Calling is not "One Size Fits All"

I had a caesar salad and chicken panini. My beautiful friend almost eight years and four kids married? She had broccoli cheddar soup and a sandwich. Growing up together has found us still caring and catching up every long while. After a bit, I filled her in on my life; the dates, the day job, the books. And too, being rather exhausted at the lack of a Special Someone. Now, she is one who I can be authentically myself with—a gift, after all these years. Three years my senior, this friend beamed at me from across the lunch table. "Isn't it wonderful that, these desires in your heart are the ones God made you for? Which means He'll only bring them to pass!" Loosely quoted.
And she is right. My heart was bolstered.

By family, coworkers and friends alike I've been called the nurturer, the mother, the encourager, cheerleader. I care deeply. All facets not merely maternal or feminine—no, that is limiting. But these facets in my heart are of the divine nature. They are parts of God's heart.
In counseling sessions this spring I was challenged to name what I thought was God's favorite thing about me. A few breaths of prayers later, I realized it was —how much I care about people.
We are made in God's image. Many working parts on a vibrant, breathing, intricate body.
Which is why the idea that marriage and motherhood are a woman's highest calling is not steeped in Scripture, but tradition. Tradition that was twisted into a yoke of oppression instead of a mantle of honor thanks to fallen mankind.
Even in today's day and age—it prevents women from reaching their fullest potential.
Trust me. Been there. Let me explain.

This friend and I grew up similarly. Upon crossing the threshold into our respective adulthoods—both oldest children, incredibly romantic and feminine, creative—our lives took the two paths a woman's can take:
She? Marriage and children.
Me? Career(s).
And for the longest time I kept thinking that the swelling purpose in my heart to write was a mere means to an end prior to marriage. Not a real dream or calling on my heart like marriage and children were/are. Surely not! I was just biding my time till Mr. Right came along to sweep me off in a shower of baby's breath and rose petals.
Or so my hopeful romantic heart used to wax and wane.

Calling is not a one size fits all. This friend of mine who married right after high school before going onto having four beautiful children? She also is an incredible artist. A water color painter. An increasingly knowledgeable home renovator. But it is not these, her titles, that define her calling. She has a heart for others. And the others in her immediate sphere of influence? Her husband, children, and church family.
She is walking in obedience to God our Father. Fully and still her own strong person whose capacity to be the hands and feet of Jesus has only grown.
As am I, ever a major work in progress, at my office, in my home, in my new church—and in my books.
Isn't this what we're all called to? How have we lost the divine simplicity in the purpose in bringing the Good News to all?
The Greatest Commandment quiets the well-meant but often pressuring voices of tradition from our strong matriarchs. Who were engaged at twenty-two, married by twenty-four but who know how hard it is to be single, but "Just you wait!" And though we know, we know God's timing is unique? Those examples are bittersweet to hear over and over again. So are the bridesmaids duties, the sticking your neck out there only to be friendzoned. You get my point.

I have to note too: the Greatest Commandment also silences the lewd voices of misogyny and sexism that our fallen world is filled with still today—that grieve God's heart as much as they lash across our souls as women.
The fairer sex? No. God created us to wear His armor, to give and sustain life. To teach, and, yes, lead. Created equal in the Garden of Eden.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 

Our callings are not one and done. I may be a contented career woman, but that doesn't cancel out the hope of one day having a special guy in my life and eventually children. Not one dream, goal, or Relationship Status is lesser or greater than another.

Tell me, friend? What's your calling, The Greatest Commandment, look like in your everyday?

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.

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