As I unloaded the dishwasher one spring afternoon, I glanced out the kitchen window to see my two-
year-old son running blissfully from one side of our small backyard to the next, our golden retriever
prancing closely behind – pure joy on both of their faces, sunshine dancing in their hair. The moment
made me pause, not because it was such a precious sight to witness, but because the peace that filled
my heart in that moment was a gentle affirmation of the vocation God has invited me into.
Unlike many of my friends, I never had an overwhelming call to be a mother or homemaker. I knew that
I wanted children, and assumed I would probably have several being the good Catholic girl that I
considered myself to be, but it was certainly not at the top of my priority list. Ask my college self how
my life would unfold and I probably would have mentioned something about graduate school then
work, work, and more work (with marriage squeezed in there somewhere along the way). I love
progress and challenging myself and interacting with the public and staying busy, all of which I would
find in the workplace, or so I told myself.
Fast-forward five years and here I sit, 2,000 miles from home on the Gulf Coast, full-time stay-at-home
mom of a busy toddler, pregnant with another on the way, and proud wife of a Navy fighter pilot who is
gone as often as he is home. I can’t help but laugh when I look at my toy-strewn living room in the
middle of nowhere California. My life is so different than I would have ever imagined it to be at this
phase; truly it could only be the hand of God that put me here.
While there were certainly times that I have felt alone or even a bit resentful because my husband’s
career has pulled me away from family and friends, forced me to leave jobs that I enjoyed, and put my
plans of going to grad school on hold, God quietly and patiently softened my heart overtime to unveil all
of the beautiful opportunities this unusual lifestyle can provide. Not only has being a Navy wife
encouraged me to stay home to raise my babies, which has been the best unexpected blessing of all, it
has given me so many occasions for evangelization. We have lived in three states over the past five
years, met countless people from across the country, and been active in several different parishes. What
a fantastic blessing it has been to be a witness for Christ by inviting new friends to attend Mass with us,
introducing people to Natural Family Planning, and showing others what it looks like for two young
Catholics to strive to live out the vocation of marriage, especially during the difficult times life in the
military can bring.
Even sweeter, it has given me the gift of time. Time to slow down and pray. Time to participate in
Church activities that I was too busy for before, like Bible Study and teaching CCD. Time to be present
with my husband when we are together and more generous with my fellow Navy-wives who need a
helping hand when our husbands are gone. Time to put my vocation of wife and mother before myself.
Moments come when I miss driving to work with my latte every morning, or I feel the sting of jealousy
as I see peers on social media sharing the highlights of their professional lives, but the Lord never fails in
giving me dozens more moments of grace that I know I would be too busy to soak in if I was living the
life I intended instead of the life he has called me to. I’ve traded my lattes and paychecks in for sticky
hugs and mommy devotionals, and because of that, my heart and my home have experienced a peace
I’ve never known before.
Thank you, Lord, for your unexpected, ridiculous invitations and the grace to say “yes.