I've struggled for as long as I can remember with knowing my calling in life. Somewhere along the road, in my younger years of force-fed faith, I made the judgement that one who calls himself a christian, must also KNOW to what he has been called. A teacher...a missionary...a pastor, perhaps?? Or what if you're JUST a mom (oh, how I hate that phrase!)? Maybe even a nurse or and engineer of sorts. For all my life I have equated "calling" in life to the choosing of a profession.
When Wesley and I first moved to work at the Home for Children, we had every belief that we were moving one step closer to our calling in life. Although very true, I had no clue the lessons God had planned for me to REALLY learn about "our calling". We've always adored working with children, have felt the urgency to be overseas, and with all the"work" we had done in our local ministries, well...we just thought we were the most well-equipped people for the task at hand.One more step to get us closer to the "calling"! lol Our first few weeks here were bliss; family and friends helped us make the big move. With a new baby in the house(Nate), family made frequent stops. We only had three other girls that were very well-behaved. My list could just go on and on of all the things that were RIGHT in the world! And then, nestled somewhere in between the months of October and November of last year, IT hit us! REALITY!
Having given up the youth pastor role at church for better efforts toward the HFC, we not only lost a title at church, but also relationships with people we had called our friends for so long. Family didn't stop by as often anymore. A surprise pregnancy(Marleigh) hit right at the time Wesley lost his full-time job, and along with that, went the medical insurance and the extra vehicle. And the girls living in our house at that time...OH MY, my words would fail me if I tried to describe the chaos in my house during those months. A step towards "our calling" that seemed so right just months before, now seemed wrong in just as many ways, if not MORE! Though surrounded by people, I was alone! Though all bills were somehow paid month after month, I felt the pain of each financial blow! Though still feeling God's compassion, I felt as if I had NOTHING to offer the girls in our home and sometimes MY husband and kids. I was empty, broken, alone, and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Although I had just moved 30 miles away from home, it might as well been halfway around the world. It was a dark place. THIS was my calling?
Now I can honestly say that during that time, it wasn't ALL gloom! I think I have just as many praise reports of God's action in our lives, but it still didn't take away the sting of rejection we felt on so many levels. But God is ever instructing me through difficult times in life. In fact, one of my favorite quotes as of recent, simply says, "...God is never closer that when your heart is aching.", and though we did our best to keep truckin along in life, God was so close while we were hurting! Following our calling seemed to lead us to a place of death.
Now, a year removed from that dark time, I have finally realized a little bit of what God might have been trying to say through it all. In this past year, I have grown. I was introduced to taking a class at church called Healing and Restoring the Heart. It was a journey I didn't purposely embark on, yet one that I will always mark as a pivotal turn in my christian walk. I could have another thousand blogs on what I have learned in this class; however, for the benefit of this post, all you need to know is that I am now walking in freedom instead of being bound by the chains of religion! Living in total freedom is blissful, even though it took muddling through painful memories to get there.
I can't get the planting of a seed off of my brain these past two months when I think about the circumstances of my life last year. The seed gets buried in the ground. Total darkness. Total isolation. Taken away from things familiar, comfortable, and precious. And through it's death, LIFE springs forth! Not just once, but MANY times over! WOW!! That's us! God took me to a place of darkness, and isolation for the purpose of us to truly find "our calling" in life! Our call was...to die! It was not linked to my profession or a foreshadow of the steps that needed to be taken. It was direct, plain, and simple. Our "calling" was to die! Die to ourselves daily, so that Christ could truly dwell in us(Gal. 2:20).
I can't even begin to tell you the whirlwind of events that have taken place since we have chosen daily to lay down our lives that He may use us however he pleases! God has already opened many doors, sparked a new creativeness within each of us, so much that we can't wait to live our next day to watch what God will unfold before us. All I know for sure is that life will spring forth, many times over if we continually die to ourselves and allow Him to take up residence.
We may search forever for the exact profession wanted in life. In fact, I'm going back to school right now to work towards something I feel will aid in doing something I now have a great passion for due to past circumstances, but in the meantime, the "calling" is definitive...The calling is the same as Christs' (though His had to be literal). I will take up my cross daily, deny myself and methods for living, and follow Him! It's just that simple! I don't know why it took me so long to GET this, but I'm glad I finally did! Even as I read back over this, it all sounds so elementary, because it's stuff I've heard all my life! An illumination day, if you will. The difference for me lies within the hearing...and the doing!
My "calling" on some days may seem to only wipe booties and noses, serve as a burp cloth, and try my best to be there for each child and they all face difficult situations; but I will try my best to pursue this "calling" as passionately as Christ pursues me!
Comment back with any thoughts or a common verse that had an illumination day for you.