When You are Struggling with Your Identity as a New Parent
I’m still the same person, right? I wonder as I peer back at the unwashed hair and dark eye circles in the mirror. My life before babies is a faint memory in my clouded thoughts. The word “overslept,” has long since been erased from my vocabulary. Another human being completely depends on me and my spouse for their survival. My life is no longer my own.
And I love so much more deeply than I ever could have imagined.
So, basically, becoming a parent changes everything.
Maybe you can relate.
What can Jesus teach us in the face of all the life-altering changes? How can I come to peace with my identity bearing its own new struggles?
Acknowledge the adversities. Just say it like it is. Being a parent is hard! Despite the hardships, my experiences pale in comparison to the transformation Jesus must have felt in the days after he resurrected from the dead. In Luke 24, Jesus suddenly appears in the flesh before his disciples. I wonder why Jesus didn’t heal himself when he was raised from the dead. He could have easily presented himself in perfect, unblemished holiness.
Instead, 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds, you are healed.” He defeated sin and death but left the scars as a reminder of his intercession on our behalf. My hardships of parenthood remind me of the relentless love Jesus demonstrated through his death and resurrection to bring us into a right relationship with Him.
Embrace the extraordinary amidst the common. After Jesus showed the disciples the scars, he asked for something to eat. It’s almost humorous when you think about it. He just ate some fish while the disciples stood there in shock and awe. The sacred and the common collide. Everything is different now. He just defeated sin and death. Yet here he is, in a very familiar way, eating some fish. When the changes of parenthood feel overwhelmingly ordinary, remember God chooses to reveal his glory in the common and every day. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “we have this treasure in [ordinary] jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” God made you in His Image and that is anything but ordinary!
Identify with your inheritance. Romans 8:16-17 reminds us that, “the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Sharing in suffering is often the last thing we want to do. In my calling to raise my children, I often find myself relentlessly striving to do everything in my own strength. In my striving, I choose to identify with the limitations of my flesh, rather than a good Father who wants to empower me with His spirit in a way no one else can.
Don’t forget that all of this suffering is for a purpose. We are children of God first, parents second. God has a plan and gives us a sneak peek into what sacrificial love feels like. Isn’t that the honor of being a parent? As we identify with Christ, we get to partake in the sacrifice so that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
You are called to such a time as this!