Are You Living Out Your Roles?

Today’s Truth Bite:

“Since God values people more than things and accomplishments, our most important roles to Him are the ones involving relationships…It is here in life where we clearly make an impact on others, whether positively or negatively.”

Many years ago (and I do mean many), I attended a women’s retreat with my church nestled among the beautiful redwoods in northern California. I had been to many retreats before—I always looked forward to meeting new people and connecting to God in a fresh way. But mostly, I looked forward to a break away from my two young, active pre-schoolers. The expense and effort was completely worth the two days of someone else cooking the meals for me, only having to be responsible for myself.

That particular year, however, I remember I felt a bit restless and unsettled. After breakfast on Sunday morning, I was walking back to my cabin to pack, lamenting to God along the way. I mean, hear it was nearing the time to head home, and I had gone through the entire weekend without feeling overly connected to any of the women or Him! I admitted that I was kind of depressed about it and felt a little jipped (dating myself with that word, aren’t I?). And frankly, I told Him, I wasn’t too eager to get home! Back to the grind, to the responsibility of taking care of the kids, piles of laundry, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, and seemingly endless errands…whine, whine, whine. I clearly remember asking the question, “Lord, what’s in it for me?” No sooner had that thought left my mind when I heard these words in return:

“You are their mother.”

The moment these words came in to my mind, all of the meanings, connotations, and implications of the word “mother” flooded my brain and heart. It was almost like being shown one of those flip books, but I could see every page clearly. Each one had an image or meaning of all the things a mother is to a child, even memories of things my own mother did for me and my siblings, things my grandmother had done for her and us, and the emotions of how much I loved those women! The greatness of this role as “mother” hit me with full force, and for the first time I realized the impact I could have in this world if I gave this role my all.

What I do today as the mother in my family matters. It not only reaches them today, but it extends to my future generations. It also reflects on my past generations in ways I don’t necessarily understand, but it’s all connected. I could either take it or leave it, the choice was mine. But whatever my choice is, it will have an impact. It’s up to me if I want that impact to be positive or negative. What kind of legacy do I want to leave? What kind of mother do I want to be known for, by my kids, my grandkids, others around me? Do I want to represent the women (past, present and future) in my family well, or not? It matters!

As all of this flooded my mind, I slowed down and tears streamed down my cheeks. I had been a “caregiver” for several years, but I realized in that moment that I truly hadn’t embraced all that “Mother” truly meant. I thanked God for the revelation that could only have come from Him. I now had a new perspective on the difference I could make in the lives of my little ones and future little ones. I was holding myself back from fully committing to loving my kids as a mother should, but not anymore. I prayed a prayer of recommitment to be the kind of mother my kids needed—one that would be dedicated to them emotionally, physically, and spiritually. With a renewed sense of purpose and hope, I rushed to pack.  I couldn’t wait to get home.

Since God values people more than things and accomplishments, our most important roles to Him are the ones involving relationships. We all have roles that we either select for ourselves (mother, wife, friend) or are born in to (sister, daughter, grandmother, aunt). It is here in life where we clearly make an impact on others, whether positively or negatively. You can be a wife, but are you a loving, dedicated wife? You can be a mother, but are you holding back your love from your kids, even a little bit? You can be a friend, but do you give more than you receive?

Allow God to show you those roles you haven’t fully embraced, asking Him to give you a new perspective and some clarity on what it truly means to be His kind of “sister,” “wife,” or  “grandmother.” Have you fully embraced the most important roles you play? Have you given any thought about how your lack of embracing them is impacting other lives? At the end of the day, how you have loved those in your life is what truly matters. All the rest is just fluff.

The good news is that even if you haven’t been the best at one or any of these roles, it’s not too late to get started. Like Paul says in Philippians 3:12-13, I can forget what is behind me and strain towards what is ahead. Thank God for that, right? Fresh starts, forgiveness, and new hope is what it’s all about.

Even though this quote was written by a man, I think it fits well here to what I’m trying to say:

“I was given such a great gift. It’s a miracle that never stops amazing me and reminding me to give thanks, every day. Having a wife and daughter gives me a lot more purpose. I was much more selfish before, but now I think about what kind of role model I’ll be. I just want to be a better man.”

— Jake Owen, Country Music Artist

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Let me know if this blog touched you in any way. Are there relationships you will recommit to and embrace more fully? Leave me a comment!