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RELIGION / Christian Life / Personal Growth

You can live in abundance! Grasp your purpose, your authority, and the inheritance God intends for you to claim. Shout you are His child. With biblical depth, theological richness, personal vulnerability, and experiential challenge Tamara Buchan masterfully invites us to reclaim who we are created and redeemed to be in Christ. Her lively writing style and vivid stories gently drew me into a longing for my true identity. This book will bring comfort, healing, and challenge to so many of our brothers and sisters who are living as spiritual orphans instead of in their true identity as beloved children of the King.

—Howard Baker

Instructor of Christian Formation, Denver Seminary Author of The One Thing Spiritual growth begins in love -- the fertile soil that nurtures and sustains Spirit-induced growth. Identity Crisis tends the soil of our souls so that the Spirit can grow us into all we are meant to be. I would like all who choose to follow Jesus to understand the central truths found herein.

—Doreen Olson

Executive Minister for Spiritual Formation Evangelical Covenant Denomination ...a work of grace and truth. Our lives are marred by identity theft; and the blight is worse than a criminal snatching social security numbers and bank accounts. We have lost—and forgotten—our very names! Tamara Buchan helps heal that amnesia, delivering the simple truth that God is our Father who names us, invite us into his family, and challenges us to join him on a mission to fix the world. In other words, Identity Crisis resolves the crisis. Buy it. Read it. Give it away. Buy it again—

—Mark Herringshaw, Ph.D.

Director Youth With a Mission Associates, North America ... a book that is a reminder of both who we are and whose we are. Her words will encourage you—and challenge you—to enter into a life where your identity is rooted in the truth that you are a child, sibling, and friend of the King. And that life is the “life more abundantly” that Jesus said He came to make possible!

—Keith Ferrin

That You May Know Ministries Speaker and Author of Falling in Love with God’s Word and Like Ice Cream

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Identity Crisis Reclaim The True You!

Tamara J. Buchan

Denver, Colorado

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Identity Crisis; Reclaim the True You www.TamaraJBuchan.com www.ReclaimTheTrueYou.com No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Tendril Press, LLC. except for brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below. The material in this book is furnished for informational use only and is subject to change without notice. Neither the author nor publisher assume any liability or responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any direct or indirect loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, by the information contained herein, or for errors, omissions, inaccuracies, or any other inconsistency within these pages, or for unintentional slights against people or organizations. All images, logos, quotes and trademarks included in this book are subject to use according to trademark and copyright laws of the United States of America.

Published by Tendril Press™ © 2012 All Rights Reserved www.TendrilPress.com PO Box 441110 Aurora, CO 80044 303.696.9227 ISBN 978-0-9831587-7-6 Paper Library of Congress Control Number: 2011942606 Scripture quoted from BibleGateway.com Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked NRSV are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Individual Sales. This book is available through most bookstores or can be ordered directly from the publisher. Special discounts are available for quantity purchases by churches,organizations, associations, and others. For details, contact the “Special Sales Department” at the publisher’s address above. Printed in the United States of America Cover Design: Karin Hoffman Cover Photos: Shutterstock Art Direction, Book Design and Cover Design © 2011. All Rights Reserved by A J Images Inc., www.AJImagesInc.com Info@AJImagesInc.com

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To Jesus: this is my gift to You. It is my privilege to journey through the writing of this work and experience the joy of kingdom partnership with You, I am forever changed by this experience. May this book bring You glory and be used for Your eternal purposes.

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Contents Preface.................................................................................................................... ix Acknowledgements............................................................................................... xi Introduction........................................................................................................... 1 Chapter 1: Our True Purpose.............................................................................. 3 My Discovery..........................................................................................7 Discovering Kingdom............................................................................8 The Story of Esther................................................................................9 We Are Esther..................................................................................... 10 My Surprise Call................................................................................. 10 Reflection.............................................................................................. 13 Journal................................................................................................... 13 Experiences........................................................................................... 14 Chapter 2: Servants and Slaves.......................................................................... 15 Joseph Becomes a Slave...................................................................... 16 Joseph’s Dreams are Realized............................................................ 17 Moving to Egypt.................................................................................. 18 Life in Egypt......................................................................................... 18 My Own Burning Bush...................................................................... 20 Chained to a Pole................................................................................ 21 The Intensity of the Battle................................................................. 23 Reflection.............................................................................................. 27 Journal................................................................................................... 27 Experiences...................................................................................... 28 v

