Tanner Hernandez (Class of 2019)


I am God’s beloved son; that is who I am now, that is who I have always been, and that is who I will always be. I knew this statement to be true in my head however I struggled to fully believe it in my heart as the world made me believe otherwise. In fact, it was not until I literally smacked myself in the face with a microphone when I fully grasped the truth of that statement in my heart.

Growing up, I lived much of my life feeling insignificant, unwanted, and alone because of events that happened throughout my past. Unintentionally allowing these lies to take root as ungodly beliefs, I began striving in everything I did academically to make up for the brokenness I felt in my heart. I would think toxic thoughts like, “If only I were valedictorian, then maybe others would view me as significant,” or, “if only I made good grades, then maybe someone would see me as a person worth spending their time with.” Above all, the most toxic thought I had was, “If I put myself out there and show myself worthy of praise, then maybe I could earn acceptance from others and not feel so alone.”

Coming toward the end of VCLA, I do not feel insignificant, unwanted or alone. Because of what God revealed to me through VCLA, I now have a newfound security in the Father’s heart. I now know that in His eyes, I will never need to strive for significance because the very fact He created me uniquely with intentionality makes me significant. I learned I will never need to strive for recognition because the very God who created me sees me as His beloved son. Lastly, I know that I am never alone because God is always there by my side, waiting for me to look to Him and run into His loving arms. VCLA has been a wonderful experience and I am so grateful for what God revealed to me about who I am, about how much He loves me, and about the purpose I have in Him as I rest upon and receive from His great love. So, who is Tanner Hernandez? I am God’s beloved son who, through what He has revealed to me on my journey with Him. I have been created to invite those who feel lost and broken into freedom and security in His love.