By: Susan Browning

So I did this clean out of our garage and stumbled across a familiar storage box. Filled to the brim with books. Not ordinary books though, the kind overflowing the ink of heart ache spilt onto the pages. The kind where identity leaks out, is refined and then found. The kind where strengthening joy seeds are sown in the secret place. It was a box of all my journals right back to the very first one.

I had decided this was going to be how I prayed… I dedicated each one to my Lord on the title pages. So fresh. So sweet. I spent an afternoon getting lost in the prayers that overflowed for my friends, my family, my calling, my future husband, my future kids, my heart, the days unfolding, the future I hoped for, the boys I liked. All things sown in secret.

The most common themes contradictory: the deepest need to be truly loved and fully known, against the greatest heart to chase wholly after God and know Him fully. If only my sweet 14 year old self knew just how much she was already loved and fully known it might’ve changed everything. This thread is interwoven throughout the pages as I reflect, even through to the darkest most recent season I went through with PND after the birth of my second babe. The ‘being known fully’ threads are part of the fabric of our being. Its part of our DNA really, to be deeply loved and fully known.

Did you struggle with your identity as a teen? You might still be struggling with who God has created you to be even now all these years on. I know for many years I felt misunderstood, or like I had to put on a costume of expectation. I felt like there was something really wrong with me for such a long time, and really that’s because I didn’t know who I was. And just when I started to figure out who I was, I would decide I didn’t like this girl and adapt to who others thought I should be. I changed a lot about myself so others would accept me, I’d be everything except be me. It’s so easy though to see now in hindsight – the root for my acceptance was in others, not Jesus. I just wanted to be validated, and these pages one after the other, journal after journal just kept showing me how much I struggled with it then; and yet on some levels how I still struggle with it now: knowing my full worth.

It wasn’t until I had my sweet second babe – the greatest and biggest interruption of my life, became in invitation to no longer deny who I was. I was suddenly thrown into figuring out who I really was, now with two mini’s it’s given me insight into how to love them well. How to love my husband well. How to be a better friend. How to be a better daughter. How to love myself. How to wear all the hats and effectively remain true to myself and my calling. How to accept my weirdness and help my tribe embrace their own. For years I pour my energy into creativity and song writing. All foundations I am grateful for today. It was in those secret places God was forming so much more of my identity than I realised. He was slowly shaping my words, gathering my head space into melody at my piano. The beauty is I am who He says I am, I just had to find it out for myself.

The things I would whisper into my sweet younger self. The courage I would bestow; the value I would seed deep within. The funny thing is, we all would and could write letters to our younger selves. I know exactly what I would say to draw a stronger sense of self, courage, value and acceptance out in me. But I can’t change my journey, and to be honest would I really want to? The beauty of being a little older and wiser is I get to bestow those words on those younger selves around me.

We have the opportunity to sow richly into the next generation. They seem confident, and they are – every generation builds upon the previous; but their world is ever changing – faster than ours ever did! They need steady voices speaking into their value, their future, their heart and perhaps their own fractured belief systems paving the way for their future.

We need to be a generation that consistently cheers the next onward. It’s not too late to redeem who you are in this season if your identity is still wrapped up in what others think of you. God’s got this. He knows how it works: you are fully accepted, fully loved and fully called into Heaven’s throne room because of Jesus.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

He knows you fully. He loves you completely. He treasures you more than you would ever know. We will see Him face to face one day, and I want to be the girl who stands before Him and knows that I know that I know that I know – my worth, my value, my acceptance, my audience is Him.

Article supplied with thanks to Susan Browning.

About the Author: Susan is a worship leader, vocal coach and mentor encouraging you to be all you can be in fulfilling your purpose.