How do I know my calling?
I remember becoming a christian in my twenties and wondering what God would have in store for me and my husband - what would be our mission, our passion - what will we do for the Lord? I prayed and waited but nothing miraculous came. Some of our friends, at the time, were called into church leadership and had clear callings on their lives. It felt like everyone else had been chosen for great things and we hadn't (my insecurity not God's).
We were living an ordinary life, or so I thought. As there were no big prophesies for us, I determined we were where we were meant to be and to devoted my time as wife and mother. I was going to be the best I could. It's my nature to strive for perfection. However, from reading my blog, you will know that my children were not easy and as they developed, there was clear differences between them and their peers. Also perfection was never attained, however much I willed it! It was heartbreaking and hard work. Everything other parents took for granted, took twice as much and sometimes more work, for us to do. I tried my best to hide my children's difficulties believing I was just a bad parent, but eventually I couldn't, as the older they became, the more their behaviours and difficulties stood out against their peers and then people started to wonder what had happened to them, why were they acting up... My husband worked long hours and would be away for business, leaving me to do life and navigate through this minefield on my own. I did not understand disabilities and had no experience of this prior to having my own children. I had no idea this was the mission God had set before us.
It did not feel like mission - it honestly felt like punishment. There was a lot of trauma, tuts and judgement. I learned a lot - I went to lots of appointments and meetings, read books, attended courses and cared for my children. It was exhausting and there was no break. In my head, I had romanticised mission. It was something that God gave you a heart for, till you could no longer do or think of anything else. I imagined it felt right, hard work but satisfying, joy filled and glorious. I imagined it would be months spent planning and thinking about it, that everything would just fall into place, as God was at the head of it and if it didn't happen straight away, it eventually would. I thought it would be so fulfilling - as a calling was for you, given to you by God, your purpose - yes I had romanticised it. Its easy to see in hindsight, all of Gods mercies but when living through it, its a much harder choice. I tried to just read my bible harder and be positive, but pain is pain, trauma is trauma. I prayed and tried to be a 'good christian' with stiff upper lip and positivity but that's not what God wanted from me, breaking my heart, experiencing it all first hand, fighting services and trying to get help - all really gave me a heart for others, for families with additional needs. Seeing and experiencing first hand the whole strain of this world, in a developed country, in my neighbourhood.
I was given a mission I was not prepared for - my husband neither. We were given a mission that honours God, even if no one else knew it and didn't bring loads of people to God's kingdom (yet). We have both learned so much and discovered a whole section of society, we would never have had empathy or knowledge about. I have learned that mission, is a lot less about me and whole lot more about God. God used this mission to shape us. It wasn't about being in the spotlight visibly helping God, it was in the dark quiet spots helping, selflessly loving and giving to the children God has given us. They are a little bit different and require a lot more input but just as valid, important and loved. It's not like the films where everyone is so grateful, they really didn't want to learn or do the 'things' that society says you should and often it felt like a thankless task. I have learned so many personal lessons along this way, challenged so many once held preconceived ideas, judgements and insecurities. I have had the privilege to help others to navigate this ride, some who know God and some who don't. There have been many challenging and sad moments. There has also been joy filled and answered prayer moments too. I've learned and am still learning to get rid of the 'good girl' 'perfection' persona and be real through it, as a christian - if it sucks, it sucks - I can pray about it, God can help me though it, I can pray scripture over trials, I can claim God's goodness and love over all as victory.
I'm not at the end of this mission at all, raising awareness, parenting my children but they are getting older and things have changed from where they were. Some things are a lot easier but we have found some new hard things too - growing up in a complex world. I'm still not sure what lies in their future, whether they will be part of society, as we know it or how life will look for them. It's emotional - I guess we will learn over the next few years how independent our children can become. It made me question whether now was the time to look forward to something new, as entering a new season. Through the years I have seen friends move on with their lives, starting new ventures, going on the 'glory' missions - fulfilling career goals and dreams, where as I have had to put that part on hold. I have been envious but also so thankful that God has made it possible for me to be at home. I asked God in prayer, about my purpose and He led me to this passage in the bible:
Build homes and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply, do not dwindle away and work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare. Jeremiah 29:4
It's pretty clear, God wants me where I am - at home, as a wife and mother. I volunteer as a youth worker, which I believe helps to build my town in peace and prosperity for the future. It may not look glorious on the outside and to be a stay at home wife/mum with older children, is counter cultural, but it's the life I've been to called too. Our family has traditional gender roles, and we live out what others may seem as an old fashioned lifestyle but this is our life. I'm happy and my husband is happy. We have seen God bless so many who have a more modern approach to how they live so I'm not saying everyone should be like us - be who God created you to be! Discover your mission,purpose and calling - live it out. I'm hoping I will have more time to do the homemaking tasks that I enjoy and develop my hobbies whilst entering this new phase.