Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Stolen Identity

Stolen Identity
by Crystal Neill

There was a story in the newspaper years ago about this woman who celebrated the Millennium in Las Vegas. After a long night of celebrating, she began to cross the street and was smacked by a car,and then another car. She was hit about three or four times before anyone could come to her side. As she lay there dying, people on the sidewalk ran to her and stole everything out of her purse. She died soon after at the hospital while thieves gambled with her credit cards and ran up all kinds of purchases in her name.

They had stolen her identity and used it to get what they wanted.

A few years ago, I was "struck by a car". I had just received one of my new identities, "divorced", quit my high-profile corporate job, handing over the identity of "Corporate Crystal" and began my new role in life as a church planter.

There I was, the Divorced Church Planter. Sounds pretty appealing, right?

I knew the Divorced Church Planter was my new identity because that is how people talked about me, "Yeah, she just went through a divorce, but she quit her job to help plant a church." It was on my lips, too. I was embarrassed that I was a divorced Christian, but I took pride in the fact that I left my well-paying job to do the Lord's work. I handed over who I was to someone that used my brokenness to control me. When I decided to leave the church plant that I had poured all of me into, I was left with nothing. I was completely broke. My heart was even more broken than my bank account and I had no clue what to do.

I sat on a couch for about three months conversing with God (and by conversing, I mean, yelling at).

It was the first time since I was twelve that I had not worked. It was the first time in my life I was alone. It was the first time in my life I didn't have anywhere to be on Sunday morning. I was lost.

I remember yelling at God, "What the f*ck? I have followed you my whole life and this is what I get? This is bullsh*t." Yep, I gave God the finger. But, God listened to me and He was quiet for awhile...He let me get out the pain I needed to vent and when I was ready, He said, "I love you." And I said, "That's all you got for me? " (Anger pie for dessert, anyone???) He replied, "Be still for a second."

In the quiet of the house I was living in God spoke to me, "I know your hurt. I felt it and I hate that you had to go through that. Now, listen to me. All of the things you used to cling to, cut the ties. The marriage, the church, your business card...Cut the ties. Cling to me. You are my child. I love you. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are valuable. You are free. "

In that moment, God handed me my true identity - it didn't include my weight or height , it didn't have my empty ring finger, it didn't have my failures, it didn't even have all of the things I had done right in my life. It just said...God's child.

Psalm 139:13-16
For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mothers womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Crystal Neill is a 32 year old foul-mouthed pastor's wife living in Portland, Oregon.


donnav said...

Crystal...I love this!! And I must admit it's pretty cool having a foul mouthed preachers wife for a friend!!

crystal said...

thanks, donna! that's actually a working title for a book i am writing....i initially sent it as a joke to pam and told her to make up something cool about me so people would like me, but, alas, i don't think she could come up with something! ha ha!! :)

thanks for your comment, donna and thanks, pam and erin, for giving a voice to those the fathers of the church have quieted for far too long....

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