My time spent in Namayemba, Uganda this summer was everything more than I could expect or hope for. The Ugandan people are a force to be reckoned with. Every human in the world should spend an afternoon in the home of a Ugandan family. The honor and welcome that you will receive will give your heart a glimpse at what it must of felt like to be stranger who comes upon and experiences Jesus for the first time. I left Namayemba forever wrecked to our American priorities of busyness over people, stress over relationships, distraction over clarity.
As I experienced this loving people--a people whose life in many ways looked vastly different than my own, but whose heart and soul and desires were the same--the Lord impressed upon me countless time the word “identity”. Identity in the American context is often used to describe the things we like or dislike, the things we believe, or stand for. I believe those are just the surface level descriptors of our identity. Our identity is rooted in our belonging to the family of God. Our identity comes with how God loves us and how He sees us and feels about us. Our identity is also linked to the person He has created each of us to be. He speaks this to us through scripture, through other people, and directly to our souls. But, because of sin in the world, our identity, or parts of our identity is broken, and God yearns for the restoration of each of our broken identity, regardless of where and how we grew up and choose to live.
Speaking and praying with so many precious men, women, and children while in Namayemba, the cry I heard over and over again was to be seen and loved by Jesus. Broken identity means that our relationship with our Savior has been broken, misconstrued, or forgotten in some way. It is only through knowing and being in relationship with God, learning about His character, and reading the Word to understand the words he speaks about us, that our identity can be restored. It is in this process of restoration that we begin to learn and know the truth of our identity, for our identity to be made known to us. We can then begin to live in the fullness of who God has created us to be and to live with hope that the Lord is making us into a new creation. This hope is what transforms ourselves, our families, and our communities. So, when facing the issue of poverty--be it poverty of finances, emotions, health, or spirit--we must face it from a standpoint that only through relationship can identity be restored and hope born. This can go for anyone in the world, at any time, and in any place, whether in Namayemba, Uganda, or back in the States.
I also was struck by how important it is for each of us to know and understand who God says we are and the giftings He has given us so that we can use these with the power of the Spirit to help uncover and restore identity in others. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus would call people to Him for the sheer reason that He loved them and counted them as important, regardless of the stature or position or past or current sins. May we choose to live out a life that is saturated in the knowledge that God is enough for us, He is enough to redeem and restore, and He desires to do so. May God bless you and keep you.