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Finding Your Identity in Jesus Christ

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 30, 2022 6:00 am

Finding Your Identity in Jesus Christ

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 30, 2022 6:00 am

Susie Larson shares how she learned to fight for the identity Jesus gave her as His precious daughter, even though her life experiences made her feel like a ‘second-class citizen.’ Hear how she found a whole new perspective and identity as a “daughter of the King.”

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When God looks at you. His heartbeat if you're shy and that you have less to say that's okay if you think you're less then that's absolutely okay if you live your life trying to dig yourself out of the hole you're living on my Jesus loves you. You know better than that you are not. What a great word of encouragement from today's Focus on the Family guest Susie Larson your hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly, thanks for joining us I'm John from Susie is a great friend to this ministry and she has been through some really tough stuff. Starting very young age and yet the Lord has redeemed Susie suffering which is what he does and he has helped her see her true identity as a believer in Christ. And I'm so excited to hear her message today. Susie Larson is a popular radio talkshow host, a nationally known speaker and the author of 19 books. One of her latest titles is a devotional called prevail 365 days of enduring strength through God's word and we encourage you to get a copy from us here Focus on the Family is available at her website and the link is in the show notes here now is Susie Larson speaking at an event called girl talk on the topic of identity on today's Focus on the Family identities, not something I came by naturally at all and I just had a limited time to get a love that my back story that I was raised in a large Catholic family. I knew God was real. I didn't know at that time Jesus was accessible around nine years old is around the time my mom needed to get a job to help put food on the table and around that time my brother started to hang with some creepy voice and them I was just ice small young people please. I just remember just flying to follow the rules all the time and on one day I was walking home from school and I see my brothers friends bikes in front of their house and close family crazy family. But even like the crew my mom at home from work ice to show her the candle with the baby in it going. This was meant for me is not safe when you're not here.

I read this if you like, you know, brothers are like that, but they really did get into a place and a season where they were hanging with guys and at this particular day member coming home from school.

Seeing those bikes and thinking I don't want to be chased at the baby again. I don't want to be nodding on the forehead and Derek. I don't feel right around these guys so I decided I would go into the lot on room in the basement, get my favorite sweater out of the dryer, ending up to my room and read a book to my mom got home and not nine years old and digging into the dryer, trying to find my my shirt to my sweatshirt and the door shut behind me and I turned around to see several of my brothers friends but no brother and in moments time. I don't know how how it happened when I went from hands in the dryer to hands pinned on but they had my ankles and my wrists pinned in the floor and I got up from that place very very confused about who I was, was a canyon about the insecurity opened up my life and self-loathing in fear all kinds of things I heard a number things at that age.

That made me wonder if this is my fault so I was really afraid to tell anybody. So I didn't and that about a year later about 10 years old and walking home from school is pretty about 4 feet tall, much shorter, taller than I am now. Anyway, I was walking home, and I saw those bikes again and I remember saying out loud and this is to say you understand the context of the child doesn't understand who I was or what exactly happened to me but I sent out loud. I don't care if God made me this way. Those boys never touch me again and out of the blue I hear in my peripheral getter and it was a different group of boys who were getting high in the dugout, saw me walking home alone and jumped me. Knocked me to the ground and beat me to a pulp and I remember just curled up in a ball screaming for help. There kicking me in the stomach, punching me in the face, pulling fiscal Sahara and I just screamed and they laughed and they this crazy look in there. I when I got up and a fat lip and scratched face and bruised ribs snarled hair and I heard in my ear. I don't know that was audible, but might as well event I can get to anytime anywhere. God will never stop me and so I knew God was real, and the devil is real. At that point and I have to tell you that's when fear enter my life while you jump ahead came to Christ about eighth grade. I just loved God love Jesus so much. I understood that time that I was saved but I did not understand. I was loved and I would submit to many many Christians live and die who are saved but are not free living and dying, knowing there saved but they don't know that the left and so I became as a young adult Christian striver at me. Prior to that I was an athlete and so I used all of my talents to dig myself out of the identity hole and this is just what's true, we don't know who we are, we will perpetually misuse our time treasuring talents to prove something that Jesus is Artie proving and it's a colossal waste of our time. We must know who we are, but I didn't.

