Learning to Embrace Who I Am

In the past year and a half my aspirations and beliefs about what it means to be a woman have evolved quite a bit.  In 2014, I was about to enter into the doctor of veterinary medicine program at Iowa State.  Based on conversations I had with a mentor of mine, I realized that the veterinary profession may not really be what I was born for, that it may not be how I can best fulfill my purpose.  As a millennial (influenced heavily by feminism even without realizing it at the time) I had the belief that what career choice I made would determine my happiness.  I also thought that I had to achieve a great title, to be in a certain position to be credible, to be ‘important’ in today’s world.

Born in 1989, my parents raised me in a Bible reading and believing home.  My parents for all of my life had been dairy farmers until last year in April when they sold the milk cows.  While growing up my mom stayed at home and was the primary caregiver for me and my five other siblings and my dad was always around working on the farm.  For certain reasons my biggest role model was my dad growing up.  I feel I spent the most time outdoors working alongside him and idolizing his profession as a dairy farmer.  I wouldn’t change a thing, my dad will always be one of my heroes.  But for all the hours I spent outdoors, my mom also trained me to do anything and everything that was required in a home and over time has become a hero of mine too.  I am thankful that I was taught to work hard outdoors on a farm and work hard in a home.  It hasn’t been until recently now that I’m expecting my own baby and about to be a momma, that I have thought more about the role that my mother has played in my life.  I’ve always been grateful to her and have a feeling I will become a whole lot more grateful to her, as soon my baby arrives!

So why am I telling you all of this ?  I fully support anyone with high career aspirations.  I am not here to tell anyone how to live their life or what their purpose is.  I just want to share my experience.  My life looks so much different than what I pictured it would a year and a half ago.  In the past year and a half I’ve struggled greatly with this thought, that I have to achieve something great to be important, to be of significance to others.  I have realized that my true value does not come from my accomplishments.  However it used to, my value came from my accomplishments and others approval of them.   My happiness depended on everything and everyone around me.   Today I understand that my true value is determined by my God-given abilities and the gifts that he’s given me to share with others.   I also understand that happiness is a decision that I make on a daily basis.  I know that I could use my abilities to become a veterinarian or anything I want, but I no longer feel that I HAVE to become something in order to be of significance.   My highest calling is to serve and help those around me just as I am.  My passion is in my faith, and my priority is my family.  While I always want there to be a dairy animal in my life I’m waiting on God for His answer on that.  I know I’ve been very blessed in my life.  I am thankful for all the women in my life besides my momma—women from California to Minnesota, South Dakota, all the way down to Georgia—who have shown me what it means to be a woman.  I can be proud of the fact that I am a woman, and that I want to live out my God-given purpose in a very feminist world.  Today I finally understand what one of my mentors was trying to teach me long ago, I’m a life giver!

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