We are all part "who we were" and "who we are becoming" as we live out who we are today on this planet. Who are you? What has changed you today from who you were yesterday? Stephanie Morris vulnerably shares her recognition of such change in who she was, who she is and who she will be.
Taking Off My Ring
By Stephanie Morris
Through three pregnancies and lots of weight gain and weight loss over the years, I've had my wedding ring re-sized a few times. My ring brought me great joy over 18 years of marriage. It proclaimed I belonged to someone forever; and I wore it with great honor and respect for my husband. When I first put on my wedding ring, my hand felt a bit heavy, different. A good different. I got used to the weight of it.
After Stephen died, I wore my ring for a while. I would feel the pressure of it against the steering wheel and find comfort. I would use my thumb to finger the underneath of the ring just to know it was there, without looking. About six months after losing Stephen to leukemia, I took off my wedding ring. It was one of the hardest things I've done. Taking off my ring was part of my own visible action of letting go.
For me, it was time. At some point, my ring started being an agonizing reminder of the one I'd lost and it stopped bringing me joy. A visible expression that while I wore a wedding band, I was no longer married. I took it off. I slipped it into a precious ceramic egg inherited from my mom and it lives there on my dresser - with my engagement ring.
I felt like I was betraying Stephen's memory when I took it off - that I was somehow letting go of the bond we had. I'd put it back on only to take it right back off again. I don't remember how long this went on. I cried - but truthfully, I cried a lot, about everything, for a long time. This decision was no different.
When I first stopped wearing my ring, I told everyone I met that I was a widow. However, when you give yourself a title, that's the lens people see you through. And while it's true, I'm so much more than a widow. I am a mother to three teenagers. I have gone back to work and am a professional working woman, again. I am a writer. I am a speaker. I am a lover of gardening (although I'm not good at it). I dislike doing dishes but don't mind laundry. And I don't want to wear the badge of Widow so prominently anymore.
It's only recently I've made the shift to caring less about what people might think (they will think what they want and probably always have), instead reminding myself more and more of who God says I am. I am His. I am set apart. I am chosen. I have works created in advance for me to do. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I was this and more before I wore a wedding ring, while I was married, and now. As I move through grief, I'm reclaiming these truths.
How many identities have we struggled with or strived for throughout our lives that we try on and take off?
I'm meeting more and more people now who don't know my story; it's a weird new reality. I am no longer married. I am a single woman. I am a single mother. I no longer wear a ring to express who I was. I wear an identity that expresses who I am. I am created in God's image and loved by Him.
Stephanie Morris is working, single mom to three teenagers. With three kids in as many years, she understands the fatigue, frustration and desperate need for the camaraderie of motherhood. Stephanie's authored two books based on her Mom Encourager speaking ministry: Fabulous Family and It's Not Your Gut, It's God! Stephanie speaks at women's groups, MOPS groups, seminars and conferences, and will even lead the occasional retreat. Stephanie lives in Northern Virginia attending her kids' lacrosse games, cheering with great abandon. Learn more about Stephanie at www.stephanieannemorris.com.