Last weekend at Constance we began a new sermon series called Labelmaker. Our pastor started the series by looking at the labels we wear and how they define us. He talked about how our labels become our identity, for better or worse.
The message left me reflecting. And remembering. Remembering a time when my own identity was put to the test, and the labels I wore were turned inside out.
I was a young mom. The boys were something like 3, 6, and 8. “Mom” was one of the labels I wore proudly. I wore others, too. Christian. Wife. Homemaker. Teacher. Good labels, with good intentions.
What I didn’t realize was that wearing my labels proudly was causing harm. My labels had become barriers. I learned this the hard way. And what I learned broke my heart.
One day, through a series of events, my hidden faults were revealed, and I was horrified by what I saw. I saw a proud Mom looking down on others who struggled. I saw a proud Teacher who had become intimidating. A proud Christian without empathy. And there in an instant all my proud labels crumbled. I was crushed.
It was the best thing that ever happened. It was a crushing that changed my life.
Broken, I cried out to God. I asked him to help, to show me what to do. I asked him to give me what I’d been missing. And miracle of miracles, he did.
What followed was a beautiful season of rebuilding and relabeling. God spoke truth back into my life. He told me who I was. He took me to Scripture, and he showed me there: I was holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Reconciled by his Son. (Colossians 1:22)
God showed me the lies I’d come to believe. The lie of perfection. The lie of approval. The lie that my worth was tied to my labels.
I believed him.
That was over a decade ago, and I still live fully aware of the miracle. Fully aware of the wonder of my re-labeling.
Recently I’ve started a new job at church, coordinating a new ministry for families. A ministry providing encouragement and care for moms and dads. I’m a mentor of sorts. I wear my new job title cautiously. Humbly. Aware of the dangers and the privileges. I’m not an expert. I’m a fellow learner, and a fellow fail-er. And I’m a bringer of the good news of miracles. All of us, moms and dads, reconciled by Jesus, are Holy. Blameless. More than we could have ever imagined.