In the beginning of my marriage I struggled so deeply with my identity, I remember feeling like a 19 year old baby giraffe. I was very unsure of who I was and what I was doing with my life. Every time I took a step my legs would give out and so did my confidence in my self. During that time Zach and I were both in school heading for careers in the medical field. He knew his exact direction, I was lost somewhere between my heart and my brain. One semester we took a science class together, I studied for hours slides that he memorized in literal minutes. He never pushed me to competition and thank God, because I am pretty sure I would have lost. To put it simply in that season I felt as though I was figuring out my place next to a giant. What a daunting task that was. I never felt like I measured up beside him nor did I feel as though I contributed to him or his goal. In my mind I was just there…
What an excruciating journey self acceptance and identity are. See I lived for a season completely independent. I made my rules and I broke my rules. Didn’t think I needed accountability or community. I was great at living life by myself and measuring my standards against my own. Hearing God for my self, it was easy. Marriage automatically invited someone else into my world. I voluntarily asked for his opinion and for someone with a really strong will that wasn’t easy. It made me mad at times and it made me want to cry at the thought of vulnerability. Transitioning into marriage was a lot harder than I ever anticipated. Even as I type this fear tries to sting my heart. I hope I don’t make myself out to be this crazy girl who despised her husband. I was never that. I was a broken woman trying to find her place next to a man who knew his. It was a journey that lasted a lot longer than I hoped, but has brought the deepest revelations I have ever had the privilege to understand.
I grew up in a very healthy church. I was involved in every area that would let me help in and I served regularly my entire young adult life. I have beautiful parents who are still to this day my best friends. I graduated high school early and started college late. I didn’t feel as though I fit in at my high school and really struggled with the with why. I am still thankful to this day that my parents understood. When I started college I just recently arrived back home from living overseas. It was a really weird transition. I went from a place of deep dependency on God to a college culture that shunned His existence. I was lost somewhere in that. I experienced things that I shouldn’t have and got connected to people that I wished I wouldn’t have. The Serena that I knew was lost somewhere in that time because of the guilt and shame that overtook my heart. It was during that time that I met my husband. He was actually overcoming similar situations but was on the other side of it. He was walking into his purpose and God was opening his heart to everything he had for him. Looking back I am so thankful, at the time I was really confused.
There is so much to our story and I am not sure I even remember all the details. I do know that somewhere around the time of our first pregnancy I had a dream my husband left school and worked for our church. He had no thought at that time to do anything differently than what he was doing, so this felt very crazy. It wasn’t. My husband finished his degree and went into full time ministry. This is where I feel like my deepest identity struggles began. As soon as he submitted to God, his life changed. I was left feeling as though yet again, I wasn’t good enough to be there with him. He prayed and things happened. I tried and felt stuck. It was awful. Looking back things are always a lot clearer and the bigger picture can usually be seen, for me that season is the most painful to remember but the most beautiful in terms of the process. I had to really fight to see my worth and value even if it didn’t look like what I thought it should. I had to realize so much of what I was feeling and experiencing was because of my own choices, not anyone else’. My husband never told me I was unworthy, the enemy did. My husband never told me I was useless, the enemy did. The devil was so set on destroying my life before it had the opportunity to begin, and you know what, I almost let him.
My heart is for the daughter, the mother, the minister’s wife who feels completely alone. The one so desperately trying to find their place that you have almost destroyed yourself. The one who feels as though they have nothing to say or anything to add, you aren’t crazy. What you are feeling is a very sly tactic of a very ugly thief who hopes to kill you and future that you have been called to birth. You see for me it took a good smack on my head (figuratively speaking) to realize how incredibly important to my husband that I am. He has a huge call on his life but so do my children. I spend 80- 90 percent of the time with my children. They believe I will be there to pray for them, to love them, to train them. They know I will be home to make crafts with and to give them baths. They are learning the heart of their Father God though my hands every single day, and that is something no silly devil will take from me. I have a huge call on my life, it may or may not look like standing before 4000 people ministering, but in this season I am Jesus to my babies. My advice to those who feel lost in their season is to find someone to serve and cultivate a heart of thankfulness. I will not always be home with my children changing diapers or cooking chicken nuggets, I won’t always be in the trenches of mother hood. I will however always remember this time as a mile marker on my journey. One in which I taught my children how to pray, how to believe that God does what he says, and how to personally develop history with Jesus. Life is funny. It doesn’t always look beautiful or what we thought it would be. Ultimately I had to learn that I wasn’t standing next to a giant in comparison, but next to him in strength. I had to let go of what I thought a Pastor’s wife was and be who I am. I had to let go of what I thought a mother should be and be who I am. I believe for me it came down to this, learning to shut up the voice of lies and tune into the voice of truth. And that voice is one of hope and purpose to all who hear. No matter how you feel or what you see, it is your choice. Choose to see yourself as God sees you and celebrate the God you see in others.
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