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Vocation Confirmation

July 31, AD 2012 6 Comments

I had an Epiphany through Pinterest that had nothing to do with lace doilies, spray paint, low calorie cheese cake, or wedding table runners (per se…).

Last year, Sr. Lisa challenged me to examine my vocation and I did… kind of. Tony called me on my bull you-know-what, correctly so. I spent the next while asking a lot of questions I never wanted to fully explore.

Yes.

Truth be told, I didn’t want to be a nun. I had just celebrated my six-monthaversary with my wonderful beau and I was looking forward to teaching my kids to swim and make perfect rice krispie treats. The best I could do in terms of openness to God’s will was, “I want to want to do God’s will.”

So I wrote this, which almost tore me in half. My beau proved his worth to me and told me he wanted me to follow God’s will, too. We’ve prayed. I’ve prayed. I’ve only really discussed it with him and my sisters for fear of over-thinking instead of over-praying.

I knew what I wanted (marriage) and I was 99% positive I knew God was calling me to marriage. I told God many times (often in frustration) to just confirm it, already.

I believe God answered my prayers through Pinterest. Our God is very wise. He knows I’ve been spending a lot of my free time mindlessly pinning and re-pinning on that crack cocaine of social networking sites, so he got me where I least expected Him.

There was a simple pin that promised a ten point list about how to show your children you love them in simple ways. I thought, “I could think of 56 ways to do that right now, involving lunch box notes, lipstick kisses, shoelace-tying, knee scrape nursing, and thunder storm refugee hosting.”

A flash of my life as a wife and mother zipped through my brain and I noticed all of the footsteps God placed on my heart and mind throughout my life that lead me to what I believe is my vocation.

I’m not just good at being around kids, I’m good at teaching. I’m not just good at teaching, I’m good at applying what I know about the kid to how best to teach them something. I’m not just good at applying these strategies to kids, I’m good at foreseeing a bigger picture. God has prepared me for building a family with a man from the ground, up, not simply being in the lives of children. And by ground up, I mean, from the base of this pyramid:

UP.

I like the nostalgia of family traditions. I want to teach my children about the importance and joy in service. I want to establish routines. I want to go to terrible cartoon movies and draw with big colored chalk again. I want to read 10 page picture books, and I want to walk into my bedroom one day and see a finger-painting masterpiece created by a two foot tall munchkin on my wall.

Of course, I continue to wait for God’s timing. However, I believe He answered me. I don’t think I did this “flash” of PINspiration justice because I can’t review all of the little life moments I noted that pointed me in this direction, but this is the gist.

What was your discernment like? Did God make things clear gradually or all at once?

Filed in: Single Life, Vocations • Tags: , , ,

About the Author:

Elizabeth Hillgrove is a young cradle Catholic who grew up in a tight-knit, if not absurdly close family in the tiny Catholic world of Virginia. After a few divots and detours into apathy, embarrassment, and a vested political interest, Jesus Christ jump-started her faith life. Elizabeth has researched her way into a passion for bringing the simple, fulfilling Truth to youth and young adults, especially females. A recovering tomboy, Elizabeth will challenge you on the field, in the pool, on a trek up a mountain, or in the art studio. Game on. She is one of the three Bright Maidens and her website is Startling the Day.
  • God never let me discern my vocation. I got married outside of the Church when I was not practicing. When I was little, even through high school when I hadn’t been to Church in years, I wanted to be a nun. Obviously, that is not to be. But God writes straight with crooked lines even while the command to have children still makes me squirm (and had I been within the Church at the time of getting married, who knows what I would have discerned? May have been the exact same thing.) I have, however, often wondered if maybe the vocation is bigger than married/single/religious. For example, I have always been very good at knowing things. I got a degree in history and religious studies, but I never wanted to be a teacher. But I do think God used my talent to lead me back to Him and the Church, and now I teach Catechism. I want to get my MA in catechetics, and I never thought I would go back to school. I received that “revelation” while sitting at work plugging prices in to a spreadsheet. It was clear as day. So, maybe what He wanted of me was to pass on the faith, either to my husband (who reverted after I did) and future children or by being a sister. He knew what I was going to do all along, of course, but he gave me the freedom to “make” the choice 🙂

  • God has revealed things to me gradually…But I have definitely had moments like your Pinterest-moment where it all becomes so clear. Even once clarity hits, it’s not necessarily something that will occur in the near future. 🙂

  • Right now I’m in the middle of one of those “tell me already!” times regarding my career, but there have been some great moments of clarity up to this point. I like to say it was all Suzanne Somer’s fault I went to grad school.

    After college I did a volunteer year. At some random grassroots health care reform meeting, an old man quoted a passage from Suzanne Somer’s book in which she quoted founding father Benjamin Rush abt medical tyranny. When I got back to the office all I wanted to do was research him and find out if he really said that. After two hours of nerding out I said to myself “Sarah, you have got to go back to school.”

    When I got to the museum where I studied, guess whose portrait I found hanging in the fanciest room? Benjamin Rush.

  • I’ve been pondering this ever since you posted it! It’s funny, because when I was little, far before I was ever serious about religion, much less becoming Catholic, I wanted to be a nun. Even when I was considering new religions to try, having a group of religious women was an important factor. Honestly, I think it was some combination of serving others, simplicity of life, and love of Sister Act (I may be listening to the soundtrack right now…). It was something I had to confront when I entered the Church (and I was already dating my current boyfriend). To be honest, it never really hit me when I converted that the religious life was now a possibility for me, as I had abandoned that line of thought after middle school. When I did realize it, I looked into it. But the moment for me was when I looked at my relationship with my boyfriend and how it was constantly pushing me towards holiness. A vocation above all else is a path to holiness and serving God, and this revelation put me at ease.

  • Awesome! So glad to read this post. I know that, when the time comes, you’ll be an outstanding mother. May your vocation bring you peace and joy!

  • Carlos

    I was talking to my friend who’s in the seminary (FSSP, to be exact). Vocations came up and he said that at seminary he’d heard that people spend too much time thinking about vocations. In reality, we should think about our vocation maybe once a year. I asked him to explain and he said that in all that time we’re going back and forth between what we think God’s calling us to do (path A or path B! .. or path.. C??) we hardly advance at all. It’s much better to run with something because if we look at all the time we worried, we could have taken strides in areas of our life that advance us towards our vocation. If God’s calling you to a different vocation, He’ll pull you off that road, simple as that. In the meantime, make sure you’re always praying and growing in the spiritual life. Trust that He’ll help you come to know His will, and then run with it!

    That short conversation with my friend did more for my discernment than a year of praying/worrying/doubting/asking “A?! or B?! or A?!… but B!!”

    I’ll keep praying for you (have been since last year) and everyone who’s struggling with discernment!