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Chapter 3: Jesus’ Friends......................................................................................................29 Peter’s Perspective..................................................................................................30 Finding God in the Ordinary..............................................................................31 Peter’s Discovery....................................................................................................34 Living Life Together..............................................................................................35 Two Different Responses to Jesus’ Friendships................................................38 The Rest of the Story............................................................................................39 Our Focus...............................................................................................................41 Reflection................................................................................................................43 Journal.....................................................................................................................44 Experiences.............................................................................................................45 Chapter 4: Children of God................................................................................................47 Is Your Funnel Clear?...........................................................................................49 A Family Resemblance.........................................................................................49 Jesus Gives Us a Picture of His Father..............................................................51 The Three R’s.........................................................................................................53 The Open Heaven of the Beloved......................................................................54 My Blessing and My Call.....................................................................................55 How to Recognize the Orphan Spirit...............................................................59 Reflection................................................................................................................61 Journal.....................................................................................................................62 Experiences.............................................................................................................63 Chapter 5: Family of God....................................................................................................67 Families in the Bible..............................................................................................68 Generational Sin....................................................................................................69 The King’s Family..................................................................................................70 Jesus Redefines the Family ..................................................................................71 Power of the Family of God................................................................................74 Reflection................................................................................................................77 Journal.....................................................................................................................77 Life Commandments............................................................................................79 Experiences.............................................................................................................79 Chapter 6: Faith Family Life: Our Greatest Opportunity and Challenge ��������������������81 Moving beyond the “Three I’s”.............................................................................82 Our Family Name.................................................................................................85 The Challenge of Familiarity...............................................................................86 Our Greatest Challenge and Biggest Opportunity..........................................89 Reflection................................................................................................................90 Journal.....................................................................................................................90 Experiences.............................................................................................................91

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Chapter 7: Jesus Is Our Brother.........................................................................................93 Our Sibling, Jesus................................................................................................. 95 Jesus’ Forty-Day Fast in the Desert....................................................................96 Jesus, Our Model for Life as Siblings in God’s family ������������������������������������98 Life Together as Siblings......................................................................................99 Reflection..............................................................................................................104 Journal...................................................................................................................104 Experiences...........................................................................................................105 Chapter 8: Heirs of God and Co-Heirs with Christ......................................................107 We Learn to Reign by Living as God’s Children...........................................109 The Key Is Training............................................................................................112 Living in the King’s House.................................................................................114 What Is Your Choice?........................................................................................116 Reflection..............................................................................................................118 Journal...................................................................................................................119 Experiences...........................................................................................................120 Chapter 9: Life in the Palace..............................................................................................121 Daniel Moves into the Palace............................................................................125 Learning to Live in Your Babylon.....................................................................127 Living as Citizens of Heaven.............................................................................127 Why We Learn to Reign as Heirs with God..................................................128 Reflection..............................................................................................................132 Journal...................................................................................................................132 Experiences...........................................................................................................133 Chapter 10: The Invitation to Reign................................................................................135 My Invitation to Reign with the King.............................................................138 Our Trip to London...........................................................................................140 The Scheme of the Enemy.................................................................................141 Reflection..............................................................................................................147 Journal...................................................................................................................149 Experiences...........................................................................................................150 Chapter 11: Accepting the Invitation to Reign...............................................................151 Our Invitation to Write Decrees......................................................................152 Getting Started....................................................................................................154 Partnering for the Expansion of God’s Kingdom on Earth ������������������������157 Your Move into the Palace.................................................................................158 Reflection..............................................................................................................160 Journal...................................................................................................................161 Experiences...........................................................................................................162

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Chapter 12: The Bride of Christ.......................................................................................163 Becoming One Flesh...........................................................................................169 Being One with Christ.......................................................................................170 Reflection..............................................................................................................177 Journal...................................................................................................................178 Experiences...........................................................................................................178 Chapter 13: The Dwelling Place for God........................................................................179 Reproduction in Marriage.................................................................................179 The Tabernacle.....................................................................................................182 A Personal Story.................................................................................................187 Reflection..............................................................................................................188 Journal...................................................................................................................189 Experiences...........................................................................................................189 Chapter 14: Where Do We Go from Here?....................................................................191 The Starting Point...............................................................................................192 What’s Next?........................................................................................................195 Reflection..............................................................................................................202 Journal...................................................................................................................203 Experiences...........................................................................................................204 About Missio Lux...............................................................................................................205 About the Author...............................................................................................................207

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Preface

The Identity Crisis: Reclaiming the True You is not an accident or a project I undertook on a whim. One day the Lord spoke to me to write a book about the importance of people finding their identities in Him instead of the world or those around us. I diagramed my thoughts and within a half an hour I had an entire chapter outline, complete with Scriptures, personal stories, and illustrations. I typed it because the Lord revealed to me that I would be shown how to publish it at the Pastor’s Conference I was attending the following week. I packed the file in my suitcase and promptly forgot about it for the week I attended the conference. The morning I was to come home, I found it and prayed a quick prayer, “Lord, you didn’t show me how to get it published.” A short time later I ate breakfast with a woman I had never met before. She shared that she helped publish a book, and worked as the editor. I noted the information in my mind and left the conference to fly home. Not too many days later, a close friend and creative artist, called and said the Lord had awakened her up that morning to urge her to call me to write a book about identity. She had no idea the Lord had just called me to write a book focused on the same message. One day I was praying and the Holy Spirit swept over me. The Spirit led me to a place where I knew He wanted me to do something important for Him.

ix

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The Lord’s words were, “The book—WRITE IT!” Writing a book at the point where I was in my life was about the farthest thing from my mind. But, once I set my mind to the call the Lord had given me, the first draft of the book was written in less than 100 hours over the course of five months. The day after I finished the book, I discovered there were six other books published about our identity, five of them in 2011 alone. I cried out, “Lord, I thought you said there was a sense of urgency to get this done.” I clearly heard the Lord reveal, “Identity is so important to me that I have called many to write on this topic.” I was filled with gratitude. A few days later, the Lord led me to my publisher. In little over one year since the time when the Lord called me to write the book, it is available to all God’s children to Reclaim their True Identity. I sensed a holy miracle had happened in my life. It is a humbling privilege to participate in God’s calling. Our Heavenly Father wants us to hear this word of Good News and hope. He is desperate with longing for us to know that we are His beloved children, and He has a great inheritance to give us as His heirs (Romans 8:14-17). I pray each of you discover your True Identity in Christ.

