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Inspiration

What If I’m Not Called to Be a Wife or Mother?

I used to think marriage and motherhood were easy. It seemed like a popular path for the majority of women, and I figured, If everyone is doing it, how hard can it be?

Then I got married and had a child of my own.

Marriage is not easy, a fact I learned within the first year (and wrote about on my blog in a series called “Confessions of a Newlywed”). When Adeline was born, I came to a whole new understanding of motherhood: the challenges, the learning curve and the time it takes to care for someone so small and dependent.

Marriage and motherhood are things many of us take for granted. But what if you aren’t called to that life and those roles? What then?

 

Is It Good to Remain Single?

Though some women will marry and have children, others will not, whether by choice or by the path that their life takes. Some choose to go into missions, remaining single in order to focus on that calling. And others choose not to marry for personal reasons. The Bible does speak about remaining single, and the passage was written by an expert on the topic: the Apostle Paul.

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. In verses 5 through 8, he states that while he does not command the believers in Corinth to remain single, he thinks it is the best course to do so because it allows him to serve the Lord without the weighty responsibility of a wife and family. However, he concludes: “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (verse 9), indicating that purity is essential to ministerial work, and those who are not called to singleness may marry, where their sexuality can be expressed in a God-honoring way.

Singleness in our culture (and even in the church) is often viewed as a problem to be fixed. But singleness is a stage of life, not an identity. For some, that stage may last longer than for others, even becoming a lifelong calling. God has a purpose for each individual life and will make the most of whatever calling He has given, regardless of relationship status.

 

How Do I Know If I’m Called to Singleness?

This is where faith becomes an integral part of your daily walk with God. Whether you long to be married and raise a family someday or you believe singleness is your calling, only time will tell what path God intends for your life. The only way to know His will is to walk in step with His spirit, not “conforming to the world, but being transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

God doesn’t give us a blueprint of our entire lives, though that would be nice, wouldn’t it? Instead, He gives us enough light to take the next step on the path ahead, trusting His wisdom and guidance for whatever He has in store. Whether your calling is to motherhood or to singleness, He will make that clear. But it takes time, and time takes trust. The question we must ask is: Are we willing to trust God with whatever course the future takes?

God is worthy to be trusted because He is all good. He testifies to His dependability throughout Scripture:

  • And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
  • So do NOT worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
  • Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

No matter what the future holds, you only need to trust Him for the next step. He will make everything clear as you depend on His wisdom and seek His guidance—whether your path leads to full-time missions or full-time motherhood.

Image: Lightstock | Jessica Overholt

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4 Comments

  1. ParalyzedbytimeintheTARDIS

    Posted by ParalyzedbytimeintheTARDIS on January 9, 2016 at 18:40

    Thank you for writing this! It cleared some things up for me. I’m a bit confused, though, about the whole wife/mother thing. Does getting married automatically mean that kids are in my future? I’d like to marry someday, but I don’t really want to have kids. I feel so pressured by society, other christians, and even my parents to have kids someday, but I honestly don’t feel called to do so. I guess what I’m asking is, do marriage and kids go hand-in-hand? Should I get married if I’m pursuing a serious career?

    • SereneInChrist

      Posted by SereneInChrist on January 21, 2016 at 15:08

      Not always. I feel like (what you had mentioned, feeling pressed not only by society but also other Christians) to have children.
      To answer you’re question, sometimes I’ll get the “be fruitful and multiply” verse from people. I’m not trying to read God’s mind here or anything, but I’m going to make a bold assumption and say he told SPECIFICALLY Adam & Eve to do that so they could begin to populate earth.
      To me, when a Christian gives me that verse, it tells me they were brought up that way. Some do not believe in birth control (I apologize if my answer is becoming a little in depth) and I agree in that birth control can be damaging to a woman’s body. But that isn’t the “and thats why you MUST have kids!” answer. Some are also against natural forms of birth control (watching your cycle, least likely to get pregnant when you’re not ovulating). And then people PANIC and claim “Wait . . . you’re not TRUSTING GOD TO GIVE YOU AS MANY KIDS AS HE WANTS?” and then wonder why they can’t make ends meat when they have nine kids and one paycheck coming in.
      I’d say, balancing marriage, kids, and a career are all things a Christian woman can do! My best piece of advice would to not rush into anything, and look to God for His timing. But don’t feel like because you don’t wish to be a mother, that you’re “disrespecting God’s intent for your body!” Anyways, lots of Christian woman are married, have jobs, and have children. It is your choice, and you shouldn’t feel pressured by those who have been brought up by those conservative beliefs, and society should not make you feel like “just because you have a womb, doesn’t mean you have to use it”.

  2. Justilean

    Posted by Justilean on November 18, 2015 at 16:38

    So I’m not sure whether I’m reading this correctly or not (and frankly, it’s really relevant in my life right now and I don’t know the answer). But is a call to wifehood a call to motherhood?

    • phyliciadelta

      Posted by phyliciadelta on November 24, 2015 at 07:57

      Good question Justilean! Generally speaking, most women who marry one day hope to have children. But some women who marry are unable to do so, and some couples who devote their lives to missions choose not to have children due to their call. So every couple will need to discuss their hopes and intentions individually when it comes to having children. Very often wifehood and motherhood go hand in hand, but not always. I hope that helps!