Are You Asking the Same Questions I Am?
Do you remember before texting became prevalent, when churches put up electronic signs that would flash numbers during the service? This was pretty advanced technology at the time. Each child in the nursery was assigned a number which was given to the parents. If your number appeared, it was a message that you needed to come and check on your child; they were hungry or unhappy or hurt. When our oldest was in the nursery we were typical nervous parents. Those first few times leaving her in the church nursery I went and checked on her when any number came up on the electronic sign. I figured if one child was screaming, my girl might not be getting the attention she needed and I would go take her off their hands. One time I remember our number was 245 (or something similar). Up on the screen, 346 flashed. I went and checked because they might have entered the wrong number. It was off by one in two places. Maybe I was looking for an excuse to check on my baby!
I knew I wasn’t the parent they were calling for, but I didn’t want to be a parent who wasn’t there for her child. My identity at that time was as a great mom. I usually didn’t live up to those standards I set for myself, but I sure strived to get there. Anything less than perfect parenting and I was left reeling, wondering who I was. When she hit three, we were in full-on strong-willed child battle mode. I sure didn’t feel like a great mom then. Who was I?
I no longer had a career…I wasn’t a teacher anymore. I no longer had performance reviews or observations to give me feedback on how I was doing. I didn’t have teacher-appreciation week, or last day of school gifts and cards to make me feel great. Now I had a messy house full of baby stuff, hair in a ponytail, and mac and cheese for dinner. I found some other moms who made me feel better about myself. They were the “give yourself a break” and “parenting is so hard” moms. Others made me feel worse. They were the “I only buy organic” and “baby food is so easy to make” moms. Some even would try to “help” me by giving me lots of tips and suggestions.
Who was I?
I’ve found this has been a lifelong search for me. Every stage, every decade and every birthday brings a new set of challenges and insecurities.
Now I am a few short years from being an empty nester. Who will I be without kids in the house? What if no one ever reads this blog? What if my kids turn away from the faith in which they’ve been raised? What if I didn’t do that great of a job after all?
The month of April on this blog will be focused on identity. We are constantly looking for clues as to who we are, what it all means, why we are here. I want to write about who we are.
But I can’t start there. Who we are is not that important. Not in comparison to who our creator is.
So, this week and next we will be looking at how to answer that question, and where to look for answers. Then we will spend some time looking at who we are, and finally we will talk about who our neighbor is. Be watching for scripture graphics focused on characteristics of our fantastic and loving God.
How about you? What season of your life has given you the hardest time in figuring out your identity?