Who am I?: Losing Your Identity to Motherhood

I remember taking a look at my old blog last year. One I started in 2010. It was before we fostered, before we adopted, before we birthed. I looked at pictures of my past mission trips, hiking trips, and musings. I just stared at the pictures of myself and honestly I felt so disconnected from that person.

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My blog thumbnail in 2010- Taken on our first cruise to Cozumel, Mexico

Motherhood is all consuming. It’s easy to lose sight of all my other roles: wife, daughter, nurse, sister. Children are completely dependent little people. And because I focus so much on them I start to wonder:

Who in the world is that person? What did I used to be like? Who am I now?

Because I feel like I am a totally different person than I was before.

More like I started singing that song from Mulan, “Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me?” Because all I watch is Disney movies now!

I’ve been a mom for 7 years now and I’ve mothered 7 children. Not all of my children have I kept however. In 4 years I’ve fostered 4 children and adopted 2 of them. So I’ve had quite a bit of roles: foster mom, adoptive mom, biological mom. Granted, they are still all “mom”. Despite the fact that foster and adoptive have some added bureaucratic responsibilities they all “look” the same to me.

Motherhood has this way of changing women. I guess it could be for the worse but mostly it SHOULD be for the better. Or maybe it doesn’t change us. It just brings out the bits of us that we’ve never seen before. The sleep deprived, anxious, angry bits. The overwhelming, overflowing, joyous, happy bits. There is nothing like it.

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Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

Motherhood has this way of changing women. I guess it could be for the worse but mostly it SHOULD be for the better. Or maybe it doesn’t change us. It just brings out the bits of us that we’ve never seen before. The sleep deprived, anxious, angry bits. The overwhelming, overflowing, joyous, happy bits. There is nothing like it.

Maybe motherhood hasn’t made me any different. Maybe I’m still made of the same me that I was before. I’m just showing something new on the outside that was always there.  Maybe I’m ever changing. I’m learning new habits and breaking old ones. I’m learning to cherish new moments and set aside my old desires. I’m breaking a little over here and mending a little over there. Sometime it hurts and sometimes it feels good.

And then I get it.

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.” Malachi 3:3-4 NIV

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Photo by Johannes Wredenmark on Unsplash

Jesus is making me better. Even better than 2010 when I started my first blog. Even when I wore a size 8. When I went on mission trips. When I went weeks without losing my temper. When I had hardly anything to remember so I had nothing to forget. When I had more free time than ever. When I was more self-consumed than ever. When I had less joy and appreciation for Him.

He’s refining me like a piece of metal. He stokes up the fires and gets my impurities out. The fires are not meant to consume me, they are meant to show what is inside of me. So he can do the work to get them out.

Sometimes all I can see are the impurities. I forget about the glittery gold and the shiny silver that I actually am. He sees everything yucky about me and he still loves me. He doesn’t give up on refining me because he knows how valuable I am.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV

God has a plan for us. He has work for us to do. Motherhood is work and it is a good work. It’s not our only work but sometimes it feels that way. Its also part of his purifying plan. It helps us to see the things inside us that we need to change. It helps us to see His love, His plan, His creation, His disappointment, His ache for things to get better for us.

So who am I now? Who was I back then? I’m not sure there’s a clear cut answer. There are things I am missing about the old me, I shouldn’t miss them, but I do. There are things about the present me that I don’t like, I can’t seem to fix them, but He will. There is beauty that he is creating in me now. Right now.

I might not know who I am…But I know Whose I am. I am God’s purifying project.

 

2 thoughts on “Who am I?: Losing Your Identity to Motherhood

  1. I am so excited for you and your accomplishment of releasing this book. Having read some of your blogs and knowing you, I would like to see if I can write anything that may strike a chord with you. If not, I tried because I have felt very overwhelmed before and have found ways to cope that work for me.
    I have a learned to have great capacity for compartmentalizing and to deal with things in my own time (somewhat). Basically, I can control my reactions and be logical in the moment compared to the old me. And in that vein, everything has a season. This may be your season for sacrifice, childrearing, and authoring. Reading, traveling, skinniness, sleeping, and even selfishness will come again and you will enjoy them more for the wait. Look forward to them and plan for them. Keep a list of all the things you want to read. Tear out pictures in magazines of things you like and put them in clear sleeves in a notebook. When you look at them, they will either become more important to you (a goal) or less important (and you can learn about yourself in this way, too). But, you haven’t given up on the old you and things you enjoy, I guess it’s just how you think about it.
    I put a smile on my face and I actually feel a little happier. I lay in the grass and find shapes in the clouds or just pet my dog and wonder what she is thinking. It’s a tiny break from reality. Take deep breaths every day and focus on the good stuff. Create success in the children, it breeds more success. Positive breeds positive. And don’t forget you are doing it right now, so just keep doing it.

    Love you, Beth

    Like

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