NOT my Highest Calling

The church isn’t the only place that gets it wrong.

A commenter on Facebook pointed this out to me, and she’s correct. However, being a Southern-raised girl who married a minister… the church is where I’ve seen it most.

“Motherhood is a woman’s highest calling.”

This is a lie. Or, at the very least, it is a lie for most women. It is a lie piled high and heavy on young girls’ hearts.

Or, at the very least, it was piled high and heavy onto mine.

I have to take a quick moment to point out… my parents NEVER taught me this. My father isn’t even a Christian, and he certainly never pressured me to have kids one day. He never pressured me to do much of anything except always use sarcasm and fight hard for what I want. My mother encouraged me to stand on my own two feet and she worked her fingers to the bone to make sure I had every opportunity to do so.

But I digress.

Once I left my little country church for a bigger church with a youth group, I noticed things. Sunday school classes were arranged by age and family status. When I finished high school, I moved to the college & young adult class. There was also a singles class, a young marrieds class, and then came the couples with babies and so on and so forth. The oddness of this never crossed my mind until I married and had my first child.

I was only 20-years-old, and the church didn’t know where to put me. By age, I should have been in the college Sunday School class, but that was an epic fail. Those kids were hungover from partying or talking about Econ classes. I was caring for an infant with reflux and battling Postpartum Depression. So we were moved to a class for couples with kids. These people were all in their thirties and forties and mostly ignored us as still being kids ourselves.

Eventually, I joined a small group. I was the youngest member, at 26, and our oldest member celebrated her 80th birthday that year.

Best. Group. Ever.

I’d finally found a community that didn’t pigeonhole me based on age, marital status, or offspring. It was a place where we all learned from one another. Women shared from their experiences, and with such a variety of women, there was always someone who had walked where you were walking and someone who needed to hear about the road you’d already traveled.

I found a home where I was accepted and loved for being me and not for being a mom.

Being a mother is not my highest calling. I’m not even sure I’d label it as one of my callings. I am a mom because I have kids. I didn’t really think about my life and decide to have these boys. I didn’t feel deeply called to parent. I just fell in love and one thing led to another and TA DA! Babies.

Mothering has never come naturally to me, but I love my kids. I am fighting tooth and nail to do right by them and raise them into the men God wants them to be. But the callings I feel on my life began before I was a mom and they will determine my path long after my sons are adults.

I truly feel I would be doing my kids a disservice if I treated them as my highest calling. That’s a whole lot of pressure to put on a couple of fart-joke-loving adolescents.

If I feel like this and I have kids, I cannot imagine how the women who don’t have children feel when the church harps on about motherhood as the only godly role for women… whether they choose to have no children or want them desperately and cannot have them. How emptying. How hollowing the theology of motherhood as the only worthy role.

And the answer we give? If you don’t have kids of your own, I am sure you “mother” someone somewhere somehow.

I doubt this is comforting. Again, it says to a woman, “You must be a mother, somehow, someway.”

There’s more to me than my passed-on DNA.

There’s more to you too.

And my highest calling?

My highest calling is to follow Jesus, wherever He leads, with or without children in tow.

Heather Truett
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Heather Truett

I drink Sweet Cream in my coffee. My DVR is set to record Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, and The Walking Dead. I have a serious chapstick addiction, a history of purple/blue/green hair styles, tattoos on my left ankle and my right foot, a whole solar system of freckles, and I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince my kids I am a Time Lady from Gallifrey.
Heather Truett
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Latest posts by Heather Truett (see all)

About Heather Truett

I drink Sweet Cream in my coffee. My DVR is set to record Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, and The Walking Dead. I have a serious chapstick addiction, a history of purple/blue/green hair styles, tattoos on my left ankle and my right foot, a whole solar system of freckles, and I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince my kids I am a Time Lady from Gallifrey.

  • The Husband of the Writer

    Hallelujah AMEN! Being a mom is incredibly important, but it is not the highest calling. Well said….and of course, I LOVE YOU!

  • I love this Heather. We are so much more than the titles that are put on us.

  • Good word, Heather. Highest calling = Jesus and thank God for that.

  • Yes! Amen. I thought about this the other day shortly after mother’s day. I completely agree. I am a fairly new mother. My daughter is 2. I love her and treasure her as a great gift from God but I know my highest calling isn’t motherhood. My highest calling is love Jesus, know God & make Him known. He is always first in everything and without Him there would be nothing. So it’s God, my husband then kids. 🙂

    • It’s good for you to already know this. It takes a lot of pressure out of being a mom. 🙂

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  • This popped up on my Facebook and it is a good reminder when I saw 3 pregnancy announcements and a gender reveal, plus my brother in law, who is older than my husband married a woman younger than me last week.
    I can’t have children. I am far too sick. And my husband married me knowing that it was a strong possibility, but it breaks my heart because I don’t get to make the decision for myself and my husband would be a kind father.
    Like you said, at church, it’s hard, because we are entering an age where some of our peers have multiple children. We aren’t newlyweds, either. It’s a weird in between, so I’m grateful for things like the the Women’s retreat, the summer women’s bible study at night, etc.
    Overall, thank you for such an encouraging and inspiring post.

    • heathertruett

      Thank you for sharing this.

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