For months (since the last 54-day Rosary novena during Advent 2016), I've been praying that God shows me what I need to work on to prepare myself for my future vocation of wife and mother. It hasn't been "send me a man!" or "take this loneliness away!" It's been "please help me see what I need to work on before a husband and family comes my way." I knew that there were certain things that I needed to work on but what I didn't anticipate was just intense it would all get before I started making any real progress.
Looking back at everything I've had to deal with since January -- everything that has tested my faith and produced a profound spiritual dryness in me -- I see that it all makes sense. I was inspired to ask God (during the St. Andrew novena; I did two novenas simultaneously) to help me get rid of my attachment to earthly things that would be problematic for me and my vocation. One of them turned out to be something that I hadn't faced since I reverted to the faith; something that I believed was no longer a danger but which proved to be something I was still very much attached to. It involved the career path I was on prior to my reversion and a terrible nostalgia for things that were once harmful to me.
I dealt with these things until last month into this month. My eyes were opened and I began to work to detach myself from these things... but it has not been easy because of the emotional attachments to a certain group of people that have been a big part of my life in the past year. This is still something I'm working on -- which has been especially hard on social media since we're all active on these various platforms -- but God is slowly working in helping me get past this.
At the same time that all of this is happening, I came to realize one big thing that is going to be problematic in another way: I feel as if I may be called to be a stay-at-home mother (SAHM) in the future. This is a problem for two reasons. First, I can't know that for sure until I discern marriage with someone, get married, have a family, and then see if we can afford for me to be a SAHM. Second, there is so much opposition to that train of thought... including in my own (current) home.
My mother has always worked hard for everything her entire life -- especially after my dad had a work-related knee injury that ended up in a botched operation that left him disabled for the rest of his life. To her, you need to work. Since I was a little girl, she's drilled into me that I need to have my own career and a job in case I marry some guy who will end up dumping me and abandoning our children. That's all I've heard from her and other people (including my godmother) since I can remember. Can you see how terrible cynical and jaded this point of view is? I mean, I get where they're coming from but I also feel like I've been pressured into just thinking about a career and being an independent woman even if I don't feel called to it.
And, I don't. I don't feel called to have a long term career. I don't feel called to put a career and work ahead of my family. I've never felt that way... but I have felt pressured into adopting that attitude or else I will be an immense disappointment to those who've drilled this idea into my head. All of this has become even more obvious in recent months when I discerned my career path and God made it clear that what I'm doing now is enough for what He has in store for me.
I don't feel like I'm called to go to grad school for any particular career path, burdening myself with more student debt. Instead, I feel called to continue down the path (that became clear to me in late May) until He calls me to do something else. It feels temporary but also something that will prepare me for whatever happens in the future.
My plans/goals for the near future are to work to pay off my student loans and to work on my relationship with God while I wait. Since I made these decisions, everything has been falling into place -- my health issues, my career and vocation confusion, etc. I can see myself going forward in a way I haven't since I graduated from college many moons ago. These plans are (currently) short-term because, as I said, I feel like He has something else in store for me. Whether that means a husband and family or a different career path, I don't know but I can't see myself doing this for more than 2-3 years. I think I will be able to pay off most (if not) all of my student loans during that time which is pretty exciting for me.
I do have my moments of impatience because I feel like He's finally shown me what He wants me to do and what my future vocation is... but I can't live it out just yet. The biological clock has started to tick (I just turned 32 in late May) and sometimes I think that maybe I discerned wrong... but then I remember the peace I feel when I think about the immediate plans that have been revealed to me through prayer and saintly intercessions.
I feel like I can't relate to many of my fellow single 30+ year-olds because I mostly hear rants about being single and, while I do have moments of impatience and loneliness, I don't feel the same way they do. It took a long time but I feel peace thinking about the waiting period because I know God is going to make me into a better version of myself in that time. Not only that, I know He's going to make sure that He is number one in my life and that nothing will replace Him. I need this time to make sure I'm spiritually mature enough to deal with the earthly highs and joy without forgetting that He is the center of my life and the only one Who can fill that emptiness and hole in my heart.
I've never been bitter about being one of the last of my friends to marry and/or have children. I don't hate Valentine's Day. I'm not a fan of PDA only because I feel like it's an intrusion of privacy that only a couple should experience. I don't do a lot of things that many of my fellow single ladies (understandably) do because God has helped me see things differently. I think that entrusting my heart to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the big reason why I'm able to look at the big picture and remember His plans instead of succumbing to melancholic feelings about my vocation.
If you're reading this and you feel differently, that's fine. This post isn't me saying that my way of thinking and looking at things is correct and yours isn't; I'm just sharing what's been happening with me in terms of my vocation lately. Not everyone is going to agree with what I said. Some people will have problems because we think differently and you may feel personally attacked but it wasn't my intention. I'm not attacking anyone; I'm just sharing why I can't relate to some of you... who, obviously, won't be able to relate to some if not all of this post. God has us all on different paths (all, hopefully, destined to the same end: Heaven) but we can all still pray for each other because we can all agree that being unable to live our vocations -- when we so desperately want to -- isn't always the easiest thing.
That's where I am in terms of my vocation discernment at the moment. I gave myself a self-imposed dating break to focus on rebuilding my relationship with God but only He knows how long that will last. All I know is that I will continue to my work on my goal to pay off my student loans, to work on my relationship with Him, and let everything else came as God wills it. No rush. No timetable. Just doing what I feel He wants me to do.
And that's it for now. It's still pretty warm outside and I'm not feeling that great (may be something I ate) so I'm going to go watch a movie and take it easy. :)
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!
As always, thanks for reading and God Bless! :D
P.S. Don't forget to join the Frassati Prayer Community in case you have any prayer requests you'd like us to add to our prayers. :D