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Acknowledgements

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y deepest gratitude to Missio Lux huddles for your willingness to discover the reality of the true identity God has claimed for each of us. Every time one of you experienced a significant identity breakthrough, I recognized it was a worthy road to travel for the many hurting people in the world. A special thanks to my faith community, Missio Lux, for the gift of the time set apart to write Identity Crisis. It was a time of great joy for me, as I fully focused on what God wanted me to write. My hope is that your gift flows back to you in an exponential way. Finally, I thank the people who were committed to pray for me through this process. I loved partnering with you because I had companions on this special journey. Thank you, too, for your many stories and contributions; many of them made their way into this book!

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Introduction

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ne of the greatest battles in our lives is understanding our true identities. No one has ever been spared from this battle: The serpent confronted Adam and Eve with this very battle. Moses was confronted with his identity through his whole life—growing up in the palace, experiencing the burning bush in the desert, going before Pharaoh in Egypt, and leading the Israelites through the wilderness. Even Jesus spent forty days battling for his true identity in the desert before he could begin his ministry. Today, we are in an identity crisis. We’ve lost sight of who we are because we have too many voices speaking into us, telling us their perception of who we should be. We hear it from our friends, our spouses, our bosses, but even more from media, who continually tells us we should be more, look more, make more…the voice of discontent constantly calls to us, seeking to create a desire within us that is never satisfied. Sadly, I find the very voice that should matter far more than anyone else—the voice of our Creator—gets lost in all the other voices and messages pervading our lives. Sometimes, our own voice, the one between our ears, has the most power to persuade us, and it isn’t pretty. The Apostle John tells us, “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right [and power] to become children of God” ( John 1:12 NLT). The words “right” and “power” originate from the Greek word exousia, a legal term for jurisdiction. When we stake our lives on the truth, we believe a God, who loves us and wants to have a relationship with us, created us. When we respond with a willingness to believe, we accept Him. And we become part of his family! When we do this, new boundary lines are drawn, creating an identity far beyond what we can imagine.

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The old boundary lines of accusation and condemnation are wiped away. The new boundary lines are filled with invitation to step into a life that surpasses your dreams. You may be saying, “Yes. I know I have that to look forward to in heaven,” but the reality is God doesn’t want to wait until heaven to give us His gifts; He wants to start now—with life on earth! We’re in an identity crisis because we’ve been duped—lied to, stolen from, and in many ways destroyed. The thief, the joy robber of life, has come and tempted us into a series of agreements with the continual messages whispering to us we are small and our lives don’t matter. He wants us to accept the ultimate lie: we are not enough. The goal of this book is to help you emerge form the crisis and walk into the place of truth—you are part of the family of the King. He has not only adopted you, but He also has given you his kingdom, and He has invited you to partner with Him to help rule. I have a word of caution, however, about how to approach this book. If you simply read it, you will learn a few new ideas and possibly make some breakthroughs in your identity. My encouragement is not to read this as a typical book but to anticipate it as an experience with our loving Father and King. When you fully engage in the reflection questions and experiences at the end of each chapter, you will move from an intellectual engagement to a heart transformation. The gift of heart transformation is that it leads to life satisfaction. When our hearts are rightly aligned with the truth of whom our heavenly Father says we are, we become content and fulfilled in the deepest possible way. You may even use this in a Bible study as every chapter has Scripture to engage as you seek to understand God and his Word on a deeper level. We have even created a Bible Study Guide for you, and it’s available for download at www.TamaraBuchan.com. However you choose to approach the book, my prayer for you is you will emerge from any identity crisis and walk into the place of the abundant life Jesus came to give us. It’s time to live in the power of your True Identity!

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Chapter 1

Our True Purpose O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens… When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority— the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! —PSALM 8 NLT

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e can fully appreciate the depths of our true identity when we explore the beginning of the story. As we take a look into God’s creation, the Garden of Eden, we will gain deeper understanding of His original design for us. Imagine the beginning of creation. Everything in the Garden works together in perfect harmony. Blossoms sway from tree branches, flowers reveal their full glory, rivers move with fresh bountiful waters filled with fish and sea creatures. Animals co-mingele without danger or fear. There is no suffering. There is no death.

Our True Purpose Everything in abundance; nothing was lacking. The most glorious creations in the Garden were the Man and the Woman named Adam and Eve. God took delight in them because He created them in His own image. He called His creation complete and took a day to rest and enjoy what He had made. 3

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Identity Crisis Tamara J. Buchan

Not only were the Man and Woman created in God’s image, they also were given a God-like call: Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” —Genesis 1:26–28 NLH I like to think of Adam and Eve as the King and Queen of the Garden. The Lord told them to reign over the fish in the sea, the birds of the air, and the animals.

