In the most recent issue of The Lutheran Witness, Janet Frese reminds us to view our present suffering through the lens of vocation. She is writing specifically as the wife of a deployed chaplain, but, as is true with most Christian suffering, her words of wisdom apply to any cross we may bear, even the cross of barrenness.
Being separated during deployment is an enormous sacrifice. You become a situational single parent, bravely juggling a myriad of new roles while praying fervently for your spouse’s safe return…Putting deployment in the framework of vocation gives perspective to some of its challenges. Vocation is found in your present circumstances, in the here and now – not where you wish you could be. Parenting alone is difficult and certainly not ideal, but for the moment this is what God has given you to do. Serving the United States in the midst of war is both exhilarating and frightening, but this is the work that God has given your spouse to do at this time…[W]hile you wait for your loved one to return, remember that God does not leave you to fend for yourself. He has given you a community of believers, and He gives you a unique vocation through which to serve others.
You, in your barrenness, have a unique vocation through which to serve others. Yes, you do. It may not be the vocation of mother that you want, but your vocations of wife, daughter, sister, friend, babysitter, knitter, lawyer, or whatever are still distinct, special, singular, and specific to you.
If you are not sure what your present vocations are, simply look around and ask, “Where am I, and who is my neighbor?” Your answers to those two questions will make everything clear.
(To read Janet’s full article, snag a copy of the August 2012 issue of The Lutheran Witness.)