before I react. I’ll ask God to show me the truth in each label, for in each description there may exist a kernel of truth that I am not seeing. And I will also ask Him to empower me as He walks with me to grow beyond the label into the fullness of Him.

Because this Frankenstein wants to experience the abundance and fullness of life He has promised. And that doesn’t include terrorizing the villagers. So Lord, please help me to accept the truth of the label in the light of Your unconditional love and grace – and change me as I need to be changed to be more like You. AMEN!

Marie Fremin, 6/9/15 and 6/14/15