Who do you think you are?
Your answer to this question shapes everything in your life.
Imagine a 12-year-old girl whose father never knew her and mother never wanted her. Anyone she dares to trust, wounds her. Any way she tries to ask, “Am I lovely?”, is answered with spite, if at all.
She earns the label “at risk”, and she accepts her identity as one of “those kids”. It shapes her actions, colors her relationships, and ultimately defines her future.
At Glenhaven, everything we do is to tell her, “You are truly known! You are deeply loved! You have a unique purpose!
You are truly known…
I had been mentoring Jose for about 3 months when the conversation reached beneath the surface of his shy and generally happy presentation. He knew his adoptive parents loved him—they had welcomed him into their home after years on the foreign mission field, and they genuinely cared for him. Despite everything they tried, they still couldn’t explain his explosive behaviors… and neither could he. He remembered being abandoned by his birth mother when he was 4, then living on the streets for a few days before being taken to the orphanage.
“I don’t even know who I am… and I feel like no one does… or ever will. If God is good, why did He let this happen to me?”
Here was the opportunity to speak the light of truth into his darkest fear! “God knows you, Jose. He knows everything you’ve endured, because He was always there. What if He has allowed all this for one purpose: that you might come to know and trust Him? Would it be worth all this to know your heavenly Father who loves you?”
You are deeply loved…
“How can you say I’m not a bad kid? Look at my life… this is what bad kids do!”
Peter was caught stealing, then lying about it. Why did he do it? Because it’s what bad kids do. And who am I to tell him that he’s not a bad kid? He had quite the track record, after all!
He was crying now, and I stood silently with him for a moment. “It’s true, you’ve made some bad choices. But it’s simply not possible for that to be who you are. Jesus overcame all that on the cross. You can’t break that. You can join the world in saying you’re a bad kid, but through all this Jesus is shouting ‘I love you so much more!’ Peter, you can choose what you believe, but you will always be deeply loved.”
You have a purpose…
Renee had endured abuse from birth until she ran away from home when she was 14. Life hardly got easier after that, as she recreated the only thing she ever knew. But God is faithful, and many people at Glenhaven planted seeds of the Gospel over the years. Now 20, she knew God’s love and trusted in Him, but she had no idea what to do next.
She came to camp, connecting with old friends and expecting God to show her something. I taught the morning Bible study from Psalm 107, a beautiful poem and proclamation of God’s redemption that opens with the words, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”
She came up to me afterward. “I know what I’m supposed to do now!”
To this day, I still call her Miss “Say So”.