From him (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Ephesians 4:16, emphasis added
Last week, I tested my parenting and bravery by waving goodbye to my husband as he ventured off with a bunch of middle school kids to Ohio. He was gone for a week. And truthfully, the time with my boys was sweeter than I expected. Trying at times, but it gave me a surprising reassurance that I’m actually meant to be their mom. (Some days, I can hardly believe it.)
It was a trip I wanted to go on, but I knew that it wasn’t meant to be. God was sweet with me; instead of jealousy sweeping in and reminding me what I was missing, gentle peace washed over with reminders like, “Your work isn’t this, at least not right now.”
For a few weeks, I’ve battled this. My work feels like a thousand different things, and yet, none of it feels like the real work. I let fear well up in my heart because I think, What if all of this “work” is for naught?
I swore to myself as a new mom that I wouldn’t be an absent mom. I was only 21, and my idea of motherhood was shortsighted. I was truly only thinking of my boy, not myself, or God’s work. I believed God’s work was only what I could see in front of me. Hardly what I could see within me.
But that was then. Now, the “work for the Lord”? Whatever it is, I’m in. I want to be in. I want to be fully sold-out to the work of the Kingdom, not fully closed off because I fear for what I’ll lose in my absence.
We are joined and held together by supporting one another. Paul lays it out pretty clear in Ephesians 4. I wasn’t even reading in Ephesians when I came across this. It was in the middle of my impatience and frustration while my husband was serving in another state, and I knew I was starving for fresh water. So I opened the Bible to Ephesians 4, and I read with no agenda.
I’ve been in lots of places of “the work”. I’ve been in the forefront, on the ground, and right in the action. I’ve been on the seeming outskirts, feeling useless and unseen. I’ve done things that demand more faith than I feel I have, and I’ve taken on tasks that feel like badges when they’re completed. I’ve envisioned myself as the ultimate servant and squirmed when my idleness plagues me.
Most of all, I have almost always thought that my role, in order to be worthy, needed to be big, grand, and robust in order for God to recognize me.
It’s much more complicated than that. Beautifully so.
Last week, my role was to send someone I love to do the work and pray persistently on their behalf. It was to joyfully and patiently support. The thought of it made me squirm for weeks prior. But God changed things, and I was most surprised when He changed me.
Some days, my role is to pray steadfast for my sisters. Just this week at church, I saw multiple women I hold dear, and I got to pray for them throughout the week. Just because. Not because God gave me a list, not even so I could tell them. Simply because my role is to be their sister, to love them well, and to uphold them to God.
Other days, my role is to simply be a mom. To be presently pregnant and prepare every meal and watch them do silly stuff outside. It’s a big task, and I don’t always do it joyfully. But if it’s one role that I get to fill, even if for a moment, I can’t neglect the importance of it.
Some days, my role is to write. For marketing purposes, sometimes here, other times just to get the words out of my head. I get to be a writer. And I love that God saw that dream in me when I was young and brought it to fruition.
My roles, my work, my present place is ever-changing and continually important. And if I neglect any of it without His direction? I could be hindering the growth of the body of Christ. Whoa. No pressure, huh? We are woefully imperfect, and He knows that. He’s expecting us to depend on Him, not the other way around.
We must do our work today. Whatever it is. Even if it’s being completely unnoticed. Even if you’d prefer not to. Even if it hurts, your sin is in the way, or you think you simply can’t. Even if the work doesn’t feel like work at all, and we feel like we’ve been benched for far too long. We do it anyways. We remain present anyways, nestled in His Spirit, awaiting His perfect time. Not for our name. Not for our legacy. We do what we do so the Kingdom grows larger, and the people who greet us in heaven is only a vaster crowd.
Know that. Know that your work is important and valuable. Imagine a Church where ever ligament (each of us) does its part. There isn’t much that can stop the Lord, amen?