Second in this series of guest posts on young vocations, today’s post comes from Jen Green…
I’ve been officially exploring my vocation for just over a year, I met with a Vocations Advisor for around 6 months and have recently begun meeting with the Diocesan Director of Ordinands.
Before I felt called by God to become a priest but suffice to say I was going through a tough patch: I’d been signed off work with anxiety and depression and suffered the bereavement of a close family member. I had hit rock bottom and felt at my most alone which is where God met me.
I had been aware of a general sense of calling for some time but it was only on Vocations Sunday 2017 that I felt a stronger sense of calling. I didn’t form that in to anything until I did a lot of praying, reflecting and reading. I was aware that maybe I felt God was calling me to become a priest because that’s what was most visible in terms of people living out their calling but as I read more about it, I became more certain that God wascalling me to priesthood – or to something that I could only get to by following my vocation in this way.
It took a month before I felt brave enough to speak to my husband, family and friends about this sense of calling and I was expecting to be ridiculed but instead of being met with laughter, my calling was affirmed. In fact, my husband and a friend both had a sense from God that I was going to say that – it turns out God had been working with my husband to prepare him for my calling so he supported me right from the beginning.
What has followed has been a truly unexpected and wonderful journey. My Vocations Advisor was brilliant, encouraging me to read widely and engage critically with issues of faith and church. I wrote several essays and 6 months after first meeting with him I was referred to meet with the DDO.
I have felt frustrated by how slow the process seems to be, especially as I felt God was telling me to “ACT NOW” but I know I need to learn patience. I know I also need to respect authority, especially when hearing of those who have been recommended for a Bishops Advisory Panel but not then recommended to train. For me this is all about respecting the authority of the Church and God.
My DDO has been really supportive as I’ve been exploring options for training and as Graham and I get ready for the birth of our first child we know that things will change. I’m prepared for meetings with the DDO to be less frequent whilst I get used to being a parent and I’ve already spoken about the need to attend a college with good childcare. There’s lots of things that I find concerning – financial support, possible relocations and much more but I know that God will provide what we need.
If you feel that God is calling you to something more I found that the following helped me enormously:
- Pray, pray and pray some more
- Read any of these: Church of England vocations, CofE pioneer info, and Jules’ Discernment Guide
- Talk to your priest and other people from your church
- Talk to your family and close friends
- Find any women’s vocation events/ BAME vocations events/ young vocations events run by your or neighbouring dioceses.
- Find like-minded people on Twitter, like: @redjules, @HannahE27, @OurCofELike, @God_Loves_Women, @pilgrimexplorer (and me, @Jefner)
Jen Green is a former Assistant Headteacher and is currently working part time as an English teacher. She has been exploring her vocation for about a year. She is married to Graham and they are expecting their first child in August.