Redefining My Label

Redefining My Label

May 14, 2014

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope …” Romans 5:3-4 (ESV)

Have you ever been given a label you didn’t choose? The type of label you’re sure will stick with you for the rest of your life?

When I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, that’s exactly how I felt: I was the victim of a poor label-maker.

The doctors said there was nothing I could have done to avoid getting my particular type of cancer. So it felt as if an enemy chose me to attack, for no apparent reason.

My heart ached. Some days it felt as if I were in a boxing ring, with each new cancer-related challenge hitting me smack in the gut.

As if the cancer diagnosis weren’t enough, the trials continued. The “cancer” label affected my eligibility for health insurance and prevented me from giving blood. I know it sounds odd to be sad about not getting poked with a needle, but I often donated blood and absolutely hated being “punished” for something completely out of my control.

Life seemed so unfair. Couldn’t God give me a new label altogether?

It took several years, but God changed my perspective and enabled me to see my cancer as a gift, filled with multiple life lessons that produced endurance, character and hope.

Today’s key verse helped me understand how God was using this unfair label to change my character: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope …” (Romans 5:3-4).

This passage taught me an important distinction. The goal isn’t to rejoice because of our difficult circumstances. But rather, to rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but I’m grateful (okay, mostly grateful!) God has given me several opportunities to work on this.

Each of these traits in Romans 5 (endurance, character and hope) builds on the next. Since that fateful diagnosis, I’ve grown to see God had a purpose in what I suffered. In His grace, God allowed me to hold a mirror up to my life and closely examine it. Cancer helped my husband and me re-evaluate our priorities. Among other things, my family changed churches to find older, godly mentors, and my husband ultimately began his own business.

This month I celebrate eight years as a cancer survivor — no longer labeled a “victim,” but a “victor.” My past may not always be worth celebrating, but my future definitely is! I’m so grateful we serve a limitless God who can redefine our labels no matter what we’ve done, or what has been done to us.

Father God, I ask for Your patience as You turn trials into triumphs. Lord, help me remove the negative labels others have placed on me, and instead, live by the labels You put on me. Thank You for producing character and hope in me and helping me daily move from victim to victor. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ephesians 1:11-12, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” (MSG)

Psalm 60:12, “With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” (NIV)

Are you ready to experience the freedom found in Christ and the new labels He offers? Consider joining me in the upcoming Online Bible Study of Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future, by Pastor Derwin L. Gray. Click here to register or learn more.

Can God really help us redefine our labels? Get your copy of Limitless Life here.

How have the labels from your past placed limits on your life? What would your life look like if you were to allow God to help remove the labels?

Write down one negative label others have used to define you. Next, read Ephesians chapter one. Pray about how God wants to redefine your identity. Then tear up the old word, replacing it with a new word from the Ephesians passage.

© 2014 by Stephanie Raquel. All rights reserved.

