Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Identity Crises

How many identity crises can one person have? Five years ago, I was catapulted into an empty nest by the sudden death of my beautiful, blossoming 15-year-old daughter. One day I was a mom, teaching her to drive, talking with her about boys and helping her adjust to our new home, and the next I wasn't. There was a transition period as we went through the motions of the funeral and a memorial service and were ministered to by friends and family. But I remember the fear I felt as I wrote that last thank you note. What now? If I'm not my daughter's mom, who am I?

My pastor invited me to serve on our church staff as an unpaid servant. In doing so, I took a personality quiz and a strength finders test. I began learning much about myself that I didn't know, and I began to function fairly well in that knowledge. Then, just when I was getting it figured out, thinking God was going to use me in a really big way in Women's Ministry or by having me write a book or something, everything changed.

I had bought my mid-life crisis car, a cute little fire engine red Volkswagen Beetle. I poured myself into my job and ministry. My husband and I took a cruise. And we became grandparents. Life was starting to feel somewhat normal. I still grieved the loss of my daughter. Some days were worse than others, but life was pretty good and something I could get used to.

But there's always an emptiness. I didn't get the affirmation and kudos I felt I deserved from my employers. Did they have any idea how hard I was working? Probably not. And that shouldn't be what I'm working for anyway.

I began having problems with my left hip and could hardly get in and out of my cute little car.

The cruise was a bit of a fiasco when our first flight was delayed and we literally missed the boat!

This foot loose and fancy free empty nest life just didn't seem to be all it had been cracked up to be.

I'm now in my 2nd identity crisis. After having my home just the way I wanted it for five years, we are now tripping over baby dolls and dress up shoes. The driveway is cluttered with a tricycle and Fred Flintstone car. The patio door is smeared and smudged even though I just washed it. I keep restocking the diaper bag only to find its contents all over the kitchen floor--again. I'm finding myself in power struggles over nap time and bedtime. I'm exhausted, but I can't sleep. The responsibility of raising a third child are heavy tonight. The changes she has brought are mostly wonderful (see my earlier post) but the fears that came with her can be paralyzing.

And who am I anyway? I was a mom, then suddenly I wasn't, now almost as suddenly, I am again! How am I supposed to keep up, Lord? The rules of the game keep changing. The answer is obvious but elusive. Of course I can't keep up. I just have to trust the One who can!

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!