Catholicism

You Don’t Need To Be Married With Kids To Start Your Life

November 9, 2015

Confession: In true Melancholic fashion, this topic is something I’ve been mulling over for two solid months.

What sparked this internal pondering?

I read this blog post from another Catholic blogger and the wheels began to turn.

Hold on though.

I enjoy Haley’s blog a whole lot and the things she has to say. I am not dumping on her post but rounding it out with a different perspective…because my life experience has been vastly different from her’s and because of that I interpreted her message differently than she intended. We can have different opinions from others while still wholeheartedly respecting them and holding them up with high esteem.

OK now that we are clear, let’s get back to what I’ve been ruminating on…

I get it.

Her post was a breath of fresh air for all the other women who also married straight outta college and began having babies soon thereafter. No, they absolutely did NOT waste their 20’s as the general culture might suggest…they got to experience some of the most meaningful things in life at an earlier age that most. But she essentially equates getting married and having babies as the rite of passage to “starting your life.” 

That’s what hurt.

Because what about the rest of us? Those who God did not call to marriage or religious life that young. Or those who battled infertility for years if we were married. What were we dong with our 20’s? Wasting time and doing unimportant and frivolous things while waiting to “start our lives?”

No. Absolutely not.

Sure, I got to go on some seriously awesome adventures in my 20’s…many because I was not married for a majority of them and did not have children yet. But in no way did I ever sit back and think my life hadn’t truly “started.” I think that is the temptation in the Catholic world though, particularly for women.

It’s easy to think that we’re just cruising on auto-pilot, waiting for our vocation to arrive and then and only then will life really  “start.”

This isn’t how it works though, friends. Our life starts when we are given life in our mothers’ wombs. It doesn’t really begin when we cross a certain line or get to a milestone like marriage or children. And although I am speaking about generic “us” I’m mostly speaking to ME, who spent way too much precious time being jealous my life hadn’t “started” when we were battling infertility.

Your life is NOW and that is in whatever circumstances the Lord has given you today, in this moment. Your life has “started” and to do God’s will in the present moment is the best thing we can ever do – whether you happen to be married with several children by age 30 or not. Stop waiting for some external thing to happen to define the “start of your life.”

Our joy is in surrendering ourselves to God’s will in the present, not wishing it away for the past or the future. This is important because the more each one of us become conformed to God’s will for us, in whatever capacity that may be, the more we fulfill the Kingdom of God and our role in it.

We have to stop wishing we had “so and so’s life” and embrace the one right in front of us. The one that has very much “started” and is inviting us to dive all in. So whatever life is yours in this present moment…please know that is HAS started and embrace it! 🙂

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12 Comments

  • Reply Katie November 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I read that post by Haley and it bothered me too! Sometimes when I read posts like that, I think that they are really written to make the blogger feel better about their life situation and to make others in similar situations feel better too.

    • Reply Amanda November 10, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Yes, I totally felt it was an “audience post” written for people in similar situations.

  • Reply Bethany November 9, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I love this!!!

  • Reply kmkersting November 9, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Yes! Thank you for posting this, Amanda! I read that post a while back and something just didn’t sit right. You put the words right into my mouth. God bless your beautiful and melacholic mind! You offer a perspective many of us don’t often see.

    • Reply Amanda November 10, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      I am glad good can come from my melancholic tendancies 🙂

  • Reply Jen F November 9, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Been thinking about this concept too lately. I am in my first year of marriage-both my husband and I got married a little later (he’s in his 40s, and I am 29) We haven’t had your typical marriage growing pains/pitfalls that they warn you about in all the marriage articles (e.g., relying on the other for happiness, etc) And I realized I think it’d because God grew us in those years before knowing each other. Even though your vocation will stretch you and grow you in love for sure, God is always wanting to do great things in your heart and life, no matter what stage you are at! While it was hard waiting, I’m grateful God prepared me beforehand, because I know I would have fallen into those pitfalls had I been in my early twenties!

    • Reply Amanda November 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      That’s a good point. There are definite pros to being called to marriage a little later in life just as there are for being called to it earlier!

  • Reply Catholic Mutt November 9, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I’m glad you added your thoughts to this idea. When someone talks about getting married and having babies early, I like that they are challenging a cultural idea of not settling down too soon and so forth. However, as I am still unmarried (and therefore no children), it still hurts to hear that. I would love to see people with a little more rounded view like you said of living God’s will in this moment that He has given us, whatever that may mean to us. “Early” marriage and children (by cultural standards) IS a very beautiful thing, but so is any life lived for God, whatever that may look like.

  • Reply Mandy November 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Love, love, love! As someone who got married in my thirties, I know how you feel! I’m so thankful for the time I had being single in my twenties because it makes me appreciate my current life that much more.

    • Reply Amanda November 10, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      Amen. Once you’ve waited for something instead of just receiving it right away, it always makes the gift that much sweeter! 🙂

  • Reply ctowey November 10, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Yes, thank you Amanda for writing this! As someone who’s still single in their late 20s, I felt a little insulted by that article. The tone made it seem like she had “chosen the better part”, but singlehood and infertility aren’t crosses we choose to bare. They are extremely difficult and sobering, but show us the humbling and beautiful reality that marriage and children are COMPLETE gifts from God that we don’t earn by being holy or deserve because we’ve prayed/lived the right way. As much as we want THAT particular gift, we have to keep on chuggin’ and be grateful for the gifts that we are given. It’s really. really. hard, but the lessons I’m learning now are…oh yeah.. part of His plan…and….oh yeah…necessary for my salvation….because He knows me better than I know myself. I guess I’m ok with that 😉

    • Reply Amanda November 10, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Yes, I am totally with you in the sense her article felt like she had all this control about her choices when most women totally don’t in that area. And yes, keeping our eyes fixed on the realities we DO have to be grateful for is key!!! If I start creeping away from that and looking at what I don’t have that is when I get in BIG trouble, LOL! 🙂

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