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A Most Important, Often Missed Calling

March 21, 2012

My daughter and I spent Spring Break learning about skeletons.  While the boys were at preschool (I was so blessed to have time with just Madeleine), Madeleine and I took field trips to different parts of town.  We met with a paleontologist at the University’s Natural Sciences Museum for over an hour.  We compared skeletons and skulls and learned how bones fit together like an amazing 3-D puzzle.  We visited the naturalist room at the Nature and Science Center, finding unidentified bones and trying to decide what animals they were from.  We saw more animal skeletons and were amazed at how similar a bat skeleton is to a human’s.  In our time at home, Madeleine created a keynote (Mac powerpoint) presentation to share with her class about what she learned.  We also played games together and spent a lot of time playing outside.  My to do list was ignored mostly for the week and the house was a disaster area by Friday afternoon.

One of the questions I think about weekly (or more often, every other week) with my women’s group is how I have answered God’s call in my life.  For over a year, I’ve been thinking about this question.  When it’s been my turn, my response has usually been, “I don’t know.  I haven’t felt God calling me to do anything.”

That’s one of the things I’ve struggled with being a mom.  How do I respond to God’s call in my life?  Other of my dear women answer with their involvement on church committees or in the work environment.  If there is one thing I feel totally uncalled to do, it is to be on church committees.  I don’t work. How does a stay at home mom answer God’s call?

Over the past year, what I’ve been called to do has come to me in bits and pieces.   After not too many weeks of feeling lost and uncalled, I realized that part of my call was to “be.”  I stopped fighting with my contemplative side.  I didn’t feel the need to sign up for church committees I didn’t belong on just so I could answer God’s call.  It was ok to be called not to do everything.  This realization came with a switch in church services as well, when I left the service I’d attended and sang in the choir for over 10 years.  Our family found a smaller service within our church that was more contemplative, less political and with less of drama, and provided more spiritual nourishment for us than we had found in several years.  This also led me to honor my “quiet time” more, my time spent in reading, prayer, and journaling.

It wasn’t until this winter though, that I finally heard what else my call included.  At this time, I am called to be a mother.  I realized that for me, being called to mother all day, every day, was as valid a call as being called to be a missionary overseas, to sell all my possessions and give them to the poor, or to become a pastor.  My call is to nurture my children in love and to teach them the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, and self-control.  Realizing this very obvious calling freed me.  No longer did I need to compare myself and my calling (or lack thereof) to anyone else’s.  I did not love God less or was less Christ-like because I didn’t sit on every church committee or minister to my co-workers.  It became more ok to let the house get a little messier than usual in order to spend time nurturing Madeleine academically and emotionally.  It became easier to spend an afternoon with the boys outside, meeting their physical needs, instead of washing the muddy dog prints off the floor with the boys siting in front of the TV (Don’t get me wrong, I do my share of that too).  It enabled me respond to my five year old’s incredibly crazy, angry outbursts by asking if he needed a hug and naming the emotion he was feeling (that was causing him to be angry, like disappointment or frustration), instead of escalating with him.

That’s it.  That’s my call.

And that is everything.

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