When I was in the fifth grade, an art teacher would come to our classroom once a week to do art lessons with us. My classmates and I were elated. We were excited to finally have a break from the mundane reading and math work that was on the chalkboard. I thought art was fun! I was able to relax, create, and express myself.
Our art teacher would first explain what we were creating that day. Next, he explained the materials we would be using. Finally, he did a demonstration and presented his final creation to us. The entire class would gasp in unison and exclaim with “oohs” and “ahhs.”
I remember being so proud that I was able to replicate (to a degree) what our teacher presented to us. I always felt a sense of accomplishment whenever I created something out of nothing.
Since then, I’ve always loved being creative. I participated in theater, dance, and music. I didn’t know then that God, the greatest Creator of all, would one day use my creative passions to bring me to Christ.
I grew up in church. My dad is a minister. So I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to go to church or not. It was more like, “You’re going!” No questions asked. I remember hating church. I’d be so bored. I couldn’t understand why people started crying uncontrollably when they heard the pastor say Jesus died for them. I couldn’t understand because I couldn’t relate. I had heard of Jesus but I didn’t really know Him.
It wasn’t until after I graduated high school and started college that I really got to know the Lord. I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart and I thought that life was over. I had lost over twenty pounds from depression and started throwing myself into any relationship available. I couldn’t take the pain so I became a serial relationist. I didn’t give myself time to heal and I never allowed anyone else to see my pain. But the Lord saw it. He was there with me the entire time but I couldn’t see it.
Two years later, I met a young man named Aris. I believe God sent him to set me up. I know what you’re thinking, it wasn’t that kind of set up! God was setting me up for an encounter with Him.
Aris was a believer and a Christian playwright. He spoke boldly about his relationship with Jesus. Aside from dad, I had never heard a man speak so passionately about the Lord. He made it sound so great and fulfilling to be a Christian. I wanted to know Jesus on the level he did. I wanted to hear the Lord’s voice and have a relationship with him.
Aris and I became close friends. He often invited me to church and to see some of the plays he wrote. They were about real life, relatable situations. Each character had a powerful story of how Jesus showed up and transformed their lives.
He turned my misery into ministry.
I was inspired by what I experienced at Aris’s church and from watching his plays. I started to rediscover my passion for music, dance, and the arts. More importantly, I was able to receive the Gospel through artistic expression.
Aris and I worked part time in an after school program. We’d put on shows for the community and collaborate on events at the school. I felt so much peace, joy, and freedom when I created a piece of choreography for dance. Our artistic creations pointed others to Jesus.
I was so hungry to know Jesus on a deeper level. I found myself seeking His face more. I spent time in His presence and felt Him there with me. One night, I experienced God’s presence like never before. Suddenly, there was a release. I felt brokenness, pain, insecurity, and past mistakes fall off of me. The old me died that night. I had an encounter with True Love. While I was baptized in water when I was just five years old, this time I was baptized with fire!
Soon after this experience, I became more active in ministry. I volunteered at my church to work with the youth and helped to restructure the dance ministry. My life began pointing people to Jesus. He turned my misery into ministry. He turned my hurt into healing. My pain became a passion for Him. I became a brand new creation.
When you encounter Jesus, He changes your identity
God wastes nothing. The Lord used my hurt and pain for His glory. In 2007, he helped me to start a ministry called Freedom 2 Dance©. It uses artistic expression to spread the Gospel. The Lord called me to mentor youth and create art to minister to my community. I am forever grateful for the love of the Father. God strategically placed a love of art, music, and dance within me even before I was born.
With God, there are no mistakes.
He destined us for adoption as children through Jesus ChristEphesians 1:5
He adopted me as his daughter. I didn’t have to perform or convince Him to love me.
I am confident that my Father loves me. I no longer seek the approval of man, I now seek God’s approval instead. My identity is in Christ Jesus. When God looks at me, He does not see my past failures – He sees the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. I am His daughter.
As a daughter of God, I have the assurance that no matter how many times I fall or disappoint Him, I can rest safely in the promises of God and the Creator’s safe hands.
Like me, maybe you have struggled with your identity. You may have made mistakes, walked through disappointment, and heartbreak. Life is uncertain and can be difficult at times. The struggles of life can leave you feeling lost and unsure of who you are.
However, in Christ, regardless of what happens, your identity is secure. Your identity cannot be found in a man, a relationship, a job, or anything in this world. It can only be found in Jesus. Jesus wants you to have an encounter (or re-encounter) with him. Surrender to him and let him show you who you are in him.
Pamela Tamika Grimes is a born again believer of Jesus Christ from Miami, Florida. She is the youngest of four children to Minister Theodore and Glenda Grimes. Pamela is a creative who has been an educator for the last fifteen years. She also is a worship leader and a dance choreographer. In 2007, she founded Freedom 2 Dance Ministry of the Arts. In her spare time, she likes to journal, sing, and spread the gospel. Pamela Tamika recently completed her first book due to be published later this year. Most importantly, Pamela Tamika is an unashamed daughter of the King.