I’ve been a lot of things in my short life, both good – an athlete, the smart guy, and the “fun guy” at parties – and bad – a failure, a liar, an adulterer, and a divorcee. These identities did nothing but bring endless attempts to try to keep that identity or get rid of that part of my life. Thankfully, everything I thought I was for 31 years was not permanent and changed when I submitted my life to Christ.

When I put my faith in Jesus and He saved my life I was immediately changed and given a permanent identity: child of God (Romans 8:16-17). I had spent so many years trying to be someone I was never meant to be and ALWAYS felt incomplete. Becoming a child of God filled the void that I had been striving to fill for years and I was given peace for the first time in my life.

This peace has invaded all aspects of my life and drives my life. Because God offers me patience I am more patient. Because His grace is more powerful than any sin I have committed (or will commit) I can offer that same kind of grace to others. Because He did not see me in my depravity as someone not worthy of His love, I can freely love others…even the ones I used to look down upon.

One day, I asked God – how permanent is my new identity? He answered me through Romans 8:38-39 – NOTHING can separate me from His love. Since I figured that out, I have had a hard time not telling everyone about their identity in Christ. It’s so freeing to know that the God of the universe looks upon me with love, grace, and mercy. That there is nothing that can separate me from Him.

I have two tattoos, one on each forearm; one reads “I am loved” and the other “Forgiven.” I got them to remind myself of who God says I am – my identity. My identity is in Him and not of this world – it is permanent.

Stephen loves working with Grace students, and in his spare time is a dietitian. He’s married to Elise, and they are expecting their first baby next year!