When we flipped the calendar to March this year, we also flipped to a new chapter in our lives. Our children are now 13 and 11, and with the passing of my 40th birthday last fall, I no longer consider myself a “young mom.”
Those early years of motherhood are hard, full of little sleep, endless diapers, wrestling carseats (and, later, booster seats that aren’t much better), not to mention the time safari hunting the elusive babysitter. Amidst the joys of the firsts—first word, first step, first sentence, first time sleeping through the night—there are the trials of motherhood: the growing laundry pile, the congregation in the bathroom every time you need to go, the middle of the night bedding changes of pee and vomit. The satisfaction of cooking a delicious meal only to be told that you are basically the family’s servant by a well meaning 6 year old.
For me, though, the hardest bit ended up being the loss of my sense of self during that time. I didn’t know who I was anymore. My whole self became wrapped up in the minute-by-minute life that is parenting young children. My husband would ask about a five-year plan, and all I could come up with was “survive.” At my yearly exams, my doctor would ask me “How are you?” and I would tear up and think “WHO am I?”
In the middle of this loss of self, I learned an important truth: Who I am in God’s eyes never changes.
We read in Isaiah 43:1,4a, “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine… Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…’”
And later in Galatians 4:7, “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
I am God’s beloved child; he has called me by name. No matter my circumstances, no matter my successes or failures, his love for me never changes. One of my favorite verses is Deuteronomy 7:6a, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession. . .”
Read that again: God has chosen you and me to be his treasured possessions. When I read those words, I picture God cradling in his hands a delicate Fabergé egg, holding it close to his heart. You—yes, the mom in the yoga pants and the messy bun who hasn’t showered for three days—you are a treasured possession.
I have even better news for us today. God never puts conditions on these declarations about how he feels. He doesn’t say, “Because you didn’t yell at your kids today, you are loved and honored.” And he doesn’t say, “Because you fed your family three vegetables every night for supper, you are my treasured possession.” And he doesn’t say, “Because you have your life totally together, I claim you for mine, you are my heir.” No! He says that we as believers are constantly chosen, loved, and treasured. Even on our worst days.
When you can’t seem to find yourself in the midst of the messy, beautiful, draining motherhood days, rest in the promise that God continues to hold you close. He loves you and he calls you by name.