A sweet friend and I took a CPR class together last night to keep our teaching credentials current. We had to wait for our husbands to get home from work to take care of our girls, and then an accident on the freeway stalled us even further. When we finally stumbled into the Red Cross classroom, we were 40 minutes late.
The teacher, a quippish man a little younger than my parents, sarcastically noted that we were 'right on time' and asked us to introduce ourselves to the rest of the class. As I fumbled with my seat and tried to put my purse down, I was at a loss for what to say.
"Well, my name is Bethany, and I have a daughter who will be one next week...and a husband. And I work from home as a teacher."
The attention shifted from me to my friend as she introduced herself, too, and I wanted to slap myself in the forehead. That's all that I could muster out? Everyone in that room must be judging me as one of "those moms" who doesn't find value in herself except for as a wife and parent. Someone who doesn't think she's interesting in the least. Someone who doesn't have an identity outside of her home.
But that's not who I am.
While my family is definitely at the top of my list of joys in life, they don't define me. Concern for their well-being defines many of the choices I make, and my love for them defines where I spend most of my time, but I was still Bethany Elise before God perfectly brought them into my life.
Who am I?
I'm Bethany. I'm a Christian. I'm a blogger and a homemaker. I love to bake until everyone around me is plumper and happier than they were when they walked in through my door. I'm a harpist (though that's taken a backseat this year because of pregnancy arthritis that still hasn't left yet). I have an obsession with lavender, pansies, and spiced chai lattes. I have 600 hours of volunteering behind me from my candy striping days. I've been a preschool teacher, an elementary teacher, an aide in a special ed classroom, music teacher, a Sunday School teacher, and a childcare provider for foster children and children of parents with special needs. I am a lover of the English language, and while being a 1st grade teacher was always my dream, God has used me much more frequently as an ESL teacher. I grade about 100 essays a week written by college students who have been speaking English for less than a year. I work alongside my husband as a youth leader, mentor, chauffeur, summer camp leader, VBS leader, and as his children's message sounding board. I have a degree in early childhood education, and I love finding new and fun ways to help Kayleigh explore her surroundings with all 5 senses. I'm a friend who spends hours every week on the phone--sometimes struggling alongside my friends during their difficult times, sometimes sharing in each other's joys. I have a passion for foster children and orphans, and I'm excited to see what God does with that someday. I'm a big sister with a mama hen complex. I love keeping in touch with my far-spread siblings and reminding them that there's a cute little niece at home waiting for them. I'm a peacemaker, a prayer warrior, an if-the-glass-isn't-half-full-let's-find-a-way-to-fill-it-together kind of girl.
This is the person God created me to be. I'm thankful for that and I love who I am. I know that God was working in Jesse's life and mine preparing us for each other long before we ever met. Being married to Jesse doesn't mean that my life is defined by him, it means that God took two perfect sinners and made us just right for each other. I love him. And I love our daughter. My precious almost-one-year-old with her sweet dimples and crazy curls. But aside from to her little friends, I will never "just" be Kayleigh's Mom. I am me, and God created me the way I am to love and serve the two most beloved people in my life.
Who am I?
I'm a lot more than a frazzled mom in yoga pants who bursts into class 40 minutes late.
Who are you?