During our first annual International Women’s Day Panel, you submitted so many excellent questions to our panel that we weren’t able to answer them all. So, we asked professional women from our GIVEN network to respond to them through our Blog! In this post (2 of 3)  Rachel Bulman shares her thoughts on the importance of using her gifts, the most important woman in her life, and hearing her vocational call.

The first article in the Q&A series, written by Meghan Cokeley, can be found here.

This is the second article in the Q&A series. 

Questions being addressed:

-Who is the most important woman in your life? And why?
-How do you use your gifts to glorify the Lord?
-How did you ‘hear’ your call to the vocation you are now living? What did it look like for you? If you were discerning between two options, how did you pick the one you did versus the other?

I converted to Catholicism when I was 26 years old after growing up in a devout protestant home as the daughter of an Assemblies of God pastor. I had met my husband and his family, and they loved me incredibly well. It was their charity and hospitality that showed me the face of God and opened my heart to the Truth that Catholicism had to offer.

Through all of the changes, my family was very supportive, and specifically, my mother never questioned my desire to convert. She was happy to see me happy, and she instantly loved my husband as well. Though she passed away in 2017, she remains the most important woman in my life. Though her life was filled with suffering, including a long battle with kidney disease, she always managed to love me even from within her brokenness. Of course, we had disagreements and at times, it felt like our filial relationship changed – sometimes I was the authority and sometimes it was her – but at the end of the day, I know that she gave it her very best and in turn, taught me about motherhood, about vulnerability, and about healing. The way she mothered me has informed how I mother my children and any other persons that entrust their heart to me in some way while on this earth.

After converting, I was weary about many of the gifts that I had used growing up – namely singing and writing. They were a huge part of other periods of my life. I had gone to college for mass communications, and at one point, I wanted to be a sports reporter. And, during that same period, I discovered a love for leading worship, but after my conversion, I felt much like Peter in the boat being called to by the Risen Christ. I was ready to throw off my old life and swim to the shore, but the Lord has other plans. I had wrongly attached my gifts to my former protestant faith, and I had lost sight of not only their givenness to me but the charity that the Lord had bestowed upon me even with a new playing field, namely Catholicism, in mind.

So I started to write and sing again. Right now, I lead an occasional holy hour with my husband who just so happens to play the guitar, and as you are reading my writing now, know that you can find more of it over at the Word on Fire blog, CatholicMom.com, and in some books that will be published later this year with Ave Maria Press and Ignatius Press. My first solo-authored book will be published next year with Our Sunday Visitor.

Gifts are given to be poured out and then magnified in that giving away. When we cease to recognize them as gifts, we also forget much of our mission and calling. It’s nice to have found mine again.

Growing up protestant, I was never afforded a conversation on alternate vocations to married life. Vocational discernment is simultaneously a gift and a task. It’s an honor to figure out where the Lord is calling you to love, how to love, and why to love. It always manifests itself different for each of us, and vocational discernment helps us to figure out what that looks like. Pray, hope, and don’t worry.

This is the second article in the Q&A series.

Rachel Bulman

Rachel Bulman is a writer, speaker, and retreat leader. She frequently writes for the Word on Fire blog and CatholicMom.com, and her first book will be published with Our Sunday Visitor next year titled “Becoming Wife: Self-Gift in Matrimony”. She has also contributed to two books which will be published with Ignatius Press and Ave Maria Press this year and has essays published in the Word on Fire Institute Theological Journal. She is married and has four children with two more on the way.