This is My Calling, This is My Vocation

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84d950a5c73c8fb92e47594257bc86acMothering a large family is my calling and  my vocation.  As a result, I am a conundrum: a rather outmoded sort of woman, ridiculed by modern career women, vilified by the earth’s prophets of doom and sanctified by the religious right. I was the least likely candidate to have a lot of children. I had never even held a baby before my first born.You would think having nine children would have turned me into a frazzled wreck with a figure like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and a brain gone to mush, but I remain quite articulate, with a quirky sense of humour, standing at 5’1” and weighing in at 106 lbs. Not quite a rosy cheeked, robust, matronly looking mother of a large brood.

When the words The Joy of Mothering popped into my head as a sub-title for my short stories, it was like an epiphany for me, because those few words verbalize my experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Embracing an outdated lifestyle on a traditional, small, family farm has been a struggle through confusion, guilt, and even public condemnation to finally reach the point where I can now shout loudly,

“This is my call, this is my vocation, this is my witness to the world!”

After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how we were meant to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that letting go of control and trusting in God was not some abstract principle, but a day-to-day practical call that included the surrender of our fertility. Of course we practiced natural family planning, but I was one of those rare people who could conceive long before ovulation. God used the natural rhythm of my body as a key to my vocation, because everything does work for the good, to those who trust in God.

As my doctor said once, “Ah, I remember reading about a woman in New Zealand, two years ago, who conceived five days before ovulation.”  I raised my hand and chirped, “Well, you can add me to that list!”

Although we could not imagine how large our family would become, the words of that article resonated within both my husband and me. Guilt lifted off us and a surge of excitement, a sense of purpose welled up from within. Although it took time to really believe that none of our children were simply a failure of the natural family planning method. Many small experiences kept reinforcing the truth for us that God called each of our children into being with our co-operation. We’d stumbled blindly at times and then a burst of clarity would shine light on our purpose.

For example, twenty-five years ago, I once again slipped into panic mode, worrying if I was pregnant with my fifth child. Suddenly a wave of peace enveloped me and my whole body relaxed. I heard these words within me,

ccf04152012_00000“This is your call. This is your vocation. This is your witness to the world.”

All sorts of objections rushed into my head, “What on earth do you mean a vocation or a witness, a vocation to what?- stupidity? People don’t understand. They just think we are irresponsible or idiots……”  Then unexpected joy bubbled within me, and I sensed these words in my spirit,

“I am with you.”

Once again a blanket of peace wrapped like a blanket around me. It was an actual physical sensation. My mind was calm and my spirit felt strong.  That was it for me; I understood and I said, “Yes to mothering as a vocation.”  Though I still cringed under disapproval from society, I always understood that my children were saving me by compelling me to dive deeper into my spirit, discovering the power of eternal Love at my core, a love that can stand strong against all opposition.  That is my call.  That is my vocation.  That is my witness to the world.

Ponder: What has God called you to do, to be?

Prayer: Lord give me the courage to follow Your call, ven when it goes against the trends of our society

 Copyright 2014 Melanie Jean Juneau
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About Author

Melanie Jean Juneau is a mother of nine children who blogs at joy of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, the Editor in Chief at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC & author of Echoes of the Divine.

8 Comments

  1. and a beautiful vocation it is.

    it has taken me nearly 15 years of parenting to do it joyfully because i did not trust that mothering was my vocation. i allowed the world to convince me that being a mother was not enough. and even though i enjoyed my children, and all that comes with being a mom, i always thought “there has got to be more than just this.”

    praise God for opening my eyes and allowing me to see that being a mom is more than enough, that it is my vocation, and that anything else i do on top of that is icing.

    God Bless you and your awesome family!

  2. I am a mother of 3 children . I had been blessed after 13 years of my married life. My all thrwe deliveries with c- sectiin with hardly a gap of 1-2 yrs. reading your article has encouraged me. NFP doesn't work with me also. I am praying that the lord giv on

    I am a mother of 3 children . I had been blessed after 13 years of my married life. My all three deliveries with c- section with hardly a gap of 1-2 yrs. reading your article has encouraged me. NFP doesn’t work with me also. I am praying that the lord gives me courage to understand his call. please keep me in prayers.I am always worried that the doc says 4 c section is risky and nkt suppose to do.

  3. well, I am not an expert BUT one of my daughter-in-laws is one of four kids and all four were c-sections..that was 25 years ago. However, after my daughter-in-laws’ second c- section herself, she was told Not to have a third because her womb walls are too thin and could tear or burst with a third pregnancy..So, everyone is different We really can only do our best to follow NFP and leave the rest to God. I did have a couple of High- risk pregnancies, one with a clot and two with twice as much water as I should but everything went perfectly. You are definitely in my heart and prayers

  4. You’re amazing and a great example of what a real woman should be (Prov. 31) I’m a single mother of one, who came back to the church 12 years ago and I live a life of celibacy. I try to offer my lonely life in attonment for my sins. People like you inspire me. If I could turn back time I would like to be like you. And who knows…. maybe the Lord gives me a second chance to make things right! I see God’s grace working through you and I bless the Almighty Father when I see that there still good people on earth. Women like you are the real light of the world the Lord talked about. Don’t give up! You’re an amazing role model! (Please forgive my poor English. It’s my second language.)

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