Finding Who I Am amongst All the Girls I've Been

Originally published Thursday, 18 October 2018.

Hanging on the wall in my bedroom is a photo from my wedding 9 ½ years ago. In the picture, my husband and I are running forward in our wedding garb. I love it because I feel like it was hugely symbolic for us running forward into the future together. And yet…I feel a separation from that girl in the wedding dress. Who was she? She had no idea about what wonderful and terrible things lay ahead. There’s now nearly a decade standing between me and newlywed me.

Sarah Clews Identity

Good changes—I believe I’m more confident now and less judgmental. Bad changes—I’m more fearful and have turned into a bit of a pessimist. My strong opinions at the time and the friends that played a huge role in my life a decade ago have shifted so dramatically. I am myself—I couldn’t be who I am now without that girl from almost 10 years ago, but even when I look back at things I wrote years ago, I’m surprised at myself.

I’ve enjoyed this quote from L.M. Montgomery’s third “Anne of the Island” book.

“Aunt Jamesina shook her head. ‘Well, I hope so, Anne. I do hope so, because I love her. But I can’t understand her—she beats me. She isn’t like any of the girls I ever knew, or any of the girls I was myself.’

‘How many girls were you, Aunt Jimsie?” [Anne speaking]

‘About half a dozen, my dear.’ ”

Have you ever felt like you’ve been half a dozen people? As people I knew from college are coming up on 30, I’ve seen a lot of posts describing the many life events over the last 8-10 years. We become who we need to be at the time, who others need us to be. Who I am now?

Identity Sarah Clews

The only part of my identity that hasn’t changed is this thread that has anchored me in spite of passing time: I am a Child of God. It’s who I am, and it’s with God that I always know where I belong. I love this lyrics from Lauren Daigle’s song “You Say.

“…I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe…”

Whatever happens in decades to come, whatever joys and griefs are to come, whatever gets pruned away, one thing will always be true about my identityI am a child of God.


Sarah Clews loves being the wife of Carson and mother to three little girls. She received her degree in English from Corban University and still loves the craft of writing. She also helps her husband run a martial arts school. In her free time, Sarah enjoys talking with grown-ups (!), finding new authors, doing online research, and reading her favorite childhood stories to her girls.