They had authority over all the earth: the water, the sky, and the land. From the beginning, God created us to be in relationship with Him. God’s “like us” is the picture of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit existing in a relationship dance. Each person has a unique and special purpose, yet flows together in perfect harmony. God planned it, He did it, and then He spoke to His crowning creation, Adam, and gave him the plan: Be fruitful. Multiply. Fill and govern the earth. Reign over every part—the water, the sky, and the earth. After God gave Adam the instructions, He knew man should not be alone. God created Eve, the crowning beauty of woman. Adam and Eve lived in full freedom in the Garden but with one small exception. They were to respect God’s boundary and not touch or eat the fruit from

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the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They could freely eat from all the other trees, including the Tree of Life. One day, the serpent (the thief, the joy robber of life) entered the Garden and beguiled Eve. The peace Adam and Eve experienced was challenged. The crafty serpent began a subtle but deadly conversation with Eve. He asked her a question which seemed innocent enough: “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1 NLT). Eve answered him: “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die’” (3:3 NLT). At that point, Adam and Eve didn’t know the definition of death. Death hadn’t been introduced into the Garden where everything was meant to live. But the crafty serpent wasn’t content to let Eve believe the truth. He continued to speak enough truth mixed with just a little bit of lie to throw her off guard. He tells her, “You won’t die!…You will be like God, knowing both good and evil” (3:4–5 NLT). The serpent planted the lie within Eve’s heart that God was holding out on Adam and her. The serpent also planted a more dangerous lie when he told her “she would become like God.” Why was that dangerous? She already was like God, made in his image and carrying his DNA. She was His daughter and His crowning creation. The crafty serpent’s scheme involved getting Eve to doubt God enough to stop eating from the tree of life and to choose to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Where was Adam during this exchange? We like to imagine him off doing some royal duty like naming the animals; however, he was standing right by Eve. He watched her make the decision to take the fruit from the tree. Deadly mistake. Adam had the responsibility and privilege to rule and to reign. That included protecting the Garden from any harm. When he stood by and watched Eve make the fateful decision, even choosing to share in it, he abdicated his rule. Tragically, life has never been the same.

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Identity Crisis Tamara J. Buchan

We have to wonder why that tree was included in the Garden. It would have been simpler to leave it out and let Adam and Eve have full freedom. But it would not have let them choose God. God made creation, including His crowning creation, for relationship. However, if there is no ability to choose in a relationship, it ceases to be a dynamic partnership. Adam and Eve had no barriers with one another. Neither did barriers exist in their relationship with God. They were completely open with God and with one another. There was no reason to wear clothes because they had nothing to hide. Imagine what it must have been like to live with the freedom to fully reveal themselves to God and to one another. They had no pain, no suffering, no hurt or isolation. They didn’t have any job disappointments or weather crises. Their bodies never hurt, and their dreams were never broken. God set the boundary to protect Adam and Eve from harm. They had access to everything except the experience of evil. At that moment they saw life from a different point of view. This life included evil and everything that comes with it: fear, vulnerability, shame, and death. The man and woman who, before eating, were safe and loved enough to walk through the Garden naked now had to dive for a bush to cover their shame. When they did, they walked away from the royal calling they were given. The veil separating the physical and spiritual realms was created, and life was never be the same. I ache as I envision of the Lord coming to visit them in the late afternoon, and He didn’t find them. Listen, as He calls out, “Adam, where are you?” Adam responds by saying, “I hear you, but I am hiding. I am afraid of you because I am naked.” God cries out, “What have you done? Who told you that you were naked? Have you disobeyed my command and eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?” Imagine the emotions God experienced. His entire universe, His perfect creation, had shifted; evil had entered. The Garden was no longer Paradise. Adam’s response is one of blame. He blamed Eve for bringing him the fruit. When God asked Eve how she could have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, she blamed the serpent.

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Don’t you find the instant shift fascinating. The free and open relationships moved to hiding and blame. God placed the full consequences of their choices on Adam, Eve, and the serpent as punishment for their sins. Adam would always struggle in his work. Eve would long for the perfect relationship with her husband. Bearing children would be painful. The crafty serpent now was a slithering snake. One day, they would all die. Then God evicted them from the Garden. For a long time, I thought God was judgmental in kicking them out, but I now see it as a great act of mercy. If they had continued to eat from the Tree of Life, they would have never died. Death would bring the freedom they once knew in the garden as they experienced life in heaven. But God did not send them out into the world uncovered. In yet another act of great mercy, He took one of his precious creations, slew it, and let it bleed. He made clothes for Adam and Eve from the skins, but the greater covering was the blood the animal shed. This animal was the first sacrifice to bleed and die to cover sin. Then they left the Garden to walk into a world unknown to them; a world where danger and death abounded. As the gate slammed shut, angels descended with flashing swords to stand guard before the gate. Adam and Eve were never to enjoy the perfection of the Garden nor eat from the Tree of Life. For the rest of their days, they would experience hardship, and ultimately death.

