Reflection on Spiritual Growth

Since we have been in Uganda, we have used this graphic to talk with discipleship groups about their spiritual journey and where they may be on this path to spiritual development in regards to truly following Jesus. Like many Christians, they immediately said they were spiritual young adults or parents because of age, how long they have been a Christian, etc. But as we continue through the journey together, they start to recognize their spiritual immaturity and the real conversations start to happen. These men and women start sharing how they have grown over the time we have been meeting together, and we have seen spiritual growth in them as well.

But something else happened to me… As I was walking through the different development stages with the women’s discipleship group and we were discussing the “Spiritual Child”, I realized I was in this phase for most of my ministry in the U.S. I never would’ve made this realization if I hadn’t walked through this journey with the discipleship ladies.

I was a graduate from university with a degree in marketing communications. I was passionate about sharing my “wisdom” with young girls about their worth in Jesus. I wanted to be in youth ministry alongside Leland. And there is no doubt in my mind that God used our youthful desires and passions to serve His purpose and His children. But as I look back on ministry, I can see how I often served selfishly to get approval/appreciation, how I would serve in my own time/convenience and I would get annoyed if things didn’t go my way, how I handled situations with parents and students with the desire to be “right” over my relationship with them, how my own insecurities overcompensated with my pride getting in the way of truly loving people well. And my heart hurts for all these mistakes.

But I have been so humbled over these last several years to see how God continues to move despite our mistakes. I am humbled to see students who were middle schoolers when we started with them and have now become faithful, strong followers of Jesus…with families, with ministries of their own, and with passion to serve God and love other people. I don’t make any claim that Leland or I had much to do with their spiritual journey, other than we got to be in relationship with them and watch them grow. And that God worked through us, despite ourselves, to reach students. Praise God for that!

I am so thankful for all the elders, ministers, parents, friends, and mentors who had so much love and grace for us. While I’m not proud of the mistakes I have made, I am thankful for the growth that has allowed me to acknowledge my pride, my selfishness, my insecurities. And while I am still on the spiritual journey to be more like Jesus, I think I am a little closer than I was 10 years ago, and for that, I praise God. I look forward to seeing how God continues to move in my life as I begin new discipleship groups and ministry relationships.

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