Today’s post is written by Crystal Stine, my guest here today.
I don’t always recognize the woman I see in the mirror. How did she get to this place? Who is she? What is her purpose in life? Motherhood has done that, stripped me of my former identity that felt so sure and right and easy.
I was happy to be defined by my job, my education, my marriage, my volunteering. What others thought of me mattered. Still matters.
But I took their opinions of me, good and bad, and made them who I was.
Difficult to work with
It was easy to breeze through life in that armor, dressed in the perceptions of others, happy to let my experiences and the people in my life define me. It was easier than facing the truth, easier than taking time to listen to God and do the work to transform into the kind of person He wanted me to be. Who He created me to be. I lost my identity the moment my daughter was born. All of it. I became “mom” to all the doctors and nurses. It took the nurse at her first pediatrician’s visit nearly 30 minutes to ask my name and even still they simply call me “mom” when we visit.
The period of mourning the loss of who I used to be has not been easy. It has been a road of struggle, tears, frustration, depression, loneliness, and stress on my marriage and it continues to be a journey. In my mind I constantly wonder, who am I? What purpose does God have for me now? Becoming a mother has rocked my happy, easy world.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. My daughter has taught me the art of experiencing the present in a way no one else ever has. I know joy, daily, because it is how she views the world. The sheer terror, however, of realizing that God has trusted us to raise this child into the daughter He created her to be is the thing anxiety attacks are made of. I can’t even figure out who God wants me to be and now I am responsible for this beautiful child?
But if God trusts me to do this, then shouldn’t I trust Him to not leave me alone? And what if, in giving me this blessing, He is doing the parent-work Himself in my heart, transforming me into the definition of daughter/wife/friend/mother that He knew all along I would be, but couldn’t become until all world-armor was stripped bare.
And now, in the simplicity, I can be still and wait for God to open doors, to show me where He wants me and how to use His gifts for His glory. While I wait, I think I must just watch this little girl of mine give a big gummy grin into that mirror and enjoy knowing that we are His, and that is all my heart needs to know right now.
Crystal Stine has a heart for encouraging women through the written word. She blogs at Shine where you’ll find posts about motherhood, marriage, friendship, God and more. Crystal spends her days working at a bank as a project manager and marketing officer and manages the worship band Stars Burn Down. You can follow Crystal on Twitter at @CrystalStine.