From Business Suits to Bottles and Poop
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Have you ever been in a place in your life where you felt content even confident in your identity? You knew who you were, you knew what you wanted out of life, and you knew how to get there. Everything had its place and was in its place. Maybe you have, maybe you haven't, but that is where I was just 4 short years ago. What a difference a few years can make.
Shortly after graduating from college two pretty significant events occurred in my life. I gave my life to Christ and started a new career - all in the same week. I spent the next few years focused on learning all that I could about the word and character of God, and learning my new craft. I felt confident in my role as a daughter of God and believed with every bit of me that all I did flowed from my relationship with Christ.
Fast-forward 10 years, my husband and I were still newly married and raising our daughter. We were in a wonderful routine; I was able to continue to pursue my career while my husband cared for our daughter. His career as a realtor afforded us this luxury. Then some very unexpected but exciting news arrived, we found out that we were expecting yet again. After months of prayer and discussion we decide that it is best for our family if I stop working and stay at home to raise our babies.
I was in my mid-thirties when I had my first child. By this time in my life I hadn’t realized that I was pretty set in my ways. I had a very successful career and enjoyed it tremendously but it was time to make a change for our family. Our family officially transitioned and at the same time we moved to a new community. I was happy with our choice and excited about all that was happening.
I found myself entering a new season where I no longer held any other title but mother, where the need was no longer based on my intellect but physical. I didn’t know I was struggling with my new season until I was in the midst of it. The role of being a wife was still new to me, the role of motherhood was new to me, but the role of career woman, that was the person I knew. I could easily identify with that woman. I had been walking in those shoes for over 10 years. Long days were not irregular because I loved my position and everything about it. I identified with the woman who spent most days in meetings, lived by a schedule, thrived to meet deadlines, the person who saw a goal and not only tried to meet it but exceeded it.
Without ever thinking about it or knowing it –this was my identity "Career Woman".
The lenses in which we view ourselves alters as we experience the joys, pains, accomplishments, failures and hurts of life - how we identify ourselves may alter through these experiences as well. Our innermost being desires to provide a sense of identity rooted in intellectual attributes or accomplishments, physical characteristics or social status. When my identity was uprooted I began struggling in the most unexpected areas. I did not recognize myself. I dreaded waking up in the morning because housework made me miserable. I wasn’t depressed but I felt very close to it. My children brought me so much joy, but I struggled in areas that I never even thought about before. Endless housework left me without a sense of accomplishment every night. I felt I lost my purpose. It caused me to grow anxious, angry and even bitter.
I asked God to help me to see my life through His eyes. Not only as a Christian, not only as a mother or wife, but as a woman walking in His purpose. I prayed and asked God to show me how to walk in my gifts in this new season of my life. I wanted to see myself as He sees me. I asked Him to help me feel content even in the washing of dishes and the folding of laundry.
Did God change me overnight to help me see myself in my new role? Not exactly, I embraced marriage and motherhood and all of the joys that came along with it but God created me a certain way, just as He created you in a unique way. Most of our goals, our passions, our desires and our longings are of God. He created us for His pleasure, we are His masterpiece. I prayed that God would help me to use my new role to glorify Him and teach me to use the gifts He’s given me in this new season - the same gifts that I was able to use at work and in ministry within the church. I prayed and asked God to show me the good things He has planned for my life.
"She looks well to the ways of her householdand does not eat the bread of idleness."Proverbs 31:27
If you have not read Proverbs 31, I encourage you to read it. Through much prayer and reading, I learned that gifts could be used in all seasons of life. In this season, I am a mother of two toddlers and a wife. I am learning to walk in love and grace without expectations or reservations. I am learning how to impart Christ into little lives in a way that they can enjoy and understand. I am learning that my role of wife and mother is much more than chores and meals. I relate to the Proverbs 31 woman and look to her example as a woman who used her God given gifts to bless her family both spiritually and financially. Her actions led to a blessed household and a fruitful testimony. Our passions and desires are not for one specific area or season of life but for all seasons of life. Each and every one of us are given very different gifts and desires. It is very easy to find our identity in our work, our relationships or some title, but that is not what God desires of us.
I encourage you today, to look deeper; to look beyond the superficial roles and discover who God created you to be. Find community and fellowship with other people of faith, and share your concerns. Seek others who can pray with you and talk with you through these emotions. My husband and sister both became an ear to listen and a voice of encouragement.
Whatever season we are in - whether in an office, at home with children, caring for family, or living single, we are His children. It is so important to find our identity and hope in Jesus alone, because at the end of the day, everything else fades away.
Roles change, relationships change, jobs change, children grow up, circumstances change, people will come and go from our life, but one thing is constant - Christ remains.
Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap where your identity is tied to any title or career. We should never allow our current role, our circumstances, or people’s opinions define who we are and how we see ourselves. We are not meant to be defined by our failures or our successes. We can experience true joy when we are content walking in our identity in Christ alone and His role for us than any other role we find ourselves in.
At one point or another in our walk with God we may experience an identity crisis. Life will always be filled with change but if we are confident in who God called us to be, no matter what season we find ourselves in we can have peace and joy.
Today, I can walk with joy and contentment knowing that the most important people in my life receive the very best of me everyday. God began to show me how to exercise my gifts and talents for this very exact time and season of my life. I started working part-time from home to allow God to use my desire to work. I started writing to share the encouragement that He has shown me – I have realized it is also very therapeutic for me. I have a checklist to help me feel a sense of accomplishment and keep me goal orientated since the days can sometimes run into each other. It is something that my type A personality longs for – goal getting. It is simple, but it keeps me focused and on task. I have learned to intentionally add things into my schedule like painting time, craft time, reading time (for me and for my children). It may seem insignificant but has given me a sense of that structure and priority I long for. My life at as a stay-at-home mom may not look like others and that is okay.
What matters most, is that Christ is at the center of it all.
What did life look like for you before kids? Can you relate to Misty's situation? Share with us in the comments below.