Posts in Identity
The Sin That Defined Me

I moved the mascara wand across my top lashes, darkening the brown hairs to black, trying to accent my eyes like I learned in the tutorial video. I peered into the mirror, frustrated that instead of length, I only saw clumps.

My phone lay on the bathroom counter in front of me, playing the words of a former Olympian. She was giving an interview for one of my favorite podcasts, and they talked about what it was like to run for gold in front of a worldwide audience.

Quickly, though, the conversation took a turn I didn’t expect: An unplanned pregnancy, weeks before the Opening Ceremony.

An abortion.



I lowered the mascara wand, stunned by what I heard.

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God's Love for Us is a Fairy Tale Come True

Sometimes it takes a movie to help me see a Gospel truth.

It had been a particularly ragged day of parenting. The hubs was working night shift, my one year old son was restless with teething and being juuust about to walk, and my three year old daughter was being, well, three. 

After wrestling, I mean, SWEETLY TUCKING, everyone into bed, I collapsed in front of the television, tired and angry. I chose the fluffiest movie I could find and settled into watching Disney’s The Princess Diaries. I was ready to fantasize about running away from home and becoming a princess in a far-off land. 

Plus, I love the makeover scene where awkward teenager Mia Thermopolis is transformed into the beautiful princess of Genovia. Heck, I wanted a makeover.

Before long I realized the movie was about much more than fantasy. I’d forgotten about how Mia has to transform, not just from normal high schooler to royalty, but from afraid little girl to a woman who accepts responsibility and her role as a leader.

After a few days of embarrassing etiquette mishaps and paparazzi stunts, Mia learns that being a princess is not all balls and tiaras. Being a leader is difficult and confusing and she reaches a point where she is ready to run; abdicate her right to the throne and return to her normal life. However, her friend and chauffeur Joseph gives her a different perspective that changes her mind. “No one can stop being who they are, princess. Not even a princess. You are a princess by birth.”

The quote stayed with me even after I fell asleep on the couch (because #motherhood). I am so much like Mia. Motherhood is so much like royalty (stay with me, everybody!).

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IdentityLaura Beth Payne
Does God Love Me?

How many times have you heard this: God loves you. We hear it in church and we read it in books. My response, and perhaps yours, has been to wonder, “Is that true for me?” 

Many of us see ourselves as ordinary women who are constantly messing up. We yell at our kids or husband and get frustrated with our in-laws. The house is a mess. On Sundays, we are surprised if we can put together a decent outfit before we leave home! We often arrive at church without an ounce of any kind of spiritual feeling left in our body. 

I’m going to go out on a limb to state that, even though we feel so very unspiritual, God loves each of us. After years of struggling, I began to embrace this truth. 

I grew up thinking that the only way God loved me was if I was a good girl and followed ALL the church rules. God’s love wasn’t on my radar. Life was all about doing it right, being perfect. I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was five, and even then it wasn’t about love. It was about wanting to go to heaven. 

I consistently feel there’s an elephant on my back (probably purple so it can’t be missed!). It’s the sum of all my fears, worries, insecurities and that “not good enough” feeling. 

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IdentityJudith Barillas
New Creation, New Label

“Who am I, really?” I wish I had asked that of God many years ago.

As a child, I was the weird one. I was the one without a dad. I was the one with off-brand clothes. I was the teacher’s pet. I was the one with acne at ten years old.

As a teenage girl, I was the smart one. I was the one who fit in everywhere and nowhere. I was the one who sought attention. I was the one who rooted for the underdog. I was the one who could do it all but chose to do nothing.

All those descriptions are true, yet none are who I am. I know that now, but it took many years to get rid of the labels—the labels thrown at me by others and the ones I quietly placed on myself.

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You're Not the Hero of Your Story

I'm not the hero of my own story. You're not the hero of yours. How do I know that? Because we fail to live up to heroic standards all the time. We’re selfish and self-absorbed. Our words and deeds are not always for the good of others. Thankfully, that's a good thing.

In Scott Saul's book From Weakness to Strength, he says, "Jesus came for sinners, not heroes. Perhaps the recognition that we are not heroes can be an occasion--maybe the first one in quite some time--to fall into his healing arms." Being the hero means there’s no one to save us from ourselves.

Identifying ourselves as heroes instead of sinners keeps us trapped in our weakness. It isn't until we honestly identify ourselves as sinners that we allow God's healing to free us from our past and His strength to sustain us in the present.

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IdentityTaryn Nergaard
The Proverbs 31 Mother (Part Two)

"She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." I don’t know about you but man this verse carries weight for me. I have it posted on the mirror in my bathroom and read it multiple times a day. I often don’t speak wise words and I certainly don’t always follow the law of kindness. I have read and prayed this verse so many times that now when I lose my temper, or get short, or just flat out say something ridiculous this verse pops into my head as a gentle reminder that I CAN do better. Our words can be used to uplift or tear down. What we tell our children will become their inner voice. What message are we sending to them?

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IdentityKirista Berry
The Proverbs 31 Mother (Part One)

I entered motherhood 4.5 short years ago. I have 2 boys and another baby on the way. I am in no way, shape, or form an expert, and I pray I never come off that way. I was weary about writing this piece on the Proverbs 31 mother, because I know how personal motherhood is to all of us--how easily we can become offended with this topic, and how quick to defensiveness we can get when someone disagrees with our parenting. I prayed hard before writing this that none of my words would cause shame or guilt and that God would speak into each mama’s heart the very love and inspiration they need. And I hope that through this piece God would change and renew my heart too.

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IdentityKirista Berry
Loved by God

I recently had this question asked to me, and it struck me so deeply that I wanted to ask it to you: What if you really believed that you were loved by God? What if you REALLY believed that YOU were wanted, cherished, pursued, valued and called to freedom? Would your life look the same as it does today? Zephaniah 3:17 says, “ The Lord your God will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Can you just sit and ponder that very thought for a moment. The God of the universe delights in you, he rejoices over you. We are God's girls--daughters of the most high.

Psalms 45:11 says, "be here - the king is wild for you.”

I don’t know about you, but I in no way, shape, or form lived my life as if I was a daughter of the King and that he was crazy for me.

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IdentityKirista Berry
10 Brutally Honest Truths I Would Tell My Younger Self

Being a mom changes you. In my case, being a mom of girls has radically changed me.When I think about how I want to raise my girls, there are usually two areas that I think about: that they love & follow Jesus and that their beliefs about themselves would be rooted in love, hope & strength. I want them to believe in God and believe in themselves in a way that seemed out of reach for me as a child.

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IdentityTaryn Nergaardfamily
3 Ways to Counter Negative Self-Talk

Do you find the idea of "humility" a confusing one? We know we should love and accept ourselves, but not be prideful. We know we should be humble, but not self-deprecating. Somewhere along the line it's gotten confusing for us. Should we love ourselves or hate ourselves?

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IdentityTaryn Nergaard