1 Peter 1:2-3;
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”
Who are you? If someone were to ask you, who are you, how would you respond? A very common, if not the most standard, response in our American culture is to identify ourselves by what we do. So you may identify as a lawyer, teacher, working mother, stay-at-home mother, or something in between. Although, finding a part of your identify in what you do is not entirely problematic, I would like to challenge what or more importantly, Who our primary identity is placed in. We have it modeled with Peter’s first line in his letter. Peter, like Paul when writing his epistles to different people/churches, first introduces himself in his letter by stating who he is and who’s he is. And who is Peter? An apostle of Jesus Christ. He immediately identifies himself and establishes his authority, not by his own accord but by Who’s he is. That whatever message he writes to the elect that are dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia; it is solely his position in Christ that he is able to write these things. His message is not just a letter to grow the people he is writing to but also a spiritual act of worship for himself through fulfillment of an apostle’s duties to Jesus. Should we not imitate him in the same way?
So when we find our identity in a job or position rather than in and for Christ, we are placing what we do above who we are for Jesus and most importantly, Who’s we are. We are declaring that our job is primary in our life and Jesus is, at best, secondary. What a terrible place to work from. When we place our sole identity in our positions as mama’s, we start:
- looking to our children for validation (e.g., “Why don’t you appreciate what I do for you?)
- to act as if our children’s sins are against us rather than a position of their heart (e.g., “Why would you do that after I just spent all morning playing with you?”)
- become prideful in how we parent (e.g., “I would never let my kid do that.”)
- trust in our control over our kid’s lives (e.g., “You may not go on that mission trip, it’s too dangerous.“)
- compare our parenting to other mama’s and often come up short
- become discontent with our position as mother’s; strive to find another position that brings a perceived greater fulfillment
So rather than finding our identity in what we do as a mother, we let our position in Jesus establish our identity and parent from that truth. Who am I? A daughter of a King. A follower of Christ. A servant of Jesus. Not just a lawyer, teacher or mother alone; but a whoever in Christ. A mother in Christ, notice that subtle but hugely impactful change in identity. When our ‘mommying’ stems from who we are in Christ, suddenly we are acutely aware that the mundane tasks (e.g., laundry, washing dishes, changing diapers, driving kids to their lessons) of parenting are spiritual acts of service to the Lord. That with every nose wipe and bandaid placed, you are serving your children and worshiping the God who created you at the same time. In Colossians 3:8-10 we learn, that in Christ we can put off our old selves (selfishness, pride, self-reliance, comparison, discontentment) and put on servitude, patience, kindness, gentleness, slow to anger, and find our validation in the One who delights in our obedience to serve our children.
In Christ, we are a new creation (1 Corinthians 5:17). God is continually making us new, refining us, making us more like Christ. In one word, sanctifying us with His Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:3a) every single moment of every single day. God uses our identity in Christ and position as mamas here on Earth to not only point our children to their need of the Gospel but to remind ourselves of our moment by moment need of the Gospel. Mamas, let’s make our subtle shift in our identity and parent from our position in Christ.
Soli Deo gloria