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  • Writer's pictureHyland Heights

Stolen Identity

I had an epiphany one day at work when I was asked, “Who are you?” A normal question to be asked, right? It was common to be asked my name and badge number. However, in that season of life it struck me. I am not just a cop, daughter, wife, and mother, but I am a priceless child of God! Somehow along the way my identity had been stolen and I no longer knew who I was. For fifteen years, my name, “Gorman,” adorned my police uniform with badge/shield 100. For another fifteen years my name, “Rhodes,” was plastered on my chest with badge/shield 250. I was still the same officer, but I had a different employer, different last names, and badge/shield numbers.

Answering the question, “Who am I?” led me down some soul-searching deliberations. I realized in that moment that being a police officer is not who I am but what I do. Over the years, I investigated stolen identity cases or people who assumed the name of another. Although I was an astute officer in those investigations, I was facing my own stolen identity crises. I had a relationship with Christ, but it was weak and superficial (on my part) and I allowed that relationship to get robbed for a while. I allowed Satan to creep past the alarm system and breach my walk with Christ. I never quit having a relationship with Christ, I just did not have a close one at that time. I knew I was still His child. (1 John 3:1 )"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

That is who we are! I am screaming now, “That is who I am!“ I am a child of God; I find my identity in Him. He is my true north, He is my middle C, I am a priceless daughter of the King, and He is my purpose! (Psalms 57:2 ) I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. A living God (Elohim) who can take nothing and make something. He created me in His image and because I accepted Him into my heart the same Holy Spirit dwelling in little ole me is the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. (Romans 8:11). The Hebrew word for created is “bara” which is creating something out of nothing. Man cannot make something out of nothing. Therefore, I will never take any other gods before me. One of my favorite names of God is Elohim (Supreme One or Mighty One) He created little ole me in His image and He cares so much for me that my DNA is different than any other on earth as well as my fingerprints. He collects my tears in a bottle, and the omniscient one knows the very number of the hairs on my head and knows what I need before I ask.

About two years ago I was attending an FBI-LEEDA trilogy course (A Law Enforcement Class for Executor Officers by the FBI) It was about 50 to 60 policing professionals from all around in the class. One instructor wanted us to stand and say who we were, what agency we were from, and how many years’ experience we had. I know what you are thinking, I was too! My relationship with Christ was stronger than ever and I could have cared less about that class and my 28 years of experience in Law Enforcement at that moment. All I heard was, “My identity is found in Christ and that is who I am!” I will not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Luke 9:26) As I watched mostly all men (couple of women in the class) stand and say who they were, years of experience, and their agency, my palms were sweating, and my heart was pounding. Of course, my chair was in the back row, and at times I thought I was going to pass out from hyperventilation. I knew what I must do and was trying to prepare. There was no way to prepare what I was about to say in front of all those law enforcement executives. Ok, it’s my turn! Like Ralphie from, “A Christmas Story” I blurted out not a “Red Ryder BB gun” but, “My name is Stephanie Rhodes and I find my identity in Christ and that is who I am and whose I am!” Whew Weeeeee! My heart dropped from 150 to 50 in 2.9 seconds like hitting the brakes in a car while seeing a cop running radar. Everything else was a blur.

At the break, an older man walked up to me and said, “Thank you for doing what I could not!” Wow!! You see, he was a pastor of a church and was also a high-ranking officer in his hometown. He went on to say that the atmosphere in the class was so intimidating that He could not express anything like that. As Ecclesiastes tells us, there is a time and a place for everything. Esther had a “For such a time as this” moment as well, now didn’t she? Over the years of walking with Christ, I have found that my “Chain of Command” is Christ and that my badge/SHIELD is faith and that He is my hiding place and my SHIELD. Psalms (119:114)

The next time you can witness for Christ in an odd place, seize the opportunity that He has laid out. Remember Isaiah 41, “Fear not, for I AM with you!” The great I am is right there beside you holding your sweaty palms and listening to your beating heart.

So, if you ask me today, “Who am I, or whose I am?” You will know what I am going to blurt out!

Stephanie Rhodes

Women's Ministry Leader

Psalm 1:1-3 "Blessed is the one who does not walk in the step with the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is a like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose lead does not wither - whatever they do prospers."

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