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My Identity: His Daughter by Meleah Allard
Shortly after September 11th, 2001 I found myself at a crossroads. It had been almost 10 years since I left my lesbian relationship of 8 years, after having embraced a gay identity for over a decade. Leaving my girlfriend and my way of life was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Resurrendering to Jesus was one of the easiest. His love overwhelmed me, drew me, in a way nothing else ever had. So almost 10 years later, I was now married and raising a family. Yet my marriage was on the rocks, and I had a mediocre Christian life: proof that marriage and family doesn’t fix everything. Even surrendering to Christ doesn’t resolve every problem and heal every hurt, wound, or situation. I knew in my soul after those towers came crashing down and my heart came crashing down with them, that there had to be more. All of sudden the immediacy of life had slammed me against a wall. I knew that I was Made for More than what I was living.
I began to pray, asking God for help. He led me to a book, The Purpose Driven Life. I began to learn that there was more to this Christian life than I had been experiencing. Over the next several years God began to teach me. He cleared up many wrong perceptions I had developed about him. He showed me the joy that comes from using my gifts for his kingdom. Unfortunately, I did what my perfectionistic, worker bee personality always did. I became a workaholic for God and was more focused on serving him than knowing him. While my new focus was much more rewarding and the mediocre of my Christian life fading, I was quickly reaching exhaustion and burn out.
All that began to change in 2005 after my first Exodus conference where I experienced the most amazing worship. It truly was relationship altering. It completely changed how I related to my God and set me free in such a surprising way. I grew up in a very conservative Christian environment in the 70’s with beautiful hymns, but honestly the worship part of church services was just tradition. At the Exodus conference, I learned what it means to commune with God through music. I felt his presence in a way I never had before.
I also experienced a rich diversity of teachings through the workshops and keynote speakers. I was 40 years old, and had never attended a church or heard a message from any other denominational persuasion than my own. It had left me quite one-dimensional and pretty judgmental. God enabled me to open myself up to being taught from other believers with differing views and perspectives. I believe this has been one the richest parts of my experience with Exodus and its ministries. Today I don’t really use any denominational label. Even though I am the proud daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher, I consider myself a Believer and follower of Jesus.
Through all of these things my Heavenly Father has revealed more and more of himself to me. He’s securing my identity in nothing but him. I don’t derive my sense of self from being a wife, mom, ministry director, or counselor. My sexuality doesn’t define me either. These are simply roles I fill by his power and strength. My identity is as his daughter. Today, I have a rewarding marriage and ministry. I’m moving into the empty nest phase of life and excited to see what God has on this new leg of my journey. Whatever it is, I am founded in his love. His grace means everything to me and has freed me in a way I could have never expected. I know how much he loves me today. I know that I am accepted by him. I don’t have to work so hard anymore. I often hear people say that grace is not a license to sin. I find that statement odd. I find his grace more and more to be a license to love: to love him, others and myself and that is what I was made for…to love and be loved by him. I certainly thank him, and I’m grateful to Exodus and its ministries for being a channel he could use. It is my deepest desire to be that kind of channel.