Growing in Faith

By Diane Harpster

What does it mean to grow in faith?  It started for me with my baptism.  As an infant, I have no recollection of that event where I was sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.  It was a gift of Grace, claiming me as God’s beloved. I grew up with church as part of the fabric of life, wondered at the death of a sister at a very young age, heard stories of Jesus’ love, and participated in all the church things.  The rich groundwork for my becoming was laid over many years as I discovered much about myself and my gifts through living and serving as part of a worshipping community.

Eventually, I sensed a yearning for something more.  I began meeting with a spiritual director.  I had not known or been aware of spiritual direction, an ancient practice of listening with another for how God might be moving in one’s life.  But our gracious and loving Lord is always ready with what we need when we are ready.  That yearning was an invitation, and the truth that I continue to be invited into is that I am held in unchangeable and unending Love, just as I am.  Learning to let go of all that is not love, and being willing to acknowledge the brokenness and belovedness of myself and of all creation is part of that journey.

Taking part in the Synod’s Seeking the Spirit Within spiritual direction formation training, I had the opportunity over nearly two years to practice listening with others in the process of becoming a spiritual director myself.  Spiritual direction is about listening to the questions for signs of where God/Love might be at work.  There is so much I cannot know, but I can keep myself open to how Love might be revealed through the questions.

In recent years, being part of an online small group that read and discussed challenging books together became a way to connect and wonder what God might be up to and who we are called to be.  Becoming a Certified Zentangle® Teacher via a first-ever online training opportunity opened the way for me to explore a creative practice that I love and wonder what invitation there might be for me to share it.  “What is my next right thing?”, has become a key question as I listen for God/Love.

I’ve heard this Rainer Maria Rilke quote many times through the years, but I have come more recently to appreciate its truth: “Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer,”

Growing in faith has been an evolving thing and a continuing to live into the answers as God provides new adventures.  What are the ‘I can’t see past this moment, but I do have this’ moments?  Being open to listening, meeting with someone who can ask questions and listen well with me for the bubbling up of the Spirit, and engaging in regular practices of being still, listening, and letting go, I become able to live into the answers of how I am called to show up and be in the world, always held by Love.  And being part of a community of faith where I am nourished and reminded of the unchangeable love and grace of God for me and for all creation continues to be a way I am called to listen and grow.

How do you tell your story of growing in faith?  Where have you seen Love and what questions is the Spirit inviting to you live into now?