What do you do? This was my most dreaded question. You see, ever since resigning from the shelter (Shelter From The Storm Ministries, SFTSM.org), I haven’t had a title, a job, an identity, or a purpose…(so I thought)!! You see, for six and a half years, I put my heart, my soul, and my identity into this shelter.
In October of 2011, God asked me to get a group of people together to start a shelter for homeless women and their children and that became my mission. Everything I did revolved around this shelter. I thought about it constantly…in my eating, sleeping and breathing. It was part of me. Then in April of 2018 when reading 1 Kings 13:9, God spoke to me. In this passage, God told a prophet to go and deliver a message and after delivering the message, God told him not to eat with them, not to drink with them and not to go back the way he came. As I was reading that Scripture, God spoke to my heart and told me that He wanted me to deliver a message to the board at the shelter that I was to resign. God told me not to eat with them or to drink with them or come back the way I had come, which meant “I was done.” It would have been so easy to hold on to some of the easier tasks I was doing at SFTSM, but God made it very clear that I needed to break all ties….for reasons only He knew.
Sounds easy, right? Wrong. I loved these people, I dreamed of walking this ministry out, it was what I was working so hard for and now I was being asked to leave just like that. To make matters worse, it seemed that God was the only one that wanted me to leave, which just made it even harder.
It turns out that God knew exactly what He was doing (imagine that!) because about a month later, my dad passed away and then eight days later, my brother passed. It was my oldest son’s senior year and quite frankly, my family needed me and I needed them. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was the right thing to do and I can look back and see God’s hand all over it.
Yes, my family needed me and yes, it was definitely the right thing to do, but with that came something I did not expect. I lost my identity. I lost any accolades. I lost my title. I lost purpose. I lost authority. I became ONLY a wife and mother. Honestly, it was a very long process to be ok with that statement. Everyone wants to “be somebody.” Everyone wants to “make a difference.” Here I sat with the most exciting part of my day being figuring out what to make for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t bored…I had plenty to do, it just wasn’t very glamorous. It wasn’t exciting and worst of all, when meeting new people, I always dreaded the question “What do you do?” It left me tongue-tied and embarrassed to say, “I’m a wife and a mother.”
Throughout this process, God has shown me that my identity is not in “what I do” but it’s in “who I am.” For years I’ve been caught up in what people thought of me. I’ve always felt like I’ve needed to prove myself, to show somebody (not sure who that somebody is) that I have worth. I’ve wanted to be affirmed by others and I’ve wanted for people to tell me that I’m doing a good job or that I’m on the right path. That way of thinking has ALWAYS led me to disappointment. Disappointment in myself and disappointment for those who weren’t filling me the way I wanted.
Enter the God of the Universe. Over the last couple of years, God has really shown me how crippling it can be to care what other people think. When I run around with my empty bucket wanting everyone to fill it, I’m always left feeling empty. But when I ask God to fill my empty cup, He can actually do it. He knows me better than anyone on this earth and He knows EXACTLY what to say to me to fill me up. He affirms me, He doesn’t ask me to prove myself to him BECAUSE HE made me. He knows what I am capable of and he knows the PERFECT path for me. He knows my worth and wants the very best for me.
No title, no position of authority, no education, no status, no job, no relationship can give me what my Father in Heaven can. I have an audience of ONE. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me because He thinks that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and “He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me to give me a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Now, when people ask me what I do, I say, “I am a wife and a mother” with confidence.