My twin girls grappled deeply with the question of their identity as they grew and matured. All of us, if we dare to admit it, wonder about our purpose and what makes us special and unique. However, this question became a poignant source of angst for our youngest two as they were often confused with the other.
My favorite “mixed identity” story came out of their earliest school years when they attended The Moog Center for Deaf Education in St. Louis. “Hi Megan,” greeted one of the teachers cheerfully as she passed her in the hallway. A staff member, aware that the girls’ teachers could only tell them apart by the sound of their voice or by their unique shoe choices, asked how she knew it was Megan and not Jenna.
With a shrug of her shoulders, she mumbled a confused reply, “What do you mean? I’ve met Megan – that’s Megan.” The other woman took great delight in watching this teacher try to wrap her mind around the big “twin reveal.” Never having seen the two together, she consistently and with a probable 50% accuracy, greeted each appearance with the same friendly response.
“What’s so special about me?” They wondered repeatedly.
I pointed out God’s words: “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!” (Psalm 139:14 The Message)
They were not impressed . . . nor did they feel uniquely special. “People get us confused, we have the same IQ, miss the same questions on tests for the same reasons.”
It was true – physically and neurologically, they appeared the same.
The question remained, “What’s so special about me?”
In their middle school years, God led me to a truth that spoke to their deep inner wonderings. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)
Hmm, a masterpiece? Good things – planned just for me and not also for my twin sister?
“Yes! God created each of you with a purpose so unique that only you can fulfill it,” I explained. “He has specific, awesome works all planned out – with your name stamped on them. He poured into you special gifts, talents and a one-of-a-kind temperament so that only you can accomplish these things in the ways God plans. You’ve got this – no one else. You were made for this, chosen for such a time as this – with things to do and places to be – uniquely and specifically designed just for you.”
The truth of God’s intricate, purposeful designs seeped in slowly. Today, both girls firmly believe that His unconditional love is personally and specifically meant for them.
I like the way Dan Allender explained this truth to his ten-year-old son: “You are the only you this world will ever know and something about your life is meant to make something about God known in a way no one else can do.” (The Healing Path)
Lord, open our hearts to believe that we are wonderfully created masterpieces! I can’t help but imagine that a smile lit Your face as You saw all the uniquely beautiful ways we would reflect Your love and power to those whose stories intersect ours.