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What is Your Identity?

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2021 1:00 am

What is Your Identity?

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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February 17, 2021 1:00 am

Stu is talking with Shirene Gentry about her book, "Identity Unveiled: Daughter of the King of Kings," and finding out how we can encourage people to find their wholeness, happiness, joy, fulfillment, and identity in Jesus Christ alone.

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This is the Truth Network. So what is your identity? Who are you?

This is big in our culture. Everyone wants to know who you are. Everyone wants to be somebody, and so often we talk to people about what do you do, and we assess and we evaluate their identity based on that. Well, I'm Stu Epperson, and I have with me one of the most fascinating people I've ever met, and I'm so honored. You've heard her son on here before, amazing young man of God, social media star, who wrote a book about keeping your faith and growing closer to Jesus in college. Well, his mom has written a book called Identity Unveiled, Daughter of the King of Kings.

Wait till you hear this story. Her name is Shireen Gentry, and Shireen, it's such an honor to have you with us on this special broadcast and podcast. Thanks for being on. Thank you so much. It's my honor to be here and to share with your listeners today. Well, we met each other through your son, who was an amazing guest on the show, who was a speaker at the commencement at Calvary Day School and did a great job. Thank you. And of course, I met you and your husband at the commencement ceremony and was real impressed with you guys, and then I start hearing waves and undercurrent about this book, and I'm like, well, I know Austin, his mom wrote a book?

What are you talking about? Yes, it wasn't a book that I had planned to write, and exactly two summers ago, at the age of 54 years of age, I started going back through the massive paper trail that my family of origin had left behind. And for the first time, I saw things that I'd never seen before, information on the back of photographs, documentation that wasn't adding up, and I thought, you know, I need to get someone else to look at this with me.

So I called one of the reporters for the High Point Enterprise because I knew he would be an objective person looking at the same information that I was. Okay, and out of the gate, you say this throughout the book, none of this is conclusive, this is, you know, you don't know for sure, but you somehow, you do know circumstantially, and you know from history and from family that somehow you're connected to some foreign country, right, and some foreign regime somewhere, somehow, some way, and then you were adopted. Yes. And so, as I'm reading this book, I'm like, this is fascinating, because I've always been fascinated with Iran, and I've always been fascinated with the royal family and the Shah of Iran, and you know, everyone thinks about, a lot of people think about the Iranian hostage crisis that our country faced right there, kind of at the hinge point between the Carter and the Reagan presidency. Yes, 1979 was the revolution. Yeah, and you watched that as a college student. Yes, I did. Fascinated, but not knowing that some of those people involved could have been there when you were just a wee little baby.

Yes. One thing that I was always very thankful for was that I knew I was adopted, so my parents always shared that with me. Actually, my mother, my dad never said anything about it, but I've always known that I was adopted, and I always knew that I had been born in Tehran, which was why my parents were there. My father was army military and was actually the commanding officer of the 64th engineering battalion, and so that's what took my mom and him to Tehran in December of 62. Wow, okay. So it's interesting you talk about their marriage and the challenges, even to the very end.

Fascinating. Your dad never wanted to talk about all of his accomplishments as a war hero. No, he did not.

Very accomplished, very brave, very gifted, valiant warrior for our country, like so many, but obviously there's PTSD before we even had it labeled, and there's things like that. So here this couple somehow came across this cute little baby girl in Iran, and from pictures and from comments and from things that were banning about, you talk about in your book how you could have been a daughter of the king or the shah. Yes, and again, it is circumstantial evidence, and I understand that, I'll say that outright, but there are things that I do know for sure.

One is that I have no birth certificate, and the only certificate of ID that I have was actually issued at the time I went to live with my adopted parents. I do mention the circumstantial evidence in the book, but to me one of the strongest pieces of evidence is an American general that my father worked with, who upon leaving Tehran wrote my mom a letter and included an 8x10 glossy, which is in my possession, and the last paragraph he says, do not show this photograph to your beautiful little girl as it may create a trauma. So what he's referring to is actually the counseling concept of attachment to where, you know, an infant attaches to their primary caregiver, and what I do know in my research is that in that country children belong to the father. Unlike in our country, children belong to the mother.

So there was a seven-month gap there before I went to live with my adopted parents. Okay, wow. The book is Identity Unveiled, Daughter of the King of Kings, Reflections on God's Grace. Absolutely. In this book you'll hear the voice you're hearing is the author, Shireen Gentry, and you find it's like this is your testimony.

