What is my purpose? What is my calling? These questions have been really pressing on my heart for the last few years. I loved my undergraduate season, and remember thinking that I really wanted to work. I wanted to bless and serve others using my social work degree. I thrived in the work environment with to-do lists and deadlines. I loved feeling useful and utilizing my skills and knowledge. When we started the adoption process, it felt like the best care for our adopted child-to-be would be me staying home. We moved to Alabama in August 2011 and I decided to stop working because we could get a referral anytime. It was May 2012 when we finally brought Israel home, and that long season of waiting was really hard. I struggled to feel useful. I hated waiting but didn't want to take a job and then quit it a few months later.
After being a stay at home mom for a few months, I knew I wanted to get my master's. I saw that I needed something else to occupy my brain or else I might burst. I longed for some sense of structure and purpose. Israel's arrival really limited my involvement in our college ministry, so I really felt like my overall contributions to the world were really limited to just being a mom and wife. I was accepted into grad school right about the time we found out I was pregnant with Edie. We decided that I should go ahead and go for it. I completed my masters in August 2014, surviving a long year of juggling grad school with a pregnancy, birth, nursing, and having a special needs child. It was a really long year that showcased my limitations and need for grace. But I really loved school! I loved working again and having deadlines and papers. I loved using my brain and writing about subjects that I was passionate about. Returning briefly to the working world for an internship, I was reminded of my enjoyment of structure and life as an employee. I loved serving others and being a part of a job. I enjoyed planning projects and documenting my work. When grad school was over, it was relieving but also left me with a gap in my time. For over a year, I had a purpose. What was it now? So this is where I have been for the past few months. I've really struggled with my identity and knowing how to use my time. I have wanted to work, but Israel's schedule requires that I am flexible to take him to appointments and therapies. I love having a season where I am primarily at home with my little kids. They are only little once! I have been working contractually for an agency writing home studies, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I wish I had more opportunities to sit with families and talk about fostering and adopting, but there aren't any open doors right now. The last year or so, and specifically the last few days, I have been reminded that my purpose and calling are more general than I typically expect. God has called me to be faithful. He has given me the task to love others and to love Him. If I am loving God and loving others, then the specifics of that don't really matter too much. One of my friends wrote this post and I really loved it. (Sarah is a wonderful writer, and she often writes posts that just speak so well to my heart!!) It reminded me that my calling is to Christ first, then all others second. I also just started listening to Edie Wadsworth's podcast and her first episode on a Life of Calling was so, so good! From her blog: "The premise of this episode is that you will find joy, peace and incredible fulfillment when you learn to live at the intersection of your passions and your neighbors needs. The paradox is that when we stop worrying so much about our specific calling and serve the neighbors in front of us today, we’ll actually begin to discover what it is we’re made to do. The greatest joys in life come from giving ourselves away. " She also said in her podcasts that some callings are for a season. We have time to figure it outand there may be seasons where we are primarily at home, or primarily in a specific job or role. That was encouraging to me because I sometimes feel like I am waiting for my purposeful season to happen! I'm in a purposeful season always, because God has specifically appointment me to be in the location I am in, with the neighbors I have, to use my gifts and abilities to serve others. That may be changing diapers for my toddler neighbors in my house, or it may be using my social work skills to equip others, or my adoptive mom skills to encourage other moms. I have a purpose! I have been strategically placed! It doesn't matter about the specific details of that as I look at how to plan my calendar year... God has divine appointments already in place, regardless of my employment status. So maybe you're in a similar place? Let's encourage each other to remain faithful to our callings and seasons. We each have a unique gifting and strategic location. The details and big picture aren't always known, but our mission remains the same: faithfulness and love.