Identity Crisis


Men and women who are battling infertility do not deal with the exact same emotions. What my husband experienced was very different than what I went through, even though we walked the road hand in hand.

The most valuable thing I can pass on to any woman is something that took me years to understand. I’m still not quite sure I can explain it, but men and women just process emotions, especially those tied to children, very differently. Please don’t assume that if your husband does not react in the same way you do that he does not care or that he is not hurting.

I had allowed my entire identity to become wrapped up in the idea of motherhood. So the work that God was doing in my heart during those years was completely different from the work He was doing in my husband’s heart. Culture does much to nurture this idea that children are our identity. As we got older and friends around us began their families, it was difficult not to feel left behind. We struggled to find a place to fit in even at our church. It seemed as if every social event I’d go to, the first question I was asked was always the same. And each time I had to answer, it nearly took my breath away.

“So, do you have kids?”

Men might not fall into that kind of thinking as easily as women, but other things, such as success in the workplace, can appear to become a man’s identity. Again, our society helps to promote that kind of thinking. What do guys usually inquire upon meeting a new acquaintance?

“So, what do you do?”

During the years that were filled with questions, uncertainty, fear, and even loss, a shift began to take place within my heart. Right in the middle of my crisis, I started to realize that something about me was different. It would take time to fully comprehend what that difference was, but I will tell you this: it was all about being free. I was still in the same struggle, but my eyes saw my circumstances in a very different way.

I started to trace my newfound freedom back to the new way I now saw my God. It’s as if my lenses were adjusted and I understood things that I had never even considered before. In the past, I had bought into the lie that control would guarantee my safety. If I could control all of my fears, then I would truly be safe. When God led me down a path where I would have a face-to-face encounter with my worst fear, the thought of not being able to have children, it revealed so much about myself, but even more about Him. In fact, I am learning that the more I know about God, the more I discover the woman He made me to be.

In Matthew 16, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter speaks up and answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Here is how the rest of their conversation unfolds:

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Matthew 16:17-18 (NIV)

Peter, or Petros, literally means rock, and it was through Peter that Jesus vowed to build his church. One thing that strikes me as incredibly significant is that this conversation between Jesus and Peter took place before the night of Jesus’ arrest, when Peter would deny that he even knew Jesus, three times. Jesus knew that Peter was not perfect. Jesus knew Peter would screw up. Jesus was able to see past Peter’s failures (even those that had not yet occurred) and look straight into his heart, and see his love for Christ and his faith in Jesus as his Savior. That is what God considered worthy enough to use for His purpose.

When we acknowledge who God is, and root our faith deeply in Christ, only then do we even get a glimpse of who we are. Notice that Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” After Peter answers, revealing his rock solid faith as his name affirms, Jesus says, “And I tell you that you are Peter.” Jesus was being intentional. As Peter recognized who Jesus was and placed his faith in Him alone, his identity was made known, by Jesus. As hard as we search for purpose in life, we can never find our identity anywhere but in Jesus Christ.

At the age of 32, I am still discovering who God created me to be. He is still uncovering how He intends to use my life, the dark times and the joyful times, the sorrow and the laughter, the struggles and the blessings, all for His purpose.

Because Christ lives in me, the better I know Him, the better I know me.

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