A Lesson in Self-Discovery

“Every struggle to discover who we are is a worthy struggle.”

A Lesson in Self-Discovery

Who wants to be a teenage girl again? I don’t! Entering sixth grade at 5’ 8”, I was the tallest in my class. As the third of four daughters born into a farm family, I could drive a tractor and milk a cow. Hardly the identity I wanted!

Though I learned to embrace the person I was, I have had to relearn that lesson. As we go on and seasons change, we often wish we were in someone else’s skin. As I raised one, two, three, and finally four children, I sometimes felt pervaded by them. Their needs dictated my schedule, my wardrobe, even my vocabulary. Was there still a Miriam inside?

As a career counselor, wife for forty-one years, and grandmother who still likes to water ski with her grandsons, I’ve discovered that identity must be fluid—because life is!

Psalm 139 has become my treasure. God knew and knows me, formed me—uniquely, to be sure.

And none of these seasons of change have caught HIM by surprise. As I reflect on myself as a farm girl, Chicago bride, counselor, teacher, mother, and lover of fun and adventure, I’ve concluded that life is like running through a maze, rounding a corner, and then staring into a mirror shocked! Is that really me?

I’ve learned that every struggle to discover who we are is a worthy struggle. The process prepares me for the next. I’m now single again. Widowed? Not my desire.

But God has given me a new and exciting purpose, one I never would have imagined. Those moments of not liking who I was, of wishing to be that ‘other’ person, they sent me running back to where I came from: God’s creative fingers. I am His breath of life, made in His image and no one else’s. That, my friend, is my true identity. And it’s yours, too.

Miriam Neff
Miriam Neff
MIRIAM NEFF is the founder and president of Widow Connection, a ministry that supports grieving widows. She is a Bible study teacher, a conference speaker, and a frequent guest on radio programs, including Chris Fabry Live! and Midday Connection. Mariam has published nearly a dozen books, including Where Do I Go From Here?: Bold Living After Change, Shattering Our Assumptions, Heart’s Cry, and Sisters of the Heart. She holds a B.A. in Education and an M.A. in Counseling from Northwestern University.

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