This blog was first posted on My Saint My Hero.
When I was a junior in college I was invited to serve on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic by a FOCUS missionary. The mission provided several profound moments — encounters with Jesus through His people and through His Word. There was one particular moment that changed my heart forever.
Each day on the trip we had an hour of prayer set aside. One holy hour, I was praying with a passage in Isaiah. At this point in my life, I had built my identity completely around my social life, image, and grades. I had grown so dissatisfied with who I had become, without knowledge of who I was or what value my life actually had. I wondered if I had any worth. But in Isaiah, I was reading about the God of Creation, and our worth as children of God.
“Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, who formed you from the womb: I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens.”
“I have called you by your name, though you knew me not.”
“I am the Lord, there is no other, there is no God besides me.”
“Shall the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’”
“It was I who made the earth and created the people upon it; It was my hands that stretched out the heavens.”
The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Who are you to say that what I have created isn’t perfect?” As I was praying with these words, my mind was filled with images of the people in the Dominican Republic I had encountered. There were few opportunities for education, many didn’t have much food or clothing, yet many exuded joy in their state of simplicity. I recalled a sweet grandmother who had a few people from our mission group over for lunch one day. She lovingly prepared a meal for us in her home made up of sticks and mud and said to us, “I feel bad for many Americans because they are spiritually impoverished. I know that I am rich in the Lord.” The people in this community knew their worth and identity as children of God, and rejoiced in that. How could I not live in joy and gratitude as well? How could I question who the Lord had created me to be or where my true identity was? During that hour of prayer, the Holy Spirit revealed to me my truest identity, and it forever changed the way I view myself and those around me. I am a daughter of God, beloved and treasured beyond my own understanding.
A couple of years later I went back to that Bible passage in Isaiah and I felt the Lord tell me in prayer, “Just like your heart changed when you looked upon these words in Isaiah, your heart will change again when you have a son, ‘Isaiah’.” Fast forward a few more years, I am now married and expecting my first child, a son, this Mother’s Day. It was never a question when my husband and I found out that we were expecting a boy — His name is Isaiah. (I like to joke that maybe God will let us name the next one.)
As I reflect on these experiences in prayer, I see how through these verses in Isaiah, Jesus continues to call me back to Himself, and the truth that will never change: I have worth and I am beloved because I am a daughter of God. Through all seasons of life, this is something that we as women need to be reminded of. Jesus delights in the beauty of His fearfully and wonderfully made daughters, and rejoices when we embrace who He created us to be. I see this in a special way as I prepare for motherhood.
Pope Saint John Paul II saw motherhood as the key to understanding the vocation of all women. Some women, he wrote, are called to grow life within them — and become biological mothers by accepting and nurturing the goodness of new life. But all women, even those without biological children, have a unique gift of being able to make space for others, of being able to accept others and to nurture others — which is at the heart of motherhood.
And we are able to do this only when we rest in the knowledge and trust that we are truly His.
All photos by Wyn Wiley Photography.