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GROWING IN FAITH

Recently, I was having a conversation with my daughter about growth charts.  There are all kinds of growth charts, of course, but I’m talking about the ones where you make a mark every so often to show the current height of a child.  Some people are making a lot of money on fancy varieties of these charts - you can locate almost any theme and any colors you choose.  My granddaughter has a “movable” growth chart; however, her brother’s growth chart was painted on his bedroom wall as a part of a tree trunk, a part of the overall colorful theme of his room.  So, we had a moment of sadness and silence over the phone for the growth chart that had been painted over and left in the home they moved from a couple of years ago.  Years ago, people were more likely to make actual notches in the walls or moulding.  A relative of mine took a long piece of paper and did a rubbing or tracing of one of their notched walls and continued marking the growth updates on the paper long after leaving that space.  


I started thinking about why we considered this tracking mechanism so important.  And following that line of thought, what if we had a chart to mark the growth in our faith journey?  Although this is a large part of many of our lives, we seldom stop to note the dates and times something significant happened along this journey.  


In considering just a very basic outline for my faith growth chart, I would begin with my mom singing hymns and songs of faith and teaching me to pray as a young child.  As I’ve mentioned in another post, I grew up in the Baptist faith.  Therefore, my next significant mark in this journey took place with my baptism at the age of 10.  Even though I consciously made the decision to do this, I must admit that it was influenced by the fact that so many of my friends had made the same commitment at the same time at Vacation Bible School where we were “encouraged” by the pastor to take this next step.  But I do not believe for one minute that God didn’t use that event to begin His work in my life.  I remember it so vividly - the colors of the baptismal pool, what I wore, the pastor’s black robe floating near the surface, the feel of stepping into the water, the feeling of the pastor’s hand behind my back and over my face and coming back up out of the water.  It was moving and extraordinary in a way that I can’t even describe here.  This is why I get a little annoyed when I hear people use the term or ask if I got “dunked.”  No one means any harm by saying this, of course, but to me it is so special and sacred and deserves a better description than a swimming pool activity or worse.


So, I got a little distracted there...next, would be Sunday School classes, then a recommitment of my life to Christ as a teenager at a Billy Graham-type gathering near my hometown.  Next would be “finding” the church and my faith again as we began to share our faith with our almost 3-year-old daughter while facing the death of our newborn.  My husband and I often refer to that time as “the church joining us, not the opposite.”  Never before had we experienced that kind of pure love and concern from people who were no more than acquaintances at that point.  Since that very significant growth mark, I would mention Christian retreats where I learned more about how to live out my faith and to share it with others.  I could and will write a whole post on how I am a certifiable “Women’s Retreat junkie” someday.  


This year, 2020, with all of its craziness and disappointments, has been a year of great spiritual growth and awakening for me - even at this age.  So, my “growth chart” will get a new mark, and we’ll see where this leads.



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