“You are still his mom.”
These words were a balm to my aching heart as I struggled to understand exactly what I was grieving about my son’s upcoming out-of-state move. I expected to be sad; change is often hard for me and I have spent every day of the past 20 years investing in him. And I understood the bittersweet happiness of watching his face light up as he counted down the days until his new solo adventure began; he is leaving home to pursue the dreams and goals he has been working toward since he was quite young. But my grief was surprisingly bigger and deeper than I had expected.
I told my husband the strength of my grief must mean this life change was revealing a false belief I held about my identity. Although raising my children was an important job, intellectually I knew it did not define me. While mothering has been a focused, sacrificial, time-intensive effort, it was not the foundation on which my life was built. But somewhere along the line, I unknowingly adopted the belief that being a mom was who I was. My sense of value was threatened when I realized I would no longer be investing in my son face-to-face each day. My husband’s response – you are still his mom – reminded me of an important truth: my role as a mom has changed many times over the years, but my identity has remained the same.
I am thankful that my significance, security, and acceptance – and my experience of far more life — do not come from being a mom. In fact, they are not based on any human relationship or earthly role. Instead they come from Christ and my relationship with Him. One day my roles as wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, ministry leader, employee, and more will come to an end. But I will remain who I am in Christ forever. And while my earthly roles are rewarding for a short time, they are not the foundation of far more life that brings contentment and joy for eternity.
Dr. Neil T. Anderson pulled together a list of Biblical descriptions of our identity in Christ. They provide a wonderful reminder of what is unchanging and valuable about each of God’s children. These are our defining characteristics, what truly give us significance, security and acceptance. Even if everything else is stripped away from our lives, these foundational truths remain intact. Read through the list slowly, letting the importance of each statement about your identity sink in.
- I am God’s child. (John 1:12)
- I am Christ’s friend. (John 15:15)
- I have been justified. (Romans 5:1)
- I am united with the Lord and one with Him in spirit. (I Corinthians 6:17)
- I have been bought with a price; I belong to God. (I Corinthians 6:20)
- I am a member of Christ’s body. (I Corinthians 12:27)
- I am a saint. (Ephesians 1:1)
- I have been adopted as God’s child. (Ephesians 1:5)
- I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)
- I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. (Colossians 1:14)
- I am complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)
- I am free forever from condemnation. (Romans 8:1-2)
- I am assured that all things work together for good. (Romans 8:28)
- I am free from any condemning charges against me. (Romans 8:33-34)
- I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Romans 8:35)
- I have been established, anointed and sealed by God. (2 Corinthians 1:21)
- I am hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
- I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected. (Philippians 1:6)
- I am a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)
- I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
- I can find grace and mercy in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
- I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. (I John 5:18)
- I am the salt and light of the earth. (Matthew 5:13-14)
- I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life. (John 15:1, 5)
- I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
- I am a personal witness of Christ’s. (Acts 1:8)
- I am God’s temple. (I Corinthians 3:16)
- I am a minister of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
- I am God’s coworker. (2 Corinthians 6:1)
- I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 2:6)
- I am God’s masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
- I may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
I am thankful for these reminders of the identity God has given me in Christ. I will probably need to revisit them again next week when my daughter moves out of the house. I do not know what false beliefs that change will reveal, but I am thankful God’s truth is reliable and unchanging! He is the only foundation on which we can build far more life.
What has challenged your sense of identity?
Where, besides Christ, have you looked for significance, security, and acceptance?
As you read the list of truths, which were most meaningful? For any that were hard to believe or accept, what do you believe instead? Consider talking to God about the differences and working to discover the barriers that keep you from readily accepting His truth.
Thank God for being the stable foundation on which you build far more life!