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  1. Ultimately, I have been given the label of “lazy” when it comes to the challenges that havin cerebral palsy brings me. Growing up, I suffered a great dal of difficulty i school…, which I didn’t really have much controlover. Attempting college also saw the same resultof low grades and even low grae point averages. Unortunately, I was sometimes labled “retarded” because of having difficulty retaining things that I’dlearned in school, especially when it came to studying for tests or even working on major homework. Allowing God to remove theabels that others placed onme about my disability wuld completely give me a positive viewof why I’m different. I knowthat He made me unique fr a good reason. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope …” Romans 5:3-4 (ESV)
    What a thought-provoking verse! How can our sufferings bring hope? I know that character-building comes slowly, just like everything else. We are a work in prgress, and God’s always pruning us.
    I didn’t pick to be called”lazy” or “dumb”. I know that these labels have stuck wih me for as long as I can possibly remember. My husband, Ron Smith doesn’t see me a the thngs others may think of me as. Instead, he sees me as Gods precious child, unique and beautiful, no matter how I may actually look on the outside. “Father God, I ask for Your patience as You turn trials into triumphs. Lord, help me remove the negative labels others have placed on me, and instead, live by the labels You put on me. Thank You for producing character and hope in me and helping me daily move from victim to victor. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”~Stephanie Raquel
    Amen! What a wonderful way of looking at the chllenges that we may have to deal with! God wants t help us turn ou challenges into victories. I ♥ just howGod has ben helpin me overcome whatever bad thoughts Satan may be attempting to put into my mind.
    Ephesians 1:11-12, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” (MSG)
    Wow! Wht a very powerful verse tonight! I ♥ how God’s been workig out plans or my life, even bfore I atually me to know Hm a my perona aior. How is it tht God knew just hat He wanted my life to actually look ike? I wonder if the challenges of having cerebral palsy were also part of od’s destiny for me.
    Psalm 60:12, “With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” (NIV)
    What powerful words! Amen! God wil cause thoe who ma be against meto fall like a tower. In God, the vitory is all mine. How so very happy this thought makes me feel on this late Tuesdaynight! I ♥ ho I’ve got victry in Jesus, noatter what happns. See More

  2. Idaline Meralus says:

    Great teaching and great lesson to learn. I’am much more encourage and uplift of how Christ can change an individual identity to a new and beautiful label. I pray for God to bless your ministry into hundreth fold.

  3. I have been given the label “bi-product of a divorce” “comes from a broken family” I was just talking with my Hisband this weekend about how I feel like I wear a scarlet letter for my parents divorce and that I’ve been working so hard to remove the label and remove the fear because I started buying into the fear that I would end up just like my parents. I refuse to be enslaved by my parents divorce and when I chose to make the commitment to my husband in front of The Lord I chose to he a “Victor” thanks so much for the post!

  4. Missey Denzer says:

    Great message! I especially loved the testimony from Nivo Smith in these comments. Thank you for the encouragement!

  5. Jennifer says:

    I too am a cancer Victor, seven years. When the doctor said it was breast cancer, I thought great I’m a statistic. But I agree, through all the bad the Lord has blessed and continues to bless me and my family so much. Thank you Jesus for all your strength, healing, love, blessings, peace and spiritual growth you gave me! You are so worthy of praise!

  6. Wonderful insights! Such depth of spiritual maturity and practical examples of application for Godly living.

    Please post MORE from Mrs. Stephanie Raquel! Iron sharpens iron indeed.

  7. Why is it that we hear the negative labels (Nivo’s “lazy” and Nicole’s “from a broken home,” etc) so clearly? The enemy sits on our shoulders and constantly whispers discouragement in our ears. The victory is discerning God’s voice saying “you are my workmanship, a child of the King.”

    Amen, Stephanie, on your 8-year survival as a victor in Christ. Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. Thank you Stephanie for this great devotional! I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer just this past November and I am currently working through many of the issues you talked about. Like you, this was nothing I wanted or asked for and I’ve still yet to see the good in it but I do know God is with me through all of it and I can trust Him with my future. Thank you for reminding me that He has a plan and a purpose for me through this trial and for sharing your story with us!

    • Oh, Lisa, I’m so glad these words could encourage you. God has used it for much good in my life and to teach me many lessons. I know not everyone has a ‘happy’ cancer story and count my blessings … am hopeful God can reveal more of His plan and purpose in your pain. =)

  9. Claudeswife says:

    My struggle is not with labels that others give me, but labels I have somehow given myself over the years. I beat myself up and see myself as a failure in so many areas of my life. I know these are lies from satan, but sometimes it’s so very hard to remind myself that the flaws in my life are stepping stones for others and they are just more ways for the LORD to receive glory through my life. I thank you for sharing your heart and for reminding me yet again that our lives are in His hands and He is molding us into what He designed from the start!
    ~ Phil 1:6 ~
    And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

