I had a conversation with a woman who was hurting today. Like me she suffers from PCOS. Like me she recently went through a devastating miscarriage and is trying to pick up the pieces left over of herself.
Ever since I was young I have wanted to be a mother. I would answer the question posed by teachers "What do you want to be when you grow up?" with "a mother". It was then repeated "yes, but what do you want to do?" - answer - "be a mum!" They would sigh and shake their heads - obviously thinking I was a no-hoper who had no ambition.
The truth is, I had huge ambition. I wanted to care for and nurture children of my own and raise them to be amazing contributors to our world. If that isn't a respectable ambition then I don't know what is. The young lady I was talking to today also has the ambition to be a mother. What happens when that fails? What happens when your ambitions lie out of your reach?
Often women who suffer from fertility issues feel like failures. Our identity is so wrapped up in our struggle to conceive that we feel totally worthless when we are unable to. Worthless. Failures. Less of a woman.
So are we truly worthless? Should our whole value depend on whether we are able to produce offspring? Where should we find our identity? Jonathan Pearson wrote in a blog post recently:
"...we often look for (our) identity in things that aren't stable enough to support it. We look for our identity in the temporary and non-satisfying things. We move from thing to thing and are left with emptiness and unfulfilled potential."
Being a mother is something unstable. Sadly not all of us are able to conceive and carry children. As much as it sounds like a wonderful thing to find fulfillment in - motherhood - it still is something that can fall away.
So then, if we aren't to find our identity in what we do or what we have, where is a stable place to find it?
When an artist creates a work of art, they are the ones who are truly know what it represents, what its meaning is. They know what inspired them to create the masterpiece. They are the ones who give it a name. They know what the piece was created to do and the purpose it has. Sure other people can have opinions on what the piece signifies to them but only the artist can truly understand the depth of what the piece was intended to be.
Humans, with all our incredibly intricate cells and DNA, are works of art. We were created by an incredibly creative artist who not only knew what we were designed to be but also what our purpose is. We can allow others to describe us and put a value or price tag on us. We can let them name us and decide on our worth. But what does our creator, our artist, the one who truly knows us to the last hair on our head and the tiniest cell in our body - who does he say we are and where our value lies?
In Ephesians 1:1 it says:
"It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ,... He had His eye on us, had designs for us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone."
We find our true identity in Jesus Christ. We find out what we were made for and why.
I love this verse in Jeremiah 17:7-8:
"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord... They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit."
When we find our identity deep in the heart of Christ, we are able to hold strong when trials and hard times come along. We know then that who we are is not dependant on our circumstances.
I have found so much on this topic today in the book by Rick Warren "The Purpose Driven Life". I could almost share the whole book with you as it talks about what our purpose is and where to find our identity. I will simply leave you with one passage to ponder and encourage you to read the book.
"It's not about you.
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It's far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose... Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won't discover your life's meaning by looking within yourself. You've probably tried that already. You didn't create yourself, so there is no way you can tell what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn't know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn't be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner's manual could reveal its purpose."
Maybe it's time to read the owner's manual?
*Thanks for your comments! I really love reading them!*