Living out Titles and Roles

Throughout our lives, we acquire many titles that attempt to define us. I have been given several: daughter, wife, mother, violinist, Mrs…

I am the wife of my husband, my life has been molded under that title, by that title, by God’s, my husband’s and society’s definition of “wife”, but the way it’s lived out is different than how other wives live it out. I am not molded by any other woman’s husband to fit the title of wife. I am not the mother of any other children than my own, I don’t discipline other children in the same way that I discipline my own. The title of wife and mother does not define my role in other relationships the same way it defines me with my own husband and children.

In the same regard, I have been molded to fit under the title of Christian. Within that one title, are many roles: sister, Godly, Christ-like, encourager, worshiper, intercessor, forgiven, and so many others.

When I consider how I am a child of the Living God, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. It isn’t just a title, it is part of every aspect of who I am. It’s part of being a wife, mother, daughter, and violinist. I now have a responsibility to be an ambassador for God, to be an accurate representative of His Patience, His Forgiveness, His Love, His Peacemaking. That title extends out to everyone I ever interact with. I am a Child of the Living God. There is continuous molding going on under the surface, every situation is used to mold and shape me into a more clear likeness of Jesus Who modeled God in human form perfectly. My reactions to things are not God’s reactions to things as His ways are higher than mine. As His child, I have the responsibility to make sure I am teachable, not resisting Godly correction from those God places in my life to help me walk in His ways. I have the responsibility to make sure my behavior points the way to God, Glorifying Him, but not embarrassing Him or causing others to not consider coming to Him. I have the overwhelming responsibility to reflect Jesus, and not deflect people from seeking Him.

People aren’t going to turn to Him in times of trouble because I tell them they need to and I one-up them with His Word. They are going to seek Him out because they see His Kindness, Gentleness, Love, and concern for them in their situations. They will be drawn to Him through His perfect Peace within me.

I wonder what aspects of God are recognizable to others in my own life.

Grandad’s Teaching and Example

I had 2 Grandads, growing up. Well, actually a Grandpa and a Grandad.

My Grandpa taught me by example how little I mattered by never getting my name right. He called me “Janey” the whole time I knew him. He never teased or joked, he just didn’t like me. I learned that because I’m a female, he thought I was worthless. I despised him, so much so, I refused to go to his funeral when he passed on my Junior year of High School.

My Grandad called me by my name, never got it wrong. He also called me “Sunshine”, and “Punkin” (his way of saying “pumpkin”). He taught me work ethics and the importance of respecting and valuing others. He had all sorts of stories about knowing Jesse James (he lived on the farm down the street from my great grandparents) as a child before he became an outlaw, meeting Bonnie and Clyde during his days as a security guard on a train before they turned to crime, and his having met Buffalo Bill Cody. I wish I had paid closer attention to his stories, so I could pass them on to my own kids.

My Grandad was a hard worker, and he placed value on others by the work effort they demonstrated, as well. He had the best garden with the yummiest “pickins’ ” I still have ever seen or tasted. He would pay my brother and I a dime to pull weeds each summer. Then as he held the dime out to give to us, he would tell us a story about how that was a day’s wage when he was a kid, or how bread used to cost a nickel a loaf. I never forgot those facts.

He also taught me, consistently, that the effort I put into the work I did would tell people more about me than I could with words. It tells people whether I respect them or not, whether I have self-respect, and if I would be willing to go that extra mile and put in extra hours when needed. In my heart of hearts, work ethics are more important than most things.

Health issues frustrate and keep me from doing all I really want to do. I am trying to pass on to my kids all I learned from my Grandad. I think they are getting it, but sometimes I wonder. Then again, I bet my Grandad wondered if he was getting through to me, and his lessons and example are still some of the strongest bricks of the foundation of my character and person.

So, maybe one day, I will be pleasantly surprised by my own kids really getting it.

Worth the Effort

We have all seen those “funny” television shows with the background laughter letting us all know we should find whatever is being said or done funnier than anything we have ever seen or heard before. You know the shows, where someone thinks something else is happening, but ends up being completely, even embarrassingly, wrong? I always wonder what would happen if they would just talk. To each other. But, where is the “fun” in that, right?

My husband and I try to sincerely talk about as much as possible, to avoid miscommunications and tense situations. While on televisions those can be hilarious, in marriage for real, not so much.
He and I have been co-parenting our children for as long as 13 years. 12 years ago, communication was so easy, and tons of fun. We have developed our own family “language” over the years as a result of all the cute words the kids have made up in learning how to communicate with us. Now, it’s hard not to wish we had skipped that whole “teaching them to talk” stuff. The sarcasm, the back-talk, the arguing with each other… Many times the problems that rise up would have been headed off before they began, if they would communicate more with us and with each other. I hope I can get that point across to them, it will make their own lives so much easier.

Getting past miscommunicating is an art anymore, I think. Not many people seem to want to put the effort necessary into avoiding miscommunicating, or working past misunderstandings, anymore. They are too busy, and just don’t care how their lack of effort sometimes hurts other people.

I think people are worth the effort. I hope they think I am worth the effort, too.