  10. I find this new font very hard to to read….the letters are not dark enough . Maybe it’s just my eyes….

  11. Mary Kay says:

    Thank you for the message I needed to hear today. God answered my 3AM prayer…:). Blessings to you…

  12. Sarah K. Hoddy-Claus says:

    Stephenie, Your Message Touched Me So Deeply As I TOo SufferedThyroidCancer. I Have Chosen To Also See This Part Of My Life As A Gift And Often Have To Explain That “Logic”. I Live My Life Fuller NoW, Love More Deeply And Walk AwayMore Quickly Than I Did Before All Because I Cherish This Life That Has Been Given To Me, Hurdles And All. Thank You For Your Words. They Meant So Much To me

  13. i could note find a link to copy this for a freind. i will cut and paste

  14. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 42, after a very difficult divorce and other debilitating illnesses, I just couldn’t understand. By the support of family and friends and the unfailing strength of God, I am now 12 years cancer free. Because of my cancer experience, I am able to reach out to others in pain, just as an older lady reached out to me. She told me this story: After having her mastectomy, she decided that she would help and encourage others in their struggles with that decision. She was contacted by a woman who simply did not think she could cut off her breast. When this lady went to visit, and after much talking and prayer, the woman said to her “if I could just see what it will look like, I may be able to do it.” So this cancer survivor went into the bathroom and bared her chest for the struggling woman. Then the woman asked if she could touch it. This very strong lady agreed, and then they both sat and cried together. The patient then said “now I can do it”. The lesson learned, said the survivor, is that sometimes you just have to show your scars. Whether that is a physical scar from surgery, a scar from divorce or addiction, financial struggles, doubt or fear, showing your scars helps to lead others through their difficult times. Thank you for showing your scar to us.

    • Indeed, Donna … sometimes we do just have to show our scars. What a beautiful picture you have painted for me of love and kindness and older women of faith encouraging younger women to keep on keeping on … I am in tears, sweet friend. Thank you for your blessings, today!

  15. Letting go of the fear, the insecurity, the self-doubt, the labels the world has given us – or we have given ourselves! Cling to the safety, the security, the labels of God’s faithful promises!

  16. Oh Stephanie, to know that God is doing something in the midst of our difficult circumstances is such a comfort. I love this devotion. It hits me right where I often fail to be able to see God’s goodness.

  17. Melissa says:

    Stephanie, your words have such meaning to me. I have often wondered about how to rejoice during trials. Your words, “The goal isn’t to rejoice because of our difficult circumstances. But, rather to rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering.” is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you so much. You have truly touched my heart today. 🙂

  18. Mary Jo Cyr, Proverbs31 Volunteer says:

    Hi Steph……Great devotion and one near and dear to my heart. I am also an 8 year VICTOR. (9 in June) I am a breast cancer survivor. I can soooooo relate to every word you shared. I, like you, have learned that God uses these “labels” to shape us into the women we are today. He has taught us what is truly important. He has given us opportunities to be and say the things we want as we live each day because we have truly learned what “life is but a breath” (psalm 39:5) means. We’ve learned what a gift each day is. I thank God you are a VICTOR, Steph! Praise the Lord.

  19. Mary Harris Miller says:

    I am 100 ponds over weight and my hight is 4’11. I have struggle with being over weight all by life. I loose I gain. I don’t know if others see obesity as a issus of suffering.but I do. I have labled myself as a compulsive over eater , resulting in obesiy. Your message helps me to see that I need to have a new label and see myself victorious and not defeated based on mpast failed experiece. With trying to loose weight. Thank you I still have much to think and meditate about concerning this .

