Monday, April 23, 2012

Missionary Kid Monday: Defining Me

{For more on this series, click here}

Welcome to the last installment of Missionary Kid Monday! I've so enjoyed sharing this part of me with all of you! (and thanks for reading along!)

I'll start this story with a flashback to sophomore year of high school. I had an English teacher at my boarding school who also grew up as an MK (Missionary Kid). One day, he told us:

Once an MK, always an MK.

And at the time I was all "YES! ROCK ON!" Because being a Missionary Kid is what defined me. More than anything else - if you asked me: "Who are you?" I would have said, "I'm Sarah, an MK". In a life of constant change, of flip flopping between countries/cultures/languages, in a constant struggle to belong, I had found safety and comfort in my MK-ness.

I clung to that identity even more fiercely when I went to college.

So fast forward to my sophomore year of college. I'm sitting in my dorm room with this guy that I really like and that I've been seriously dating for a few months (how serious? He had flown out to visit my family in Europe the summer before!). We were talking about a lot of things when all of a sudden, I said:
I could never marry someone who wasn't an MK.

This guy - who'd lived his whole life on a farm in Michigan - got really quiet. I didn't know it at the time, but that was a sign he was upset and angry. He didn't respond to the statement right then, but he did try to talk some sense into me later.

And I neeeeeded someone to talk some sense into me. Just because I was an MK didn't mean that I could only relate to and get along with other MKs. Somewhere along the line, I had missed that point. It cost me many college friendships.

And it almost cost me my husband! I ended up marrying that common-sense farm boy less than a year later:

It took me a few years - maybe about five or so - to loosen my grasp on my Missionary Kid identity. Slowly, other things became more defining: I'm a Christian; I'm a wife; I'm a special education teacher; I'm an introvert. I will still always be a Missionary Kid, but it's no longer at the top of the list.

What about you? Who are you?


  1. I can totally relate on the level of being a military brat and taking a lot of pride in that. It took me years to define myself as something different and I'm thankful for college and the years beyond that to help!

  2. Glad he talked some sense into you! :) We all struggle with defining ourselves, and it makes it even more difficult when others are trying to define you. I was always called "weird" or an "outsider", and I took it to heart. I could say I'm many things. I just know that I'm me.

  3. Who am I? Well, in part, I'm the mother of a wonderful MK who is ALSO so much more!!!! In high school I was totally mixed up and trying to figure out who I was! It's definitely a process! Love you

  4. awwww!! I am so glad that he talked some sense into you!! ;) You two look so cute together!! It is always hard to change the way that we view ourselves and sometimes when we change, it is for the better. ((though we just may not see it at the time)) xo

  5. What a great post... That picture is so perfect! u were a gorgeous bride!

  6. Defining ourselves is an ongoing process. It took me years to realize I was more than just a mother.