I am very aware that over the last few weeks I have been somewhat cryptic about being on a journey, and being confused, being torn etc and now I feel it is time for this to be explained!
About three and a half years ago I started to feel that I should be looking into becoming a reader (a lay ministry in the Church of England), I had no idea where this came from, but I spoke to the relevant people at church, and at the diocese, and got accepted and started training in September 2012. I started training with the husband, and I was actually quite enjoying the study again.
Then around May time I couldn’t stop thinking about ordination (training to be a vicar) It was literally there constantly. No one was more shocked than me. I’m not exaggerating with that statement, whenever I spoke to anyone about it, they just said ‘yes… And’! It was if they all knew something I didn’t. When I phoned my mum in tears (because it was so life changing not because of anything bad) she said ‘I’ve been waiting for this phone call’!
So, again I spoke to the necessary people, the vicar, diocesan house, my college tutor – as I would have to give up the readers course – and then I was accepted to start the discernment process!
To cut a very long story short, I started the process and then stuff got in the way, family illness, work, my heart was not in it, and I put everything on hold. With the understanding that I could start back at any point in time. Since then, we’ve moved church – humongous change in our lives, in every way but especially spiritually.
So after our new mission priest had been there a few months I met with him to talk about my discernment process, I guess I was hoping for answers but was told that he would support any decisions I made and where I felt I was being called.
In the summer of this year I felt it was time to contact the DDO (diocesan director of ordinands) this was a different person to the person I had met first time around, so I went through the whole story, explaining that I was very confused and wasn’t really sure what was going on, or where I was at, or where I was heading. She suggested doing this course exploring vocation and that is what I’ve been doing on a Tuesday evening for the past four weeks.
I would like to apologise for the cryptic mess of my posts over the last few weeks but I guess I didn’t want too many voices putting in their two pennies worth! I’ve been in regular contact with a few people, but have tried to keep it to a minimum. I was confused enough anyway!
The confusion has come from a new found love for teaching, and this calling to ordination. Every single week I feel I have been torn between the two. And I have spent ages trying to work out which is my vocation. After all, that is one thing I know for sure, both are a vocation, both are fantastic opportunities, but which one was my vocation.
Every week we have been looking at different biblical characters and their calling, the thing I have loved is that they all respond in the same way ‘who? Me? How?’! Every week I have gone in with a sense of one thing, then the curve ball comes and the confusion sets in again!
But this week, the firework moment, we were looking at the story of Mary when she was told she had been chosen by God, to give birth to Jesus! At the beginning of the story she is confused and bewildered, in the middle she asks ‘how can this happen?’ At the end she says ‘let it happen’!
I knew that I had to move from confused and bewildered to saying ‘let it happen’ my only problem was working out what IT was! After looking at the story and sharing our thoughts we always have a time of reflection. It was during this time of reflection that I realised what IT was
TEACHING! My vocation, at this point in time, is teaching! I am where I am meant to be.
I think there is a lot more to my vocation of teaching than just teaching, but that is the next part of the journey. But it is a relief just to know that I’m not having to wrestle with different senses of calling. I don’t think my first sense of call was incorrect but I think it was a part of the journey. After my first session this year I was having lunch with E who has been on this journey throughout. She said that if I’d asked her two years ago she would have said ordination without a shadow of a doubt, but now she couldn’t possibly say one way or the other!
I have changed, my situation has changed, but there is one thing I know, I am so glad for the opportunity to explore vocation but it has made me realise how blessed I am to be in the position I am, with the opportunities I have, and I am going to give teaching my all!
I would like to say a humongous thank you to everyone who has been supporting me, and praying for me. Your strength and encouragement has not gone unnoticed and has been most welcome!