The Call

Motherhood. It’s not something I gave much thought to, growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I gave plenty of thought to boys and being married, but not much beyond that. When people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, Mother, was never an option that they asked about. It was something I could be, but as as extra, besides what my real job would be. As I got older, I did get the comments about “what a good mom you’ll be someday”, but I was pretty sure those people didn’t really know what they were talking about. Mothers are patient. I have a short fuse and am stubborn as a mule. Mothers are gentle. I think my sister hurt herself from laughing so hard when I asked if she’d ever described me that way. Mothers are selfless. Selfishness remains one of my biggest flaws to this day. The list goes on. Long story short, I was not sure I was (or ever would be) qualified to be a mother.

After high school, I did a couple years of volunteer youth ministry, where I learned more about vocation. People often think of the religious life when they think of vocation, but really, it’s just following God’s call to Religious life, Marriage, or being single. I gave a lot of thought to becoming a nun, but realized that my desire for that life had less to do with feeling called and more to do with hiding from what I really felt called to…motherhood. Dating was not just spending time with someone who’s company I enjoyed, but discerning if that person was someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. My husband had me from the start when we spent hours talking about books and nerding out together over our favorite fantasy authors, but he really had me when he confessed, “Look, I like you a lot, but I don’t believe in casual dating. I’m looking for someone to marry. And I’m called to be a father, so I’m looking for someone who wants to be a mother. If that’s not something you’re looking for, we should part ways now.”

Little did he know how much those words meant to me. I would have squealed for joy and hugged him, except we were on the phone (we didn’t actually live in the same town). I settled for doing a little happy dance in the hallway of my apartment instead. And the rest is history. Now we’ve been married for 12 years, have 6 beautiful children, and have realized that the call to parenthood looks in reality nothing like what we thought when we were starting out. Those, however, are stories for another time. It turns out that I didn’t need to be the “perfect” mother before I had children, I just needed to say “yes” to God’s call, and let Him fill the brokenness with his grace; sometimes through other people, and sometimes by changing me. It’s an ongoing process, and an ongoing call. I just need to keep saying “yes” to Him and the grace he has to offer.