Changing Roles, Unchangeable God Jennifer Woodley T he family home has been sold; the three sons, now independent, young men, have moved away. The teary farewells are over, the daily round of responsibilities and commitments have been left behind. We are stepping into the long-awaited dream: to travel indefinitely, to have no fixed address. To enjoy a new adventure together as husband and wife. To be led each day by the hand of God with no pressing plans of our own. To savour the delights and adventures that the Great South Land, Australia, has to offer. Sounds idyllic? Perhaps, but this life too has its challenges. I am new to this, and my role is very different now. No longer a mother up close and personal, I am a mum from a distance via Wi-Fi. No longer the owner of a spacious home on large grounds, I am the owner of a compact and cosy 19-foot caravan. No longer do I have the luxury of privacy and unhindered freedom. Now my every move is detected within the confines of four walls. No longer a long-standing contributor of a close community, I am the roaming resident of a wider community. No longer a member of a local church, « 32 DOZ Magazine October 2018 I am developing a growing awareness of the larger body of Christ and how I can be a prayerful part of it. No longer an employee who travelled to work each day, I am a freelance writer able to conveniently port the work wherever I go. Sometimes when life takes a very wide turn in another direction, we become unsure of ourselves. We lose our sure footing, and nothing feels stable anymore. At times like this, it is best to have a little talk to oneself. Who am I really? Is there anything more defining than how hard I work, the level of success I achieve and other people’s assessment of that? Is there anything truer about me than the external roles I fulfilled? I was a mother, a neighbour, an employee, a member of my local church and community and a friend. But when all these roles are stripped away from our lives, when all the expectations that are associated with these roles stop, who are we really deep down inside? For this is how we are to be truly known. One thing remains: we are children of the eternal God. John confidently proclaims this bedrock truth in 1 John 3:1, ‘How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!’ This is our true identity which, despite fluctuating conditions in our lives, will never change. God continuously seeks to draw us into new growing edges through changing circumstances. There is nothing too daunting when we know who we are and whose we are. Perhaps God has invited you to step out on a journey that is confronting, terrifying or uncertain. What new territory is He drawing you into? What are your hesitations? Yes, the way forward may be clouded in the unknown, but the One who leads us on is not. He is our loving Father, and He is dependable. In this season of life, our role may be changing, but God does not. We can bravely step over thresholds into new journeys when the unchanging God stands strong beside us.