God is the One who I’ve pressed into during difficult times in my career and as I’ve navigated my journey as a motherless daughter. He has taken these two life experiences to help me discover that my true identity is found neither in a career nor in being motherless — it is found in the One True Christ.
I’m thankful for the academics coming forth and speaking out about the abuses in higher education that have been going on. My #metoo story begins long before women started coming out, but it isn’t the first story of abuse of power in higher education. It happened when I was a grad student. The perpetrator wasn’t even a professor, but this married academic who had fantasies of having an affair with a young grad student, making promises of propelling my career with the vast number of articles we would publish together, if only I would forsake my commitment to God. However, for me there was no compromise.
Unfortunately, my #metoo story didn’t end in graduate school. It continued at another institution of higher education where I was a faculty member. This incident was perpetrated by several faculty and administrators and in some ways, has derailed my career and identity as an academic. The passivity of the faculty and administrators was what stood out – they refused to stand up and do what was right.
This passivity is similar to what I’ve experienced as a motherless daughter. You may have experienced this as well. Mothers with mental illness (and fathers who care for them) often passively stand by while their daughters are undergoing abuse in many forms. However, despite my #metoo instances and being a motherless daughter, thankfully, neither of these have derailed my relationship with or my faith in God. He has not been passive in His relationship with me and isn’t in His relationship with you. He is always with us. He never leaves us, never forsakes us (Hebrews 10:6).
And as God has promised, He uses all things in our lives – the good and the bad – for our good (Romans 8:28), which He did with my career struggles and my experience of being a motherless daughter. Over the past several years, he has taken my career struggles and being a motherless daughter to help me discover that my true identity is not found in a job, nor is it in being labeled motherless. Rather, my identity is found in being a daughter of the most High God from being saved by the One True Christ.
But it has taken time for me to understand and accept my identity of being a motherless daughter. Maybe you relate. We embrace the identities of daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend, nurse, teacher, lawyer, small business owner, and so on. But motherless? The motherless identity is much harder for us to accept.
The difficulty with accepting this identity is the other identities are additive – they identify us as being more of a person, having more of a personhood. Being motherless highlights what has been subtracted from us. No one wants to highlight what’s missing or absent. Not in our professional or social circles and especially not on social media where we have images to maintain. What the culture fails to show us is that ALL of us have a lacking part of our identities – a part that is without Christ (Romans 3:10).
The good news is that Christ didn’t come to leave us lacking.
- He came to give us abundant life – to add to our lives — beyond what we could ever ask for or imagine (John 10:10; Eph. 3:20)!
- We were fearfully and wonderfully made by Him (Psalm 139:4).
- He knows us better than the person closest to us does (Psalm 139).
- We are daughters of the most high God (Zechariah 9:9).
- We are His masterpiece, and He has created us to do good works (Eph. 2:10).
- He rejoices over us (Zephaniah 3:17).
So, while yes, as motherless daughters, we may be missing something here on this earth, Jesus came to fill this void. Let’s look daily to Him to do this and ask Him to show us what it is to have our identities found only in Him.
We are daughters of the most high King. This is who we truly are. <3