Who Do You Say That I Am

 Photo Credit: Clint McKoy

Photo Credit: Clint McKoy

It’s meet-the-teacher night. Parents and students were squished together in a classroom as papers and packets were passed around.

That night, we were also asked to turn in a small questionnaire the teacher had emailed us to complete prior to our gathering. The exercise included a series of get-to-know-your-child questions for parents to fill out in order to give the teacher some insight on who your child is.

I enjoy this exercise each year. Of all the registration forms and permissions slips I have to fill out - this one is my favorite. I turned my sheet into the teacher.

Opposite from me sat parents who were whispering to each other and looking a little confused. It was clear they didn’t have their sheet to turn in. The teacher gave them a blank one and the mom tucked it away, as if to say she’ll do it later.

Something about how this mother shifted, almost seeming uncomfortable, stayed with me.

Days later, I opened my Mother’s Prayer Companion and skimmed through each of my children’s pages - I pray with my MPC regularly. I used my finger to trace over the words I had written - a compilation of gifts and talents and strengths they posses. Ones that are uniquely theirs and ones I’m eternally grateful for.

I closed my eyes and prayed for each of them - as each one is in a new season of life and new point of developmental maturity.

Then, I hear the Lord ask me a question He has asked me before,

Who do you say that I am?

Opening my eyes, I hear God ask me to read Matthew 16:13 - where Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And then he looks at Peter and asks him directly, “who do you say that I am?”

I ask myself a similar question, who is Jesus to me?  I also ask God, who am I to Him?

The dots quickly connect. I go back to that mom shifting in her seat a few nights ago. I realize this is why she might not have felt comfortable with an all-about-me worksheet or why it didn’t come “easy” to her.

Because in order for a mother to answer those questions about her child, she must first be able to answer these questions within herself. Who is Jesus to me? And second, who am I to Him? These are not “easy” questions to ask or answer.

Jesus is my Lord and Savior - I will go wherever He leads me. And I am his beloved child, His masterpiece, whom He is well pleased.

It has taken me years to be able to answer these questions and believe them to be true.

That simple all-about-me sheet my daughter’s teacher asked me to fill out wasn’t just about writing descriptive words about my child on a page.  That sheet was a glimpse into my child’s identity. Who do I say she is?

When I was a brand new mom, and still wrestling with who I was - my worth and value - I don’t think I could have fully articulated to someone who my child was. Truth is I didn’t even know who I was.

It took years of time with the Lord and finding Him in scripture and in fellowship with mothers who had already made these discoveries for me to be able to know with my full heart who I was, because I knew who God was to me.  

One beautiful way I came face to face with the Lord was through my Mother’s Prayer Companion. I not only learned how to pray for myself, I learned to love myself. God revealed who I really was...I was His.  

Because when “everyone else’s lives are on display”, there’s a temptation for me to find my worth in what others say I am. And when I’m measuring myself against others, then the answer to who “the world” says I am is, “you’re not enough”.

But the Lord is where I find my true identity! Scrolling through social media might temporarily make me lose sight of who I am, but I know how to reset my focus. I am able see through the same lens my Heavenly Father gazes through, and I know that not only am I enough - I’m perfect. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I have learned that as a mama it is essential for me to be able to answer who Christ is to me and who I am (to Him). Because there came a time when I had to ask myself, “who is my child?”

And shortly after this, I wrestled with the question, who do others say that my child is?  

Mamas, fear not! The discovery of who you say that your child is can be found when you ask The One who gave you that child.

Lord, who do You say that my child is?

This is what praying intentionally for my child is all about! I am claiming my child’s identity in Christ before they are ever able to do so for themselves. By asking these questions and listening to what the Lord says to me, I am equipping myself.  I can look into my child’s eyes, no matter their age or life circumstance, and say, “I see you, I know you…this is who you are.”

I get to be the first to share with them not only who they are but whose they are. And perhaps in other seasons of their life I might be the only one standing with them reminding them of this.

This is why I must first know who Jesus is to me. Second, I need to “fill out” my own all-about-me page - who am I? What are my gifts and talents and strengths? What do I need Jesus to redeem within me? What wounds do I need Him to heal?

Because y’all, the world will identify us and our child(ren), or we will. I choose the latter. I am choosing to ask God to reveal to me who He says my child is so that I can in turn bathe that child in these truths.

So, before he or she is even able to advocate for themselves, I will stand in that place.

I will roll up my sleeves and get on my knees and pray for this child, because that job wasn’t bestowed on any one else but me.

















 

Stef Blackwell

Stef Blackwell and her husband are raising their four kids and living the dream deep in the heart of suburbia, Flower Mound, TX. She’s a raging choleric and high functioning introvert, which some have said is impossible. But alas, here she lives to tell her tale. Her greatest strength is bossing people around; her greatest weakness is she bosses people around - and Jesus loves her just the way she is - today. She looks for the one mama who is standing alone and strives to bring them into the fold. God has given her a passion for marriage, motherhood, and living missionally.