Fully Entering Into The Gift You Have Been Given: Your Identity

The word identity has been in my thoughts a lot lately.

I am becoming more aware of how its perception shapes our actions and colors the world around us.

Discovering our “true” identity is perhaps similar to when an artist takes a paint brush in hand and with deft strokes reveals an image of substance and form that had been previously unknown.

We have an identity — a beautiful identity.

Some think their identity is wrapped in a twisted package of labels that others have given to them. It might be a wounded relationship between that person and a parent or parents.  It might be from a shattered heart, abandoned by a lover, spouse, or friend.  It might be the word wounds left by the strident or bullying tones of peers.  We might think our identity lies in scars laid physically bare for all to see.  Life is full of tragedies/imperfections/harsh realities that leave hearts, souls, and bodies vulnerable and scarred. We look at the scars and think that those are the identifying factors of who we are.

We flounder to find our roots/our identities.  We hope to discover, to create more to what we feel is who we are.

We view others through the scarred lenses of our hearts. 

We view others through their own scars.

We look at the puddles of paint, those smears. We grasp for the paint brush and try to fix the smears.  We mix the colors, hoping to create something that appears like someone else or something else, grasping for an identity.  Yet, we don’t know enough of our identity to perceive what it is to look like.

Our identities, true identities are not wrapped or grotesquely twisted to match the conclusions of others.

Our identities aren’t even within the definitions of our own minds and hearts.

How do we transcend beyond the false identity labels that we and others have generated?

We fight for meaning, for something beyond the hopelessness/the failure that so often we see.

Sometimes, we think we have found it when we experience a moment that leaves us speechless and full of wonder. In those moments, we might be a little closer to discovering our true identities.  Yet, our identities lie not within transient moments that sizzle with passion, emotion, wonder, discovery and then just as quickly fizzle into discouragement, frustration, apathy, disillusionment.

We know that we have not found our true identities when we seek to constantly create a continuous substitute for it.  When we seek the latest thrill, we have not found our true identity.  When we find satisfaction only within the narrowing confines of our closets, we are still missing it. When the opinions of others leave us devastated, we do not understand it.

When our mirrors, wallets, credentials, popularity, salaries, life experiences, job titles shallowly are the definitions by which we identify ourselves and others, we still have not discovered our true identities.

We endlessly struggle to create; yet, we merely accept the copies of ourselves and others/the misconceptions of our identity.

We struggle for “enlightenment;” yet, the understanding of our identities often lie within the gloaming shadows of our own misunderstandings.

Parents call their children into their identity. The challenge is in calling/leading our children to discover their “true” identities.

Friends can help each other discover or more fully walk within their true identities.  As friends, we look beyond the painful words, the angry exteriors and see a soul aching to find its true roots/true identity.  We hang in and hold on, even when the ride gets a little wild with those we love.

As friends, parents, and spouses, we hope and with faith glimpse the unveiling of the true identity.  We see the form that is emerging within the strokes on the canvas.

So many social or political movements are “knee-jerk” reactions to the false perceptions of identities. Yet, within these movements can be false perceptions as well.  We attempt to treat the false perceptions but with an obtuse acuity of our true identities.  So error continues.

An FBI agent (female) made these statements in reference to the feminist movement: [This is a woman who has a job that involves great risk, strength, intelligence, respect.  Her statements are insightful.  She doesn’t condone weakness.  She also challenges our perception of what we consider as weakness. ]

“In one of the tragic ironies of the twentieth century, feminists never fought for women to become more feminine… Instead of celebrating what it means to be a woman, to be feminine, to be an empowered female, they fought for women to act and be treated more like men. That’s why I call them masculinists.  Masculinists. Because in their fight for more rights, they ended up devaluing what it means to be a woman and emulating the very things they criticized most in men — imperialism, identity confusion, militaristic propagandism, dehumanizing competition, careerism…  Women should be extended the same dignity, opportunity, and respect as men but shouldn’t be treated in an identical way: equality without uniformity.  I want to be treated like a woman, not a pale imitation of a man…  Women should never be ashamed to be feminine.  Strength comes from conviction, not from acting like a man.  Being feminine doesn’t mean you’re weak, it just means you’re proud to be a woman.”

Note: This woman wasn’t arguing against equal pay for equal jobs.  She wasn’t arguing against treating women with respect or dignity. She wasn’t promoting the abuse of women.  She is protesting against how we have accepted the false identities of our past (abuse and unfairness) and have reacted by promoting another false identity that true womanhood and femininity is weakness and inferior to that of true manhood.

Nor was she arguing in support of the false identities of men: that all men are abusive, overbearing, superior. Nor was she promoting the reaction to the first definition of men by promoting another false identity: that men are weak, spineless, imbeciles.

