Identity Crisis: Part 2



We wrap up so much of who we are in this thing called identity.  We find our worth in it and we find others worth in it.  We categorize people based on whether they are married or single.  We categorize people differently if they are 19 and are married or if they are 45 and single.  We have this norm and we pretty much associate our worth and others based on where it falls in the normal range.  If we find our identity solely in our marriage status, then what happens if that changes?

I am in a stage where I identify myself as a mother, a stay-at-home mother which identifies me even further.  My day revolves around nap time and that’s just where I am right now.  But even this identity is not guaranteed.  Last year I met 3 women in the course of a month who experienced the loss of a young child.  Heart-wrenching.  Absolutely unfathomable it seems.  But, these women are living their lives, still hurting and still grieving, but still having a purpose to live.  Had they found their identity solely in motherhood then what would be their motivation to wake up each and every morning?  Even this identity can change.  (click here to read about one little boy who impacted the world in his 2 years 10 months on this earth and his mother’s journey)

We identify ourselves with political parties, sports teams, and universities.  We find our identity in the way we look, where we shop, and our athletic ability.  And while it is a culmination of these things that make us who we are, I believe there is something bigger, something that actually has worth.  I believe that my identity must first and foremost be found in my faith in Jesus.  My style might change, my hair will grey some day, if I am blessed to outlive my children, then I will still experience the empty nest once they leave.  My job has changed, and perhaps will continue to change.  But my faith is unwavering.  My worth comes from being a child of God.  Having a belief that I have a purpose to live today and to bring hope to others is my motivation.  I want this identity to infiltrate my life so that my job as a mother, a wife, a friend and all my other identities reflect this.

And so, as we were encouraged to come up with a family mission statement in the parenting class we have been taking for the last 6 weeks, this is what we came up with.  When I am feeling uncomfortable in my skin or when my child is hurt by a mean comment on the playground, I want us to think about the things that really matter; the things that give us our worth.

This is who we want to be as a family.  This is the identity I want my life to reflect.

We, the Ristows, open are hands and hearts to God and others, as we seek to be a family that is giving and forgiving, content but not complacent, bringing joy and hope to neighbors and nations.


6 responses »

  1. Wow, a family mission statement! You should get a sign for your door. I identify myself with sports and being a mom and say I don’t care what others think, but really do. I wish my boobs were huge and I was super skinny and could wear a size 2. I often miss working full time and telling people I’m a journalist. Being “just” a wife and mother doesn’t seem enough at times and now I will be a mom again, so I will have to let go of things I like to do such as coaching and playing volleyball. When Connor acts up, I feel it reflects poorly on me. I’m stressed and yell sometimes and wish I were softspoken and what people would describe as sweet. Only problem is, everything I would like to be just isn’t who I am so then there’s the challenge of accepting the way God created me, focusing less on other’s flaws and being more forgiving like I expect others to be with me.

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