What sharpens our vision, our calling?

-beauty.tumblr.com via Claire Barratt-Ingram on Pinterest

This weekend while visiting my family in Amarillo, I had a conversation with a friend of my sister in law while our little boys played in my parents’ front yard. She was asking about how I started writing this blog and my response (about ministry and moving and discerning what I most valued and most needed to do) led us to a discussion about women and vocation.

She shared about her own realization after having had her son that she wants to pursue counseling. She’s going back to school for counseling now and figuring out how to make it work with an almost two-year-old.

She said something I can’t stop thinking about: That motherhood does something powerful to women, that she has seen over and over how it sharpens our vision for our calling. She spoke about how the courage that comes with bearing and raising children opens up the possibilities of what we can do, of what we most long to do.

I can’t stop thinking of that, resting in that.

What if that’s the truth? What all that struggle I had with myself after becoming a stay at home mom, when I felt like a loser in yoga pants, when I felt like I was failing to contribute to society…what if I had known the secret that having kids doesn’t have to slow us down in terms of career or calling or purpose in work?

What if I had known that all along motherhood was an invitation: To discover the depth of my bravery, the fullness of my mind, the possibility that God had to bring me to this stage in order to unveil the next piece of my life work?

Whatever work and calling means to you: Whether it is fulltime work for your family, whether it is full time work in an outside career, or whether it’s something in between, I’m learning that one of motherhood’s gifts is how it forces us to be brave in all the noblest, most humble ways.

When other lives demand all of you, you are free enough to discover that you have always had a lot more to give than you ever imagined.

Of course, God doesn’t have to use motherhood to shape us for our life-work. I know you all aren’t all mothers. (Or even women, thankfully!) But I love the idea that for any of us (regardless of our life-stage or choices or opportunities) giving our lives away to others, sacrificing time and service on behalf of those in need around us, may not result in our being used up. Miraculously, it may actually result in our being fine-tuned, sharpened, remade for something new and powerful.


What do you think? If you’re a mom, have you discovered something new about yourself and your life-direction through motherhood? If you’re not a mom, would you agree that service can also open up the same sort of revelation? 

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  • http://www.thementoredlife.com Debby Bellingham

    Said so well, Micha.

  • Lauren O’C

    I have chills reading this. Thank you. What an amazing insight, one i’ve never quite seen before!

    I have been praying for you during this time of huge transition and will continue to hold you and your XYs in my heart.

  • http://motheringspirit.wordpress.com/ mothering spirit

    LOVED this. And not just because I do most of my work in theology around vocation, just as you’ve explained it so beautifully. But also because for me, it has been exactly that – that as I started (stumbling) down this mothering path, I started writing to make sense of it all for myself. And within that started diserning a calling about writing that I am still trying to figure out, day by day, with God and with my kiddos and with an infinitely patient partner. It’s totally terrifying, to think of writing as calling and all that will demand of me. But motherhood has made me stronger than I imagined when I started, and more convinced that the world needs my courage to tell the stories I have to tell.
    Thank you for this.

  • http://becomingpeculiar.com Kathleen Quiring | Becoming Peculiar

    Ooh, I love what your friend told you. Now I’m going to be thinking about it all day!

    It feels right and true for me, too, although motherhood seems to have sharpened my awareness that I belong at home. That seems different from what it showed you and your friend. But now that I’m at home, I can just FEEL that this is where I’ve always belonged. Not just to care for children — I want to write and edit from at home as well, and have a farm where I raise animals and tend a garden — but I can now see that I was not meant to get into a car and drive somewhere else every day. I need to be rooted in a particular patch of earth.

    Thanks for sharing this piece of wisdom!

  • http://piejesu.org/ Emmie

    I definitely think that for me motherhood honed my sense of self and mission…in my case two different life stages. I became a Montessori teacher when my oldest(now 18) was a toddler because it fit so well with the way I wanted to parent him. I had another turning mid-life when I left my 17 year abusive marriage and started over. I remarried a wonderful man and we have a little girl who is almost 14 months. Although I still teach part time, my vocation now is to be as present as I possibly can for her because I know first hand how quickly the time passes. I also feel a deep need to help other women in abusive relationships and am getting involved in that endeavor through a local council of churches.

    If you haven’t read it, my favorite book on vocation is by Father Herbert Alphonso, called “Discovering your Personal Vocation: the Search for Meaning Through the Spiritual Exercises.” The way he describes a personal calling is different from anything I have ever read before.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  • http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com Diana Trautwein

    You wanna know what I do NOT like about Patheos, even though I recognize that it’s a huge feather in your cap to be here? I don’t have access to you directly – no way to subscribe to comments and I don’t go back and forth or use a reader, so there you are. AND the dang ads!! As soon as I put my cursor in the comment box, up springs a red box for Netflix. Yikes.

    Rant over.

    Yes, absolutely, YES. Mothering – or any other kind of long-term caregiving, I suppose – can help us discern God’s call like little else in this life. I wrote a post about it for Sarah Bessey’s blog-fest on mothering in which I enumerated the ways in which the pastoring that I did in the 2nd 3rd of my life was a whole lot like the mothering I did in the 1st 3rd. That post emphasizes the mothering part, but in it, I tried to summarize the pieces of mothering that heavily influenced my call to ministry and the way in which I lived out that call in the churches I served. http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com/2012/02/in-which-i-list-ways-that-pastoring-is.html

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  • Rebecca Bundy

    Micha! I was finally able to read this post & am so grateful I did. It was lovely to meet you & hear more of your story. And yes, I am continually amazed at how motherhood ushers in courage and clarity (amidst fogginess & chaos!), and how that often translates into vocation. It was a good reminder to me today as I try to plow through homework. You are lovely & I look forward to crossing paths again. until then, I’ll be a faithful reader here. : ) beCcA