I didn't know. So I'm striving I'm on five committees. I'm trying to do everything I can to kind of compensate for the wretch that I really believed myself to be like I had a deep dark secret you know Kenda got married to my dear husband and out we were going to wait five years to have kids and we got pregnant on a honeymoon. I and my husband and I'm telling everybody and I wanted I just was so insecure that Mike we made a promise you hated and he is like a lot of what they want. You know but anyway during the first pregnancy. We found out I had endometriosis and Dr. says you will have a hysterectomy in your 20s so you have to get you want more children have about my middle pregnancy I was on bed rest for three months.

My last pregnancy my third pregnancy I was on bed rest for six months with a one and a three-year-old and the one-year-old is strong-willed and that I first one is compliant, so we thought we were good parents and then we had our second one and then wait that nevermind he was the strong-willed child who spent his life in the corner.

I mean I would go sit with them just so I can bond with them. Some like I never see you, except for self. You can imagine the six months on bed rest.

I literally had friends tell me I watched Jake like you want to figure out Luke that I got Jake, you know, and that but if you remember the trauma that happened I was a good Christian and that I was always giving more than I was taking so to be put on bed rest for six months to have to be at the mercy of people bringing meals. People helping seeing people get fatigued on my behalf was a nightmare come true. We were going financially broke tonight literally was telling my kids five more months till money can make your sandwiches foreign half more months to money can take you to the park and yet I'm watching my friends tire out there running out of grace confronted every fear and insecurity in me is getting pretty depressed. I was six months along had three months left to go and I hadn't contracted for a couple of days so the doctors said in a what, let's get you up. Seeming kinda depressed Did you get up met a couple girlfriends my roommates in college and we just walked along the path leaves were falling was glorious. I was super careful. We ate lunch by nighttime ice contracting size back in bed, and a two weeks from that outing had a girlfriend come visit me. She said can I get you water and appointed in pins and needles shot out my arm and she continued to talk in this buzzing feeling started at the base of my skull and crawled around to my face and it felt like there was like a bloodsucker on my face and I started to have these neurological fireworks.

My memory started to go but I got three months left and I had this friend at the time who had the gift of discouragement. I cannot believe that she said this to me but I was telling about the neurological symptoms and she says really I guess it's personalities like yours that most often get MS that's probably what you have and I got a few months left and I'm thinking I have exhausted all my friends on six months of pregnancy you kill me now. I couldn't even because of the insecurity and the trauma and the fear around a disease like that but just my bigger fear was losing everybody in my life because I become such a debt to society so scary for me. Well she left and again a new level of fear entered my life a long story short, I delivered my little boy. My third son and Ed was dead of winter, and he will around four weeks old, got very sick with a respiratory issue and so here I'm at night during the night feedings with him and my face is going now. My gut like us to sword going to my leg pins and needles. I mean, it was just crazy and what what in the world is wrong with me but I'm trying to do the night feedings will at four weeks old hands up in hospital with double pneumonia and I'm sitting in the hospital room with him. Exhausted and I know something is wrong with my body and I know I have to face it, but I honestly just can't bear it up just got on my feet again, you know, just started to build a make my kids meals men thinking, I got a face whatever this is Elvis and it was like someone poured the soil with joy over my head and I had my journal there and make no sense because every trip to the hospital is costing money. I'm in my 20s feeling like I'm 90 and I had three little boys who were like a party waiting to happen.

So my calm I can do my life. But here's my little four-week-old in hospital and here I call this joy that makes no sense. So wrote in my journal got dropped to something here.