Absolutely. Your journey, not just to figure out whose kid am I, where is this birth certificate, where are these elusive birth parents, which could be like the king of all of Persia, but additionally your journey to realize that God is your king and your identity is in Christ. But that was a journey, and there's a lot of pain here, a lot of brokenness, divorce, you know, in your grandparents, you know, from Lynchburg, Virginia, to North Carolina, to all these other states. Shireen, this is like, you you didn't hold back in this book. No, I really didn't, and you know, I hope that my family, not my immediate family, my husband and sons, of course they were the first to read it, and I wasn't going to do anything without their go-ahead. But one thing that I hope my extended family will realize is if you gloss over your life experiences, then when God is on the scene and redeems things, there's got to be something to to be redeemed. And if life, if I sugar-coated a lot of my experiences that I put forth in the book, then God really hasn't done a whole lot, has he? And so, you know, the whole point of that is to say, look, it doesn't matter where you are, how you've struggled, how you've coped with your own life disappointments, and I go into the book and share about how my grandmother did that. She actually chose positive ways of coping with all her pain, but she was still walking in the wrong identity. My mom chose a destructive path, as did my dad. And then I did too, not destructive, but you know, I started to find my worth in things other than God, my Creator, and so those things, you know, for me it was actually doing well in school. So I attached my worth and my value to that. Not that that's, you know, a bad thing by itself, but if that's your identity, then you're walking in the wrong identity. And so many people are searching, so many people are looking, and this journey in your book that you talk about, Identity Unveiled, Daughter of the King of Kings, how you ended up connecting with God, but then also dealing with the brokenness of your family. So I want to get into that more, and we're going to do a whole other segment, and I want to talk with you some more about that.

I want to talk to you about how you met Christ and how the difference His grace made in your life and your husband, your family, and then also how you were able to find healing and closure, like with your mom and your dad. There's addictive personalities, there's step-parents, there's all kinds of desertion and brokenness and pain, and so where in all of that and all the the fog do we find our ultimate identity? Especially for someone who has no idea who your parents were, and later in your life you're trying to piece this together. Well, and that was unsettling at first, because the last piece of evidence that I got for myself was actually my DNA testing. And so when that occurred about a year and a half ago, almost a year and a half ago, I got those results back and discovered I was 99.3 percent Persian. In the moment, and for a little time after that, I was very rattled, and it wasn't because I was Persian, this was yet another lie. And that was very unsettling for me. I thought, you know, the name of the station is Truth Network. That was all I wanted.

Could someone please just give me the truth? And that's what I struggled with. But yet at the same time, God was giving me peace about the truth that really matters. Wow. How you got there, we'll talk about that next. Truth Talk, Weekend, Stu Epperson.

Hope you're encouraged. Hope you'll download the podcast at our podcast channel as well for this special interview with the author of the book Identity Unveiled, Daughter of the King of Kings, Shireen Gentry. Have you found your true identity?

Are you stuck searching and searching and searching like so many of us, and yet coming up empty? Well, we have a young lady on the show with us who's written a book about this called Identity Unveiled, and it's fascinating because it takes you back into the royal family of Iran where she was born. But later in life, Shireen Gentry, you've discovered that, wait a second, I'm looking at these cues and these clues. I don't even have a birth certificate. Correct. And you're married, you have a family of your own, and your folks are passing and getting older in health, and you're kind of just trying to sunset chapters of your life, and you're struggling with other relatives and trying to figure it all out, only to find out that you're not totally sure who you are.

Well, that's correct. And I did lose my parents in 2001. In fact, today is the anniversary of my father's passing. Wow. A war hero.

Yes, yes. Three wars, eight combat campaigns, retired as a full bird colonel. And I was just at the Rhine River, maybe near where he crossed. Yes, earned a Silver Star by crossing the Rhine almost at the end of the war.

He sure did. So yes, but they've been gone since 2001, and the years prior to that, my children were small, and then the time after that, you know, I'm just like anyone else. I'm raising kids, I'm active in church, and just trying to figure it all out. And yes, two years ago, I start looking at things, and the details are not adding up. And I honestly believe it wasn't even my intent to find out anything about myself. I was actually trying to get in the mindset of the maternal side of the family God had given me, my mom and my grandmother.

And I did. And I saw some very, very painful things. I read things that I'd never read before. My mother's diaries. A cousin of mine copied and sent me a deposition from my grandmother that was dated 1931.

And it was like my grandmother was actually just talking to me off the page of her deposition. And so there were so many things that I uncovered about the pain that my family of origin had been through. And so no, I wasn't expecting to find any of this or to find information about myself. So while I was uncovering all this about my family of origin, I was also discovering these facts about myself that I'd never seen before. And I honestly believe that God did not want me to see these things until his perfect timing.

