My daughter, Allison, called with an unexpected request. Our grandson, Owen, wanted his grandpa to be a chaperone on the 5th grade field trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Honored by the request, my husband cleared his calendar and gladly accepted the invitation.
As the date for the field trip drew near, Joe received all of the requisite instructions regarding the duties of a chaperone, but he also learned there would not be enough room for the chaperones to ride on the bus with the students, so he would have to drive to the DIA and meet the students there. (You are correct, if you right now you are thinking that Joe was not a bit disappointed about that news!)
Well, on the day of the field trip, Joe drove to the DIA and soon located the other chaperones – all mothers. As he walked up to them, he introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Joe”
There was a polite reply.
Then Joe added:
“And I’m Owen’s grandpa.”
Then almost as if it had been scripted, in unison with great enthusiasm they declared,
“Ohhh! You must be Allison’s dad, too!”
Not only is Allison a teacher in their school, but her children attend there as well. So these mothers know her both as a teacher and a fellow mother. It wasn’t my husband’s name; it was his identity that triggered their enthusiastic response – his identity as a father to Allison and a grandfather to Owen.
As Joe related this story to me, I couldn’t help but reflect on the significance of our spiritual identity. Certainly I am a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, teacher, friend and more. But my earthly identities are all grounded in that most vital spiritual identity – my identity as a child of God.
An identity I didn’t earn.
An identity not based on any measure of perfection or worthiness in me.
My core identity as a child of God is all because of His love.
“So what kind of love the Father has for us, that we should be called the children of God, and so we are. (1 John 3:1)
Each of us have a name. But when we get to heaven(that eternal field trip), we will be welcomed by the Father and his angels with a joyous response, because our name is wrapped in the identity of who we are – a child of God!