Vocation- What comes to mind when you hear that word? If you ask Wikipedia (the foremost expert of our times), you will read, "this idea of vocation is especially associated with a divine call to service to the church or humanity through particular vocational life commitments such as marriage to a particular person, consecration as a religious, ordination to the priestly ministry in the church and even a holy life as a single person."
That is your typical textbook definition. My story, however, is anything but textbook. It started out that way, then led me down an unexpected path that took me, and my family, by surprise. So the story begins...
When I was sixteen, I met my husband in Mr. Shevlin’s English class. It was one of those giddy, school girl experiences. I looked across the room and locked eyes with a handsome, brown-eyed boy and a shock of electricity surged through my body. I was hooked, and I didn’t even know his name.
Fast forward through high school and college. After six years of dating, most of them long distance, I finally married that brown-eyed man and began my vocation as a wife. Life was good, really good. Four years later, we had our first daughter, and my heart exploded as my vocation as mother began. I had no idea of the adventures in store for me. I was ultimately given four daughters and life was a whirlwind of activity, chaos, and the unexpected.
Time moved forward and I experienced the usual roller coaster ride that comes with having children and raising a family. Some days, I felt like I was on top of the world. Other times, my universe came crashing down and I felt like the world's greatest failure as wife and mother. I didn't realize it, but something was missing. It didn't matter how great life seemed to be, I never felt completely fulfilled and I couldn't understand why.
As the years passed, things began to change. God was working in my heart and doing something of which I was completely unaware. It was a night in 1992 that He changed my life. On that night, God reached deep into my heart and healed me. He healed me of wounds that I didn't even know existed. Wounds that had kept me from living my life as He had intended. He filled those old wounds with the healing power of His love and opened the door to forgiveness in my life. To forgiveness of myself and forgiveness of the people who had damaged me.
It was because of that one night, and the circumstances that followed, that I fell in love with Jesus Christ. My new life with Him began, and I was given the gift of seeing myself through His eyes. It was a beautiful sight.
More time passed and I grew deeper in love with the Lord. It was on a day in 2011, after helping with Vacation Bible School, that I felt a calling. I felt the Lord asking me to begin something that was completely out of my comfort zone and crazier than anything I had ever done. I felt Him asking me to begin the prayer ministry of Give Him 5. My husband thought I had lost my mind. I was a Nurse Practitioner for goodness sake! What did I know about anything like this? I couldn't even cut and paste on the computer without his help. He said to me, "What are you trying to do, make a million dollars?" My response, "No, I'm trying to bring a million souls to Christ."
I began with the words, "Give Him 5, He gave U everything!" The entire story of how Give Him 5 began is too long for this post, but the first product was a simple prayer bag. A cloth bag with a few items that included a five minute sand timer to encourage people to begin praying. I felt like getting them started was the key.
At first, I was tentative and unsure of myself, but God sent people into my life to encourage me and boost my confidence. One of those people was Allison Gingras of ReconciledToYou.com. She told me she loved Give Him 5 and my writing. In Dec. of 2015, Allison invited me on her podcast for A Seeking Heart to share Give Him 5 with her listeners. To me, that was a BIG DEAL. She was the first famous person to acknowledge my work. It gave me the confidence I needed to continue to listen to the Lord and try to step up my game.
Around this same time, God brought another famous person into my life. His name is Fr. Ivo Pavic and he is a priest from Croatia. Fr. Pavic has an extraordinary gift of healing and millions of people have attended his healing Masses. Through divine providence, he came to Minnesota and I had the honor of leading music for one of those Masses. It was a great surprise when I was called the next day and asked if I would host him for dinner in my home.
Sitting at my kitchen table, I listened to this humble priest speak about how the Lord had worked in his life. I marveled at my good fortune of having such an honored guest sitting before me. I initially felt foolish doing it, but I shared Give Him 5 with Fr. Pavic and told Him of my desire to bring people closer to Jesus Christ. He slowly turned the pages of my recently written book, To KNOW the Savior, and asked me questions about it. He smiled and said, "This is very good." We talked more and he told me how much he liked Give Him 5 and its mission. I will never forget the moment he reached out, touched my shoulder and smiled saying, "You have a vocation within your vocation."
At first, I was confused by these words. Then, I understood. My first vocation is as a wife and mother. My family is a God-given gift and He wants me to attend to them first. But, God has also asked me to do something else. He has asked me to tell others about His love and encourage them to have a personal relationship with Him through Give Him 5.
Knowing this has changed my entire outlook on my life and ever day I ask the Lord what He wants of me. I ask Him how He wants me to use my gifts to serve Him as a wife and mother, and as the creator of Give Him 5. So far, He has given me some surprising tasks. I never could have imagined that He would ask me to become a speaker, an author, and song writer for Him, but I have learned not to question. I simply say, "Yes" and let Him lead. My latest project of singing the Rosary is a prime example of the unexpected things that the Lord has asked of me.
Have you ever felt the Lord asking you to do something out of your comfort zone? Maybe He has a plan for your life that hasn't been revealed to you yet. Keep your eyes and ears open to a calling from the Lord. Ask Him what He wants you to do with your life and listen for His response. You might be surprised at what you hear Him say.
This post is part of the Catholic Women’s Blogger Network Blog Hop. Hop on over to see what other Catholic bloggers have to say on the topic of vocations.