by Dawn Smiling
As a pre-law student, one of our assignments was a visit to the Orient Road Prison in Tampa, Florida. As I toured the facility, I could not believe how many women were there. These women represented someone’s daughter, wife, and mother. Due to bad choices and decisions, these women found themselves in a facility where the first order of business is to lose your identity. This is part of the punishment given for breaking the law.
The fashion statement is non-existent. Everyone is wearing the same uniform in the same color. You are not known by your name, you are known by your number. You are assigned a time to get up in the morning and a time to retire at night. Your meals and outdoor activities are scheduled. You have lost your identity while you are doing time.
Most of these women are doing time and dreaming of when they will be free again. They promise themselves, their families, and their friends that they will live better. Take on a new identity and follow their dreams. Yet, when they are released, life does not move at the pace they thought it would. A job application will not let you forget your identity. If you had a criminal record, you must put this information on the application. Many women are denied employment due to their past. How does she get a new identity? Sometimes, family and friends will not let you forget what you did in the past. How can a women move past the pain of the mistakes and see herself anew?
The women who was about to be stoned for adultery could not escape her past of the mistakes she made. We do not know if she was trying to make a change. We don’t know if she was tired of living in the situation she was in, but one thing was for certain, the people in the town wanted to brand her to her old identity. Jesus was so gracious to her. He doesn’t deny her faults or mistakes; he acknowledges them and asked the question to the person who has never made a mistake to through the first stone. How profound. Jesus did not reprimand her, he simply said “go and sin no more”. He allowed her to take hold of a new identity.
No matter what your past was, it does not dictate your future when you choose Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Will all of your mistakes go away? No. Will there be obstacles you will face and hurdles to move past? Yes. But God made us a promise in Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”. When you become a new woman in Christ and make the decision to take on the identity of salvation, God will carry you, open doors for you, and use your past mistakes to propel your future.
I pray that every woman will welcome the second chance of salvation we received from Jesus with a new identity in him. As you walk with your heavenly father, each day is a new day with a new identity to accomplish everything that God has gifted you to do. Hold on to your new identity in Jesus. It is truly a second chance to do great things!!
Have you had a second chance at a new identity? Share your comments below!
Dawn Smiling enjoys volunteering at Grace Family Church as a prayer counselor, part of the soul care ministry, and as a table leader for Beautiful Monday Nights.