“Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1 NABRE
You don’t have to be a bible scholar to figure out that God is real. In fact, you don’t even have to read the bible at all. It is one of the many tools that God uses to get our attention, but He won’t punish you for not “putting in” your time. I am sure that in the first three sentences of this post I have inflamed some. But for those that claim that certain sects or denominations of Christianity are “legalistic,” it is just as legalistic and stifling to stuff God into a book and shut your eyes to everything else that He is. We become closed-minded, feeble attempted mothers and fathers, singles and religious when we ignore the sound of God’s Holy voice to bow down to a book, and forget that the cries of humanity are on the outside.
Vocation is who we are. We are called to be in a certain state of life and this in and of itself is certain. I felt my call to motherhood even before I can remember remembering, and that has never wavered. In my attempts to understand God’s will in my life, it was through the birth of my children that I started to understand it. Laying everything I worked so hard for down at the altar and sacrificing my desires for theirs. This is so different than how the world sees things. I abhor the feminist movement for ever making me think I mattered more than my children. Lucky enough for me, I realized all of this while my children were relatively young. And after a year of searching and finding where God wanted me, his next course of action was to make me give up even more.
While the world is beckoning mothers to be more, He tells me to be less. Take on less tasks, clear my calendar, make room for the needs of my children. A vocation to motherhood is not defined in terms of whether the Lord would have us stay home or work, it is defined by the sacrifices we make.
I once heard a homily from a priest in Canada who told the story of his mother who was an incredibly gifted artist, I believe I’ve even mentioned it here before. It’s because it has stuck with me since it left the priest’s lips. His mother who sacrificed everything, her wants and desires, her career, her beautiful artistry to raise a family. He credits His mother’s sacrifice as the reason he stands on the altar, the reason he is a priest. And didn’t Jesus in fact give up his own life for those very same reasons? So that we are moved by example to see our life as a living sacrifice, our bodies, our minds, for someone else. Is this not sacrificial love? Is this love not unconditional? To work for everything and give it all up because you love someone else that much. That is the type of love that God is talking about.
So when I read the verse I first wrote out this morning, it stirred inside of me. Times and seasons, we are so afraid to embrace them, or rather we don’t want to. We as mothers long for the time that we can have “our” lives back. We are tired, cranky giving up our own lives for our children. Jesus was saying to me, “Do I really have to spell it out for you? Do you really have to read this AGAIN to know what it is I want from you?” If we don’t embrace the season, we miss the blessing. Good and bad. Can we just take some and not all? Are we not responsible for running our domestic church, teaching our children the ways to walk in, the love of humanity, service to neighbor, praying for our enemies? Or are we simply out to do what’s best for ourselves- our needs, our wants. And isn’t steadfast love innate? Why does it have to be a sacrifice? If we know our purpose than it won’t be a sacrifice at all, we will understand Jesus when He says, “Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” -Matthew 9:13. So too he says: Concerning the times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you.” Because we already know…
Yes we can be atheists and be good humans, but as I heard on the radio several weeks ago, “I don’t see any atheist food banks.” That statement was not a knock to atheists but rather a statement to those of us who are driven by God, something bigger than us. If I had followed the world’s call to rely on myself and follow my own dreams, how different life would be… how utterly dissatisfied I would have become.
Did I give my last bite to my children? Did I put their needs before mine? Did I sit at their soccer game and smile, was I really there? Did I quit everything I had ever worked for in order to spend the precious hours I spend with them at night recounting their own dreams? Did I love them enough? Do I have anymore left to give?
This is the vocation and calling of motherhood.