This post is the fourth in a series called The Gap. Please click here to read from the beginning.
I wish I could say this didn’t almost break me.
I wish I could say that walking this road was easier than the initial days of infertility… those days of testing and diagnosis and intensely invasive and disappointing clinic visits. I wish I could sit here and assure you that the growing pains of embracing our life as two weren’t harder than all the roller-coaster months of hope and disappointment while we tried to conceive.
Walking this road nearly shattered me.
There is something about trying to conceive or pursuing parenthood that provides a sense of identity. Struggling with infertility we may be, but there is identity rooted in a desired role that we are moving towards. I’ve written about this before and it is very easy to buy into the lie that, as women, we are what we do. I’m a mom. I’m a career woman. I’m a teacher. I’m this thing that I wake up each morning to do. We easily entangle who we are with what we do.
Infertility messes that up more than a little. So often we hear ‘All I’ve ever wanted to be was a mom’ or ‘I’m meant to be a mom’… and more often than not the women speaking those phrases are blessed with beautiful miracles. And those of us who aren’t?
It feels melodramatic to call it an identity crisis. I had spent years consumed with a role I needed to fill that I had forgotten who I really was. I sat in church each Sunday feeling like a sham, a shadow of a woman, a pathetic wannabe. My life felt inadequate compared to motherhood. My job, though satisfying and enjoyable, felt like a mediocre waste of time compared to the noble task of motherhood. I overcompensated with my time and energies, desperately hoping others would notice the busy woman I was even though I wasn’t eking out the existence of the haggard, sleep-deprived, no sick-days, 24/7 mom.
And it nearly shattered me.
Not only me, apparently. I will never forget the day I read my friend Kristi‘s words:
I didn’t know who I was – almost like a bit of identity crisis. Was it enough to be a wife without being a mother? Was that significant enough? Those were the types of questions I really struggled with.
As I reached for more of Christ I realized that my identity wasn’t even in being a wife. I identify with that role but it is not my identity. My identity is wholly wrapped up in the loving arms of my Saviour who died on a cross to take all of my sin so that we could spend eternity together. That is who I am. I wish I had known that at the beginning so that the journey would have felt a little more secure.
After reading Kristi’s words, I began to plead with God to open my eyes to my true identity. I don’t even remember how many times over the next few weeks and months I saw the words of Isaiah 43:1… in blog posts, in sermons, in devotional reading, in signs at the Christian bookstore:
You are mine.
You are mine.
You are mine.
I wish I could say that I embraced that truth immediately. I don’t want to admit that for a period of time being a beloved, bought-with-blood child of my Heavenly Father still felt ‘less than’. I desperately desire to lie to you and say that I’m past this hurdle… that it no longer remains my lingering struggle when it comes to embracing this life.
God is faithful. He is good. All the time. His love and mercy have brought me more healing and joy than I could have imagined possible. And the deep peace that wakes with me each morning in the blue-grey light of dawn has with it a growing confidence that I am His and He is all I need. And that, my friends, is pure, undeserved grace: my lifeblood and the anchor of my soul.