There isn’t much I find more delight in than caring for my children. They are a joy to be with. I could listen to my daughter’s belly laugh and my sons deep, yet still child-like, voice chatter all day long. I have had four miscarriages and I do wonder if that loss has helped me to see just what a gift from God my children are to me. But even still, when I think about this wonderful responsibility and the joy of being a mother it’s not what defines me. I don’t define myself as a mom first and I don’t believe it would be good or helpful to my children if I sought to find my identity in them either.
A New Creation, a New Identity
I am a new creation. The old is gone and with this comes a new identity (Col. 3:10). My old self has died and my new life with Christ means a new identify with him too (2 Cor 5:17). With this new birth comes a new identity. I no longer live for myself. Paul wrote about this new creation in Galatians: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2: 19b-20). Being identified with Christ means full and free acceptance by God, the ability to approach a Holy God, no condemnation, complete forgiveness, righteousness before God, and presentation to God one day as blameless and perfect. Now that’s amazing grace! This is an identity that can never be taken away from me. Ever. No one can take it away from you either.
The moment you or I begin to place our identity, our hope, in anything other than Jesus we will be joyless, left striving and empty. If our identity is in our children and they fail, for example, we may be embarrassed and afraid of the opinions of others. If our identity is in our children then any move these image bearers make begins to be a reflection of us—either we feel good about ourselves or we are discouraged. When our identity is in our children our measure becomes their performance. This not only damages our own spiritual health and joy, it damages theirs too. The pressure will be felt and our children will bear a burden they never were meant to bear—they will become figurative gods.
One of the most caring and loving things I can do as a mom for my children is to acknowledge and live as this new creation with my new identity. I love them most, I believe, when I am resting in my identity with Christ and not trying to seek my identity in motherhood. I want to be an example to my children, not of a perfect person, I’m not—I make mistakes and my children see them—but as a desperate person. I want to be calling out to God, spending time in His Word and learning all I can about Jesus. I want my kids to see that I confess my sin, repent and receive God’s grace. I trust that as I live out my identity and pour myself into Christ, my kids will reap the benefits and so will I. I may never learn to sew extremely well, I may not have the cleanest home, and I probably won’t be organized enough to pull off the soccer mom role, but by the grace of God they’ll know me as a mom who loved Jesus first and who found my identity in him.
This is part of my first draft series. You can read about the series here: http://www.trillianewbell.com/2019/01/17/first-draft-blogging-series/
Also, if you haven’t heard, we are doing an online Bible study! Learn more here: http://www.trillianewbell.com/2019/03/01/announcing-god-us-online-study/