I'll take it whatever it is we get him home after a week and then my health plummeted and it took a year to find out they ruled out MS they ruled out a brain tumor, but my one day off of bed rest. Apparently the deer tick latched on, gave me lung disease and when I got the diagnosis year later there's thing I get to anytime anywhere. God will never stop me and this was a fear that nipped at my heels for many years and I remember telling Jana my publicist is here tonight that was diligent. I loved God's word and loved his presence but I had so much fear and insecurity. I just did and I remember as a young mom battling these memory things battling the health and feeling so much like have you know my friends had their health had their wealth and I just constantly felt like he lost my address you know and remember one day studying the word, getting up from that place.

Going I don't get where's the victory because there's a very big disconnect between what you're telling me and what I'm living where is the victory for me. Let my truly what's my problem in the Lord whispered in my heart, something so clear it was a game changer for me. He said Susie I get that you love me but you don't get and understand that I love you so until I tell you different. Every time you want to say he is that you love me. I want you to turn it around and say you love me and that felt so odd to me but I said that you love me and yell at my kids and then feel bad about it because our life was impossible at the time and he whisper say it now, you love me I do something great like finish my laundry.

You love me look and it started to heal something in me and I thought, is this one of those self actualization kind of positive thinking things I have find us in God's word there. Plus, it's not that we loved God but that he loved us while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. First John 416 and so we know and rely on the love God has for us. It's not how high we can jump, it's that he stooped down to make right when I started to ponder who was I'm a member in that place before God met me on that day, I was just so perpetually insecure and I had a friend trying to make me feel better by telling me how kind and sweet I was and it didn't help me at all and I remember one day the Holy Spirit whispered to me as bad as you think you are Susie, you're actually worse than that Jesus died, knowing full well who you are and that actually was the most honest thing I needed to hear that while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me and it was another one of these moments were here.

We had this thing. It's laughable now. I'm so grateful that God allowed it, even though I never want to return there again, but in the contrast of my friends who had health and wealth. We did have none of those things and I had this dryer that kept breaking and we didn't even have enough money to go to a laundromat and we live in Minnesota where it's winter seven months a year anyway. So when the dry would break in the winter. I know most embarrassed Titusville would hang a rope from the living room and hang our garage so close on the rope so they would dry and battling line my head IV bag hanging from her broken miniblinds so I would do my IV on drying the clothes though just want to be my friend right now like oh my work and but one of those times. You know the dry had broken. We had enough money for me to go to the laundromat and am sitting on the bench and I'm reading this passage in John 13,000 times before, but you know that that happens when the heavens open up for you almost in the word comes alive. This happen for me and in John 13 it says Jesus knew that the father had given him authority over everything that he come from God will return to God so he got up from the table, took off his robe wrapped a towel around his waist and poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet. In those days, the lowliest slave was the person to wash the disciples feet that there was no slave available would be the most humble guest I want you imagine how jarring it must've been for the disciples to be sitting around waiting for the ceremonial washing of the feet and how jarring they must've been when their Savior got up and then back down when the Lord spoke to my heart that day in the laundromat is that when you know you're my idea that you came from me, just like Jesus came from God will return to God. Jesus knew that his identity was not up for grabs are changeable with popular opinion or with whatever he was doing in the moment. He brought dignity to everything he I mean, the cross was a place of utter humiliation and scorn and we wear it around her neck. He brought dignity to the cross. He brings dignity to everything. What God spoke to me that dad of his word is I'm an image bearer, and if I can understand that I came from and return to him and in that time in between. I'm not too small for big things and I'm not too big for small things in him as I follow a risen Savior I can dare to ask God do the impossible. In and through me. Do amazing things in and through me and then he can ask me to serve in ways that seem so small and didn't diminish without it ever diminishing me so might my middle son. I told you my strong-willed one. He was, you know, our first one was compliant and more kind of fine featured but we didn't have the money to buy clothes to fit her chubby baby. Second one I had three chins and a big belly and is instantly squished amended Jake's close because we had no money, so his diapers and hang out the edges like guns and it just fit a minute to scout on his face in the T-shirts always were appearance with this big belly and three chins and he wasn't cute. He's adorable now, but was not much to look at. Back then, but that he had this thing where he always wanted to get naked when he got but he was down the hall. I think three years old on the on the toilet and kneels down the home will are you sure posttest Jesus in my heart and I'm so pleased at this question. Some about to launch into my three-year-old theology and he was asked to minimize stomach which he says this is how behind him was JoJo sweet Jordan, the one by the way, when I was when he was a year old and I was getting hooked up with home healthcare for the Lyme disease. He runs into the living room at one-year-old with his diaper on to settle speedy Gonzales and the nurse is caring for me, said, what is he doing alive is what you mean. She said this passes to the placenta hundred percent of the time.