True identity is found within the dawning, dazzling awareness that “I am loved, treasured, precious in the eyes of God. As His Beloved, I have been uniquely designed with gifts and abilities that I can offer to the world!”  Whether you believe in God or not does not change the fact that you need to understand that you are completely loved and precious — precious and loved by God!”

We are not the careless, cruel words that someone else has described us as being — they are not who God created us to be.

We are not the failures of our parents. 

We are not the blemishes of society’s air-brushed modeling icons of beauty. 

We are not substandard or superior intellects due to the presence or absence of a few letters following our names.

We are created to exceed, excel, transcend, surpass the bindings of false identities and to walk instead in the freedom of being who God created us to be, with all of our own unique gifts, talents, and abilities. 

We are children of God — the God of eternity — loved by Him and created to be a gift/a beautiful work of art — a “Master Piece”!

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My Baby Is Not Much Of A Baby Anymore!

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This past Monday, Olivia turned one! I say that with feelings of joy but also of reluctance. I love the baby stage!  I can’t believe that the first year of her life is already over. It saddens me.  I just want to savor her baby hands, feet, kisses, babbles … every little part of her sweetness.  I have loved nursing her, loved feeling her little body curled against mine as we have shared the closeness that comes with nursing.

I still remember her birth, the wonder of it all. I have loved those moments, right after bringing our babies into the world, feeling the euphoria of having suffered and yet overcome in delivering our babies.  I have loved the amazing joy that comes when you hold those precious little ones in your arms for the first time!

Why is it that society seems to think that your first child is loved more than your others and that we can’t love “many” children as much as a few?  I so disagree!  My fourth has not been any less special than my first.  If anything, I savor it even more, knowing it could be our last.

Some days, I wish I had a flashing screen in my house that would remind me that these days are transient at best, to hold onto them, to not take my little ones for granted.  Instead, I often feel harried and disgruntled by some infraction or inconvenience.

I am learning, trying to learn.  This summer, my goal is to make lots of good memories with my kids.  We have been playing lots of games together and spending one-on-one time together.  The kids love that — the special one-on-one attention. Yesterday, I swung on the swings with Drew and pulled him around in a wagon.  I have played Chess with Will, Drew, and Luke.  I have played “Memory” with Drew.  Each boy has read to me.  We have cuddled together, planted a garden together, trimmed bushes together, and run around at a park together. Yes, there aren’t too many things more important than spending time together as a family. I am so thankful!  I am so blessed … so very, very blessed!

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Here’s Will reading on how to train a dog. He took notes and then practiced some of the tips on his aunt’s dog.

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The first picture is of Nana and my kids.  The second one is of my sweet husband and I.Image

Luke enjoying some of our summer fun.Image

Beauty can be seen even in the thorns.  ImageImageImage

Laughs with Luke Continues

We are half-way through June, and the weeks are flying way too fast.  I am trying to hold onto them, but some days it feels like I am flying the kite of life in a hurricane rather than a gentle breeze.

Speaking of gentle breezes, this past week has been absolutely perfect.  I’ve enjoyed gardening, swinging with the boys, going to a park, relaxing on our hammock, and playing games with the boys.  I wish we had this type of weather all summer or even year.  🙂

Before June is over and I haven’t written a blog, I thought that I would at least share a couple of funnies from our Luke.

Yesterday evening as I was playing “Memory” with the boys, Luke kept getting lots of matches.  In response to my telling him that he was doing very well, Luke said, “I must have my thinking caps on.”

Today Luke had a little cut on his toe.  He asked me to bandage it.  Prior to cleaning it with Peroxide and putting a Mickey Mouse bandage on it, he asked me if it was going to hurt.  I replied, “Not too much.”  Luke’s response: “That means it will hurt.” Laughing I told him that he was very smart.

As Jonathan was tucking Luke in for the night, he saw that Luke was basically asleep.  Jonathan gently called Luke’s name and asked him if he was awake.  Luke replied, “If I am talking, I am awake.”

Yes, he is one smart boy. 🙂

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Olivia’s One Year Stats.

How is it possible that Olivia has grown so fast?!  I can’t believe that we just celebrated her first birthday! (I will be writing more later on that.)

The following are her growth stats.:

Olivia: 30 ins.; 20 pounds 4.5 ozs.; 18 1/4 ins. head circumference

The rest of the family at the same age (1 year):

Luke: 30 ins.; 25 pounds; 19 ins. head

Drew: 30 1/2 ins.; 21 pounds; almost 19 ins. head

Will: 30 ins.; 22 pounds 12 ozs.; 48 cms. head

Mommy: 29 ins.; 19 pounds 14 ozs.; 18 1/8 ins. head

Daddy: 30 1/2 ins.; 22 pounds 4 ozs.; 18 3/4 ins. head

We are all fairly close in size at this age.  Mommy was the smallest.  Daddy and Drew were the longest at this age.  Luke weighed the most.  🙂

I am still guessing that Olivia will be a little taller than Mommy once she reaches adulthood.