When Your Calling Comes to an End

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I can’t remember the last time I typed a post through tears.

Until now.

You see, my kids are starting school tomorrow.

And no, I’m not the mom crying tears of joy.

I’m the homeschooling mom who kind of thought this day would never come.

Because even though we’ve prayed over it for a whole year and prepared for it for several months, there’s still a part of me that wants to hang on.

I want to hang on to the joy of having them home with me every day.

I want to hang on to the peace of knowing every detail of practically every experience of their lives.

I want to hang on to my role as “homeschooling mom.” That demanding, exhausting, exhilarating role that I’ve embraced for eight years.

I just want to hang on. 

When Your Calling Comes to an End

In case you can’t tell, the circumstances of change aren’t my favorite.

I didn’t like it when my family moved to a new church when I was in fourth grade, and I didn’t like changing schools shortly thereafter.

I didn’t like graduating from high school and transitioning to college.

A teeny part of me didn’t even like leaving my parents’ home to get married (even though a much bigger part of me couldn’t wait to start a new home with my husband).

But whether I’m ready or not, and whether I like it or not, it seems that change keeps on happening.

When I look back over the seasons of change in my life and I look ahead toward the seasons to come, I can identify three important truths that equip me to thrive through this transition. (Even though you might catch me wiping a tear or two from time to time.)

Whether your kids are starting school…

or heading off to college…

or flying even further from your nest, pursuing a career or family life of their own…

or maybe you’re experiencing a change in ministry, career, or relationships…

it’s my prayer that these truths are a soothing balm to your heart, as they’ve been to mine.

When Your Calling Comes to an End 2

Pillars of Hope When Your Calling Comes to an End

God still has a purpose for you.

Paul has long inspired Christians with his declaration that, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Unfortunately, we often ignore the very next verse, which contains a statement that is perhaps even more inspiring: “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.”

This means that as long as you’re alive, you can be sure that God has a purpose for you. He has work for you.

And guess what? It’s not just any work. It’s not busy work. It’s fruitful work. Work that will be fulfilling as you obey the Lord and then reap a harvest.

If one calling has come to an end, you can be sure He has another one waiting in the wings.

God uses change for your good.

As I sift through my memories of life changes, there has never been a time in my life when good hasn’t emerged from them.

Even when the “good” has involved a hefty dose of pain.

Yes, even through cancer. Even through a devastating job loss. Even through our foster care journey as we’ve welcomed sometimes-hard-to-love little strangers into our home for several months, only to fall in love with them before sending them back to their families.

Each of these experiences was painful.

And each of them was used for good.

It’s in our human nature to avoid pain, isn’t it? We want to medicate it. Minimize it. And when all else fails we want to distract ourselves from it so it doesn’t hurt quite so much.

But here’s the thing:

God really meant it when He said that all things work together for our good. And “all” means all.

What we don’t realize is that His idea of “good” is different than ours.

God’s definition of good comes on the heels of a familiar verse:

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29

Our infinitely wise God knows that in spite of the discomfort…

in spite of the pain…

there’s no greater good for us in this whole wide world than being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

And many times, He chooses to accomplish that by molding us through a season of change.

If we yield to Him through the process, we’ll come out on the other side looking more like Jesus in a way that makes the hardship worth it.

When Your Calling Comes to an End fb

Your role was never your identity.

This is big. Huge, really, so come close and listen hard.

My identity is simply this:

redeemed daughter of God.

That. Is. All.

Everything else I am, everything else I do, is a role that springs from that identity.

That means my identity has nothing to do with marital status or parenthood.

It has nothing to do with homeschooling, private schooling, or public schooling.

It’s not about a career.

It’s not about my areas of ministry in my local church.

My identity isn’t even found in friendships or extended family relationships.

Every single one of those is a role.

And while they’re granted sacredly by God Himself, entrusted to me for stewardship, they’re not who I am.

If each role went away tomorrow, every one falling by the wayside, the core of who I am – my “identity” – would remain intact. And I would only need to look to the Source of that identity to learn what new roles He has for me.

If you’ve been accustomed to claiming your roles as your identity, you might resist this truth at first.

But I would encourage you to pray over it. Ask the Lord to help you understand it and embrace it. It can be a challenging mental shift, but it will become one of the most freeing truths of your life when you begin to apply it.

I wouldn’t trade the last eight years homeschooling my kids for anything in this world, and I will cherish those years until I die.

At the same time, we serve a God who delights in new things.

New works, new journeys, new friends, and new roles.

So while the circumstances of change aren’t always my favorite, I’m so glad the faithful God who is my favorite can be trusted.

~~

Want more encouragement for this time in your life? Join me in praying the Scriptures for your season of change:

Prayers for Seasons of Change fb

Prayers for the Unemployed fb

Prayers for Retirement fb

Prayers God's Direction title

 

Want more encouragement in your Christian walk?

My 30-day devotional, Drawing Near: 30 Days Toward Intimacy With God, is now available on Amazon! Drawing Near 3D cover
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8 Replies to “When Your Calling Comes to an End”

  1. Amy

    Heaven-inspired as always, Jennifer. We’ve always homeschooled-my oldest began 8th grade in public school last week & we are experiencing many transitions. Hugs & prayers for you & yours along the way. I’m thankful for technology that allows us to share the journey!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to get in touch, Amy, and for sharing with me some of the events of your life. I will take some time now to pray for you and your family during your time of transition – thank you for your prayers on my behalf, too! 🙂

      Reply
  2. dawn

    Much love to you, Jennifer. I’ve been in this same spot and I wish I could just give you a hug. The transition away from homeschooling was full of mixed emotions for me. I loved homeschooling and I cherish that time we had. What you’ve said here is spot on. I have seen much good come out of the change, even though it wasn’t always easy.

    Reply
  3. Tina Truelove

    God’s timing is always perfect, even when it comes to writing and reading a post such as this one. Several times last week, I told my husband and a friend that I feel lost right now. For more than 23 years, I have devoted my time and energy to my calling, raising my three children. Now, one is married. One is almost finished with her Bachelor’s degree and is talking about getting her Master’s and Doctorate away from home. The other just started her freshman year in college. We only homeschooled our youngest and that was only for the last three years. She has been home with me every day for three years. Now, she works and goes to school. I know they’ll always be my kids, my babies, and they’ll always need me to some degree, but it’s still not the same. They all love the Lord and my God-anointed calling to raise them is done. That realization recently hit me hard. Just this past week, my husband and I have had a few prayerful discussions about what our new calling might be. He shared something the Lord told him a long time ago but he never told me and I shared something the Lord told me a long time ago but had not told him. We KNOW the Lord has a specific plan for the second half of our lives. We just don’t know exactly what that is yet. You are right. When it seems that one calling ends, another one is emerging. Thank you for this. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Tina, your words have touched me today. I’m not in the same season you’re experiencing, but I would imagine the lessons we’re learning are very similar. How good our God is to walk with us every step of the way! Thank you for sharing your heart with me – it’s an honor to pray for you and your family during this time of transition!

      Reply
  4. ~ linda

    Powerful post…change can be tough although I am writing on being a sojourner with lots of change in my locale over my many years. I do change but I also need order, so there is some conflict between the two! But I love your point that my role was NEVER my identity…because it was not. I once thought it ’twas but no longer.

    Reply

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