I had an awesome opportunity a few weeks ago to attend Winterfest 2017. Thousands of Christians gather for the weekend to strengthen our relationship with God. I always walk away feeling like it is a little taste of heaven on earth being able to worship and be in the presence of so many Christians.
This year’s theme was Identity and what it really is versus what Satan would like us to believe it to be. It was a message that really got me thinking and it’s too important not to spread beyond those of us able to gather there.
Satan has worked hard at distracting me from my true identity. One might think he is in the negative, working hard at driving a wedge between myself and God, but I have found him in the positive as well.
I became a Christian at the age of ten, but it would take many years for me to get my identity established. By the age of 21, I felt pretty well set. I was known as the smart, tomboy in the group. I prided myself on my quick wit and competitive spirit. I had gone to nursing school and attained my RN, not wanting to pursue further education because I had one girly attribute: I wanted to become a mother. Everything else was just a hobby.
In 2002, my world was sent spiraling. After dealing a myriad of symptoms for years, my doctor decided to do surgery. I will never forget sitting on the exam table for my first follow-up appointment. The nurse practitioner gently told me that most woman with the degree of endometriosis they had found needed help getting pregnant. I started down my journey of infertility.
I was married in 2003 and a few months later, we started trying to have a children. We endured three and a half years of treatment and failure before the choice to have a hysterectomy had to be made. Through this, I became the face of infertility and the grief that comes with it. It has been an inescapable reality.
Alongside my journey through infertility, I have endured another pain. With the start of fertility treatments, I sunk into a deep, dark depression. Since that point, I have had several dark seasons of life. It is a disease that has haunted much of my adulthood up to this point. It is also a disease, though, that is shamefully kept secret. Many of those close to me have had no idea that I was struggling until the depression became severe. I had grown adept at hiding it. With so much of my adulthood consumed by this disease, times have come where my identity was depression. I was the image of this disgraceful, secretive disease.
In 2011, life took a sudden, sharp twist to the positive. After my hysterectomy, my husband and I took a few years to just enjoy each other without the looming decisions about what we were going to pursue next in our journey toward having a child. The year prior, much to our surprise, we had gotten a call about a prospective adoption opportunity which ended in a loss at the end when the expectant mother choose to parent instead of following through with her adoption plan. A month later, a co-worker approached me about her niece wanting to make an adoption plan for her unborn child. With broken hearts, we gingerly pursued the prospective chance at parenthood. The joy was indescribable when our son was placed with us. There are no words to describe bringing him home, just incredible tears of joy. I was a mother!
Motherhood has been a journey that I struggle to not let define me. I am a stay-at-home mom. My world is wrapped up in taking care of the (now two!) children God has placed in our arms. It is so consuming that it is easy to forget that I am anything beside a mom.
This is where my story could stop. I am infertility, depression, adoption and/or motherhood. I am the image of all of these identities. Satan would love to distract me here so that I do not carry on further and realize what God says I am.
God pushes all of those aside and calls me something much different. He calls me his child! He calls me a chosen one! I am part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation; God’s special possession!
I am not all of those things that Satan would like to sidetrack me with. It is easy to get tripped up by the negative identities with their shame. I could allow them to weigh me down. But, they are not who I am.
It is incredibly easy to get wrapped up in motherhood, forgetting I am anything else. It is a positive thing, one that society finds honorable. It is tempting to make my identity that. But, it’s not who I am.
I am his. He is my Father and he calls me his child!
Who are you? What is your identity? Is it wrapped up in your career? Or, maybe, the shameful things you have done or what’s happened to you? What is Satan whispering in your ear? My hope is that you are not listening. My hope is that you remember who you really are, your true value. If not, let this be a reminder.
You are his!
As always, if you have questions, ideas or want to study further, I am available at TheRefreshingWell@gmail.com.