[This message was written by daughter Sarah. This ministry actually had it’s start the night she was born, but that’s a different story. Sarah is now married and has a baby daughter, Clara. The picture was painted by Sarah and is a self-portrait of her and Clara. I pray you are blessed by her words.]
As you may remember, I am the fourth oldest of Steve’s kids. I’ve watched my three older siblings learn to care for children and develop their families in inspiring ways. Now my first child, Clara, (aka Troxel grandbaby number 12!) is almost a year old. I’ve had a great year spending time with her and getting to know her, and I was reflecting on a common type of question I am asked: “How is being a mom?” or “Do you like motherhood?” or “Is being a mom hard?” As normal as these questions are, I am always confused on how to answer them, because I haven’t developed a conceptual identity of “motherhood.” I haven’t really thought of myself as “becoming a mother” so much as “getting a Clara.”
Bringing Clara into my life has involved a lot of little things, and I know it’s different in a way from everyone else’s experience of bringing a child into their lives. Some little things have been hard for me, like finding strength in my arms and back to hold her. But some things have been easy for us, like how she sleeps for over 12 hours through the night (we are very thankful for that one!). And there are unique things about her I absolutely love; like how she dances through her entire meal in her high chair; or how she starts the day by pulling all her children’s books off the shelf and flipping through them.
But I know a more significant reason why I haven’t really focused on myself as “becoming a mother.” It’s because I don’t see my primary identity as a mother, and I don’t think I ever will. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe raising children is a holy calling; in fact it’s a true mission work. But I cling to my first identity:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Though I’ve been given a child, I am still, first and foremost, a child of God. That’s the only thing that can truly define me. Hallelujah, I’ve been redeemed, and I share in Christ’s identity under the Father!
It is a glorious relief to remember that I don’t have to carry the weight of making my own meaning and purpose out of being a mother. I am with Clara mostly full time right now, so I spend a lot of my day taking care of a small person with frequent needs. But once a week we drop her off at church nursery. And when I stand in the sanctuary and sing to God with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I remember I am a child. I feel small and ignorant and needy. And I know I need Him more than I need to worry how Clara is doing in the nursery.
I don’t do this perfectly. Sometimes I do derive my purpose and meaning out of taking care of Clara. I love her a lot, and sometimes when she goes to bed for the night, I immediately lose all my sense of identity. I wander around the room, looking for some project that might fill the void. I think, “I’ve read my Bible today, so there’s really nothing left to do.” I forget to just be still and listen, to let God love me. Sometimes I have to lie down on the same floor where I played with Clara, and remember. My first identity remains! I have been given the Spirit of His Son making me cry “Abba, Father”, and reminding me that I am first a child.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Mar 2 Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52; Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22