She said I just cared for two other women who were bit at six months, just like you when a year undiagnosed just like you. Both babies went blind and indict why is he alive she said was he sick. I said yeah with what is the double pneumonia is in the hospital.

She said IV, I suggest what medicine I told her when God is pouring the oil of joy into my heart. He was saving my son's life before I knew what was wrong with me. Macy and there was a day when I been thinking a lot about the identity thing and for me I have to tell you I had to contend for my identity, even though Jesus paid a high price. It didn't feel true to me and so I had to contend again and again I had to make the leap of faith, the belief that I was someone got locked in that place wrestling wrestling going. It doesn't feel true but you say it is to stand on it like it is true. At that time we are at McDonald's and JoJo wanted to go back for an extra order of fries and he was four years old and so he would be a big boy on his own.

So I'm keeping the mothers. I am at a distance. He's holding his little dollar bill in one by one.

People are butting in front of him and he's getting further and further away from the counter instead of closer and closer, and he's just so shy and so sweet. But I went up to me like honey what's going and you just kind of shrugged, you know, and it occurred to me that the boys not only shy, he's very insecure and we thought if we don't address this now he's gonna be a spineless husband and a weak employee and not a leader that we believe he can beat so we set this little boy when God looks at you. His heart beats on his chest.

He loves you so much.

If you're shy and that you have less to say that's okay. But if you think you're less then that's absolutely not okay if you live your life trying to dig yourself out of the hole you're living a lie. Jesus loves you.

You know better than that you are not less than we start to see him share his opinion. At times, you know, how about we try this game the legal system amazing to see he was still the gentle soul, but the parasitic insecurity was going away and he was becoming humble confidence will months later were back at McDonald's and this time he want to go to let his line on his own for an ice cream cone and he standing there with his dollar and wouldn't you know, one by one by one. People are butting in front of him and he's getting further and further from the counter and I am exasperated and Mike have we taught you and he just knew what I was thinking, his mom, no, no, I know I could keep my place in line and wanted just as all these people look younger than me and like a flash of lightning passage from Philippians ran to my mind though Jesus did not consider equality with God thing to be grasped. Think about that he did not think of his status as God is something to leverage to his benefit anybody with any kind of power position is at least tempted to misuse that position for their benefit in a way that makes other people pay Jesus leveraged at all right as he could, but in a way that cost him everything so that we could gain everything that amazing what this little picture of my little boy doing the exact same thing same action, but one was out of emptiness and one was out of a fullness in the knowing Arthur Willis once wrote a right act may be robbed of all of that in the sight of God done with the wrong motive. God is not merely concerned with what we do, do we've got to spend so much time getting to know this God loves us because we only live in response to his love changes everything.

This is where the fruit comes this is where miracles come. This is where life happens. As I say no identity didn't come easy for me, something I had to contend for, but I also believe the enemy sees your potential long before you. All you have to do is get your childhood. How did he come against you with the first memory that would speak to some of the God-given potential. You have because I would say that you his threat to you is very connected to your threat. So may we stand strong always intended us to be on focus on enrichment for all of us to contend for our God-given identity that's good stuff.

