A long time ago I learned not to title anything until I’ve written the last line and punctuated the last sentence. So often I think I’ve figured something out, learned a lesson, come to a conclusion – only to realize near the last paragraph that in fact, I’m only journaling and processing something God waited until the last line to reveal, and it was for me – and the title it gets in the end is nothing at all what I’d had in mind at the start.
Yesterday I had a “me” day. That’s not selfish, as I’m sometimes prone to think. It’s healthy. I can’t think straight or go have fun if I know there are baskets of laundry that need washing, a floor that needs scrubbing, bills that need paying, or yes – even emails to return. It’s just the way I’m wired. My son is coming home tonight from college for a few days. The last time he was here, a photograph of the outside of our home appeared on Instagram that he captioned “Home Sweet Home.” That’s enough to make a Mama’s heart sing, ya know?
At 7 a.m., I was on my second load of laundry. The house was quiet. (By the way, I’m not convinced resting means sleeping. Sometimes, resting just means quiet time and whatever else follows – ironing, floor mopping, rug shaking, or toilet scrubbing). I followed up those chores with taking inventory of the refrigerator because every mother of boys also knows another thing that makes a Mama’s heart sing is when they open up the fridge and help themselves. When my kids come home no matter how old they are, and start slapping sandwiches together, and my heart smiles from one side of my chest to the other – that’s God’s doing. It’s God that gives me those heart singing moments.
I don’t cook, bake, or clean nearly as often as I used to, so it was difficult to do any of these chores without being keenly aware of what (or who) was gone. About halfway up the stairs vacuuming I realized how much of my identity was wrapped up in the raising of my sons. I was “Rory and Ian’s mom,” “Mama Mac,” “Ms. MacDonald,” “Miss Rita.” I knew meatballs and mashed potatoes, or a plate of lasagna would get them home, usually with a few friends. Bikes were often lying on the grass in front of the house, pool towels and bathing suits hanging over patio chairs to dry, sleeping bags all over the floor in the summer time, and a crowd hanging out on the big green comfy couch playing video games or watching a movie. So many “heart singing” moments – simple, sweet, but now gone except for the occasional visit.
Where am I going……..
It sounds pretty elementary to so often lately go back to my identity in Christ. I’m not sure we ever FULLY understand that this side of eternity – but back to my identity is where God keeps taking me, and it’s what I’m convinced He woke me up to journal.
I used to be an Irish step dancer, a medical transcriptionist, a student, a waitress, a wife, a soldier in the United States Army. I’ve been competitor MacDonald, Sergeant MacDonald, Ms. MacDonald, Mama Mac, Nurse Rita, Rory and Ian’s Mum, Rita Adams, and Rita “Peter Little Allan” MacDonald. Some of those identities, I’ll always keep – like a daughter, a sister, a Mom, a friend, a “Peter Little Allan.” But, some of those identities no longer belong to me, and a few of them I’ve grieved. I have no doubt that a decade from now, I’ll still need to land on my knees daily and remember my true identity is in Christ. Perhaps as we go through life, it’s just a series of identities we take on, but it is so very crucial that we don’t become so focused on our identities given to us by our lives, that we lose sight of our identity in Christ. The past few years has felt for me like a series of identity crises, and as I land on those knees of mine tonight, I’m reminded that when everyone goes away, when there’s no role for me to fill, no influence to have, no reason to pull up another chair at the kitchen table for a slice of lasagna….. I belong to Christ.
I don’t have it all figured out. I’m on my knees tonight AGAIN, but this much I know – ALL of my gifts of identity throughout life have made my heart smile from one side of my chest to the other, ESPECIALLY being Rory & Ian’s Mum, but at the end of the day, my joy and fulfillment has to be found in my identity in Christ, period. And so must theirs.
Here I am at the last paragraph, and just like always – no longer stumped for a title…