Today marks eleven years of me as a Mrs.
My first few weeks as Melissa Brotherton were confusing. Despite practice and planning, the name sat uncomfortable on my shoulders. The taste of it rolling off my tongue was strange.
Now I snuggle down into it like well-worn pajamas and slippers. I’ve embraced it as my identity.
Not once in my recent occasions to introduce myself have I said, “Hi, my name is Melissa Brotherton. It used to be Melissa Redmond, but now it’s different.”
Because that would be weird, right?
No one really cares what my name used to be, and there’s no point in them knowing. If I introduced myself that way people would walk away wondering what is wrong with me.
I am kind of doing that.
Not with my name, but with other parts of me.
Because “me” is somewhat uncomfortable right now.
The Melissa I’ve always been is very different from the Melissa God has been shaping over the past year (or more). Last year I wrote about feeling pregnant with expectation, and the birthing process that would follow. I wrote about all those things and then forgot them as I labored.
Let me tell you, after four kids you’d think I’d understand the birth. This delivery was nothing like any of the others. It was painful; no one was there offering me an epidural or reminding me to breathe. It seemed never-ending; each stage had me worrying that I wouldn’t live through it.
And now that I know I’ve come through it, I’m missing that moment of connection. In movies the expectant parents always seem to wait until the delivery to discover the sex of their baby.
Birth is accompanied with a declaration of identity:
“It’s a boy!”
“It’s a girl!”
I have yet to make that declaration. God has shifted my world-view and altered my very being. The thoughts, reactions and behaviors that once came so naturally to me are missing, and the replacements are unfamiliar.
As I’m introducing myself to new people I’m met over and over with the same statement, “Really?” As I describe myself to people, they don’t see the person I’m describing. That person doesn’t really exist anymore.
Instead of boldly declaring who I am now — because it feels strange — I’m grasping for the comfortable that was. How confused Josh would have been if I had continued to introduce myself as Melissa Redmond after our wedding.
It’s time to start properly presenting myself as I really am.