Tuesday night was daughter Maggie’s last night at home and I asked the family what they felt had been the most formative relationship, experience or spiritual practice for each of them this past year. Like, what has God used to mold us into people who are hopefully more like Him?
I’m thankful they’re a patient, gracious bunch and they humor me when I pose these questions from time to time (As a side note however, we have totally bombed at the Crosby family Scripture memory challenge, but that’s another story). In answer to the formation question, what the two girls shared was related to a spiritual practice. For my husband, John it was an experience. How would you answer that question?
Mine was an experience too. For me, processing loss that I’ve experienced on a bunch of different fronts over the past few years, was what I felt God used to form a deeper understanding of His character resulting in greater peace.
As I processed the losses I struggled to trust that God was still at work on my behalf for His glory. At one point this year I was riding my bike and in my spirit I ranted, “God I keep showing up, but it sure doesn’t feel like You are!”
And quietly, gently, I sensed the Holy Spirit respond, “Oh yes I am.”
And in that moment I realized that I was equating “showing up” with ACTION. My way. My time! (like immediately).
After that little interaction, God kept bringing to mind example after example to correct my misperception.
“You may have experienced loss, but…
I am at work in unseen ways like with Elisha, surrounding him with horses and chariots (2 Kings 6:15-17)
I am never late. I have a plan like with Lazarus (John 11)
I hear and respond whether you see it right away or not like with Daniel (Daniel 10:12-13).”
“God is a God who sometimes hides Himself but never a God who absents Himself; sometimes in the dark, but never at a distance.” Matthew Henry
We’re all works in process, right? We’ve never arrived. But I think my answer to “What has formed you?” would be wrestling with God in loss. And what He seems to be forming is trust and peace. Slowly but surely. What about you?
As you look back on 2011 what has been the most formative relationship, experience, or spiritual practice in your life? What do you think God desires to form in you through it?