Many stages of life have found me struggling to figure out who I am and what I am called to do with my life. As a single 20-something, I was convinced it was pouring my life into ministry with Campus Crusade for Christ. After marrying, my calling eventually merged with my husband’s as we shifted away from campus ministry to serve the local church. We also started having babies. It was a struggle for me to lose the title of Campus Minister. I loved my job with Cru and after leaving staff, I found myself as “just a mom” and “just a wife.” I missed the excitement and purpose of the campus ministry I loved and I grieved that loss in secret. Suddenly, I didn’t know who I was anymore.
Determinedly, I pushed myself out of that purposeless funk and poured my life into those babies. I spent hours of research and hard work to provide them with homemade baby food, the best sleep-wake cycle, and all Baby Einstein had to offer. As they grew, their little lives held a well-rounded calendar filled with playdates, library events, trips to the zoo, and free time at the park. My life’s call was their well-being. My purpose was to give them all of me.
However, with the addition of baby #3, I was officially sunk. I could no longer keep up with the ideals of motherhood—the work I had poured my life into for 5 years—my idealism and work ethic were suddenly weapons of mass destruction. My identity as the SAHM (who had it all together and loved her life) was shattered. I was bone-weary, depressed, and 3-Kid-Katie kept looking back at Had-It-All-Together-Katie with longing, guilt, and an innate pressure to perform. Finally, I surrendered and quit trying. With this came a shattering of who I thought I was and who I thought I would continue be.
With this surrender and subsequent shattering came healing and clarity. I realized that I had idealized and idolized the pursuit of the stay-at-home mom, and subsequently had been ignoring who God made me to be. Healing came as I sought medical help and went back to work a few days a week (at the behest of my husband). In walking forward to follow God’s clear leading, I found a part of me that had been smothered and silenced. As that missing girl emerged, something mysterious happened: I enjoyed my time with my kids more. The productive and creative energy that had left long ago returned.
That was 8 years ago, and life has been a juggling act since then, as I seek to fulfill my callings both at home and out of it. Every year has been a bit different, but each year my callings become clearer and the implications of those callings easier. Learning from the mistakes of my past, there are several general principles that have been fruitful as I attempt to follow God’s specific plan for my specific family.
Read the rest of this post—6 Lessons on Following God’s Calling—over at Women and Work.