Start of a new season…

© Jules Middleton

So, in just under 2 weeks time I will officially become a student again as I head off to theological college to study to become a Priest in the Church of England. Which is all a bit crazy really. If someone had told me a few years back this is what I would be doing I would definitely have laughed in their face. Then run away. Possibly followed by a few glasses of red… 

However it seems these are the plans God has for me and so I trust in him. Which, it’s fair to say is not always easy, but I am trying and so far so good. Although as I say, it’s all a bit bonkers if you ask me.

As someone who really found their relationship with God in a more contemporary or charismatic church (i.e: we have a band and don’t have lots of long repetitive prayers for those who don’t know) going to a college that is distinctly traditional is going be to tough. Don’t get me wrong, I love the CofE otherwise I would not be taking this route, and I did spend many years in parish churches so I know the drill as it were, but it would not be (and wasn’t in fact) my first choice. I feel very peaceful about that and I know I am in the place where God wants me to be, but I know it won’t be easy.

Last week I had a total wobble about the whole thing. I got a ream of paperwork from college about what, where, when, what I will be studying, weekends away and I freaked. Totally. Almost to the point of phoning the DDO (My contact in the diocese who has got me this far) to say ‘help, I can’t do this’…

But last weekend I went to an event called ‘Davids Tent’ – bascially it’s a mini Christian Festival solely about worshipping God for 3 days. I couldn’t do the whole thing but what I did experience was amazing and God really spoke to me, or perhaps chided me (!)  about not trusting him. And this whole journey for me has been about trusting him. You’d have thought by now I would have got it. Because I am naturally a planner and organiser, I like to have things mapped out, know what I am doing and when and yet the last 4 years or so have been the total opposite to that! Every time I think I know where I’m going, it gets turned on it’s head. Every time I think I find something stable, it changes. It’s been frustrating, yet eye opening. It’s been painful and yet so rewarding. It’s been a struggle and yet so easy. And as I look back at the crazy rollercoaster of the last few years I would not have wanted it any other way. I have fallen in love with Jesus, I have grown in my faith, I have learned to love others, I have experienced so much more than I ever could have dreamed and above all I just know that I am on the right path. I just can’t imagine now what life would be like without Jesus, and I don’t want to either.

So this craziness has really only just begun, in a way. The next 3 years at college, who knows what that will bring. Who knows where we will end up after I’ve finished. But I know God knows and I choose to trust him…

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  • Reply
    September 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Wonderful that you can overcome those doubts that hit you (wobble) and persevere. Trusting God can be hard at times, particularly when what you want is overruled for seemingly, unreasonable reasons. But, if we believe that he has a plan for us, than we accept it and despite our misgivings, go along with it.

    I'll be praying for you for the next part of your journey, because, although I'm not sharing it, I feel that I could well be through your postings here on it all.

    I've just been told that any opportunity for moving a vocation forward is not possible, because we are in a vacancy (since last Nov) and without an incumbent, nothing can be done??

    This will delay any possibilities until at least 2015 🙁 for someone who will be 65 by than, and who has been in the process since 2009, this just seems outrageous and unreasonable – but, strangely, I'm at peace with it, because, it's outwith my control and is dependent upon God's will and the Church (and me) to actually get to grips with the fact that vocations don't have a timetable or a finite end date, and that somehow in the words of Julian of Norwich – "All will be Well".

  • Reply
    September 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Bless you Ernie. Thanks for that and for the prayers, I suspect I may be needing a lot of prayer over the coming few months!
    I am so sorry your journey is still on hold, how frustrating. Glad you feel peaceful though – best place to be.
    red xx

  • Reply
    Looking for a path...
    September 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    The words from Proverbs in the photo on this post obviously got stuck in my head as I woke up at two this morning have dreamt about a heated conversation in a church with an unknown entity, with the words, "make your paths straight" in my mind. I also realised they are part of morning prayer every Monday.

    I'm seeing the DDO again next week and keep having the odd wobble, but having read about your journey, combined with this dream, I think I have to keep on a straight path, there's no other option at the moment.

    Regarding Ernie's comment, when my incumbant when on maternity leave, I was told vocation exploration should continue and the diocese vocations advisor said she would find another incumbant to support me if needed, so don't give up (unless you feel it's right). If God wills it, there is a way, I'm sure. Keep pushing if you can, but best of luck and God bless to you, whatever happens.

    By the way Red, Good luck with your studies!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    thanks 🙂 yes it's fair to say there have been several wobbles along the way (as you may have read about in previous posts). Discernment is not an easy path but one that I feel has been very rewarding, whatever the outcome turns out to be.
    For what it's worth, we (hubby and I) just asked God at every point to close the door if it were not right, and if not we would continue and well, here we are… I think he puts us on these paths for many reasons and even now I think it might not end up being ordained ministry. If it is, well great, and I will walk into that joyfully knowing that he has brought me here, but if not, well then I know he has another plan. Learning to trust God totally has been an interesting journey, and I'm not totally there yet, but I know it's the best way to be 🙂
    Praying your path will be smooth and peaceful..
    red x

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