Finding a Real Identity

I can’t seem to fall back asleep, so I decided to write down some thoughts that have been floating around in my mind.

Somehow, my life has seemed to take an unexpected turn.  Perhaps it stemmed from that magical time in Guam where all I had to do was live for myself.  But somehow, the bubble that I had been living in for the past few years of stay-at-home-mothering has ruptured, leaving me a bit dazzled to say the least. 

I’ve always prided myself in being Israel’s wife and we are so happily married.  Yet, there was something that bothered me when we began to be identified as the “marriage seminar” couple.  True, I believe we are living as close to a fairy tale as you can get in this world:  interracial couple falls in love despite cultural taboos, miraculously parents and family approve, they push through obstacles, God clearly works through it all….  Flattering though it was – young people wanting to hear what we had to say about our thriving marriage, despite our odds – that’s not the only thing I wanted to be known for.  I began wanting to believe that there is more to our life…to my life.

My boys are my life.  From the time when I was pregnant with Imanuel, our firstborn, there was nothing more that I wanted to be than an amazing mother.  This new chapter in my life could very well have been the last chapter and the epilogue at that.  Being a mother has been my proudest accomplishment and the entries that I’ve blogged here on pregnancy and parenting express but the tip of my emotional iceberg.  There is no greater gift that God could have given to mankind than the ability to create and raise a child.  So smitten was I, that my life became consumed. 

But eventually, there came those lonely moments when you realize that as grand as being a wife and mother is, something is lacking.  That is because of this:  your identity cannot be solely wrapped up in your relationship to someone else.  Winning the best girlfriend/wife award can never be your life calling, though during those initial years of dating/marital bliss it may seem like it.  Mother of the century is very much a coveted title, but can we really believe that if our kids, by God’s grace, turned out perfectly, we can find complete contentment in our own souls?  How about if we completely fail and disappoint our family? What good can we be?  This is where I was.

We, too, were made for another world.  In that World, the focus won’t be on marriages and parenting.  I am beginning to see why now.  Our life consists of different chapters that continue to develop who we are and who we become.  Marriage and motherhood are large chapters and will continue to be strong, reoccurring themes.  They will perhaps have the most significant influence on our characters.  They are an enormous responsibility.  But in the end, that is not who we are.  They are still a means to an end.  It is easy to lose sight of this.

Now that Ty is older, I am learning how to get back in touch with who I am as an individual.  Time for myself has become paramount in cultivating this.  In addition to our joint efforts as a family, impacting lives on my own, having my own role in ministry, and having my own life is what I have been missing for the past few years.  Even if it means waking up earlier, having a crazier schedule, or sleeping later at night, it is well worth it.  It is proving to bring such contentment and self-worth for me and is, not surprisingly, benefiting my family. 

It brings a peace knowing that when all is said and done, God still values me and loves me.  This is the Gospel.  Sometimes it’s hard for us women to truly believe it because we tend to live our lives for others.  But I often need a constant reminder that even if no one else in the world existed, this fact wouldn’t be altered in the slightest. 

2 thoughts on “Finding a Real Identity”

  1. Thank you, Judy. I’m struggling with similar feelings right now, and I helps to know that I am not alone. My life has been eclipsed in others for so long that it’s difficult to identify who I really am anymore. I appreciate your openness and vulnerability in sharing.

  2. I feel like this is the voice that is missing from the dialogue about “taking time for yourself” and “practicing self-care” in all the women’s magazines.  It’s not just about carving out time for ourselves, but about realizing our identity is steeped in Christ and not in the shadows of our husbands, our children, our work, or anyone else whom we serve.The loss of identity has not been the most difficult part for me, truth be told.  I sometimes think I need to yield *more* to being dedicated to the identity of mother and wife since I find both jobs incredibly hard – the emotional and physical toll are immeasurable (and I’ve got it easy, too w/ a wonderful hub and healthy, happy kids) – and maybe if I welcomed it more, I’d embrace whatever it is that I’m finding so difficult and find it coming more naturally to me, because it’s a part of me. Does that make sense?  If not, I’m only 3 years in…Judy is a pioneer mother to me, so I’m just taking notes as a grateful scribe 🙂

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