  20. Linda Mullin says:

    Beautiful as usual I am presently reading Unglued lol
    Have you ever been in a situation where the situation dictates your reaction and you walk away feeling frustrated but justified.
    I am presently going through Unglued: making wise choices in the midst of raw emotion.
    When you think of judging what do you think? Judgment can be outward or inward. Looking at when a person beats themselves up, or compares the progress with another or compares themselves with others (so and so would of handled that differently, so and so etc.) is a form of judgment against oneself and is defeating and allow shame to slither up close and whisper “Look at you and all your ______…..what good is it? What good ______etc.
    The heaviness in one’s soul leaves a person with a sinking feeling that they can never change etc.
    The inner critic catches you off guard. The gremlin as Berne Brown expresses shows up sometimes in our thoughts and or feelings. Thoughts being I will never change or I am not ____ enough, so and so would of handled it _____ etc. In ones feelings absent of thoughts a feeling of condemnation.
    Shame can’t survive where empathy and or compassion exists in the presence of empathy and compassion the potential and opportunities for change are experiences within people.
    And when we practice self compassion and self empathy in the moments the inner critic or gremlins show up (whether outward or inward) we embrace self love and understanding recognizing the hope of imperfect progress.
    Even though we know we will still make mistakes and recognize changes aren’t always instant the beautiful reality of imperfect progress is the day we give ourselves permission sometimes to forgive ourselves for not being perfect, recognizing the past does not define our future. Present situations or circumstances become opportunities often for me to become aware of an inner conflict that needs resolution etc.
    As I was reading Unglued the author shares a situation where the clerk rolled her eyes bringing me to a situation of an occasion the other day where yep I was rolling my eyes. You may know those times after swallowing hard after dealing with it, and dealing with it and dealt with it and then getting tired of dealing with it to later meet with the inner critic. When we recognize we aren’t going to handle everything perfectly but we can handle and learn how to handle them better and differently we open ourselves to experience and see changes and progress that has taken place rather than accepting a lie that ____ will never _____ etc.(the inner critic) It is easy at times perhaps to focus on how one handles a situation or behavior and attempt to correct a behavior without recognizing what is happening on the inside but it is recognizing often the lies we believed or began to believe and replacing those lies with truth freedom begins to take place within people. It is refusing to accept lies in the midst or middle of raw emotion and taking time to take a deep breath and let it out slow etc.
    It is recognizing we are all imperfect loved by a perfect God who knows us and loves us and desires to be a help whether through an individual or book. Who offers His Spirit in illuminating understanding etc. needed in the absence of others His ability to fulfill Ezekiel 34:11-16 personally for individuals. And who offers Romans 8:26 His Spirit to intercede on our behalf and on behalf of others as He focuses on the inside of a person not the outward. He focuses on the heart not the behavior recognizing outward behavior is pain inside displayed outwardly at times. Non judgment style thinking. There is no condemnation in Christ so when ones feels judged or condemned in recognizing it is not from God one can begin to deal more effectively with the inner critic or gremlins they experience.
    Now it doesn’t mean God doesn’t bring things before me where I recognize yep and or identify with thoughts, words ,shared etc. Opportunities through circumstances and situations for growth but this is always done in love. How do we recognize conviction of condemnation? Conviction draws us in love; condemnation belittles us which is not a part of God.
    I will close for now asking God by His Spirit to illuminate those things He sees will benefit others helping each to recognize their worth and value in Jesus name. Amen.
    In Christ
    Linda Mullin

  21. Latisha Baker says:

    Thank you for that word because I was just praying about all the trials, in my life. This was word that gives me te strength to go on and believe that GOD is working out everything in my life. May you be blessed and GOD continue to speak to your heart and you will encourage women like myself, not to give up.
    Thank GOD for hearing & answering prayers…AMEN!!

  22. Susan O'Brien says:

    Thank you Stephanie for your devotional today. I was diagnosed with oral cancer, the small side of my tongue removed. I have never smoked. I had a friend asked me where my tongue has been, which we were able to laugh about. It made me wonder what people who barely knew me thought of what goes on with her to get tongue cancer. We put labels on ourselves sometimes that are not what our Father would have us wear. We need to view ourselves through His Word to us and we would have a wiser opinion of ourselves. It’s been 4 years for me and can see God’s hand bring good from the cancer. I am closer to Him because of it and able to share Him with others. I was even told on a follow-up visit that it looked like the cancer had gone to the liver giving me months to a year to live – but after a biopsy a week later found that there was no cancer there! I read Psalm 145 then and still daily to lift, encourage and draw me closer to my Father. Hope this will encourage someone. Thanks.

