How Intentional Community is Preparing Me for My Vocation

A Radiant Announcement…
If you follow me on Instagram, then you might have seen the “radiant announcement” that I posted a few days ago… Nathan and I are engaged! We knew early on in our relationship that we were both in it for the long haul. We very much dated with the intention of marrying each other someday. Now that there’s a ring on my finger, our dreams of spending the rest of our lives together have become so much more real. We’re one step closer to beginning our vocation of marriage.

Preparing for Marriage
Of course, along with everything that comes with planning a wedding, now we’re preparing for our vocation in a more practical way. We’ve been talking, learning each others’ hearts, and discerning for the past two years, but now we have things like pre-Cana classes to guide us as we get ready for marriage. When I was in high school, I realized that I could love my future husband before I even met him just by becoming who God wants me to be. As I continually said “yes” to God and did my best to follow His will, I noticed some of the ways that He guided me and prepared me to be a wife. One of the biggest ways that I’ve grown and prepared for my vocation was being part of an intentional community.

How Intentional Community is Preparing Me for My Vocation
How Intentional Community is Preparing Me for My Vocation

Loving my Community
The community that I’m part of with Franciscan Mission Service has helped me to be more generous, responsible, and loving. When I first moved into the Casa, I didn’t know anyone, but I knew that I could love everyone. It wasn’t hard for me to quickly fall in love with my community. I simply recognized that they’re all children of God and worthy of my time and attention. God places people in our lives for a reason, and I constantly see the ways that each person in my community helps me grow and the things that they teach me.

Instead of living alongside each other, we truly live with each other. My community and I are interdependent as we take care of each other and share responsibilities. By cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and praying, and spending time with each other, we’ve become like a family. In these ways, I serve my community because I love everyone in it. Of course, this means that sometimes I have to choose between myself and my community. Maybe I want to snuggle up in bed and blog, but I know that I need to clean the stove. Intentional community teaches me to be selfless, especially when it’s difficult. I believe that this kind of selflessness is the root of sacrificial love. It isn’t easy, especially at first, to set aside your wants for someone else’s needs, but with some practice, we form this habit and build it as a virtue.

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Growing in Sacrificial Love
Someday when I’m a wife and (God willing) a mama, my life truly won’t be my own anymore. I’ll naturally put my family before myself, making myself inferior to them, not because of a lack of self-esteem, but because I’ve grown in humility. I’ll understand that loving my husband and my children go beyond hugs, kisses, and “I love yous,” so I’ll show my love by cooking dinner even when I’m tired, listening to stories about bad days, and doing the laundry when it never seems to end. As much as this can sound like lost control or independence, this is such a good and beautiful thing. I know that this is the life that God has planned for me and these are the ways that He wants me to know, love, and serve Him. When I’m in the thick of my vocation, I can think of my intentional community and remember how they formed me. I can tell that God led me to FMS for many reasons, and one of them was definitely to prepare me for my vocation.

Please keep me and Nathan in your prayers as we prepare for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. We’re both so excited to start our lives together, and we want to keep pursuing God and running towards Heaven together.

Stay radiant!

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Published by madeline_mckissick

Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Madeline spent a year of service in Washington DC before settling on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She and her husband, Nathan strive for holiness and Sainthood by living simply and intentionally with their eyes fixed on God. You can find Madeline wearing cardigans, enjoying a charcuterie board and a glass of wine, playing board games, spending time with her loved ones, and sometimes doing all four at once. Check out and @radiantwjoy on Instagram!

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