As a little girl I always dreamt of becoming a wife. If we played house, I was always the wife. I wanted the fairytale wedding and the romance novel marriage. As I grew older and entered my twenties, becoming a wife became “possible” and my longing for it only grew stronger. Especially as a girlfriend to a professional athlete. I felt a void that I assumed could only be filled by a wedding band. I felt surrounded by engagement announcements and wedding invites. I felt lost without a sense of purpose or identity. I just knew that becoming a wife would fill that void I had been feeling.
I prayed and prayed for God to “make me a wife”. And not just any wife, of course, but my boyfriend’s wife. The more I prayed the more I felt drawn to God’s Word. Maybe if I read all the scriptures on love and marriage, I would be prepared and worthy of becoming a wife. “That must be it! God just wants me to be prepared”, I thought. And with that mindset, I dove in headfirst, trying to figure out what God wanted me to learn before He would allow me the honor of becoming a bride.
I was telling God what my identity needed to be instead of asking Him where it already was. It took me becoming a wife to recognize that my identity was never meant to be found in marriage but could always be found fully in Christ. Sure, I was a faithful woman before marriage. However, as I have taken the time to study what Scripture teaches on marriage, I have been taught so much more about the character of God. Becoming a wife did not fill that void, becoming closer to Jesus did.
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1.
I unknowingly filled my heart with more of Jesus by trying to fill my mind with more knowledge for marriage. Every passage I studied on love helped me come to understand God’s unmatched love for us. Every prayer I prayed to fill that void, He was answering “I’m trying to fill it child, let me in!”. The more time I spent with Jesus, the more in love with Him I fell.
I was hoping to become a wife, praying that once I did my identity would be found. What I found was not that becoming a wife changed my identity, but that it was always in Jesus. My prayers did not go unanswered. God gave me the marriage my heart desired and He helped me find my identity…. in Him. Through those desperate pleas for God to make me a wife, praying for what I thought my identity was supposed to be found in, God drew me closer to Him and submerged me in His Word. His Word that tells me I was made with purpose, I am chosen, I am loved, and I am His.
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14
Many women say they love their husband’s more than anything. I love mine more than most things, but I love Jesus more than anything. I don’t believe we are meant to love our husband’s “more than anything”. I believe that God has called us to love our husbands in a way that reflects His love for us. We can only really do that if our love for Him comes first. To understand God’s love for us comes from deep relationship with Him. One deeper than even the relationship we find in marriage.
Through my own relationship with Jesus, I am thankful to know now that my identity is fully in Him. Who He says I am. Who He calls me to be. Part of my purpose here is certainly to be my husband’s wife. As so is yours! But let us not mistake purpose with identity. Our purpose can change over time, as we fulfill what God calls us to do in each season of our lives. We weren’t always a wife, yet we always had some purpose, just different at times. Our identity is unchanging, firmly rooted in Christ, full of His Holy Spirit. Our identity always was, and always will be, completely found in Him.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9.