  23. I love that you pointed out ” Among other things, my family changed churches to find older, godly mentors”. This is what my family and I had to do and it proved to be the right move. We were in a church where the leadership was caught up in the deceitfulness of gossip, riches, and titles. They were quick to label you rather than find out the truth and mentor you. As you are cooperating with God to rise up out of any pit of discouraging labels, it is important to be aware of toxic relationships that you are allowing to influence you. Move if you must to a people who are mature and truly have Christ’s mind to lovingly support you in finding out your identity in Jesus Christ and leaving old and destructive labels behind.

  24. Glory be unto God our heavenly father . . . .Amen! Lord I humbly trust yo to remove every and ALL negative label/s that the enemy and others has placed upon my life. I realize that faith without works is dead . . . .Therefore, I come into full agreement with you in having all past labels removed from my life and replaced with a mulitude of BLESSINGS in Jesus name AMEN! Today, and henceforth I walk in freedom and victory. Amen!

  25. I too am a cancer survivor…breast & thyroid cancer. It will remind you where to turn for true comfort & His peace that passes all understanding. During the 14 months I went through chemo, radiation & 5 surgeries I could feel God’s presence. I asked friends to pray I would have peace and courage, but God gave me so much peace I never needed any courage.

  26. Lynn Fuhs says:

    I too have lived with labels all of my life (ugly, worthless, damaged, and angry to name a few). Before I came to the Lord I was without excuse for believing those awful words spoken over me. I was recently told by a friend that I am the most angry person she knows. So, that tells me that I am still identifying myself with my past hurts and fears. Her words of encouragement was to just sit and be quiet before the Lord and allow His Love to heal those hurts and pains from so many, many years ago. To learn to love myself and see myself as my Lord sees me. Your message today only confirms what she said. Her recommendation to me was to not try to control my situation or circumstances but to just trust in the Lord and make it my life’s work to do nothing but to glorify Him in all that I do, think and say. In addition, because of my anger issues, I have been very judgmental of others which is not glorifying to the Lord .. in fact, is it usurping His authority. So, I thank you for your message today and covet your prayers that I would be delivered from myself and my self-inflicted pain and would become (and love) the woman Father God wants me to be.

  27. Hey Steph, GREAT devotional! I love how you addressed dealing with labels. I remember not long after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my former boyfriend’s mother sewed a beautiful pillow for me. It was a pink tree, with pink ribbons for leaves, and the words, “I am a survivor” underneath. When I opened the box and saw the pillow, I threw it across the room and said, “I don’t want to be one of those!!”
    And so here I am, over 4 years later. A survivor. I don’t know if I’ll ever be at the point of calling cancer a gift in my life, but last year I finally came to the place where I thanked the Lord for all the changes He’s done in me through it. And now I guess I’m okay with being a cancer survivor (almost there!), but I’m glad there’s so much more to all of us than this. I think I like His labels better anyway.

  28. Pam Grass says:

    Love this devotion. I’m a BC “survivor” and I’m so glad you feel like I do about my cancer. God answered so many prayers thru my cancer journey, changed me and the way I see life and people and I feel Blessed to have had it. Not saying it wasn’t one of the most difficult things I have gone through and still deal with but it was a Blessing. Thank you for the great devotion today.

  29. Yes, I have MS. That doesn’t go away. Ever. Unless God wills it.

  30. Michelle says:

    Thank you for your post. I really appreciated the distinction you made in the following sentences.”The goal isn’t to rejoice because of our difficult circumstances. But rather, to rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering.” I was diagnosed with Breast cancer April 1st and this is something I am struggling with. I had understood the verse to mean that I was supposed to rejoice for the diagnosis and I just didn’t see how to do that. But I know from past experience that God will do much in the midst of this and I think I can rejoice in that hope. Thank you again for sharing!

