There are lots of different “zones” in life, but the zone of motherhood—with all its different ages and stages—is one zone that can never be completely outgrown. Once you’ve become a mother, it’s always a part of you. I really love being a mom with all its ups and downs, exhaustion, joys, and tender moments, however, there is an ongoing tension between the call of motherhood and the call of vocation.
Some women pursued vocation before marrying and having children, then take a break for a period (or perhaps even permanently); others opt to go back to work after a short time; some choose working from home, part-time work, or full-time work—there are many choices.
No matter what choices each of us has made, this tension always plays a part in the zone of motherhood. Many of us feel both divinely called to motherhood while at the same time called to a vocation. God has imbued each of us with unique passions and desires both within and outside the mantle of motherhood—all for his good purposes.
You might have seen the movie “Hitch” from 2005 where the date doctor, Hitch, begins working with his client, Albert on his dancing before taking Allegra out on a date. AfterAlbert demonstrates some of his outlandish and embarrassing moves, Hitch cautions, “Don’t ever do that again… this is where you live. . . right here . . . this is home.” That is, boring bent elbows and small side-to-side motions with no flair at all whatsoever.
This hysterical interchange between these two characters is a good reminder of how God has created each of us with individual traits meant to be expressed as a complete part of who we are. We aren’t to squelch some aspects of ourselves—the way God created us—but can have the freedom to serve in ways that align with who we’re meant to be.
I contemplate these things as I’ve been a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom for the past 13 years. God has lead me to renew some of the gifts and abilities he’s charged me with that I didn’t anticipate being in the zone for; things that relate to who God created me to be but have lain dormant for many years. Through it all, Christ’s sufficiency seems to be my fall-back; when I smell risk and fear, Christ calls me to rely on Him for spiritual encouragement, which translates into practical, moment-by-moment, play-by-play peace.
Paul states in 2 Corinthians 3:4-5: “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”
One year, after my third child was born, I was asked to plan and lead worship for a three-day women’s retreat. I love leading worship, and so I said yes despite the fact that it was flu season and I was nursing a baby along with parenting two other toddlers—clearly, I was a glutton for punishment.
I wanted to serve where God would have me, but it was hard. Even though this was a temporary ministry calling, it helped remind me of who he created me to be. I had to rest in His grace that He would be enough—he would and could work through me even as I felt weak and underprepared.
’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ . . . for the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
The only way we can be truly sufficient in the areas of influence God has us in is to trust in His guidance and His placement of us where we are in our lives. It’s easy to feel stuck in a particular zone of life and take a step back from gifts we’d love to serve with. But when we acknowledge this tension present—this ebb and flow between motherhood, family responsibilities and vocational calling that God understands in us (he put it there to begin with), it enables us to trust Him more. Through Christ’s sufficiency, he often teaches us incredibly valuable lessons right where he has us.
Thank goodness our Lord meets us in our every need—whether we’re running a household and leading our children, or as we stretch to step outside our comfort zone through vocational calling beyond the hearth and home. In God, through Christ, our sufficiency and true calling as His beloved daughter undergirds everything we do and who we are. In knowing this, we can release this tension to our creator knowing that he created us to be just who He meant each of us to be—and His sufficiency is enough.
[This article first appeared on Verge Network.]