My Discovery Several years ago, I wrote a marriage curriculum in my role as Pastor to Adults. When I mapped out the eight lessons, six of them were from of Genesis 1–3. I realized we couldn’t understand marriage unless we understood how God originally created us to live in relationship. When Scripture tells us we are created in God’s image, it means we have His DNA, His heartbeat, His life in us. God—being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— created us for meaningful relationship and fulfilling partnership.

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Identity Crisis Tamara J. Buchan

Adam and Eve had the joy of each day naming and multiplying all the fish, birds, animals, vegetation, and land in the Garden. No small task! They didn’t know failure, job loss, poverty, or unfulfilled dreams. Can you imagine what that must have been like? I recall one of my first jobs as a teller at a bank in Chicago. One day I made a huge mistake. I gave one of the customers $1,000 dollars instead of $500. I can still recall his eyes growing wide, taking the cash, and rushing out the door. I didn’t realize my mistake until much later when it was too late to redeem the money. The last two years as I worked at the bank, I was never free from that mistake. What’s your story? For many of us, our stories might reflect disappointment, betrayal, or abuse. For some, life may have become a series of consequences based on our poor choices or sin.

Discovering Kingdom While writing the marriage curriculum, I discovered our true purposes are much bigger than I realized. Neither my church experiences nor the seminary I attended prepared me for what was to come. I recall when my world of faith shifted. December 1, 2007. I was reading the book of Luke and stopped at Luke 9:1–2 (NLT): “One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” I sensed the Lord say, “Don’t go any farther until this Scripture is integrated into you.” For ninety days, I read those two verses every day. I imagine doing those things: proclaiming the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, casting out demons, and curing diseases like cancer and leukemia and AIDS. I envisioned casting out demons from people. At first, it felt foreign, almost ridiculous. But eventually, the Scripture came to dwell in me, and familiar and achievable carrying the Lord’s Spirit within me. In Luke 9, Jesus, for the first time, sends out his disciples to spread His message. As He sent them, He told them to do four things. I wondered why, in my

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years of upbringing in the church and my instruction in seminary, no one had ever told me Luke 9: 1-2 was Jesus’ priorities for his disciples. Jesus’ priorities didn’t ring clearly all at once. I didn’t go out to see hundreds of sick people healed, but I to prayed for people to be healed, and I taught others to do it too. I didn’t see massive deliverance take place in crowds, but I prayed for those hindered by demonic interference. I didn’t talk or preach about the Kingdom to everyone, but I taught it to smaller gatherings. I didn’t see major diseases cured, but I did pray for a woman whose doctor had told her she would struggle with a hip disease for the rest of her life. After our prayer, she left her cane at my house because she didn’t need it anymore. It’s still in my closet, and she is joyfully taking long walks with her friends and her dog. I heeded God’s call for my life and my healing ministry began.

The Story of Esther Esther’s story demonstrates to us how to recognize our life’s true purpose. Esther was a Jewish orphan, living as a foreigner in an unfamiliar land. Her dreams most likely never included becoming queen of the powerful Persian Empire. Her dreams were probably simple: to marry and have children in the Jewish culture in which she was raised. Her story began when the king’s officials arrived at her Jewish village and chose her to join the other women in the king’s harem vying to be queen. After a year’s preparation living in the palace, she would have only one day to please the king and become his queen. Esther’s life was being transformed. First she had six months of beauty treatments followed by six months of special perfumes and ointments, specifically chosen for her. She had her choice of clothing and jewelry to enhance her beauty. One day, the king called for her. If she pleased him, Esther would be crowned queen. If not, she’d have to live in the second harem of his wives for the rest of her life. A woman’s dreams for children and a normal family life would be reduced to ashes, never to be fulfilled.

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She studied the king, and Esther sought to understand his mind, his interests, his desires. Esther allowed palace life to bring her into the identity of partner to the king, and she stopped thinking she was a Jewish orphan girl and molded her identity as the future Queen of Persia.

We Are Esther How does Esther’s story become our story? How often do we consider ourselves as “just” parents or teenagers or marketplace managers? We fail to see our true identity as God’s greatest creation: His crowning glory. We let the world tell us who we are versus listening to the voice of the King as he asks us, “What do you want, Queen Esther, up to half my kingdom?” We continue to believe the lie that our lives are small, rather than accept God has given us a mandate to rule over the sky, the sea, and the earth. He has invited us to become His partners in bringing the restoration of His purposes to the world He created. Our call, once we step into the palace as Esther did long ago, is to change our minds about our true identity. Every one of us was created for a specific purpose. When we discover our purpose, and we accept the King’s resources available to us, we can leave behind the orphan mentality and step into the mindset of the King. We are free to live the abundant life Jesus promised us in John 10.

