I was recently told to think about what it means to me to be a wife and a mother. I know that it means I am to love and serve my husband and children and to help them get to Heaven. But as I've thought about it more the idea and the reality have become so big I cannot wrap my mind around them.
For me, this has been an exercise in looking at vocations and of doing what you're called to do right now. It seems that a lot of us live life a little too "fly by the seat of our pants" as we follow our guts, emotions, consciences or just the flow. But I think that maybe that can be dangerous. I think "going with the flow" is what leads to engagements that end in called off weddings or marriages that end in divorce (among other things).
I am learning that discernment is something to be greatly respected and not taken lightly. And to rightly discern we need to have a great respect for all vocations and to be able to differentiate between our gut feeling and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Example: While Travis and I were engaged there were a lot of issues that came to the surface. People thought we were being rash in our short courtship. We both struggled with tying up the loose ends of his previous relationship. There were times when we both wondered if we were supposed to get married or if we were at least supposed to get married so soon. We wondered if we were blinded by our excitement, love and happiness. Undoubtedly, this led to some tough conversations and lots of crying at Adoration. But in the end, we knew we were supposed to follow through with our original plans because in the quiet of our hearts there was a deep peace about our relationship, and that peace was strongest before the Blessed Sacrament.
Other examples come from friends who are in seminary or religious orders. All of them felt some fear at telling someone in their lives that they had discerned a different life than the one they had been living. One very good friend was pressured by her parents and siblings, made to feel like she was selfishly abandoning them. Another broke up with a long term girlfriend, breaking her heart because he knew that he was not being called to be her husband. One friend came very close to leaving the convent and another has discerned that he is not called to the priesthood. Having discerned God's will, both of these friends, despite all the hardships they went through, feel great joy and peace in their lives.
By remembering and reflecting on my own vocational discernment and those I have been privileged to have observed, I have seen that once one has found her vocation she does not stop discerning. I continued to discern God's will for my life throughout my engagement, and I continue to discern it now. How can I best show my love to Travis and L? What is God calling me to do; who else is He calling me to reach out to? My vocation will always be to love and serve my family, but what that looks like will have to change. And those changes are what I will have to figure out through prayer.
At least, I think. :)
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