  31. I think the greatest struggle of man in general is to dwell on one’s self, it’s our inherent disposition to do so. The lack of awareness that this occurs can ultimately trap your identity because how we perceive our self is tainted in brokenness; we imagine the worst, not the best.

    Condemnation is taking place in such thoughts. Capturing such thoughts, we are freed up to bear MUCH fruit, to avoid the consequences of false thoughts. In order to run the race that the Lord has set before us takes mind preparation. The hindrances to right thinking is that we don’t think about what we think about; therefore, our thoughts wander around in whatever direction circumstances take them.

    Have boundaries for thinking as Philippians 4:8 defines. Guard yourself from mental garbage, which includes our own definitions or labels of our self!!

  32. Michelle says:

    This is exactly how I feel after my battle with breast cancer. I was diagnosed at 40 and battled the horrible disease. What it did to my body was devastating but what it did to my faith, my soul, and my marriage was nothing short of His miraculous timing.

  33. This message meant alot to me. I’m done with the old labels people have put on me. I’m only taking the Label God has put on me. I will not live by the labels that aren’t of God. I will not believe the lies of the enemy. I am a VICTOR not a victim. I am blessed beyond words. God is AMAZING and he continuosly shows me new things that I didn’t see before. This message spoke to me, especially “This passage taught me an important distinction. The goal isn’t to rejoice because of our difficult circumstances. But rather, to rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but I’m grateful (okay, mostly grateful!) God has given me several opportunities to work on this” This is so true. I’m rejoicing knowing God is doing something in my difficult times. I’m patient and know that this will come to pass. I’m grateful. Again, Thanks for this uplifting , inspirational words. Feeling so blessed today! Starting off my day with JOY and Cheer!

  34. Thank you for this message and for making this available to me. God continue to bless your ministry.

  35. Wendy Wagner says:

    Having been through a divorce that I did not ask for, understand or want, I have struggled with the label of being “divorced” and my children being “from a broken home.” But with great mentors and prayer, I have found strength in realizing that the labels can only have weight if we allow them to have power over us. We are AWESOME and worthy and holy in God’s eyes. That is all that really matters. I have hung onto another phrase recently that has given me great comfort…”One day she realized that although some things in life were beyond her control, she could choose how she reacted to them. And it was in THAT moment that she knew she was finally FREE.” There is great freedom in knowing that we are hand-picked by a God who adores us just the way we are. The way that we DECIDE to respond to labels that others put upon us is ENTIRELY up to us…we have the freedom to accept or reject them. I am working hard to reject the ones that don’t serve me and embrace the ones that do!

    • Indeed, there IS great freedom knowing we are hand-picked by God! Glad He has given you that perspective! =) Would love to have you join us in our next Online Bible Study! =)

  36. Wendy Wagner says:

    And way to go, Stephanie. SO proud of you!!

  37. Susan G. says:

    All I can say is Hallelujah! 😉
    Thanks Stephanie for an encouraging ‘word’.
    May God richly bless you as you bless others with your encouraging words.

  38. Kellie Brown says:

    I struggled with this the majority of my life.. Through things done to me as a child and later in life, was where I placed my self worth in. It was not until one more label was slapped on me that I did not at all ask for, child lost to suicide, that I finally started searching and seeking Jesus. I knew I was saved but did not have the relationship with Jesus. When I finally got how He sees me was a day I will never forget. He loves me more than anyone is capable of loving. He knows what is best more than I do. Looking back now, I can see how each thing is being used for His glory. What better one to reach others in similar circumstances than one who has been there? What I have gained through all this does make it worth it.. I gained Jesus..