My Surprise Call My three daughters were young when I accepted the volunteer position of Sunday School Superintendent at our church. Young, shy, and lacking selfconfidence through most of my childhood and teens, I followed others. When I started to lead in my new role, I discovered people followed me, and they were excited about it. I grew in the spiritual gift of leadership. After a year of volunteering, I was asked to join the staff of our church as Children’s Director. It was a time of joy to me. I loved helping to mold and shape the spiritual formation of our children and to help other families. As the years ensued, I saw ways our church could be more focused and unified in our vision to reach people. When I brought my ideas to the staff or senior

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Chapter 1 Our True Purpose

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pastor, I often was told, “You are just…” They filled in the blank with various statements: “a mom with little kids,” “a children’s director,” or “an untrained leader.” Each time it was implied to go to my corner of the church and be content to stay there. God had other plans for me. A conviction grabbed my heart. I was to attend seminary. Doubt filled me. I was a young mom with small children. No one encouraged me to pursue a calling in ministry. Most of all, I didn’t have the money to pay tuition. And I’d ask God, “What do I need with a seminary education?” I stifled the small voice within me. My perceived identity did not match the great call God had placed on my heart. Big mistake! Eventually, God brought me to my knees. Job circumstances forced me to discover whose voice was more important...mine or God’s. My working relationship had created dissension to such a painful degree, my colleague and I could no longer work together. In front of the team the church leaders had assembled to help to address our challenges, I breathed deeply, slowing releasing the air. My lips quivered and I said, “I’m going to attend seminary.” The church leaders’ eyes grew wide in shock. The senior pastor asked me to reconsider and gave us a cooling off period. During that period, I met with the pastor several times, and he told me I must come back to ministry with the church. When I prayed about the situation, the Lord said to me, “If you go back in that door, you are in direct disobedience to me.” I even saw the swords posted at the Garden of Eden in front of the church office door. The pastor had given me one day to make my choice: stay at the church or go to seminary. Instead of going home, I drove to my parents’ home, lay on the couch, and wept. After several minutes, my dad sat next to me. He said. “I want you to know that your mother and I are dispersing some of your inheritance now. At Christmas, we will give you a few thousand dollars.” My mom and dad’s gift was exactly the amount of money needed to attend seminary. Now, I stood before a door opened wide. The dream God had placed on my heart would be fulfilled. I had chosen to obey His voice. In my obedience to God’s call, my parents’ generosity ensured His call for my life would be realized. Thirty days later, I drove to seminary praising God for His faithfulness.

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Identity Crisis Tamara J. Buchan

For me, attending seminary was as far from the realm of possibility as living as queen in the palace was to Esther. When I was in college, I wouldn’t even speak to the seminary students for fear I might actually marry one of them and become a pastor’s wife. It seemed the worst course my life could take! God has a way of bringing surprises into our lives; and most often, they are the catalysts needed to bring us into the place of our true identity as His beloved child and reigning royalty. Join me on the journey, as we explore how our identities help us discover the adventurous, fulfilling lives our loving Father created us to embrace.

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Reflection: hhWe are created in God’s image. We have his DNA and his heartbeat in us. God created us for meaningful relationship and fulfilling partnership. hhOur true purpose is to be like God and to partner with Him for all creation. hhThe serpent twisted the truth when he implied God couldn’t be trusted because he was holding out on them and he didn’t have Adam and Eve’s best interest at heart. hhAdam abdicated his rule of the Garden when he failed to protect it by passively standing by when Eve took the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. hhGod sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden to protect them from continuing to eat from the Tree of Life. If they did this; they would never die. In dying, they would once again live in the Garden of Heaven in unbroken relationship with God. hhThe first sacrifice occurred when God slew his creation and let it bleed. He covered Adam and Eve with physical clothes, but He also clothed them with mercy and forgiveness through the animal’s blood. hhJesus told his disciples to “cast out demons, cure diseases, proclaim the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick” when He sent them out on their first mission. hhEsther pleased the king because she shifted her identity from a Jewish orphan to the queen of antiquity’s most powerful nation. hhOur call is to change our minds about our true identity. When we leave behind the orphan mentality and adopt the mindset our king, all of the King’s resources are available for us to use to edify others and to glorify God. hhEvery one of us has a specific purpose for which we were created, and as we step into that purpose, we begin to live the abundant life Jesus promised us in John 10:10.

Journal:

1. How do you respond to the statement of our true purpose? “Our true purpose is to be like God and to partner with Him for the redemption of all creation.”

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About Missio Lux Tamara Buchan is the Lead Visionary Pastor of Missio Lux, a faith community launched in 2008. The mission of Missio Lux is to experience and share the freedom and hope that Jesus offers everyone. It is committed to the values of knowing God, loving one another and serving the world. It’s vision is to be an ever expanding network of people connected in relationship, living by Jesus’ priorities, so neighbors near and far can experience His unconditional love. Missio Lux is committed to a culture of discipleship or learning in which each participant is growing in their knowledge of God, including His word and His desire to be in relationship with them, as well as to partner with them in what He is doing to bring His kingdom to earth. The core ministry emphases are worship, healing prayer, recovery and life equipping. Discipleship groups, called huddles, are groups of 6 to 8 people meeting to grow and learn from life together, and missional communities, groups of 20 to 50 people with a shared missional purpose, are important components of Missio Lux’ structure that focuses on each individual stepping into using their gifts, both within and outside the church. Missio Lux desires to see people living a lifestyle of loving God and others, in a way that moves us from being consumers of religious services or programs, to being active creators and producers for God’s kingdom now! Staff, facility and overhead expenses are kept to a minimum in order to free up resources for services and missional purposes, as well as to support people in moving in their areas of passion. Missio Lux, although still young, is having an impact in many geographical locations on several continents. It desires to see many missional disciples, grounded in an accurate understanding of God’s word, impacting the world in a variety of locations and venues. For more information about Missio Lux and how to get involved, visit http://www.missiolux.org. 205

