Motherhood, Careers, and the Faith Journey

In my morning devotional today, I was reminded of the story of a certain Jew named Saul.  He was rounding up followers of Christ and throwing them in prison for sentencing, when he suddenly was blinded by a strong light and heard the voice of Jesus speaking to him.  This turning point in his life lead him on a journey in which he traveled the world evangelizing, often from the seat of a prison bench himself.

The story of Saul, later renamed Paul, reminded me of my own journey — my former and present beliefs and lifestyles, the ironies of who I am today in light of my past, and of course, the turning points that have brought me where I am today.  Without a doubt, becoming a mother has transformed me more than any other experience in my 30 years.

One easy example is in my judgment.  Naturally, I thought I knew the right way to raise a child before I gave birth.  I had taken care of dozens of children through church programs and in private homes, and had my American Red Cross babysitter certification to boot.  Most obviously, I had turned out to be an exemplary human, so if I just did what I saw my own parents do, then I was the expert of experts on child rearing.  Duh.

Suffice it to say that postpartum year with my firstborn fixed that point of view!  I have been humbled for sure, and know now that there is no course on taking care of a baby that can replace the judgment that comes from a mother’s own God-given intuition.

My career was also changed by motherhood.  People have asked me what the process is to become a doula, and while there are many routes to this profession, I can assure you of this: it does not require the four years at a prestigious university that I went through.  I was the compliant child who followed the gospel of education that is preached by politicians and educators everywhere, and took my BA to a job working in a — where else? — school.

With the responsibility of rearing a child from conception through adolescence came a weight of privilege and importance that pressed heavily on my heart.  There was no question, as I approached the end of my pregnancy with my first child, that I would not be returning to my old job at the school.  I would certainly spend a long, indeterminable amount of time at home. This is not to say that those who take brief maternity leaves before returning to their former jobs are doing anything wrong. What I did not fully know at that time, however, was that, through motherhood, God was planting a seed in me to take a new career — that of serving other mothers.  That is nothing that my college degree could have prepared me for!

I was a follower of Christ before motherhood, and still am.  Dogmatically, perhaps, I used to set and work towards achieving goals — for the day, week, month, year, and even so far as 5 and 10 years down the road.  I have learned, however, that my own former plans for my life were only going to be infallible if I ignored the calls that the Holy Spirit sent to me.  Being clay-like, so far, has served my soul better through the transitions of life than anything else.  I do not know what the future holds for me, but I trust that allowing God to work as my potter will continue to lend me peace for this journey.  My hope is that that peace will also belong to my children, the families I serve, and anyone else within my sphere of influence.

This is a journey — our careers, our motherhood, and our faith.  I have evolved, and expect to continue evolving.  I remember that you are on a journey, too.  I’d love to hear the story of your journey so far.   Please feel free to share your story in the comments below, or, if you’re looking for a doula for your current or future season of life, call or email to set up an appointment to talk about it in person!



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