When I became a mother, I had a problem. I felt my identity had changed.
As if somehow I kept the old me, but I also had new parts that hadn’t been there before.
I remember at the time reading opinions in the media that women should be careful not to lose their identity once they became mothers – that they should pursue themselves, and their passions.
But somehow this seemed wrong to me, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that was.
I didn’t understand the whole mother identity dilemma.
Now that I was a mum, was I some amalgamation of Anna the mother, and Anna, the pre-mum?
Are other people’s perceptions of me true?
And then I also wondered about my identity when I felt myself being judged and labeled by others.
When I was out with the children and forgot to take one of their items, I felt others judge me and label me as “negligent”.
When I got impatient with my children and snapped at them, I felt others label me as “irritable”.
So I started wondering if that’s who I was. Maybe that was my identity, and if it was, I couldn’t change.
But later I realized that when I felt myself judged by others, it was my perception of what their thoughts were that was the cause for this insecurity.
In actual fact, I wasn’t in their minds, so there was no way of knowing if that’s really what they thought of me!
To be sure, some people made comments about what I did, but did that equate to these labels I perceived they put on me?
And so the real problem was what I thought of myself!
The truth was, I felt guilty. Because I didn’t really understand that while I did sin and I did make mistakes, that didn’t affect my identity.
But when God started speaking to me about the truth of the Gospel in relation to my motherhood, everything changed.
First, He showed me that every time I sinned as a mother, that sin was covered and it had no impact on my identity.
When I sinned as a mother, like when I got impatient with my children, or I was unfair, or I shouted at them and damaged our relationship for those brief moments, all those didn’t change my identity.
I was still a child of God; I was still free from condemnation. I was simply imperfect, in myself.
When I came to understand how my identity was not set by other people’s opinions (including my own!) but in who I was in Jesus, I felt released.
I no longer needed to seek approval from others, because in Jesus, I had God’s approval.
My other issue with identity though was who I was as a mother. Did I have a new identity? Or was I mixture of two different “mes”?
You see, I also confused role and relationship with identity. I thought I needed to say I was X, Y, or Z to define me, instead of realizing that my true identity was actually not in what I did, or what my roles or relationships were, but it was based on Jesus.
And so, that meant that my identity hadn’t changed when I became a mum! My identity changed once in my life, and that was when I put my faith in Jesus, as my saviour.
When I came to see this, I realized the shocking truth, my real identity is not that of a mother, it’s that of a daughter!
I’m the daughter of the King of Kings! That’s my identity!