Chaplain asks, “What Defines You?”

Robinson Barracks Chapel photo by Holly DeCarlo-White, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Ch. (Lt. Col.) Stanton Trotter
Assistant Command Chaplain
U.S. European Command

I must admit to you that when I was in high school I was a band geek. And to make it worse, I loved being in the high school band.

I played trumpet and being in the band was a huge part of my life. When people would ask anything about me, I inevitably ended up proudly identifying myself as a trumpet player–that’s who I was. Then, after a year in college, I grew weary of life at home so I joined the Army Band.  I was a Soldier, yes, but to me I was still a trumpet player. That was who I was.

After a few years in the Army, I got married and started to identify myself as a happily married man. A few more years passed and I left active duty to become a ROTC cadet. My identity was now that of being a cadet. While in college, I became an ordained minister, so then I thought of myself as an Army chaplain-in-training. When I finally came back on active duty as an Army chaplain, I felt I had arrived at a peace with my identity: I was a chaplain.

However, after many years of marriage, my wife and I decided to have children. After our first child, I embraced being a father, but after our second child I celebrated being a father. I had found my new identity: I was a father.

As you read through my movable “identity crisis,” I wonder if you reflected on your own life.  Maybe some of you were band geeks just like me. Maybe some of you could relate to the change that happens when you got married or especially the change that happens when you became a parent.

Take a minute and reflect on your identity. What is it? Soldier, leader, boss, husband, wife, mother, father, retired, young, musician; the list goes on and on. I am sure that however you define yourself today, it is a little different than it was a few years ago. But that’s okay. We change through the years and look at the world and ourselves differently.

I want to encourage you with this fact: All of us share one identity that is constant at all stages of our lives. We are all children of God. This means that we are always loved by our heavenly father.  In whatever we do and wherever we go, we will always be loved by our heavenly father.  So as you think about who you are and what you are, remember and find rest in the peace of knowing that you are a child of God.