Who I Am in Christ

A grandmother's long-ago words comfort the soul of a grown woman.

Posted in , Jun 17, 2015

Who I am in Christ, a soul's identity.

The boys and I were cleaning closets. Eliminating excess. Desiring to get by with less in order to embrace what’s more. But in the bedroom cabinet, beneath a box of must-keep letters, I found a precious thing, the thing that helped me remember who I am in Christ. My autograph book–from the fourth grade.

The cover was faded. Corners were worn round. Entries from my friends, written in #2 lead pencils, were faint. I turned pages and remembered smooth wooden desktops and stacks of hard-bound books and the scent of spring through open windows when Louie the custodian drove a John Deere mower.

And in the middle of childhood scrawl, I found Mamo’s script.

I remembered taking the book to my grandmother’s after school. She and I sat at the table. The kitchen was warm and the dishwasher hummed and Mamo was beautiful with an easy smile and shiny, auburn hair. I waited while she penned a message. When she finished, I read the following words:

Dear Shawnie,

Be who you are, and not who you aren’t. If you are who you aren’t, you aren’t who you are.

I love you always.


I remembered being puzzled by Mamo’s words. But now, as a grown-up, I looked at the entry and understood that Mamo had seen my little-girl self and had spoken to my soul. She’d spoken to the quiet girl with the deep thoughts. To the one who would rather string words on a lined Warrior tablet than speak them aloud.

She’d spoken the reality of my value.


And as I sat that afternoon, the boys filling a tote for Goodwill and me looking at the curls and loops of Mamo’s handwriting, I wondered if Mamo was speaking something even more.

Was she speaking to my value as a child of God and a follower of Christ?

When I claimed Jesus Christ as my Savior, my identity changed. I was no longer separated from God because of sin. My transgressions, my guilt and shame, were removed as far as the east is from the west.

And when the Lord looks at me, He sees the righteousness of Jesus.

This truth is life altering.

I am not bound, afraid or weak. Because of Jesus:

 I am forgiven (Romans 8:1).

 I am free (1 Corinthians 6:12).

 I am empowered (Philippians 4:13).

 I am a conqueror. (Philippians 8:37).

God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice change everything, and I want to live in alignment with who I am in Christ.

“What about these, Mom?” Gabriel asked that afternoon. He held a stack of board books from his baby years.

“Keepers,” I said. “They go in the ‘keeper’ pile.”

Just like Mamo’s insightful words.

I will hold them.

They encourage me to remember exactly who I am in Christ.

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