My three-year-old asks a lot of questions. He often asks me the same questions every day; I’m sure none of you know what this experience is like. One question he asks me over and over again is, “Mama, what’s your name? What’s Daddy’s name?” and so on, until I’ve listed the first, middle, and last name of everyone in our family. When I reach his name, he puffs his little chest up with pride and joins along with me. “I’m Nicholas James Byersdorf!” Except our last name is kind of hard to say, so it ends up sounding something like “Buy-ers-duff!”
Let’s be honest -- I think my son just likes to hear the sound of his own voice, as he repeats his rehearsed lines of questioning. But I also think that he likes to be reminded of who he is. I think he’s comforted by knowing where he fits in this world, what family he’s a part of.
I find that, most days, I’m a lot like my three-year-old. I need to be reminded, often, by my Father in heaven who I really am. I need Him to tell me that I’m His daughter. I need to know where I fit in this world.
It can be so easy for me to speak for the Father, interrupting Him before He can get His loving words out, as I make bold statements about my identity. I let shame, pride, or even just wanting to fit into a category that makes sense to the world define who I am -- instead of the Father’s voice. When I’m having a bad day, I meticulously keep track of the times I yelled at my kids, or missed the big deadline, or was late to a playdate again. On those days I’m “Failure,” “Disappointment,” or “Close, But Not Close Enough.” There are also days when I forget the privilege of being a child of God, and I find security and significance in any title that the world might praise me for: “Cooks with Organic Meat.” “Ministry Leader.” “Mom to two cute, healthy, growing boys.” None of those labels are inherently bad -- but they are not what gives me value. They give me a false home, one that depends on my own abilities. You bet that as soon as I mess up, I’ll be out on the search for my identity once again.
I want to be more like my three-year-old. I want to relentlessly ask the Father, “What’s my name?” When He says that I’m His Daughter, I want my chest to swell with pride as I repeat His words to myself: “I am a Child of God. I am endlessly loved by the perfect Father.” This is my identity! This is my truest sense of self.
When I ask the Father, He is quick to reveal to me my true identity. When I speak those words over myself, the other labels fall away. Moms, we don’t have to settle for false identities. We aren’t our disappointments, and we aren’t our moments of failure. We’re also not our accomplishments. What we “do” and what’s on our resume can come and go -- because our truest identity is everlasting.
Ask the Lord today who you really are. Take a minute to listen. If you hear anything but “Beloved,” or “My Child,” or “Beautiful” -- those words are not from your Father. He wants to joyfully tell you, day after day, that you are beloved, and that you have a permanent home in the family of God. I wonder how our lives would change, and how abundantly we would live, if we take the Father at His Word and live out of our truest identity.
Mackenzie is the Thrive Moms Prayer Ministry Manager. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two boys, working with a church planting team. Mackenzie is a big fan of people, iced coffee, and step-stools because she’s really, really short. You can find her as @pintsizedmama on Instagram, or at her blog www.pinsizedmama.com.