John and I wish I had heard this message when I was in high school. It's such a confusing time with so many paths available that will take you to one kind of future another never forget when I was 17 I was her high school quarterback looking a college scholarship offers and dreaming of making it to the pros. I thought my brother Mike accuse me of getting a little bit of a big head and I have been a Christian for years. So at that point and I wanted God's will in my life and so right before the next game I prayed Lord, if you don't want me to play college football because it'll take me away from you a break a bone today, but don't let it hurt my accused me of being a sissy because the condition to put into a prayer right it's crazy but sure enough in the third quarter of the game. I went back to through Paris and toward defense fell apart.

I won't name the name and the Bennett outside linebacker hit me so hard to the ground together.

Sure enough, I got up off the ground in my left collarbone was snapped into the back of the huddle, so you guys. God is answered my prayer and the response was funny, but thought I had a concussion. There was going to Brecksville about right though, so I obviously walked off the field and my identity.

I think in that very game was right there rooted in God's direction for me and not something you could accomplish.

That's ultimately what he wants versus to look to him. Well, there's two ways to approach that one I could've just assumed it was a coincidence or consider it a God incident and thankfully I chose to say I think God answered my prayer and with that, you know I love Proverbs chapter 3 verse five where the Lord tells us to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. I don't think it requires a broken bone.

But I am sure he appreciated the faithful nature of my statement so let me encourage you to seek the Lord like Susie Larson talked about today to find your identity in Christ not in materialism and other things and then learn how to walk out his plans for your future and if you'd like to talk to somebody about that. Please give us a call. We have a very friendly staff here at Focus on the Family that's ready and willing to listen to your concerns.

Pray with you, answer questions, and if your situation warrants it, they can request a call back from one of our caring Christian counselors.

That's a great team and they're here to serve you.

So please just know that you can call in this Bible-based help is free goods provided for by the generosity of so many donors yes and we thank those donors for making it possible for counselors to provide a one time consultation to about 1500 people each month.

Think of that there are a lot of hurting people out there and it's an honor for us to come alongside them and help them get on a better path to help in healing. For example, here's a letter we received from Mary.

She said several years ago my daughter went through a very rebellious time in life and was raising her children alone, I turn to Focus on the Family for help. I spoke to a counselor and I really felt valued and understood. A few days later I received a package of resources from focus, geared toward intentional Christian grandparenting.

Since then, our daughter has settled down and remarried and thank you for showing us how to demonstrate Christ's love to our grandchildren during the perilous time and for your encouragement and prayers. God bless you also appreciate Mary giving us that feedback and being an involved grandparent and what a great reflection of the team here serving her in that moment was so glad we were able to partner with the Lord and with those donors in helping her in that way I like to say that here Focus on the Family. We've built a great engine. We just need the fuel to keep it running and that fuel is the support of the donor community, especially those who can partner with us on a monthly basis. It helps us immensely.

Doesn't have to be a large amount of juice that consistency which helps us balance the books every month and allows us to plan better and if you can make a monthly pledge of any amount we'd like to send you a year-long devotional written by Susie Larson.

It's called prevail 365 days of enduring strength through God's word and that'll be our way of saying thank you for helping us help families like Mary's. If you can't make a monthly commitment. Right now we understand and we can send Susie's book to you. For one time donation of any amount so get in touch with us today and get Susie's great encouragement for your daily walk with the Lord, and you can reach us when you call 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 or donate online and request your copy of prevail will have the link in the show notes and then finally, as we close of the US Supreme Court's recent rulings have certainly supported religious free speech and school choice and the value of life. Jim has provided a summary of some of the most significant rulings of interest like over to his blog or website. Be sure to check that you have Jim Daly in the entire team joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once again help you and your family thrived in Christ you ever wonder what it was like to meet Jesus face-to-face the miracles the teachings, the long-awaited Messiah in the flash all new novel by Focus on the Family called.

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