I am a celibate because when I was in my twenties I knew the nudges of the Holy Spirit to consider it as a way of life, having previously thought it would be impossible for me to be happy without being married.
I had been to convent schools and was aware of the quality of life which the nuns appeared to have, although from the age of 15 my top priority was to find the ideal ‘Mr Right’ and naively thought in doing so I’d live happily ever after! After about two years of considering the possibility of being a celibate I was at a church meeting at which the word focused on ‘being surrendered to God’. When I then came before God in the quietness of my heart I felt God ask me: “Will you be my betrothed?” I was stunned at the Great God of Heaven and Earth asking me!!?! It was a very special moment of awe and I could only answer ‘yes, I will. This is my heart and my vow!’
Something happened inside me after that experience. I no longer viewed brothers as a potential life partner. I felt a settledness within, almost as if my search was over: I was found and spoken for! I have never looked back. I have been more grateful for the gift of celibacy than any other gift God has given me (apart from salvation!) I am a very fulfilled woman and as a result of being celibate have been able to go on missions and to dangerous places which I would never have been able to as a married woman. That’s not to say there haven’t been temptations and trials. At one time I allowed both my pastor and servant group leader to become too important in my life – there is always the temptation to look for a surrogate husband! However, the pain was so great in removing these two from my heart that it’s definitely a road I shall not travel down again.
The most painful reaction to my celibacy was understanding the cost it was to my parents who would have liked grandchildren. Other than this, I don’t recall any difficulties being expressed to my having made the vow either within or without the church.
I have found that in order to survive as a celibate my relationship with God must be paramount, ever seeking to move deeper. Also I would add that a healthy number of relationships with other celibates is important and provides a good buttress to the inner courage and strength needed to persevere.
Celibacy has enabled me to see the Kingdom of God more clearly and to choose the purposes of God above all else – although whatever experience I have known has all been of His Goodness; nothing to do with me. My vision is to be a channel of God’s love even in the smallest opportunities He provides daily, to be His Hands and Feet. The greatest freedom I have found recently is in being surrendered to Him and obedient to all He asks of me. I’ll always be in training!