The Encounter ministry has changed our lives. It has changed Paul so much - and since he is the leader of our house, we all have changed. Specifically, our spiritual lives have encountered the most change, which in turn has changed how we live the rest of our lives. After Paul attended his third Encounter, he strongly encouraged me to go to the Women's Encounter.
I was excited to go - maybe as much because it would be the first time EVER that I've been away from the kids by myself. (Admittedly, maybe a little guilty and nervous about this as well.) And, lets face it - after a year of nursing.... I was ready to not have a baby hanging off of me. I probably knew a little too much of the behind the scenes stuff, what was going to happen, from how Paul has been involved, and me helping him, but I still enjoyed my time very much. I came back feeling refreshed, confident, and renewed.
The thing that hit me the most powerfully, and I can't explain why, is this: My labels are not my identity. My labels are good things! Wife, Mother, Worship Leader.... Nothing I'm ashamed of. Maybe that's why it was hard for me? My good things aren't what matters; I'm not earning God's love by being good. He loves me because I'm His, He made me, He died for me.
I have what I feel is a healthy sense of self-confidence. I'm not always striving, always seeking. I have a peace about who I am and where I am in life, and what I have. So to be hit powerfully by this message of self worth was surprising to me.
But I got to thinking.... What if my labels weren't good things? What if my labels were Liar, Adulterer, Thief, Drug Addict? You know what? God still would think the same of me.
Maybe some would have a problem with this message - "What?! I've worked all my life to be good, and you're telling me that it doesn't matter? God loves me, with all my Spiritual Achievements, as much as he loves her? Do you KNOW what she's done???"
But that isn't the feeling I get. It makes me feel so good to know that His love is like that. Because it means if I fail, and I don't measure up, He's still going to love me.
I hope these ramblings make sense. I'll close with the lyrics of a song....
"Remind Me Who I Am"
by Jason Gray