Thoughts On Identity And Mother’s Day

May 13, 2018

Today I celebrate my Mom! Motherhood is a noble calling - despite the tendency of our culture to undervalue its impact and reach. This “Hallmark occasion” can be a reflective time, and it certainly evokes a variety of emotions.

Shift in Perspective

A huge shift in perspective occurred when I became a Mother myself! I began to grasp how much my Mom gave of herself: the dedication, hard work, sacrifice. She was purposeful in raising children of character and empathy, to be good corporate citizens, devoted to family, friends, and honoring God.

Shift in Identity

Parenthood introduced a fundamental shift in my identity. Now, as I was wearing the title “Mom”, my heart was being stretched significantly and permanently. These three little lives captured a vast swath of real-estate inside my heart. No longer was life just about me and my husband. My circle of concern had grown exponentially, significantly defining me.

Fast forward to the year when our twin boys were 17 years old. The accident that took their lives was traumatic and life-altering for our family. The pain that accompanies the loss of the child is proportionate to the space they took up in a Mother’s heart. I hurt much because I loved much. As Jordan and Evan unexpectedly and abruptly exited out of our lives, it tore out a significant piece of my identity.

A Protective, Sacrificial Love

When it comes to protecting our kids from hurt, we are willing to go to the wall for them. I know that if it were humanly possible, I would have died in my boys’ place in February 2016. Had I been aware of what was transpiring, I would have intervened at any personal cost. A Mom’s love can be fierce and uncompromising.

Did you know that God’s love for us is not unlike that of a dedicated Mother? As imperfect and flawed as we are as Moms, there are characteristics that reflect God’s heart of love toward all of us: love that is sacrificial, unconditional, permanent, full of grace and acceptance. Did you know that God would “go to the wall for you”? Actually, did you know that He ALREADY demonstrated his sacrificial love for you?

God sent His only Son, Jesus, to walk this earth, to suffer a brutal death, and to rise from the dead. Jesus provides a lens through which we can understand who God is. Ultimately, Jesus demonstrated God’s incredibly generous love toward us: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

The same ferocious advocacy (that I feel as a Mom) is what put Jesus on the cross, by God the Father. It was God’s desire to make provision for us. He helped us pay the debt we could not pay, in order to restore our relationship with our heavenly Father. Jesus is a gift from God - putting us in right standing with Him.

Honest Observations

There are many different lenses through which people see Mother’s Day. Sadly, it can be a day for some to identify strongly with feelings of pain or failure. I think of my Grandmother who was abandoned by her Mom by age 3, and raised in a number of abusive foster homes in the 1920’s. I think of friends who have been unable to conceive. On the other hand, there are new Mom’s out there who feel so very overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising those little ones. Mother’s need NO extra assistance in area of self-flagellation; the presence of social media has certainly created a perceived gold standard – that of which most Mom’s feel they fall short. More recently, I am coming to understand the heartache of being a Mom whose children have passed away.

Your identity?

I encourage you to consider that – despite these very real heartaches – when we place our full trust in Jesus, He restores us from sin and gives us a new identity in Himself. He provides direct access to a relationship with God. He takes what is broken and makes us whole and complete. This identity in Jesus has the power to lift us above our pains and failures. He will fill you with His grace, love and acceptance. He will give you a peace and hope that carries you through life’s difficult circumstances.

In a culture where we place so much emphasis on identity, have you considered accessing the gift that Jesus offers: an identity in Him?

God’s words to my heart:

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.