There was a time when I first became a mother that part of me held back from feeling true fulfillment in my new role. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my new daughter; it wasn’t even that I didn’t love the new role. Granted there were transitions that were challenging, but overall, I really relished being a mom and I even celebrated the day I was able to quit my job and stay at home full-time. But part of me was holding back. Hanging on to something other than what was before me.
I have watched women, mothers, who become completely lost when their children grow up and leave home. I saw their very identity, which had been so wrapped up in motherhood and their children, crumble. They were confused, hurt, sometimes even hurtful to the children that were “abandoning” them. It was appalling for me to see this and I promised myself that I would never be that woman. I would never wrap up so much of my identity in one role that I would fall to pieces when it was time for that role to change.
So I held back. I loved my daughter and I joyfully welcomed another baby daughter into our family a couple of years later. I loved her and yet I really think part of me held back again. I tried to maintain things that were a different part of my identity. I ran a marathon, I spent a lot of time with friends, I participated in Bible Studies, I tried to find ministry avenues that had nothing to do with my young children. I realize now that I was missing out. I was so busy trying to be ME that I forgot to be Christ to the other people in my life–my husband and my children.
My identity should never be built on something as flimsy as a role, a hobby, a passion. My identity needs to be in Christ alone. Part of accepting that identity is fully throwing myself into whatever he has called me to do. I have no doubt that my husband and I were called to be parents. It doesn’t mean that we’re the best at it, it means that it has been given to us and we are to taken it seriously. I’m not sure what changed in my mind and my heart, but just lately I have found myself appreciating this stage in my life more than ever before. I find myself truly wanting to grow in Christ in order to be a more effective parent. I swell with joy when I see God touching my girls’ hearts. I think I quit holding back. And dang, it feels good! There really is something to losing yourself in order to gain something greater.
I no longer worry about or fear how I may react when the day comes for me to relinquish a bit of my parenting role. I think being wrapped up in our identity in Christ means fully appreciating where we have been called to minister and serve–whether that is a humble position or a glorious and famous position. I am not holding back anymore and I am giving in to the joy of this moment.