  39. Great post- I loved the reminder to
    “rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering”- I know that my struggling with infertility has made me realize how little I was actually trusting in God. I’m still working on it, but giving up the control to Him who cares for me… that’s one thing God’s been doing in my suffering!

  40. Sally Salas says:

    Thank you for this. I was labeled and even though I knew I had changed my ways many people never saw it and it really hurt. I guess as long as the Lord sees it.

  41. Suzanne says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this…I had been letting myself believe the lies/labels that Satan would have me believe of late, which is not a good place to be at all. The quote “The goal isn’t to rejoice because of our difficult circumstances. But rather, to rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering.” hit home as my husband and myself and our two boys have been through many trials lately and this is how we would choose to respond, with rejoicing.

  42. maria garcia says:

    Label!? Up until recently, they were positive.. upon the loss of my baby at 21+2 weeks, I have labeled myself at some point as a failure, as a bad mom, lack of attention, and even demanding… I have a son who is shy of 14, I was only 21 when I had him, I did the best I could. But I didn’t get raised by parents who gave attention, who took me to the park, or who played catch with me, who bought me a kite, the little things. So as my son grew, I deprived him of those things, I labeled them as insignificant. Now being 35 being pregnant would have giving me the opportunity to be a succesful mother. I researched, how to get children involved with new baby, the development activities that my son and I could do with the baby.. planned the outings to the park, and had a plan in place, for the family.I have learned thru out the years that family is important, is not the matelialistic things we provide but the time we give that matters, that make an imprint. I was determined to do that. Loosing my baby at 21+2 weeks, was devastating, my body failed to protect that life, I failed as I would no longer live out those plans. It has taken a lot of faith,believe, and digging in Gods words that has brought me to a better place, but with Octavians due date being only 25 days away it is hard, as my mind constanctly races to what should have been and is not, to the what ifs to what I should be doing… and again I feel as a failure, as I am failingto be the mom that Cesar needs, as I grief for Octavian. Letting go of these labels isn’t easy. I have been a harsh, disciplined, and demanding of Cesar, and sometimes I wonder how much of that would have reflected on Octavian, how much of that will reflect on future children if any. So, yes I label myself as a demanding person, parent, wife amd socially… I have high expectation for myself and for others, yet those high expectation weren’t met when I lost Octavian…

  43. Susan Engler says:

    First of all- what a great message today! I just started following Proverbs 31 Ministries on Facebook because I recently read (and loved) Lysa Terkeurst’s book Unglued. Today I noticed this blog was written by a name I recognized- and sure enough I was a part of Campus Crusade with you at Illinois!! Small world 🙂

  44. Thank you for this encouraging, hope-filled word, Stephanie! I can’t wait to get started on our next study!

  45. Stephanie, thank you for sharing and encouraging us to persevere. Today, you highlighted why I continue to lean into God’s promises for my life…HOPE. I am being refined by the perfect jeweler for His kingdom. Praise God and God Bless.

  46. Lost my job/ friends I considered family, needed so much to see this today! Thank you Jesus! Labeled with MDD struggle daily, no, hourly. Need to take the online class.

  47. Nancy Olsen says:

    Thank you Stephanie. I was in severe acute upon chronic pain and had my son pray for me. Then I saw your devotion and it spoke directly to me as I have had many lifelong chronic illnesses and when ill I often spiral down. This devotional immediately opened my eyes wider when I read Eph 1 and my power(!) verse is Eph 1:10-20 as I first had used weak as my label but it changed to powerful and mighty! As a young adult I had a nickname “dynamite” which obviously God chose for me! So that spoke to me that God truly will wants me reborn into “dynamite” again! Dynamite’s root is dynamo which means power. May God bless you!

  48. Erica E says:

    Overcommitter..that’s my label. I overcommit to continue with the label overachiever. So with that said I am so “over” both of those labels. I am ready to live without the negative labels and replace with committed to Jesus and achieving his Will.

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