My husband tells a joke to almost all of his patients. They usually ask him if he is married. After replying that we happily celebrated our tenth anniversary this past year, he tells them that I am Italian and Irish so divorce is not on the table. Murder, however, might be an option.
Although he is joking, he does speak to an important part of my identity. Raised by first generation immigrants, my grandparents, I often refer to my Italian heritage, many times speaking some Italian words as I parent my children. Italians seem to have a sense of pride, much more so than my Irish side of the family. Even though I have blonde hair, burn easily, and had a maiden name that reflected the sheep herding side of my family, it was the Italian side that I identified with the most.
When the ancestry.com package arrived, I was anxious to read about the parts of Europe my family was from. We knew the village from Italy that papa was from, but the Irish side was a little more unclear. As I started to read over my genetic results, I realized quickly that I was unprepared for what I was reading. The surprise wasn’t from the Irish side. Instead it was from the Italian side. Rather, the lack of Italian side. There as only 1% Italian blood running through my veins. I had no idea how this could be possible, as I had a pot of pasta sauce simmering on the stove. What I realized through the results of my DNA testing was that my Italian side of the family were actually wanderers. They were Croatian, Russian, and Greek. Yet several generations lived in the southern part of Italy before coming to America. Very little Italian blood coursed through my veins. As silly as it may sound, this concept rocked my identity. I had grown up visiting the Italian bakery every day for fresh Italian bread. There was an Italian deli that was the only place in town to get the special Italian sausage that we ate every Sunday. We started making pizzelles at the beginning of December in order to pass out to waiting friends and family at Christmas time. Yet, here it was in black and white. The majority of my heritage was not actually Italian.
Any other week, I probably would have responded differently. But this week was one filled with discouragement and I sank into feeling defeated. As I turned off the pasta sauce that was simmering on the stove, I went to the bathroom to cry. I had so much of my identity wrapped up in being Italian, that I didn’t know what it meant to NOT be Italian. Maybe this is not something you can easily relate to, but I bet there have been times in your life that you felt insignificant. Times where your worth was wrapped up in something external. For me, I find myself in this place often. There are times that I feel like I don’t measure up, and the enemy uses those moments to whisper, “just give up.”
This was the place I was in when I began to worship. I was afraid to even say out loud what I was feeling, instead I started to just offer my hurting heart to the one who made it. As I started to sing along to a familiar song, there was a phrase that caught my heart.
You have no rival, no equal.
As I felt the Holy Spirit press these words into my heart, I repeated them back.
Yes, Lord. You have no rival, No equal.
As I did, I was met with the familiar voice of the Father.
You misunderstand, beloved. YOU have no rival, no equal.
Immediately my eyes burned with the tears that overflowed. In a moment, the Lord had spoken to the hurting parts of my heart. He brought to mind several places in the Word that explain what He meant. I sense that He wants you to know this too.
You are made in God’s image.
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
As I looked at my daughter, she was sitting on her bed, reading a book and twirling her hair. It’s something I do often. In fact, all my daughters do. My daughters look like me. Do your children look like you? Or do you know people who have children that look like them? Children look like their parents because they have their parents blood running through their veins. The Lord reminded me that as His daughter, I was made in His image.
2 The Lord God tolerates no rivals; Nahum 1:2a
I know this. I know that God has no rivals. But I had never considered the fact that because He had no rivals, it also meant I had no rivals. Neither do you.
I often teach on a verse from Ephesians 2:10.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
You are His workmanship, there is no one equal to you. He created you uniquely and on purpose.
As I pondered how these words spoke to my aching heart, I realized that these words are not just for me. They are also for you.
You are not what you THINK you are….. defeated….. discouraged.
You are made in God’s image because HE is the one who gave you life. That’s your genetic makeup.
If He has no rival or no equal, then YOU have no rival, no equal.
In a world where we compare and we feel like we don’t measure up, walk in confidence that, you were CREATED, by the very nature of who your creator is, as precious in His sight.
You have No Rival, and No Equal.
I originally wrote this post for Warner Press but decided to share it here with you. If you would like to read it on the WP blog, you can find that here: WP Blog