Okay, so this is my very first blog post ... and I'm still a little uncomfortable with it. It seems a bit self-centered to be posting my experience for all to see. Why on earth would anyone be interested in my story? I don't really know. But I do know that many of you have asked me to tell my story and to start a blog of my experience so I'll think about it this way - God has put me on this journey and if my experience can help any one on their spiritual journey, well isn't that why I'm doing what I'm doing? So here goes ...
Becoming a priest isn't something that I've come up with since I turned 40. It began when I was a teenager. In the time I spent in prayer and scripture, I began to hear God tell me He was calling me to the ministry. The problem was I belonged to a denomination that didn't believe in the ordination of women. I tried to talk about this dilemma to church leaders and was told that I must have interpreted God incorrectly. Over the next few years I tried to convinced myself that they were right, but I began to find other aspects of this denomination that I disagreed with. Since this was the only church I had ever known, I tried to conform but was never again completely comfortable with it. Eventually, I just stopped going.
Fast forward about 10 years and my son and I are living in California. I had just bought a house and received in the mail a letter from the local Episcopal church that said welcome to the neighborhood, come grow with us. So maybe it wasn't a burning bush, but I felt it was significant enough that I couldn't throw it away. The letter laid on the kitchen table for several weeks before I woke my son up one morning and said "we're going to church". We were welcomed warmly. The lesson and the sermon that Sunday? The Prodigal Son. I may be a little thickheaded sometimes, but I began to pay attention. Father David took an interest in both my son and I and soon Ike had his first communion and I was confirmed at the same time. We were only at this small church a few months before things fell into place for us to move back to Texas, closer to family. On my last Sunday, Father David said to me "I sense that you have been running from something and now you are going back to face it". At the time, the call to the ministry isn't what came to my mind.
After moving back to San Antonio, we began attending St. Thomas. Ike became an acolyte and did things with the youth group. I got involved in everything I possibly could - I just couldn't seem to get enough of the Christian community there. After several years, I enrolled in the Education for Ministry course (a 4 year curriculum developed and distributed by Sewanee). One of the first assignments is to write a spiritual autobiography. As I was writing mine, I began to hear God's call again. This time, when I approached my priest, he was supportive and encouraging. I spent a year talking and praying with Father Chuck and several leaders of the parish about my call. They, too, believed I was being called to ordination. A year and a half ago, I began the "official" discernment process with the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas (that's another post) and now I find myself making final preparations to begin seminary in September.
It has been a long journey, full of "delays and tough growth" (to quote Father Chuck); It has been a joyful journey, and yet I feel it is really just beginning.
I hope this blog becomes an interactive site - please respond with your comments and questions. I encourage and welcome all opinions.
God's peace be with you!