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Identity Crisis Tamara J. Buchan

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About The Author Tamara Buchan, like most of us, has many identities—wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, pastor, friend, and author, but she has discovered that her true identity comes from a place of being adopted by a loving Father into His family and knowing that she lives in a royal family where she is being taught to reign. Her faith has been the key to bringing her an identity that is solid and has given her the ability and courage to walk through many different challenges. In this book, Tamara describes how her life has taken many unexpected turns, which at the time, felt challenging, but she now realizes has led her into place of great meaning and a fulfilling life. When she began to follow Jesus, she recognized her gift of leadership and was no longer the insecure child, a follower, that she thought herself to be. Tamara’s first ministry position was a children’s director in a large church. She loved every aspect of her job, but it was interrupted when she heard God’s call to attend the seminary. It was challenging leaving her position and following God into the unknown world of the seminary. It was then that Tamara realized that too much of her identity was tied up with her position, and when it was dismantled, she found a role far more satisfying—being the beloved daughter of God. Once graduated from seminary, Tamara started the Journey Project ( JP) ministry. JP’s purpose was to help people discover why God had created them, what was their true identity, and then to help equip them to walk out their life purpose in ways that would bring hope to the world. At this time, Tamara also wrote an Advent book, The Christmas Lamb. This 40-day devotional was foundational for Tamara and her husband Bill’s faith life with their three daughters. Eighteen months later, Tamara’s husband’s new job took him to Seattle, and Tamara left Journey Project and became a Pastor at Pine Lake Covenant in Sammamish, Washington. While there, Tamara wrote a healing prayer curriculum 207

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and started a ministry of healing prayer. As people realized why Jesus had died for them, they began to come healed and were then able to reach out to help others become free. People come from far and wide to become equipped as healing prayer ministers, so they can also walk in health and freedom, and help pray for others to do the same. Five years later, the church’s leadership team called Tamara to start a new church—Missio Lux, meaning Mission of Light. It exists to experience and share the freedom and hope that Jesus offers everyone. Freedom comes through experiencing the Father’s love and building a foundation of identity of being God’s child with whom He is well pleased. Just as God spoke to Jesus, he speaks to us as well: we are His beloved children in whom He takes great delight. Tamara shares that it was a supernatural call to start Missio Lux. She was at a church conference in Chicago when she heard the Holy Spirit’s call to start something new. As she sat in her car, sobbing, she heard a whisper saying, “You don’t believe that I am going to do this, do you?” She replied, “No.” But the Lord told her, “Watch and see what I do.” Within four months of the call, and many other supernatural events later, the leadership team of Pine Lake Covenant gave her the call to plant. Tamara’s hope is that Identity Crisis: Reclaiming the True You will help everyone who reads it to discover their God-given identity, which will give them the foundation to move toward living the purpose for which they were created. The reflection questions and experiences are designed to take the reader deeper into the discovery with a learning process that will take place at a deeper level. A teen and children’s version is also in the works. Tamara’s greatest passion is to help people discover the truth about themselves from a Scriptural perspective. However, she doesn’t just teach people the truth of God’s heart for each of us as His children; she helps them enter into the experience of God’s love which forever changes us. Tamara now lives in northern California with her husband, Bill, and their Bernese Mountain dog, Nicki. Their three grown daughters, Heather, Bonnie, and Molly, are all in varying stages of discovering their true identities and leaving their marks on the world.

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Discover the Power of Moving from an Identity Crisis to “Reclaim the True You” Bring this Message to your Church! Weekend Retreat: “Reclaim the True You”— The Benefits are beyond Measure! Participants fully engage in the material through individual and group reflection, as well as hands on multi-sensory experiences, which provide greater opportunities to integrate the message into their lives at a deeper level. Participants will leave the retreat revitalized and understanding freedom from identity strongholds limiting their influence and impact with their purpose in God’s kingdom. One Day Workshop— A Truely Enriching Experience! Filled with hands on experiences coupled with group and individual reflection time. Participants will leave the workshop with tools to apply it to their daily lives embracing the knowledge of their identity as beloved children and royal heirs. Interactive Online Community: ReclaimTheTrueYou.com— Feedback and Discussions to Energize Your Day!

Discover the power of connection through an online community. Communicate with others who are engaging the life changing message of God’s identity for us as people, and encourage and challenge one another, as we build relationships around the world! Book Study: This unique study is like no other! A 12-week format for small group facilitation with reflection questions and exercises for each week’s study. This book study provides group members with accountability and connection with others who share the passion in reclaiming their identity as God’s beloved children and royal heirs, and walking out their greater purpose.

