I have always loved God. I have not always been in relationship with Him. Even when I was angry with Him and not on speaking terms with Him, He always loved me. He has provided for me that which would cause me to grow and develop and this process continues. He knows that I grow best where I am struggling with letting Him have control and accepting the place of being stretched beyond what my head and heart think I can cope with. Now, in hindsight I am grateful for those times that were difficult. Maturity is not a destination but a process. He knows me thoroughly; better than I know myself.
After having worked at a seminary for many years, and observing that there is a required formation process for the seminarians’ development towards priesthood, I began to recognize that God has me in formation also to be developing into the fullness of His creation of me, to be fully human and fully alive. God has every one in formation. This formation covers areas of my human and spiritual development encompassing my relationship with Him, and my relationships with others as well as myself.
When we become parents, we are given a glimpse of the heart of God. God rejoices in us at every new learned skill, both physically and spiritually. As we hold our child’s hand as he begins to learn how to walk and taking baby steps, He holds our hands and supports us too. Even when our child begins to take his first steps and falls down, we stay close to catch him so we can help him stand up again. God always stays close to us to catch us and help us so we do not stay down.
This formation is not a boot camp training where there are rigorous and demanding activities to force me to become transformed physically and mentally. This formation is a gift of His love so that I can develop in my faith, my humanity and personhood, and my relationship with Him and others. In this formation process, the school of love, I am becoming who God has designed me to be; His child, His servant, His friend, His hands to serve others.
What I need to bring to this “formation” process” is a good attitude. When I am in a learning curve, my attitude will make a difference in how long I am in the process or whether I need to repeat the experience or whether I “get it” and move into the next stage of my development. Attitudes can be helpful or destructive to the process. I am still learning to pray and ask for the “right attitude”, namely Psalm 51: 10-17 (NKJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
I am yours Lord! Thank you for your gift of formation. Thank you that you have not left me alone to my own devices. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ! Yes Lord, I am yours, do with me what you will!
Copyright © 2012 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.