Truth Inspired Stories

You Matter Series

You Are Valued: Embracing Your Identity in Christ and His Unfailing Love

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The Resonance of Time: A Window into the Past

I didn’t always find my identity in Christ . . .  I wasn’t always a Christian; it feels so long ago, but just 11 years ago, God revealed Himself to me and saved me. I grew up in a nominal secular home; I prayed, occasionally went to church, and called myself a Christian. I thought I was a pretty good and kind person. I was good to others, was loyal, loved deeply, and thought I’d probably make it to heaven. I thought my good outweighed the bad. But something always felt missing in my life. 

Have you ever felt this way?

I had quite a few church encounters growing up. We were in the reformed church until I was about eight years old. I remember taking communion, Sunday school songs, and the teaching of Noah’s Ark and Jonah and the Whale. I remember the church potlucks and the fellowship of the saints. I played the bells at Christmas, and I really enjoyed being in the church until it all came to a stop. 

We were moving not too far away—but far enough. I never really knew why we stopped attending church, but we just did. And life continued. I had a great childhood with loving parents. I enjoyed public schools and sports. Yet I always had a void in my life—always desiring something more. As I entered high school, I got mixed up in some bad decisions; however, at the age of 16, I found myself back at church primarily because of a boy I liked, but nonetheless, it got me back. I enjoyed the preaching again, but it was a feel-good church, and I was there for all the wrong reasons. Things got rocky at home when I thought all was well. I came home one day to find my mother crying in the living room, and divorce was in the conversation. My heart broke to pieces. 

I didn’t desire this for my family. However, it was happening, and I could do nothing about it. My family soon was scattered. My sister moved out of state, I moved in with a boyfriend’s family, and my brother stayed with my mom. I was in the last year of high school, planning my goals and dreams for my life. I couldn’t wait to be grown up and be on my way—away from the chaos and mess. 

Navigating the Void: Finding Meaning in the Emptiness

Graduation day came, and my childhood was behind me. I worked hard and had great ambition—but fell into an ugly trap. I found myself living in an attic of a house, hanging out with the wrong people, and drugs became a new norm in my life. I was still pursuing college, but I felt that with my family scattered and the current circumstances, God was nowhere near me. I remember distinctly thinking, “God doesn’t even care about me. Everything I loved is gone.” I didn’t even talk to my parents or siblings much anymore. I was just trying to figure it all out, but I was miserable looking for anything or anyone to fill the void. 

Not long after that year, I didn’t realize it then, but God was working, and He pulled me out of that mess. A family had seen my situation and gave me a home. I continued to work two to three jobs and pursue college, and things started to get a lot better, yet I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I always seemed to look to boys or guys to be my savior and to give me a good life; however, that road always failed me. 

Fast forward a few years, and I met a guy that I ended up dating for almost four years. Four long years, and everything came crashing down one day. Yes, we broke up, and it wasn’t pretty. We were just living in our sin and loving it—not really caring for one another. God was still nowhere in my life, or so I thought. I remember thinking, “I’m just not a lovable person. I’ll never be good enough. No one will want to be my husband. It’s always just temporary,” but life moved on. 

 

Something happened that summer that changed my life. My ex had become a Christian, or so I heard. Through random conversations here and there, he eventually told me that I wasn’t a Christian…

EXCUSE ME? YOU DON’T KNOW ME OR MY HEART!! I PRAY!!

Boy, did that make my blood boil!! How dare he say that to me! Well, it certainly sparked something. I remember crying and praying again. It had been a while—maybe five years since I genuinely ran to God for help. I began to feel conviction and realized I was living a life for myself. I just wanted happiness and love and claimed to know and love God, yet my life choices ultimately showed otherwise. I was living for myself. 

I still struggle with anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts. I still wonder if so and so likes me or if I did or said something wrong. I still care what others may think; I still struggle with discontentment; I still get upset with people around me, but the most important aspect of all is that I KNOW who I am—my true identity. I know what Christ has done for me, and He is my solid rock, my foundation.

—Jessica Nylen
The Gift of Surrender: from Brokenness to Wholeness 

Not long after, God did a good work, and He used the Holy Spirit to bring me to an end of myself and to fully place my faith and trust in Christ alone. I remember feeling such a strong pull to turn to Christ and repent of my sins. One evening I pulled my vehicle over to the side of the road in tears, lifted my hands up high, and repented for the life I was living—for my sin and selfishness and all that I had been chasing after to fill the void. 

It has been a rollercoaster ride, and my story didn’t stop there. That man would soon become my husband, forever changing my life. A lot has happened over the last 11 years, and there have been many ups and downs, struggles, and trials along the way, but God is working in and through me. He gave me a wonderful Husband and four beautiful girls. He made me a grandmother at 32 years old through adopting my 15-year-old cousin shortly after marriage. Now I get to be home with my girls, and I am so grateful for this beautiful family of mine. Some days are good. Some are hard, but we have each other. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

From Doubt to Belief: Rediscovering Our Significance in God's Eyes

It’s easy to look at our life and be unhappy. We look at the trials, the tribulations, the struggles, and the hardships in our life that seem to ruin us. We think, “Our life is miserable; no one really cares—not even God. He has allowed these things in my life. I don’t matter.” We can get stuck inside of our heads believing the lies we tell ourselves. 

