FGM? NO! MY IDENTITY IS IN CHRIST!!
Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Did you know that identity crisis can happen to anyone regardless of the age? Mostly, due to response to a sudden change in a person’s life. However, identity crisis is most prevalent among the youth and specifically during the teenage years. About 40% of teens struggle with their identity while over 80%, at some point in their lives felt inferior with no sense of belonging. Well, it is equally part of our growing. As Erik Erikson explains in his theory of psychosocial development, the fifth stage in this development is identity versus role confusion and it occurs during adolescence, from 12-18 years.It goes without saying that undergoing identity crisis as a young girl, in this case, with no support system can be very traumatic with long term effects. This includes, low self esteem, social anxiety disorder, depression and even suicidal thoughts in worst cases.
Our identity in Christ!
In our 2nd class as Spread Truth Africa, we took the girls at Sajiloni Girls Secondary School through Chapter 2 of the FGM Psychosocial Support Curriculum whose theme is; “God Made You to be Like Him!” This chapter basically aims at helping the girls understand that they are God’s creation and perfect the way they are, created in His own image and Likeness. In this way, they are able to understand that their identity in Christ is more important than cultural practices and societal-set standards and norms.
Deacon Ken Lanyo taught thoroughly about identity and his reference was Daniel chapter one. Importantly, to note were the identity lessons from Daniel, a man of God. The four outstanding lessons from Daniel’s story are; Daniel was not willing to compromise his standards, God was the central aspect of Daniel’s life, he used his influence to affirm that there is a God in heaven who looks out for His children and Daniel did not waver when hardships arose. From this, the girls learnt that by walking in confidence through Christ, they are able to stay true to who they are no matter what without compromising.
Vanessa Dorcas picked up from where Deacon Ken left and went through the sub-topics and questions in chapter 2 about our identity in Christ. Having in mind that the girls are about to break for holidays, it was important that she encourages them that undergoing FGM does not define them and that it is a practice that should be done away with. This is because we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that our bodies need no alterations or fixing. For those who have gone through that and they are facing the trauma that comes with it, it is very important to note that God loves you and that your past experiences do not define you or your identity in Christ. His unconditional love for us has no measure and is unending.
After this engaging topic, the girls had so many questions regarding identity. Vanessa Dorcas with the help of Phoro Catherine and Millicent Naserian responded to the questions and further engaged the girls on how to stand firm and affirming their worth as children of God. 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self discipline.”With the help of Peter Kimani, some of the girls shared their excitement for having understood their worth and identity in christ....
During our third lesson for the curriculum, we combined chapter 3 and 8 as one lesson. This is because the two chapters are in sync with the previous lesson on matters identity.Phoro Catherine took the girls through chapter 3 whose theme is, "What does Jesus think of me as a Girl?" Our identity in Christ is not dependent on gender! As we are all God's creations, His love for us cuts across. Tracing from the scripture, Jesus treated women equally as well. The story of the woman who had non-stop blood flow which meant she was unclean and that of the samaritan woman at the well, really brought into perspective that Jesus treated women with respect and love regardless. The bible goes further to tell us that women were some of His most valued friends. As girls, we do not have to have a certain body size, skin tone, expensive lifestyles or conforming to some traditions for God to love us more or less. He loves us the way we are and no matter what happened before and He has wonderful plans for you, as much as you do not see it at times. The girls were happy to know that they do not have to conform to the society's pressure to get married and have children for God to love them.
Vanessa went through chapter 8; on the circumcision of the heart. Initially, the act of circumcision was to signify a covenant between God and the Hebrew people, whom God had claimed as His own special people. The way the individual families showed their obedience to God was by circumcising boys eights days after they were born. NOTE that the circumcision was that of infant males and never girls! However, when Jesus came, He changed everything and now we do not have to hold onto traditions that have been practised for centuries for they no longer have meaning. You know what? You can not trust in both traditions and Christ as Paul directs us in Galatians 5:2-6. The point was NEVER circumcision, but OBEDIENCE! Does Paul mean that we should literally 'cut' our hearts? Of course not! As a girl, no part of your body is unclean and must be cut off to make you pure. Our bodies will not make our souls pure but the change should be in the way a girl thinks. Her obedience to God is what matters!
We are excited for lesson 4! Stay tuned!