I am honored that my friend Abby McDonald agreed to share her story with us all this week as part of our series on IDENTITY & WORTH. Abby has a new book releasing soon, and we are so glad to have her here. Welcome, Abby!
For the One Who Doesn’t Know What Her Life Is Worth
When the doctor told me my son’s life might be in danger, I didn’t have to think about my next step. A nurse came in and put an oxygen mask over my face to keep me from hyperventilating and I motioned for my husband to sign the consent form. Natural childbirth wasn’t an option.
Even though I hadn’t met my son face to face, his life was worth the risk. The features of his face were still a mystery and I hadn’t heard his first cry, but I knew him.
I knew his heartbeat. I knew he got the hiccups every night around 6:00 pm.
Seconds later, the anesthesiologist appeared to pump me full of more drugs and they wheeled me to the OR. The fifteen minutes that passed between prepping me for surgery and hearing him for the first time seemed like an eternity. I remember feeling them pull him out of me and then, the cry didn’t come.
My heart dropped. Was everything okay?
All of a sudden, the sound filled the room. His cry was strong and loud, and for a moment, everything seemed right with the world. My husband brought him over to me, and I was frustrated that my arms were still too numb to hold him.
I spent the next year fumbling through the darkness of postpartum depression, but God brought me back to this moment as a reminder. When I grappled to find an identity deeper than my roles of wife and mom, I recalled those minutes of panic mixed with certainty.
You see, I never questioned my son’s worth. It was instilled in me from the moment I knew there was new life inside of me. But I did question my own worth. Instead of placing my value on the foundation of Christ’s blood, I placed it on my performance as a mother. And in my sleep-deprived brain, my performance didn’t amount to much.
What I didn’t realize was that God determined my life had worth before I was conceived.
If we look at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, one of his greatest desires was for them to know their true identity in Christ. He knew their firmness in this truth was key to not being swayed by the constant noise of the world.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV
Embracing our true self means acknowledging that our value has nothing to do with our performance, and everything to do with Christ’s finished work. When we accept this lavish grace and love, our lives become an expression of love for him instead of an endless chase for affirmation.
One night after my son’s first birthday, I rocked him and marveled at how much he’d changed during the first year of this life. And it hit me. His Spirit spoke to mine and I realized – Like my love for my son, His love didn’t have anything to do with what I did or didn’t do. He loved me because I was his. It was as simple as it was beautiful.
Friend, if you’re having a hard time embracing your true self and the love God has for you today, take a moment to do this exercise with me. Close your eyes and picture someone you love despite every shortcoming, who you would give anything to protect. It may be a child or family member. It may be your closest friend.
Next, picture yourself putting a white robe on this person that blocks out all her past mistakes, the times she hurt you or was selfish. All you see is her best self. Not only that, but you see the person she is becoming, reflection of Christ Jesus.
Open your eyes. You now have a small inkling of how God sees you, each and every day.
Abby McDonald is a writer, speaker, wife and mom who has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, (in)Courage, For Every Mom, Crosswalk and more. Her passion is to empower women to grow in faith and hope, even when life is messy. Abby lives with her husband and three children in western Maryland. She would love to connect with you at www.abbymcdonald.org., where you can download a free copy of her e-book, “The Daughter’s Manifesto” as a reminder of who you are in Christ.