However, what’s harder is to seek out the truth and realize who you truly are in Christ for those that have repented and placed their faith in Him. 

You will still have struggles. We all will. In fact, God tells us in His Word we will go through trials and tribulations. If anyone tells you they don’t, they are lying. I still struggle with anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts. I still wonder if so and so likes me or if I did or said something wrong. I still care what others may think; I still struggle with discontentment; I still get upset with people around me, but the most important aspect of all is that I KNOW who I am—my true identity. I know what Christ has done for me, and He is my solid rock, my foundation. God says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” 

The Potter's Hand: Molded into God's Masterpiece

You see, I’m not the same anymore. My life has been completely transformed. So my friend, may I ask you…

Are you in Christ? 

Have you chosen to believe and confess that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? Do you trust that He is working everything out for your good, even in the hard times? Do you trust that He is for you and not against you? Or are you feeling insignificant and unseen? What lies are consuming your heart and mind today? Do not allow the world, your flesh, or satan to deceive you. If you are in Christ, you are seen, you are loved, you are cherished, and you matter so very much to your Heavenly Father. 

Jeremiah 1:5 is always such a comforting verse. God says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” This is a universal truth to all of us. BEFORE He formed you, HE KNEW YOU. God knows you better than you even know yourself. He knows your thoughts. He knows your heart. He knows your intentions and what you truly seek. Not only does He know you. He sees you. 

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears towards their cry.” God hears you. He hears your cries. Do not be afraid to cry out to Him because He is listening. He will always be with you as your ultimate comfort. He is a Healer, Provider, Protector, Father, and Friend.

He says in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” He will never leave nor forsake you. You are NOT alone. 

God CHOSE you to be HOLY and BLAMELESS, to be ADOPTED into His kingdom before the foundation of the world. He chose you.

—Jessica Nylen

Seeking answers, finding My Identity in Christ

So many scriptures speak of God’s love toward you—how He will help you in times of trouble and cares for you so much. So many of us get caught up in questioning, “What is my real purpose?” Or “What am I doing with my life?” We can often feel like a failure or that we always fall short.

The truth is we do fall short, and no one is good except God. That is why He sent His son Jesus into this world to save the broken. He came to save sinners such as us. God desires that you would go and seek Him.

Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” 

Are you seeking Him with all of your heart? I think we need a pause button to turn off all of the negativity and doubts raving through our minds, and we need to bring it all straight to the Lord, surrendering it to Him. We need to open up our Bibles more. This is what God gave us: His living, active Word, and we need to SEEK Him! If you are a Christian or claim to be one and are not opening the Word of God, you are missing so much of what He has for you! In fact, you may feel that He is so distant in your life, but the truth is we are the ones being distant from the Lord. Remember, He is always with you. The only way we can truly know God and our purpose is by plunging ourselves into His Word and praying He would reveal to us His truth. Through His spirit, we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is where we find out who God is; this is where we find our identity rooted in Christ. This is where doubt and fear begin to subside, hope and joy fill in, and assurance and our foundation lie in the very truths that God gives us.

hands lifting up as you seek your identity in christ

You see, your identity is not a physical reality but spiritual. Ephesians 1:4-5 says, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”  

Chosen by God's grace, destined for eternal significance.

God CHOSE you to be HOLY and BLAMELESS, to be ADOPTED into His Kingdom before the foundation of the world. He chose you. How?—According to the purpose of His will. It is nothing you have done, no act of goodness that saved you, but a loving Father who gave up His Son, sent Him to die a death that we deserved—a Son nailed to a cross for our sins. He chose to adopt you and give you everlasting life as a co-heir into His Kingdom. Wow!

So, do you believe that you matter to God?

Have you not seen or heard the way He cares for you? He has an unconditional love that no one else could ever give you. If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, you are forgiven, adopted, and co-heirs with Christ sharing an eternal inheritance in His riches. Your identity is grounded and firm in Him, and nothing can ever pluck you from your Father’s hands.

Do you believe that? Are you struggling to find peace, joy, or contentment, friend? Run to the Lord! He is the only one who can fill you with peace that passes all understanding. It doesn’t mean your life will be easy. Spiritual growth and our life here is full of ups and downs, but you will have a promise and truth to hold onto in Christ. Do not allow anyone or anything to tell you otherwise. You matter so much to your Heavenly Father, and you were placed here to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever in the heavenly places. What a hope to hold onto!

He is doing a good work in you and will bring it to completion. Praise the Lord for His goodness and how He puts us on the path of righteousness for His namesake. You certainly matter more than you could ever imagine. Everything that you have, every intrusive thought, fear, or doubt, give it up to God and remind yourself of His truth today. We are more than conquerors through Christ!

About the Author

Jessica Nylen resides in Grand Rapids, MI. She is a stay-at-home wife and mother who loves the Lord. She supports her husband Stephen, founder and full-time evangelistic worker of Frontline Street Ministry.  She loves homeschooling her children, baking, hosting, and chasing her city chickens in the backyard, and has a heart to serve others in the gospel. 

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