Reposted with permission from Kellie Haddock’s blog.
To have dear friends who carry great wisdom is a profound blessing.
I seek to glean all I can from every moment we get together. Miranda Harris (co-founder of A Rocha International) has poured so much into my heart. Each time we’re together she propels me further on the path towards living into my calling.
We all need people like this in our life. I want to be a friend like this too – whose love inspires those around them.
Miranda’s fresh thoughts on the familiar passage in Psalm 139 were like a cool drink on a hot day. She explained how we’re influenced by the tragedies and the blessings we experience. These things shape us and form us, but they don’t define us. We are defined by our belovedness.
Do you see the difference? Something can shape us – but it doesn’t define us. The things that happen to us, what we experience – good or bad – form us, but they’re not our identity. Our true identity was given to us before we were even formed. We are loved. Our identity is unaffected by our experiences.
I have struggled with this distinction over the years. My story as a former widow and mom of a child with special needs has had over 150 million views (The Thank You Project). For so long I thought my identity and my story were one and the same. But deep inside I’ve struggled with this because this is only a part of who I am, what has defined me publicly I let define me internally. Miranda’s thoughts broke straight through this wall in my heart. I found such freedom as she spoke to embrace the many parts of who I am, many parts of my story – they all matter but they don’t define me.
This is true for each of us. We all have multi-faceted stories and a myriad of things, both good and hard that have shaped us into who we are today. Sometimes we can get stuck and think these things are our defining factors, whether it’s how we think others see us or how we see ourselves. But I want to call you to a deeper truth. Your identity is not found in the things that happened to you or even in the things you’ve done – your identity – the essence of who you are – is found in the utmost reality that you are loved.
“Psalm 139 ‘You hem me in behind and before… you have laid your hand upon me…’ And ‘Your eyes saw my unformed body… all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’
“As I have pondered these words I have been overwhelmed by the thought that before we were even visible to the human eye, the eye of the Creator of the universe rested on us with undivided attention & perfect love. Wow! We are defined by our belovedness. From the moment of birth that identity is assaulted. Terrible things happen which shape us, but being completely, & unconditionally loved by our Heavenly Father defines us.” – Miranda Harris, A Rocha International
Updated October 28, 2019
Earth lost 3 beautiful souls yesterday. I’m heartbroken under the weight of this grief. Peter and Miranda Harris, co-founders of A Rocha (I’m an artist partner with them), and Chris Naylor, A Rocha International CEO, together with his wife Susanna, were involved in an horrific car accident in South Africa. Miranda, Chris and Susanna did not survive.
Miranda, in every way was a spiritual momma to me. She poured so much into me and took this role of mentorship to heart. We regularly penned letters to each other. Her last letter arrived last week and will remain a treasure to me for the rest of my days.
In response to my letter she poignantly writes, “All living things do their most significant growing in the darkness, whether of womb or soil or egg or seed…”
I wrote this song, Butterfly, as a nod to life being cut too short. I share it today in honor of Miranda and the Naylors with love being sent to the A Rocha family all over the world. Our hearts are heavy with grief, united in love.
Butterflies do important work as pollinators. Much like the butterfly, Miranda and the Naylors have lived in many ways as pollinators for our hearts. They’ve made the world more beautiful through their work. Their generous love, support and encouragement pollinates the world around them – wherever they go, whoever they touch – perpetuating life. There’s a transcendent quality to what they do and how they do it. It doesn’t stop with them, their impact continues far beyond them and will continue to reach further than they will ever know. ?