And honestly, I don't know that I could have handled it at an earlier age, to be honest. That's something. So it's really, it's almost like this is an intersection. And by the way, if you just joined us, this is, I'm Stu Epperson, hosting this special broadcast. My guest has written this book, Identity Unveiled, Daughter of the King of Kings, Reflections on God's Grace.

Her name is Shireen Gentry. But the fascinating thing, when you find your identity in Christ, that changes everything. It changes everything. And, you know, I think, you know, God is so good, and he didn't really need to reveal to me what I uncovered two summers ago. But I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that I have come full circle because of his grace in my life. And so much of the healing that has taken place in my heart is actually understanding the generation that raised me, the family of origin that raised me. You know, if they had only shared what their experiences had been, but see, here's one thing that I do know is that for anyone who has had painful life experiences, no matter what they are, if they have not come full circle with them, if God has not given peace to them about their own life narrative, then they're not going to share it.

It's just a fact. You know, this is true in life coaching and counseling, that if people just don't share their story, either they're living with guilt, they're living with shame, and, or they're just, they haven't, God hasn't reconciled or connected the pieces in their own life for them to move forward from it. And so consequently, they get stuck. They get stuck.

In addition to this book being an author, you also speak, you're a life coach with Hope Unveiling, I think is what it's called, and then you've got this, we've talked about doing a podcast, you've got a lot of neat things happening. Will you talk to, whether it's the teenage girl out there or the fast-moving business guy out there or whoever it is that's just searching and seeking, and they keep looking for validation in a relationship or validation in a business deal, keep thinking they're going to get it, and they keep finding themselves. Some of the most unhappy people are these mega-million-dollar pro athletes. They're just, they're still smoking weed.

They're doing stupid things because they think that championships get them happiness. Can you speak to how you found your identity ultimately in Jesus, and how someone out there can truly come to realize why God made them, and where that source of happiness really comes from? Sure.

Well, let me back up a little bit. I was always the good compliant child. I think I only got in trouble once in elementary school for talking, and so I was always a compliant kid. So coming to Christ, I can't give you an exact date, but I think it was the summer before my sixth grade year. I went to a Christian school.

By that time, I was living with my grandmother, so I was at church every time the doors opened. I had all kinds of knowledge, and I did make a profession of faith, but what I discovered as growing up when life disappointments would come my way, I didn't handle them very well. People have different coping styles, and so for me, I just stuffed my emotions. I didn't share what was bothering me, but the worst part about it is as you're growing up, you don't monitor how you think.

You don't monitor your thought process. Your thoughts are just your thoughts, and you never question them or challenge them, so I actually had to do that as an adult. But also, when you can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don't know in your heart of hearts who God is to you or how much He loves you in the midst of your pain, then you're going to walk in the wrong identity.

Okay, and that's really... So it's going back into the Father's love, no matter where you came from, and please read this book, Identity Unveiled, by Shireen Gentry. You've got to read the book, because it tells the whole story. But whether your biological father is the Shah of Iran, a powerful king, or whether he's a nobody, you are somebody because of who Jesus is, and because He purchased your salvation. He died in your place on that cross to make you a daughter of the Most High.

Yes, yes. And I am now at a point in life where I can now look back on all the details that should not have happened in my life. My mom went ahead of my dad to Tehran, which I uncovered two summers ago, which I'd never known before, and so there was not a maternal bone in her body. So there were so many things that should not have happened, given normal circumstances, but I want the listener or the reader to know, God is sovereign over the people in your life, the choices they are making, and He looks with a watchful eye on every single thing that transpires in your life.

Wow, what a blessing, and we got to leave it there. Shireen Gentry, we could spend an hour or two hours talking about this. Identity Unveiled, Daughter of the King of Kings. Read a story of God's grace for yourself and ask yourself, who am I? Then ask yourself, who is Jesus? Why did He come? To give you an answer to the first question, to make you a son and a daughter of God. As many as received Him, John 1-12, to them gave He the right to become the sons of God. It's so neat to talk to someone who is a royal heir of the King of Kings.

Right, Shireen Gentry? Yes. So thank you for sharing this, and let's encourage others to find their wholeness and their happiness and their joy and their fulfillment and their identity in Jesus and Him alone. This is the Truth Network. One of our generous sponsors here at the Truth Network has come under fire.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-24 05:53:18 / 2023-12-24 06:01:22 / 8

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