Aargh. I seem to have accumulated more bad days in the past few weeks than I probably have in the last few years. You know the ones where everyone is sick, the house is a perpetual mess, and you feel like you’ve got no capacity left in you to go on? No? Oh….awkward ;) Well, let me paint the picture for you on this one particular day. The whole family had been sick for over a week, I was trying to look after everybody including myself, and of course, this just happened to be the same day that the toddler decided to misbehave and push all of my buttons and test every boundary. It also magically coincided with the house being absolutely trashed, so not only did it need a thorough tidy up but now I had to steam clean the residual vomit from the floors because little people can’t quite grasp the concept of “Spew in the bucket right next to your head, don’t try and run to the bathroom, you won’t make it!” Oh yeah, and it was getting late and dinner was completely unprepared and still had to be cooked, but it was now pressing on bath time and the kids had to be in bed early due to said sickness. Yep, one of those days. Difficult was an understatement. ‘Pass me a glass of wine‘ was also an understatement. I was completely in over my head and so exhausted from the continuous illness that had gripped our household, robbing us from our usually normal and joyous routine, I looked around at the bombshell that had gone off in our living room and the raw meat sitting in the kitchen that I would now have to cook because I couldn’t put it back in the freezer after a day of defrosting. I looked around in despair. Discouraged. Depressed. Doubtful at my own abilities and capacity on days like this that completely test every single part of me. Ready to give up just out of sheer exhaustion. I looked around in disgust “This is my life.” I thought to myself. “THIS is my life. THIS.IS.MY.LIFE“
It wasn’t a beautiful joyful moment, even though I had everything I have ever wanted (interpretation: children! And apparently you get the full package – bad days, tiredness, sicknesses, disobedience, teething and all, who knew!) The attitude behind my internal statement was full of discouragement and lacked all hope that better days were ever ahead. Then I felt the guilt of “All I’ve ever wanted is to be a mum, now I’ve got it and here I am cursing it.” The vicious cycle continued to spiral me downwards into my emotions and rocked my confidence. I kept repeating the phrase in my head, out of anger and probably bitterness. I think I even spoke it out loud to my husband.
But then I heard it…the soft whisper….the gentle revelation…the truth.
No. This is NOT you. This is NOT your life. This is one day. One week. One moment. Your identity is not found in being a mother. It is found in Me.
Of course, I knew this. I had been through this a million times before, both on the bad days when I feel like I’m failing and the good days where I feel like I’m nailing it. Wherever I fall on the spectrum on any given day, I need to know that what is going on around me or inside of me doesn’t determine who I am. And one role in my life, albeit one of the biggest and most important, particularly in this season, also doesn’t define me as a person.
What is going on around me or inside of me doesn’t determine who I am. And one role in my life doesn’t define me as a person.
I guess this feeling of discouragement was also amplified because I was unable to pursue some of my other roles, purposes and passions that week due to our family being knocked around with the prevailing sickness. It felt like it was lingering and holding me back from other aspects in my life. I guess in the end, in this moment of despair, I finally let it get to me and gave in to the silly belief that my life is only going to be about cleaning up spew, poo and all kinds of goo.
I am me before I am a mother. I was me for 29 years before I took on this role, and I have only been fulfilling it for 3 so far! The vast majority of my life has been without children, and although I pray that the rest of my life is FULL to the brim and overflowing with children, children-in-law, grandchildren, great grandchildren – I can never let this role dictate who I am and what I am limited to. Yes, I must embrace it, but I must also remember that it is one part of the intricate person who God has created me to be.
I can never let one role dictate who I am and what I am limited to. It is one part of the intricate person who God has created me to be
I have spent 32 years pursuing the woman that God created me to be when He formed me and designed me and breathed life and spirit into me and set my feet upon this earth. As much as the role of mother is a massive part of who I am, who I want to be and who I am called to be forevermore, I am not limited to that, and I am certainly not defined by that. I am me! I have always been me, and if it was all taken away and my life was stripped bare, I would still be left with…me! I need to seek her out and continue to draw close to God as He reveals her more and more to me, as I step into ‘me’ more and more with each new encounter and revelation of my Father God. Who He is dictates who I am. Because my identity is only found through Him, in Him and for Him. I can only discover my true self in Him and I can certainly only flourish and thrive and come alive as the woman of God – wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend – when I am secure and confident in Him and not in my roles or my circumstances.
Who he is dictates who I am
As I looked around the bombshell living room with the sick children and list of a million things that needed doing, my discouragement turned to hope as I remembered that my significance is not found in my role as a mother. As significant as that role is, my significance and purpose is found in who He is. And our significance can only be realised when we realise how insignificant we are, yet He loves us, has chosen us and created us, and because of His significance – His grace, His power, His love, His glory, – HE gives us worth and makes us significant!
My significance and purpose is found in who He is
My identity is not found in being a mother – even on the greatest days when I have perfectly behaved kids and a pristine house and a decadent home cooked meal to serve my family – in fact, sometimes these days are more at risk of stealing our identity as we put our confidence in ourselves and forget that it’s only by his grace!
I stopped for a moment and breathed in the beauty of the brokenness and the reality of the revelation. Thank you Jesus that this moment doesn’t define who I am! This isn’t my present, or my future. My identity is in you and who you say I am! I am yours! I am your daughter! I am your Bride! I am your friend! I am your soldier! I am your warrior! I am your servant! I am your child! I am your co-labourer! I will not muddle my meaning with my motherhood, as meaningful as it is, it only means anything when it is moulded in you!