Revd Hannah Moore, curate in the parish of Badshot Lea & Hale, reflects on discerning her own call to ordination.
I had my call to ordained ministry twenty years ago. At the time, I was recently married and pursuing my teaching career.
One Sunday as I knelt at the communion rail to receive communion from Reverend Jeanie, one of the first women in South Africa to be ordained, I had a real sense of God saying, “Hannah one day you will do this.” My response was “oh okay” and then I put it firmly to the back of my mind. I got on with starting a family, moving back to the UK and setting up my own business.
"If God is nudging you to do something, he doesn't give up."
My experience is that if God is nudging you to consider doing something for him, he doesn’t give up. Once we had settled in our new church in Fleet, my husband and I did the Alpha course. On the ‘Holy Spirit’ day, I remember one of the leaders saying to me that he had a word of knowledge for me and it was “Hannah teach”. I thought it meant that I should consider starting my teaching career again instead of running my business. So this is what I did. Alongside my business I started some supply teaching in the local schools.
Fifteen years had passed since that moment at the altar rail when I was approached by my local vicar and asked whether I had considered discerning a vocation to ordained ministry. During our conversation I recalled that moment from long ago and I also thought about the instruction to “teach.”
I have subsequently reflected, that if I had responded to the initial call 20 years ago, my circumstances at that time would have made it easier to pursue. I certainly would not have had to learn juggle as much as I have over the last few years – being a wife, a mother, my theological studies, closing a business, working in a church placement and now fulfilling my role as a stipendiary curate.
However, I have to trust in God’s timing. He knew the right time for me to answer the call he had placed on my life, he understands the impact it has had on my family.
Maybe twenty years ago I simply wasn’t available to God. I think the following quote from Celtic Daily Prayer really captures how I view the call God places on all our lives and our willingness to respond, “It is by God’s grace that our feet don’t lose contact with the path we set out to follow. We say “Here I am, Lord” when He calls. He calls continually to the willing and the unwilling. It is not so much our ability he had need of but our availability.
" I was so excited that I wanted to do a Charlie Chaplin leap into the air!"
I want to encourage you to make yourself available to discern your vocation. There were times during my discernment process where I felt vulnerable, exposed and unsure. But now, having been through the process I believe I am fulfilling God’s plan for my life.
Not long after my ordination, I was assisting at a funeral. I was walking in front of the coffin, leading the family to the graveyard when I had that “aha moment”. A sense of confirmation that I am doing what God wants me to do with my life. I was so excited in that moment that I wanted to do a Charlie Chaplin leap into the air. This would have been inappropriate, so a calmly I led the procession across the road.
I would encourage you to discern your “aha moment”. Make yourself available to God so that together you can discern his plan for you in your life.