Identity

bouguet 3Right now, there is peace in my house. My girls are playing in the yard, happily pretending some fanciful game of princesses. My Chai is hot and fragrant, my Bible is open next to my journal, a sign that my day will be guided through God’s grace.   I’ve been reflecting lately about how my dusty watercolor bag makes me feel. I’ve not painted in at least 6 months and I’m longing to get my brushes wet. Not long ago, I would’ve said that I felt like the core of who I am is decomposing beneath the dirty diapers, the endless loads of laundry, scrubbing the same skillet day after day. I have never been one for routine or monotony. I like change and spontaneity to a degree.

Once, I was a professional sculptor, full of the promise of a great career in the fine arts.  I put that aside when Lily joined our family.  I never really wanted the career, but the ache to consume my day elbows deep in clay and the solitude of my studio still follows me through my days.  My life was my art and my books, and I saw it as my identity.  Most days, the most creative thing I do is make a smiley face with fruit on a piece of peanut butter toast. If I think of my identity as my talents and hobbies, it is not too far of a detour to believe that my family and my responsibilities are robbing me of who I am.  Colossians 3:1-4 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” My identity has never been “artist” it has been “righteous child of God” since that day in 1994 when I asked Jesus to save me from my sins.  My merit as an artist didn’t change that, marrying Daniel didn’t change that, infertility didn’t change that, and motherhood isn’t changing that.

If I think of my identity as my talents and hobbies, it is not too far of a detour to believe that my family and my responsibilities are robbing me of who I am.

Has my calling changed? Yes.  My mission field was once in the art gallery parties proclaiming God’s glory as a creator to wealthy art collectors. Now, my mission field is telling my girls about God’s grace when I’m breaking up a skirmish. My ministry is making sure my husband is able to rest for his work as a provider, and to sharpen him as iron when we talk through Bible study notes.  When I make a pot of coffee and invite my weary friend to rest in my favorite chair and just listen, that is God’s work too.  It’s perhaps lost a bit of glamour, but this new calling is molding and shaping my character more than a paintbrush or clay ever did.

“Are you hurting and broken within? Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin? Jesus is calling. Have you come to the end of yourself; do you thirst for a drink from the well? Jesus is calling. O come to the altar, the Father’s arms are open wide.” — O Come to the Altar: Christ Brown, Wade Joye, Steven Furtick, and Mack Brown

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