When I was a child I thought my dad was perfect.
He could do no wrong. I mimicked him and followed him from place to place. As a teenager, I still expected my dad to have all the answers and to be the perfect father. But I discovered he didn’t and he wasn’t.
Back then much of my identity was formed from my parents. I yearned for more quality time with my dad but he was often away for work. Although there was never a doubt in my mind he loved me, I resented him for his many absences. I struggled with insecurity about who I was and looked for someone to blame—my dad. Deep down I felt angry and lost.
As a young adult I still felt a void and I began reading the Bible, searching for answers to my purpose and identity. Combing through Scripture, I was fascinated to learn what being created in God’s image means. The Bible not only reveals my true identity as a child of God, but the Sovereignty and perfect love of my heavenly Father.
This was most evident to me in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. This story features a man who has two sons. The younger son runs off with his portion of his father’s estate and—while finding himself—he squanders it all. After some time he returns to his father, confessing his sin. Instead of blame and reprimand his father holds out his arms and celebrates the son’s return (Luke 15:11–32).
I connected with the son. The parable made me aware of my own imperfections and need for God’s grace and forgiveness. This realization helped me release my dad from the unfair blame I had placed on him. Then I began to learn and understand through Scripture what my identity in Christ is all about.
- Forgiven—Jesus’ death on a cross conquered sin and gave me hope of eternal life with Him (John 3:16)
- Made new—By repentance and acceptance of Christ, I am free from sin. My purpose is to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7)
- A gift, deeply loved—God made me special and desires a relationship with me (1 John 4:16)
So often I feel lost like the son in the parable and find it difficult to grasp God’s perfect love for me. But He knows me, Annalisa, intimately and He knows every imperfection (Proverbs 8:17). Knowing this I imagine God has a similar reaction as the father in the parable when we live according to the purpose He designed for us saying, “But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found” (Luke 15:32).