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Bible Study— A Purposeful Study Designed to be Warm and Intimate! A 12-week format which offers the freedom for self-study or groups to go deeper with the material presented in Identity Crisis. The Scriptures will take center focus for each topic, delving into the two biblical themes of covenant relationship and kingdom partnership. No one will ever be the same after studying in depth what God has to say to the people he created and he loves about their identity. One Topic Talks— The Journey to Reclaim Your True Identity is as exciting as the destination! The following topics are perfect for life stage groups. Presentations are adapted to the participants; youth, women, men, recovery, marketplace, seniors, parents, singles, divorce recovery, and more. The possibilities are endless for equipping individuals to step into their true identity. Our True Purpose Moving from Slave and Servant to Beloved Child The Value of our Friendship with Jesus Discovering the Reality of our True Adoption Living Together as the Family of God Faith Family Life: our Great Opportunity and Challenge Jesus is our Big Brother on the Playground of Life Learning to Live as Royal Heirs Our Invitation to Reign The Royal Wedding: Becoming the Bride of Christ Living as a Dwelling Place for God Pulpit Supply: An inspirational Guest Pastor! Congreations are inspired through Scripture, message, and music, which leads them to discover or reaffirm their true identity in Christ.

Visit ReclaimTheTrueYou.com for how to attend or host an opportunity near you.

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Readers Praise for Identity Crisis Pastor Tamara Buchan writes from her knees, from the deep and often difficult places of her encounters with the Living God. She shares those sacred moments and through her own identity crises we’re drawn into our own stories of searching for our identity and belonging to a loving, Creator God. This is an insightful book for the new believer or the seasoned follower of Christ. Take your time with each chapter and as Pastor Tamara suggests, allow yourself to experience God’s prompting voice with each page, calling to you as His beloved. Someday you will be called to share your sacred moments and from what better place than facing the rootedness of your identity in Christ? Be blessed.

—Beth Yeager

World Vision ...Buchan speaks freely and fluently from her own living journey and weaves together personal stories, biblical stories and practical experiences into this compelling and risky invitation to live into the life God desires for us.

—John Kiemele, PhD,

Executive Director of Selah Center Identity Crisis—Reclaim the True You takes us to the beginning of who we are in God and has identified Him as our source of identity, regardless of our race, creed, or gender. This journey is particularly important for us Africans because of our history of political colonization and current experience of economic subjugation—both have affected our perceptions of who we are as people, and how we are to fit into the new global society. Pastor Buchan does not set the American culture as the world standard, but rather she has adopted the Bible as her cultural context making it universal. In this way, all people can relate to God as the Source of all life and living as people.

—Oladotun Reju,

Senior Pastor of the Kingdom Citizen’s Pavillion, Jos Nigeria Tamara Buchan has given us a well-written book on the subject of overcoming an identity crisis—an identity in conflict when it’s rooted in the world and not in Christ. This work is clearly thought-out, widely researched, and practically written. A valuable tool for mission strategists and executives, mission professors, students, and all those for whom the Christian message is an integral part of living with Christ. I pray that this book will be widely used, not only because it’s a good book, but because it comes from a servant of God whose life is a living demonstration.

—Reverend Prince K. Thomas

Founder/President Immanuel Fellowship Ministries – North India. Haryana, India. Tamara encourages us into a wonderful journey to experience God’s truth about our identity. With insightful teachings and personal stories she guides us to discover we are God’s dearly beloved children, with all the inherent rights and privileges. This book is a treasure and leads us to embrace our true identity as children of God!

—Henriet Schapelhouman

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RELIGION / Christian Life / Personal Growth

You can live in abundance! Grasp your purpose, your authority, and the inheritance God intends for you to claim. Shout you are His child. With biblical depth, theological richness, personal vulnerability, and experiential challenge Tamara Buchan masterfully invites us to reclaim who we are created and redeemed to be in Christ. Her lively writing style and vivid stories gently drew me into a longing for my true identity. This book will bring comfort, healing, and challenge to so many of our brothers and sisters who are living as spiritual orphans instead of in their true identity as beloved children of the King.

—Howard Baker

Instructor of Christian Formation, Denver Seminary Author of The One Thing Spiritual growth begins in love -- the fertile soil that nurtures and sustains Spirit-induced growth. Identity Crisis tends the soil of our souls so that the Spirit can grow us into all we are meant to be. I would like all who choose to follow Jesus to understand the central truths found herein.

—Doreen Olson

Executive Minister for Spiritual Formation Evangelical Covenant Denomination ...a work of grace and truth. Our lives are marred by identity theft; and the blight is worse than a criminal snatching social security numbers and bank accounts. We have lost—and forgotten—our very names! Tamara Buchan helps heal that amnesia, delivering the simple truth that God is our Father who names us, invite us into his family, and challenges us to join him on a mission to fix the world. In other words, Identity Crisis resolves the crisis. Buy it. Read it. Give it away. Buy it again—

—Mark Herringshaw, Ph.D.

Director Youth With a Mission Associates, North America ... a book that is a reminder of both who we are and whose we are. Her words will encourage you—and challenge you—to enter into a life where your identity is rooted in the truth that you are a child, sibling, and friend of the King. And that life is the “life more abundantly” that Jesus said He came to make possible!

—Keith Ferrin

That You May Know Ministries Speaker and Author of Falling in Love with God’s Word and Like Ice Cream

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Identity Crisis: Reclaim the True You!