A Mess of Batik…and Identity

The other day I was digging through some boxes we’ve stored in our basement.

Some of them contain items we shipped back to the States from Indonesia three years ago, and while we’ve gone through the boxes at least once since then, we weren’t in the place yet where we could just start pitching everything we don’t use. (Though that day is definitely closer now. ;))

I was actually digging (and making a total mess…really) for a book that I’d had shipped to me in Indonesia and thought I’d brought back. It figures that I didn’t find the book, but I did find?



Yes, it kind of fits me like a great, big, batik, tent. 😉

But, before you cringe…let me tell you the back story.

During our years in Indonesia, I loved all things batik, especially the patchwork kind. Purses, shirts, even skirts…I couldn’t get enough of it. When I stumbled on this tank top in a little batik shop in Yogyakarta during our Christmas trip of ’08, it was like finding a treasure. And so I bought it and wore it and loved it. (And I’m guessing packed it up to ship home way before I actually left Indonesia because my prego belly was probably way too big for it by then. ;))

And that shirt wasn’t the only batik thing I brought home. A couple skirts, shirts, a kebaya, blankets, more bags than I can count… IndonesiaBags

Yep, I stocked up. (And, bonus points to the person who can count how many batik purses are hidden in all of that.) 😉

I wanted to make sure I had enough batik to get me through however long it took me to…

Well, I’m not exactly sure how to finish that sentence.

For several months after my return, I wanted that piece of Indonesia.

The kind I could look at and hold in my hands, the kind that could remind me of the place that still held so much of my heart, even if my feet weren’t planted there anymore.

I’d wear those batik shirts around and carry the cute bags and find a little piece of my identity in the fact that even if I couldn’t be there, at least I could remember it.

But eventually that day came…the day when I pulled out a bag I bought at Target. And I dressed in my jeans and and equally-Target tank top, probably with some Old Navy flip flops thrown in there, too.

I’m not sure how, or even exactly when, it happened, but I became ok with not having that piece of I’ve-obviously-been-somewhere-most-of-you-haven’t-and-that-place-is-my-identity, thrown out there for the world (or at least my little C’ville) to see.

Finding that shirt the other day brought me back to that place…and reminded me of the silly things I sometimes find my identity in.

While a cute bag is always nice (can I get an amen, here?! ;)) and so is a fun, unique shirt…if I’m choosing to label myself with something that trivial, then I have a long way to go.

I guess I still do.

We all do.

That’s why I’m thankful that I’m redeemed, that He’s called me by name, that I’m precious and honored in His eyes…that He loves me.

That. I’m. His.

And as I sit here writing this, still wearing that tent-like tank top, it’s a beautiful reminder, one I need every day.

Thank you, Father.


But, seriously…I added a striped sweater. Don’t you totally think I should wear this on our next date night?! 😉 



  1. You said you were repainting our bedroom in batik, right? 😉

  2. Right? Why else do we shop for things we don’t need? The gospel is the cure for common consumerism.

  3. Yes – I like the husbands idea…repaint the bedroom in batik! :) I tend to hold on to things like that too though…maybe you could have someone take all of that stuff and make a quilt out of it. Something you might use more often, be a conversation piece and something that will always remind you of your time there! :)

    • I’ve thought about doing something like that…we also have several t-shirts from school events, etc. that we won’t ever wear, but there are memories attached to them…and it’s hard to part with them. I love the idea of making them all into a huge quilt. (Even if it might look a little crazy. ;))

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