The only way to truly watch the show Parenthood is with a pint of Cherry Garcia flavored Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. I’m just sayin. If you want the full experience, have comfort food nearby. You’re gonna have a good cry at least once an episode.
Last week I needed a bit of a break from it all. I found myself needing a show that I could watch for a bit of “zone out” time. I’m not one that’s prone to take a break. My breaks are usually completing projects that are lower on the priority list. Yeah I know, it drives my husband crazy. However, after a very busy month, and with a clearing in my schedule, I did the difficult task of doing nothing for part of the day while fully engaged with this show.
Maybe the fact that it takes place back in California where I grew up, or the fact that the characters remind me so much of the typical Northern Californian family (relational, down to earth, funny), but there is such an appeal to the flow of family that this show demonstrates. I think mostly I admire the characters being unconditionally present for each other through the good and bad times. The family connection of the Braverman family is the priority and it is protected at all costs. And although the family are not believers, there are some positive aspects found in it all.
As I watched it reminded me of the good God has done in my life regarding family and identity. Ultimately, however, as much as I love watching the Braverman family do life together, without Jesus, their family unit is pretty much an idol. As good as it is at the Braverman’s (yes I realize it is fictional) they worship their family. It’s why they get up in the morning and their purpose in life. With that being said, I don’t want to detract from the quality of connection this show is all about, but point out that without Jesus at the utmost center of it all, something that is great can become an idol. Something God created can replace Him in many Christian families.
As much as family is God’s idea it isn’t supposed to be where we find our identity.
Being without children and without immediate biological family that we do daily life with, there are many times that I know I’ve felt somewhat of a transient in life. When the generation before and the generation to come are simply not there, it can cause you to question what your identity truly rests in. Who am I and what am I to do with my life?
And the more I’ve taken these questions to God it is apparent that I don’t have to live wondering the streets of life without a purpose or knowing who I was created to be. That I am just as blessed and loved even though my role in life looks differently than others.
We all have specific roles that we fill. These change as our lives change but who Christ has made us to be never changes. How we reflect the character of God never changes. Regardless if I have biological children or biological parents that are in my life – I reflect the nature of the Lord to others. I am a nurturer to others whether or not I am pushing a stroller of my own. And whenever and however God does bring children into our lives, we are as blessed now as we are in the future. Why? Because I reflect the nurturing nature of Christ regardless of my role here on earth. I am just as complete and whole a person now as I will be with whatever roles God brings into my life in the future.
Now we don’t just live as mini islands with God. As much as my introverted self would love that some days, we were made for fellowship with God and with others. In fact, fellowship with others is vital in walking out my identity in Christ.
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
This is important because when you become a believer you become a part of a very large family. Before Jesus came, God’s presence in lineage was dependent on family blood line but after Jesus came it is dependent on individual transformations. In other words, as a Christian, you are more family with the those that share in your faith than that of your own blood family. If you are blessed with believing family members of course there is a close bond however, blood ties are not to supersede the call to being united with other believers.
This means that finding true identity in Christ involves not only knowing the Lord closely but also knowing God’s nature as it is reflected in others.
I look for Him in others, I don’t look at others for Him.
As much as my heart longs for family I know that I can fully walk in what God has for me now as a mother and daughter in my faith in Christ. Biological roles here on earth or not, nothing takes away from what God reflects through me to others.
Liz Flaherty lives in South Carolina with her husband Andy. They’ve been married since 2005, and have spent the majority of their marriage ministering to and mentoring people in areas of sexual wholeness and identity. In her book, The God of My Parents, Liz shares her powerful testimony in which she faced immense grief, rejection, drug abuse, pornography, and homosexuality. Her heart is to inspire the Christian community to address these issues with love, respect and honesty.
Liz and Andy have two cats, named Paddie and Ginger.