Family is Not My Calling




“Sometimes we have to figure out what our calling is not in order to find out what it is.” s. kim henson

No doubt there are moms and dads called to full-time parenting, grandparents called to full-time grandparenting, and wives, daughters, and sisters called to helping their families around the clock, but I’m not one them. Not now, anyway. It was a weird day when I thought, Maybe family’s not my calling.

Even though I’ve been restless for a while about getting my own life, I wasn’t comfortable with the message. After all, family’s been my life even as a child. I remember being compliant when mom walked me to school even though the other kids on the Air Force base walked alone. As a teen, I accommodated my parents instead of friends. When I was a young adult and with a family of my own, I continued to cater to what I thought my parents wanted. I carried on this same sense of care and responsibility into marriage and parenting, and maybe a little too far as my children grew up.

While journaling one day, I wrote several pages about my calling not being family, “God, could this be your way of prompting me to focus more on my purpose and less on what I think they expect?”

“They” included my husband, my two grown children, and their growing families. I answered my own question. God wants more attention, of course, even though I can’t imagine he’s displeased with the attention I’ve given my family. For more than four decades, my parents, my husband, and my two children have been the reasons I’ve gotten out of bed every morning. My daughter and I got excited about the idea I came up with not long ago, “What if, instead of writing, being a grandmother is my calling?”

We laughed because we both knew this wasn’t the case, even if I’d prefer it. After all, I’m good at being Mammy.

I’ve had to come to terms with why letting go of my family’s been hard, and I’m not the only one who’s figuring it out. While researching parenting as a calling, I stumbled on a book I added to my reading list. It’s by Christian author and mom of six grown children, Lesley Leyland Fields. The title is “Parenting Is Your Highest Calling” and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt.


My guess is, there are a lot of women like me who feel a pull to do something in life besides family, but family is a strong force to contend with. There are also women who don’t want to move on past family, but it’s good for us and for them when we get our own lives. They need us to let go and move on so they can too.

Mostly it’s hard to let go of family because my husband and children are where my devotion lies. There’s nothing I’ve wanted more than to be a wife and mother. To this day, I can’t think of anything more fulfilling, although I have dreams gaining momentum.

On a lazier and less loving note, family is an easier choice than my dreams. I’ve kept my life intermingled with theirs because my role as mom is a familiar one. I know how to do it and I pretty much know the results it will reap.

And, like Lesley mentions in her book title, there’s the worry and guilt that make it hard to let go. I get afraid sometimes when I see them go through tough times and I think I can do more than I can to help. I haven’t shaken the “shoulds.”


Getting my own life, which to me means answering God’s calling, also means I’m venturing into unknown territory and, to tell you the truth, I’m not all that adventuresome. I say this, but something stirs inside of me when I hear the word “adventure,” and when I step into that adventure by making videos, contemplating public speaking, and dabbling in watercolor.

Writing all of this is strange for me because I’m sure I’ll be misunderstood. It sounds like I’m jumping ship on my family or saying they don’t matter or even that they’re not as important as all the things I want to do, but that’s not it. Writing this is more about trying to convince myself and other women that it’s time to reprioritize our motivation (why we get out of bed), our mission, and our minutes, and I think God’s all for it. After all, I would have never thought this up on my own, Maybe family’s not my calling.

I believe by living our lives, we help our families to better live theirs.

Next week, I’ll write more about our callings. For now, I’m getting comfortable with what my calling is not. I’d love to hear from you about family and your calling or anything you’d like to share.

In This Together,


19 responses »

  1. Funny your title of reaping what you sow was a story I was trying to put together for my community garden and networking. As a parent, aunt and a daughter, I understand what you are saying. This past week a lot of my time spent helping and not pursuing my passion. Now I am drawn back to my passion, but find it difficult. The path is very unsure and easy to retreat to, but we must push forward and ask God for clearer direction and help. Just as parenting was not always easy neither will Your dream be easy.
    Plant those seeds, wait patiently as they grow and at the right time they will be ready for reaping.

    • I love your analogy of seed planting, especially considering your gardening passion, Sybil. I also find it hard to get back to my passion once I’ve distracted myself with other things, even when they’re necessary things. I think it’s because of what you mentioned … the uncertainty and me being unsure of what to do next.

      Thanks for your encouraging comment, and also for relating. ❤ I love hearing from friends who are finding their way and helping others find theirs.

  2. Your thoughts are similar to thoughts I’ve been having regarding what I should be doing at this point in my life. I wonder what the purpose in my days would be if the key people and activities I currently devote my time to were no longer. I wonder what He really wants me to do. I don’t think I’ve ever felt I had a particular calling, which feels kind of weird when I start thinking about it. I know I’m not adventurous; I like the IDEA of being adventurous, but I am so not. I really like that your writing me think.

    • I appreciate your comment, especially “I wonder what the purpose in my days would be if the key people and activities I currently devote my time to were no longer.” It’s kind of like thinking “If I had a million dollars, what would I do?” It’s a freedom thing and it’s the best way to challenge ourselves to think about what we REALLY want to do. In doing that, maybe we’ll also REALLY do it. 🙂

      Your comment made me think! Thank you.

