Growing Pains: Who He Says I Am

March 27, 2024

Growing pains: a theme this year. 

Last week, it was running on the beach and getting out of my comfort zone (and attempting another run a few days later in my grandma’s backyard). This week, it was having lunch with my mentor from church on Friday. Then having lunch with her again after church on Sunday.

We’ll start before Friday.

My church program is all about growth, and, therefore, requires the girls in our group to write out all our resentments, fears, and harms done to us in detail, so we can analyze why, when, and how they affected us and our walk with Christ. It’s just as bad as it sounds and as terribly uncomfortable as you’re imagining. You literally come face to face with every bad thing that has ever happened to you, how you handled it, and how it still scars you today.

But it’s worth the relief to stretch through the pains of growth. 

I just completed this part of the program, filled the book up with all the mess that’s occurred in my life, and went to lunch with my mentor on Friday.

We sat down, and over a couple of bowls of soup, she said, “All right, let’s have it. The book. Hand it over.”

“What?” I asked, stunned. “Over food? Now?”

“Yeah, now.”

I reached into my backpack and pulled out my book. “Are you sure? Like. . .right now? Over a meal?”

“I knew you’d be fidgety,” she said. 

“Well, yeah, this is terrifying,” I responded. 

So she opened my book and skimmed all the words I’d written over the past six weeks, and I sat across from her—well, fidgeting. She paused right in the middle of it, and said, “What exactly are you afraid of?”

“Judgment,” I said, at which point she took my hands and promised no judgement. After all, God still loves me. He still forgives me. And he erases shame.

I hid my face in my hands. 

She turned a blank page to me and drew a cross on it, drawing a circle at the base of it. “This is where you leave your shame. You’ll want to come back to it and pick it up, but this is where you have to leave it.” 

Flash forward to Sunday. She and her husband took me and my boyfriend to lunch, where her husband dove hard and heavy into our testimonies of how we came to know the Lord. 

I’ll preface this by saying that I enjoy sharing that experience with others, but am I an eloquent public speaker? No. Am I good at talking about myself? Absolutely not. Fear of judgment, disappointment, and a million other things keeps me from having a voice. 

But over the weekend, I learned step one of how to leave shame at the foot of the cross:  Confession. It’s lifting my voice above the lies that claim I’m not good enough for grace. Most of all, it’s abandoning the comfort of my sins and saying out loud to other believers, “I am who He says I am.”

M.M. Cochran is the author of YA novel Between the Ocean and the Stars and has an educational background in English and creative writing. She has worked in the journalism industry, as well as the agenting and publishing industry, and she is currently a news reporter for The Greer Citizen. M.M. can be found collecting coffee mugs, slipping into an oversized sweater, and hanging out with her standard poodle. Her debut novel, Between the Ocean and the Stars, can be found online at or To keep up with her writing journey, follow her on Instagram @m.m.cochran_writer.


Featured image by Chris Karidis.