I think most mothers go through a phase where they feel their identity is being changed. Today’s guest contributor shares how that shift in identity helped her to find her true value as a person. Please welcome Laura Adams to Chaotic Life!
Finding Your Value as a Person Through Motherhood
My best friend used to lovingly tease me about my perfect planners. I had a plan for everything: when I would eat, when I would study, when I would socialize, when I would do ministry. I carefully crossed off each task and appointment as I completed it. My life was completely under control. I counted down the days until my wedding and smiled to myself as I thought about all the fun things my husband and I would do together.
I liked to say I was a planner, but I was really just a control freak.
And then, six weeks after my wedding, I found out a baby was on the way. Surprise!
Being pregnant threw me for a loop. I was used to being able to accomplish a lot of tasks in a day, but that didn’t happen any more when my “first trimester” nausea and exhaustion lasted through all three trimesters. Occasionally I would have a good day. I would get really excited and try to do as many things as possible, but then the exhaustion would catch up with me and I would be worse than ever.
While I would have never admitted it before, I had been placing a lot of my identity and sense of value in my productivity. When I couldn’t accomplish what I wanted, I felt as if I wasn’t contributing anything to the world. It bothered me, but I thought that my health and physical abilities would improve after my baby was born.
My son was born alive and healthy, but I had severe complications from which I have still not recovered completely over a year later. The health improvement never really happened, and that was hard for me to accept. I had placed so much of my identity in being highly productive that losing it was a painful thing.
Finding New Value
Sanctification is the process of becoming more holy. It’s not something that happens all at once. Rather, it’s a lifelong process for believers. Of course, we will never be perfect this side of heaven, but Christians should always be striving to be more like Jesus.
“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
Hebrews 12:14 (NASB)
When we make the right choices, we are glorifying God. I believe that God can use other people to teach us about Him and His nature. My experience with my son taught me an important truth: My value is not in what I do, it’s in Whose I am.
Before I was a wife and mother, I achieved some things that were pretty cool. I got a lot of attention and support for those things, and I liked that. It was easy to slip into feeling valued because I had won an award or because I had good grades or because of some other achievement that really meant nothing in the grand scheme of eternity.
Motherhood doesn’t work like that. No one is handing out trophies to colic survivors. Even if it goes unrecognized though, being a mother is valuable. Furthermore, you are valuable. You were created in the image of God, and because of that you have inherent dignity and worth.
God loves me always. He doesn’t only love me when my house is 100% clean. On an intellectual level, I knew that. I could tell you the Official Correct Answer to the question of “when does God love me?” But I wasn’t living like Jesus loved me. I was living as if I had to have everything together all the time to be worthy of love. It drove me completely crazy that my house – and my life – were disasters when I had a colicky newborn. I beat myself up mentally. She has seven children and she cooks real meals that aren’t from a crockpot…why can’t you get it together with one colicky newborn?
I often fall into the trap of thinking theology is something that is abstract and impractical, but this is an example of when theology was critical. Once we recognize the truth of all people being created in the image of God, it changes our mindsets. Once we realize that we are loved by the God of the universe, we can cease striving and know that in this moment, there is peace.
The New Plan
Recently, I was asked what my five year plan is. Two years ago as an engaged woman, I would have had a five year plan and have been able to tell you all about it. I have no five year plan now. I could try to make one, but honestly a lot can happen in five years. Instead, I’m trying to focus on making the right choices in any given moment. Am I showing patience when my toddler has been whining all day? Am I showing love to that person at church? Am I listening to what the Lord is teaching me as I go about my day?
In this season of toddlerhood, I hold my plans and my schedules and my to do lists loosely, but I hold my Jesus more tightly than ever before.
About Laura Adams
Laura Adams loves her family, good books, and good coffee. Right now, Laura is in a season of homemaking. She desires to live out 1st Corinthians 10:31, which says “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Her desire is to bring glory to Him in all things, even the seemingly mundane. You can read more of her writing at her blog, Homemaking for His Glory.