Mistaken identities

Tracie Jack
Tracie Jack found new direction after sickness

As a little girl Tracie Jack made a firm decision to one day leave America to become a missionary doctor to the outback of Australia. Then sickness changed everything.

"I became ill as a 19 year old, with pre-cancerous cells all throughout my body," Tracie recalls.

"I was so exhausted that I was only able to stay awake for about two hours a day."

No one knew what was wrong with Tracie and she had no choice but to quit college and give up her life-long dream.

"Suddenly I found myself in an identity crisis. Who was I? If I was not going to be a missionary doctor, who was Tracie Solly?" she questioned at the time.

"This likely sounds trivial to so many who have suffered truly devastating losses but, to me, it was everything I was. I did not know who I was supposed to be. I lost purpose. I lost aim. I lost the feeling of value in even being here.

"Why would God take away the one thing that I had planned for and dreamed of and prayed about and practically breathed for most of my life?"

Tracie's parents had explained to her at a young age that Jesus had given His life on the cross so she could find forgiveness from God for her sins and becoming a missionary was going to be her way of honoring God for this.

"I knew I wanted to grow up having a clear conscience, a sure salvation, forgiveness for eternity, and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ," she remembers before praying to accept Jesus into her life.

Since then, Tracie says her story is better expressed as "before and after 'churchy' religion or legalistic approaches to God".

It was through many struggles, like her mysterious illness, that Tracie discovered that she had not only mistaken her own identity but God's as well.

"While there have been difficult times and sickness and I have failings like every other human, God's Word has proved true in my life: that in the midst of life's storms I can have peace in Christ; that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him; that when I start to get off track, His Spirit guides me toward Him; and that God causes all things, yes, all things, to work together for our good and His glory," she explains.

"I found a God who loves us and is running after us; a God who longs for relationship, not religion; a God who is so much more than the boxes I had tried to fit Him in with well-meaning yet weak attempts to understand Him and even please Him."

It was at this point in Tracie's life that she began to understand that God loved and valued her for who she is not for what she does.

"God brought me to a place where I learned to want Him more than I wanted to be something for Him; to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my value to Him is not in what I can do or not do for Him," she explains.

"While I do not always get it right, the more time I spend with Jesus, the more I respond in grace when my human nature would have chosen a cutting reply; patience instead of frustration; forgiveness instead of holding a grudge; service instead of selfishness; honesty instead of deceit; love instead of anger; joy instead of despair; peace instead of anxiety; trust in God instead of fear of my circumstances; and to ask forgiveness when I have been wrong."

Looking back on her life experiences so far, Tracie recently authored a book titled 'I Saw That', which is available on Amazon.com, and created her own website www.isawthat2.com.

"I have seen God show up in tangible and incredible ways, and I want to give others a window by which to sit and see God if they haven't seen Him themselves," she says.

She also thinks it is by no coincidence that her story will be shared in the Australian edition of the Challenge newspaper as well.

"To the casual bystander, this is merely a simple, childish coincidence. To me, God brought back the heart of my mission field," she concludes with a smile.

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