What Formed You in 2011?

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?

3 Comments

  1. Oh, I just love this post. Then again, I love ALL your posts. I, too, am processing much loss that came on suddenly over 2011. And after the long dark nights of heart-wrenching, drop-me-to-the-floor sobbing in fear and terror, God has now brought me to a place of peace and quiet. A place of stillness. When I read your post, I immediately starting thinking of the process I use when cleaning out closets. I open the door and wonder how it all got so stuffed and then I need to take everything, I mean everything out, pile it on the floor and give the closet a thorough scrubbing. Only then will I put back in the true treasures and things worthy of keeping. I just now realized that this was the way I see God clearing out all the clutter in my life. He took it all away-whoosh- dreams, hopes, my home, good health, financial wealth, security, family relationships. Gave me a good scrubbing and into the void is now putting back the true treasures that He deems worthy and necessary and good as I follow Him step-by-step in the rest of my life journey.

    • Ohmygosh, what a fantastic metaphor! Clearly you have been through a heart-wrenching time, but have leaned into Jesus and listened for His voice in the pain. Thank you SO much for sharing this Carol. It is a beautiful and helpful picture.

  2. Oh Laura, you are so wise and kind and loving and tender. Thank you for allowing us all this safe place to share and grow in our walk with the Lord.

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