I’ve just completed my first week of blogging. To be fair, I’ve blogged before. Anyone remember xanga? It was 2004 and I was facing some unexpected challenges and being a bit selfish about it all. That same year a young friend of mine moved to China to teach English and her best friend was working in a new field. We were scattered about the world. I was feeling so removed from everyone. They started to blog to keep up over these long distances and invited me along. Turned out, it proved rather cathartic for me going through the changes I was encountering.
But this feels different. This feels more grown up. At 54, I really should have a few grown-up feelings. Just a few.
I think it feels different because I am different. The changes that I railed against 7 years ago have smoothed some of my rough edges and turned my inward self-serving thoughts outward. That place I didn’t want to move to is now where our son has settled. Those men I didn’t want to mother have stolen my heart.
For my husband and I it’s all about calling. Not an audible calling but a calling on our hearts. It just took mine a while to catch up with his.
The first 15 years of our marriage was fairly typical. Henry worked as an upholsterer. His business had grown to where he only worked for interior decorators. He was very good. I was the stay at home mom that spent a lot of time not at home but volunteering for church and driving for every field trip and sporting games our kids were involved in.
Somewhere after Henry’s 40th birthday he had what I call his mid-life crisis. He didn’t buy a fancy convertible or have an affair. He told me he felt God calling him to full-time ministry.
In the Salvation Army it’s a package deal. Married couples are both ordained and serve together. The wife doesn’t decide on a different path. She is an equal partner. Mostly. That has changed in some countries but not in America.
We had planted our roots in this area. Our courtship, marriage, children’s births, all happened in this town. Our children were growing up with the children of our close friends. Our roots were quite deep and we were all about to be uprooted.
Like the Methodist church, the Salvation Army moves its ministers around. The average stay is 3 years. We’ve had appointments as short as two and as long as six years.
At 12 and 13 our children were supportive. Our daughter, the older of the two, was quite anxious about it. But this girl has had incredible faith her whole life. We were in it together. We were in it with God.
While this way of life would be new to our children it wasn’t new to Henry and me as the Salvation Army is the only church we’ve ever known. We grew up in it with our parents as clergy so we’d lived the moving around life. That didn’t make it any easier but our daughter and son were wonderful about it.
Why did Henry do this and why did I go along? He felt that inward call upon his heart to follow this path. I can honestly say, at the time, I didn’t feel the “calling” he felt. I knew my calling was as his wife and I wanted to support him in this. Trust me. I’m not the subservient type. He knew my support was a confirmation from God.
So what’s to this calling? Does everyone have one?
I don’t know about everyone but I think it’s possible. Oprah might say it’s a calling to live your best life. And that’s a pretty good way to put it. I don’t know that everyone is called to a specific vocation but we are called to love God and love others. If we look at how we show our love for others it makes you wonder about our love for God, but I digress 🙂
There’s this clerk at our Target store. Her name is Mary and she has this sweet southern accent not often heard in South Florida. She smiles and seems to love life. It just shows through her as she scans my purchases and says “have a good day”. Mary is working in her calling to share her joy for life. She makes me smile.
Mike answers the phones for our ARC (Adult Rehabilitation Center). I don’t know what his work background is just that he has 10 years of sobriety and does a great job at the font desk. He looks so professional every day wearing his tie as he answers the phone clearly. He earnestly cares about those around him. He is working in his calling to serve others.
My mother-in-law is 83. She spent her life as a Salvation Army officer. Retired now for more than 20 years she still lives her calling in sharing a smile with everyone, asking about their day, their families. She lives in an assisted living residence where she takes her evening meal at the main facility so she can “minister” to others.
When you know your calling others see it in you. You don’t have to announce it and you may not even know it. But others will. It will show on your face, the sound in your voice, the calmness of your spirit. Maybe even the enthusiasm in your spirit as you cheer others on.
We have a calling. I so want you to know yours, to find that voice and sing it out.
I can tell you today, 18 years later, I am most definitely where God wants me. It is not just Henry’s calling but a shared calling.
I’d love you to share your calling in your comments. Let’s encourage each another.