One Mom’s Identity Crisis

August 13, 2012

This week, I am proud to share with you some thoughts from my dear friend Lisa Lee. Lisa lives in Lynchburg with her husband Rick and their two lovely teenage daughters Ruby and Genny. 

Lisa is talented and lovely, inside and out. In the decade or so that we have been friends, I have known her as a woman who seeks to follow Jesus and be a godly wife and mother. 

In the service of other Christian women who may be sharing a common struggle, Lisa has agreed to be open and honest with my readers about her experience. Read it with compassion, and then consider my comments at the end. 


I always really wanted to be a mom, and I got exactly what I wanted. When our girls were born, I chose not to work outside the home so I could devote my full time to being a good wife and mother. I was all about being Suzy Homemaker—baking, decorating our home, playing with our girls, volunteering in their classes at church, and chaperoning school field trips. Also, my husband works in a high-pressure job in the medical profession, so I wanted to be an oasis for him. I felt like I needed to remove as much potential stress as possible from our home life, so he could relax and unwind there.. 

I believed that doing all these things for my family was what God wanted from me as a woman, that this was my primary purpose. If I was obedient in this way, I would be happy. I can’t tell you exactly where I got that idea, but I know it wasn’t from the world. Maybe I picked it up by osmosis from my Christian community. I know that there were women around me who talked as if they were totally delighted to be wrapped up in their home and children.

The problem was that as our girls advanced through elementary school, I finally had time to breathe and think. Suddenly, I realized that I had become the Lee family support and service person, and that was about all my existence amounted to. I just didn’t find that very exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I know my girls appreciated me for finding their lost shoes and driving them to extracurricular activities. My husband was certainly grateful that I did his laundry and listened to his frustrations about work. 

But staying home while everyone was away during the day was so dull. I admit that I could have spent more time cleaning my house, but who wants that to be what your life is about? 

Then, I felt guilty for being discontented. So many women would love to have my life, I thought. I imagined I was the only woman who felt this way, so I couldn’t tell anyone else how I felt. Something must be wrong with me because I want to use my gifts and talents outside my home to achieve something. I’m not saying I want to enter the job market, necessarily. I just want to contribute to the world in a way I uniquely can. You know, use my talents and gifts.

I think you could call what I’ve been going through for the past few years an identity crisis. It has not been a crisis about how Christ sees me. I know my value to him. I have just felt disillusioned about the whole June Cleaver thing, and I’ve been trying to figure out what God wants me to do with my life in addition to serving my family. 

I think a lot of pretending goes on with Christian wives and mothers. I feel sure now that I’m not alone. It’s just that too few of us are willing to admit it. That’s why I shared this story. 

I’m still struggling with it and learning as I go. My head knows that God has a plan for me, and I just have to wait for that thing that I can throw myself into and do really well. Knowing that, however, doesn’t stop my heart from panicking sometimes.


Dear Readers, can you related to Lisa’s experience at all? 

There is no question that if you are married, then fostering a close and healthy relationship with your husband is a top priority. If you have children, then nurturing them to grow up dependent on God and independent of you is absolutely important. Because you are a woman, you are likely, even in today’s more “liberated” culture, to bear most of the responsibility for managing the household—whether or not you work outside the home. 

Some women certainly find their passion primarily in the roles of wife, mother, and homemaker, and it’s great when they have the commitment and financial means to devote themselves full time to these activities. 

Other women, however, are gifted by God to make contributions in places outside the home sphere as well. That’s great, too—except when they are enveloped in a Christian culture that bills homemaking as the biblical ideal and primary path to feminine fulfillment. I believe this characterization is based upon an incomplete reading of scripture. 

In my next post (scheduled for Monday, August 20) I will explore this topic from the perspective of the Gospels—a place we seldom turn to for understanding about God’s heart for the women who follow him. 

If you have some kind thoughts to encourage Lisa, please comment below!

3 responses to “One Mom’s Identity Crisis”

  1. Wow Lisa I can totally relate! I feel antsy so much but I know my main role is home for now. I struggle because I want to soar but feel more like an eagle at the zoo at times. I have 10 children and homeschool most of them (one is in college now, one in PS, and one too young). My passion is helping other women (and men), marriages, counseling, etc. Thankful God has put people in my life to help while Im doing the wife/mom thing. I BELIEVE He will give you what you desire by seeking Him. He knows your passions and desires already since He did create you. Maybe just a small nugget you can chew until the next season of your life. Just ask is all He wants. I am sure He will begin to open doors for you.

  2. Pam Laird says:

    Lisa I think many many more people than you think feel this way. I’m not sure where the idea got started that if you are a christian that your life would be perfect! Then when it is not perfect our first thoughts are what is wrong with me. I think we have a responsibility to take off the mask so many of us wear and really look at ourselves and ask the question: Am I really living my life for Jesus? When we make that commitment to Live for Jesus it does not mean our lives instantly become perfect. It means that Jesus is walking with you each and every step. When we are right with Jesus and ask Him what He wants us to do with our life and dig into His word for His direction I believe He will show us! I have been burdened for a long time for women especially that live behind this mask because they believe something is wrong with them. Whether it be discontentment, depression living with a chronic illness that no one understands, or living with an unbelieving spouse,an empty nest or what ever the situation. We can only change us and if we live our lives full out for Christ He will begin to show you what He wants from you. He asks that we take off the masks that we put in place and be real with others so they can See Jesus thru us. I am not talking about a full out pity party but if you have someone that you can confide in and ask to partner with you to pray for God’s will to be done in your life. Jesus has showed me over the past years that you can be yourself and be a great Mom and Wife and still fulfill that place in your heart where you feel you are making a difference and serving Jesus! I pray that you will continue to reach out your story may just be what someone needs to realize they do not have to be perfect just Forgiven.

  3. Charlotte Archer says:

    Hi Lisa! I really enjoyed reading this because I can totally relate. Sometimes as moms I think that we tend to count on our husbands and children to bring us all happiness when in reality no person, neither husband nor children, can bring the true contentment that only comes from God. I remember some years ago as my older two children were moving along in elem. school feeling very down and empty. It would especially hit me during church and I remember praying thoughout the service that God would help me with my discontent and show me what He wanted me to do as I felt like I was supposed to be doing more. This went on for some time but God is faithful and when we adopted our youngest I never doubted for a minute and haven’t ever since that this was God’s plan. But as I’ve said, while our children bring us joy, we cannot wrap ourselves completely up in them to the extent that there is nothing left of ourselves. After all, they eventually grow and hopefully lead the adult lives God intended for them. But God is faithful and as I’ve continued to pray that God use me as He would and show me where he wants me to work He has continued to open doors of service for me. No, I can’t work outside the home because my first committment is to my family but He has shown me that I can use the little talent I have in music to play the piano and keyboard with our praise band at church. I’ve found such joy in that and I cherish every moment of getting to play and even, for me, the worship that comes through my time of private practice at home. It’s been a huge blessing for me. And there are other things too, being a back-up babysitter for other families, preparing meals for folks dealing with medical issues, being there and available at a moments notice when there are other opportunities to serve. So anyway, I think it’s a matter that in everything we do we give the glory to God and as we ask for His direction He shows us the way. Just don’t give up on asking because He is faithful and He has a plan laid out all for you.

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