Amy Steingard is mom to three kids (ages 12, 9, and 6). She holds a degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Communications, danced professionally for almost a decade in Chicago, was wrecked for the better by motherhood, and accidentally found her voice leading the Mothers of Preschoolers ministry at her church.
She’s a highly sensitive Enneagram 4 who’s realizing that finding purpose and meaning in life might mean looking right under her feet for the X that marks the spot and that gold is found where we pay attention.
She’ll never quit paper planners, coffee, or asking the deep questions. Amy is a speaker and writer whose passion is creating space where women feel seen and known and telling the truth about this beautiful mess called life.
A BEAUTIFUL UNBECOMING
In 2019, I sort of imploded. Call it what you will, but it was a crisis of self of the worst kind. I embarked on a year-long journey of finding myself again and finding purpose again.
I thought I needed a pivot, a new thing. I wanted something different. I searched high and low and couldn’t find it. I got angry, I despaired, and still it eluded me. I couldn’t understand why God would be so silent. Why wouldn’t he pull me out of the muck and the mire and put a new song in my mouth?
I went to a women’s retreat in Colorado full-on desiring a lightning bolt moment, but he came in whispers to me. I didn’t see a new path or even a bend in the road. The biggest realization I had there came in these words I wrote down, “I am me. Wherever I go. Here I am.” Ultimately, I am who I am. I didn’t really like this answer.
I wanted to be someone else. Not this wrecking ball of a girl who felt too fiery for church and too holy for the world. This girl who always seemed a little extra and never quite fit. I wanted to be light and funny, not deep and expressive. I wanted to be sweet and calm, not passionate and emotional.
I wanted a new path to follow, but all He did was drop a few breadcrumbs.
I later read a quote by Parker Palmer that said, “The God whom I know dwells quietly in the root system of the very nature of things. This is the God who, when asked by Moses for a name, responded, ‘I Am Who I Am,’ an answer that has less to do with the moral rules for which Moses made God famous than with the elemental ‘isness’ and selfhood. If, as I believe, we are all made in God’s image, we could all give the same answer when asked who we are: ‘I Am Who I Am.’ One dwells with God by being faithful to one’s nature. One crosses God by trying to be something one is not.”
The problem here is that we’re often so busy trying to become someone better or different, someone more like her, someone we are expected or told to be. In doing so, we lose sight of our own nature.
We overlook our own gifts and undervalue our own worth. We label some attributes as good or more appealing or even falsely more Christlike, while we label others as less desirable. We accentuate or downplay things in ourselves based on these ideas, not based on who God made us. Ironically, as women, we end up looking and sounding like each other, instead of like Jesus or even just ourselves. We lose sight of our truest self. She’s imperfect, but mighty too.
My Truest Self Was Already There
From the very beginning, my truest self, the image-of-God-bearing, unique person I was born to be was already there. So was yours. Psalm 139 reveals, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body: all the days were written for me before one of them came to be.” And in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…”
He knows us deeply, created us purposefully, and calls out in us who we are in His image. When He showed me that I Am Who I Am, He also showed me that the things I wanted to change about myself are actually reflections of His image that He specifically placed in me. I bear His depth and creativity, His passion and radical love for people down to my very soul. He calls that out in me, and the very best thing I can do is live into that.
In the same way he commands the snow to “fall on the earth” and the rain shower to “be a mighty downpour”, He simply says to me, “Amy, be a mighty Amy.” He created snow to be snow, rain to be rain, me to be me, and you to be you. We are each an unrepeatable miracle of God.
It’s actually the differences and uniqueness that God put inside of each one of us that makes us powerful and effective in our lives and, ultimately, in His Kingdom. It’s often the things we try to cover over or bury that are actually His treasure within us, meant to be shared.
I’ve been on a journey of digging up that treasure, and here’s what God’s teaching me:
Maybe life is more of an unbecoming than a becoming. Maybe it’s accepting both our gold and our weaknesses as a whole, so they no longer cancel each other out. Maybe it’s peeling back the layers of hurt or expectation or the many hats we have to wear until we reach the true heart of what’s within us that we can give to someone else. Maybe bringing glory to God is simply being fully alive humans who cause other people to flourish by simply being who we are created to be. Maybe everything we are and everything we need has been in us all along.
And so I leave you with this:
You are a beautiful unbecoming.
You gorgeous soul wrapped in tremendous layers
Names, like dresses, we try on while wearing faces not our own.
Hats piled high, a balancing act These scarves are lovely, don’t you think?
Cocooned coats of metamorphosis growing into something more, or so we thought.
You look stunning, my dear. What’s your name again?
This backwards dance of the putting on, of building ourselves while becoming… Unrecognizable.
Mirror catches breath. Truth reflected You do not need to become.
Unbecome all that you thought you needed all that you were told all that you piled on all that striving
You are a beautiful unbecoming.
Peel back layer after layer.
Your exquisite form finally unearthed.
Your gorgeous soul revealed.
Ah, there you are.
You already are. Everything you wanted to be. Magnificent.