  3. Kim, I love this, and I love it for a strange reason. We are both finding our calling but in opposite directions. You were happy to be a wife and mother and are now trying to get your own life with a different calling. I never really wanted to get married or have children, although here I am, married for 40 years. All I ever wanted was to have a career, and hopefully a husband who supported it emotionally. Hubby used to joke that if he could have had the children, that would have been fine with him. He would have happily stayed home and cared for them. Not me. I was the one with burning ambition, and hoped to keep that going until I dropped over in my 90s. But God’s plan for my calling seems now to be a caregiver, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why because I stink as a caregiver. I’m still screwing up his compression bandages and I’m missing the domestic gene entirely. But it does give me something to write about. So you’re struggling to move beyond family, and I’m struggling to move beyond a career. To think a career isn’t or wasn’t my calling–I can’t get my head around that yet. Thanks for always making me think about things in a new way.

    • Mary, that’s crazy how opposite, yet the same, we are as far as moving on with our lives. I’m surprised by it, as well as grateful you shared it since looking at it from your perspective helps me step into my career with less guilt because I respect what you’ve done with yours.

      I don’t get a lot of this either. And I can’t wrap my head around some of it even though I’m the one who wrote it. There’s a quote that goes something like, “I don’t know what I’m thinking until I write it and then read it.” Yeah, that’s happening here more and more.

      At least I’m in good company as we muddle through figuring out more about ourselves. I bet you’re better at caregiving than you think. I do believe under the pressure you’re under, I would be pretty much worthless by now. Yes, this may be happening so you’ll write to others about how not to have the breakdown, as well as other helpful tips. ❤

      Thanks for making me think also.

    • Shel, it’s the best way for me to determine whose voice is in my head. A dear friend gave me another way too. She said, “Your first thought is from God, then you mess it up.” I thought she was crazy because I have some really crazy and negative thoughts, but when I trace them back to my very first one (when I can), she was right. It’s the one that sounds most like what I imagine God would say.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! ❤

  4. It is so very hard to juggle it all, family, work and having a life of my own. I do the best that I can and it always seems good enough and I am thankful for that! Never thought of being a Mom as a calling but it is certainly one of the “things” that I am! Keep writing, Kim as you open others’ eyes!

    • It is difficult to juggle it all, Deirdre. I love what you said, “… it always seems good enough.” How wonderful is that? It’s wonderful! A lot of women go their entire lives never believing what they do is good enough. I love that you’ve shared the opposite. ❤

      I'm muddling through this with everyone else and trying to get my own life. I'm happy for the company. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment!

  5. I love this post today. For some reason, lately, I have been filled with family issues. I enjoy being the wise one that they look to for answers, but I don’t enjoy the time I end up taking to dwelling on their issues instead of moving on with my life. Today was hard. I felt like I failed. I know I did not, but I felt like it. I know that “this too shall pass”. Thank God for God or I don’t know where I would be! Probably following my adult children around, lol

    • I’m sorry you had a rough Saturday last weekend. I know those days too well. I want to fix and protect everyone, but I know it’s not my job. I’m still not sure they’re convinced about this. 😉

      I love in your comment, “Thank God for God … ” Yes. Without him, I’d still be making my children and my husband my gods. I may still do that some days, but the tendency is less than ever been. I want my own life mostly because I think that’s what God wants. Thanks for your comment.

      Love you! ❤

  6. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Mary Blackmon, Delilah Lewis and 13 others

    2 shares (Karen Dishman Jantzi and Treasured Woman)

    Delilah Lewis Kim I believe in your calling. Love u♥️
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · September 3 at 6:43am

    Kim Henson Awww, thanks, Delilah Lewis. ❤ I appreciate it. I love you too!
    Like · Reply · September 6 at 11:06pm · Edited

    Summer Turner Maybe the calling is the same but the definition of family is expanding, as in our world family.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · September 5 at 1:23am

    Kim Henson Oooh, maybe so, Summer Turner. I like that. ❤ Can I borrow your brain? 🙂
    Like · Reply · 1 · September 6 at 11:07pm

  7. From Facebook (Karen Dishpan Jantzi) ~


    Kim Henson Thanks, sweet Karen. I appreciate your support. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · September 6 at 11:08pm

    Karen Dishman Jantzi My pleasure sweet friend!!! Ly
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · September 6 at 11:10pm

    Corinne Hale Kanski For me, I feel my call to family is for a season until they're grown. The Lord laid many things on my heart He wanted me to do, before I had kids. But for now, they are on a shelf and will be taken down again at the appropriate timing. 🙂
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · September 7 at 12:46am · Edited

    Kim Henson I thought the same thing when my kids were younger, Corinne. I'm grateful for that time with them. ❤ I think I took that calling too far, though, and I didn't get back to the things I shelved until my kids were in their mid-twenties. Even then and sometimes now, I can be too involved with them. 😉 Thanks so much for your comment!
    Like · Reply · Just now

  8. The loves of my life are my daughter and son which was the best part of my marriage. Parenting was a challenging task. Then your children become adults. Full circle occurs when they become parents and realize parenting is not easy at all. I feel parenting in of itself is definitely not a calling.
    Some who are parents, are more reliant on support systems other than themselves to handle the responsibilities involved.
    You are fortunate if you can figure out what your calling is-but it is separate from parenthood for sure! I think it’s all in finding life’s balance.

    • I like what you said, Sylvia “… but it (your calling) is separate from parenthood for sure!” Not sure why that made me laugh out loud, but it did. Maybe because I agree since parenting is so messy and such a challenge, we should definitely look somewhere else for our calling. LoL. I think it may be a calling for some, but I don’t know any of those people. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

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