A Spiritual Journey Derailed by Heather Abel
My spiritual journey hasn’t been one that I have been walking continuously since childhood. I like to think of it as a slight derailment of sorts, through the late teenage years and beginning of motherhood, wife-hood, and all of the other life experiences one is involved in from twelve until forty-ish. Yes, all the times when direction, hope, understanding and gratitude would have been such helpful traits to have, I was absent from those blessings. I spent most of those years figuring things out for myself, learning from mistakes and pushing through some of the most difficult times of my life in my own strength. It wasn’t until I was nearing forty that I realized I was missing something in my life. I wanted a better and closer relationship with God and I yearned for that opportunity for my children too.
A fire in the church in our hometown was the turning point that not only burned a building to the ground, but also lit a fire inside me. I went to church that following week to support a longtime friend who was a faithful member of the church. It was during that sermon with Pastor Sam that I realized I had discovered the missing piece I had been searching for. And I suppose this is what most people refer to as being reborn or that moment of giving your life to God. That glimpse into scripture, the mystery surrounding the verses, and the magic of interpretation all seemed so intriguing to me. I longed for a better understanding of His Word and began exploring just what that meant.
Fast-forward a bit and I am still in that stage of learning, amazement and wonder. I sit with a small group every Monday night of all ages and backgrounds and we learn together. We interpret scripture and practice Agrarian Daily Prayer and lean into each other for support and knowledge. One of our favorite studies taught us about perseverance and we’ve continuously practiced that together.
Romans 5:3-5, The Message, says, “ There’s more to come: we continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
Our Monday night group has become a family, a support system, a prayer chain - and we’ve struggled through some pretty tough times together. But we’ve also celebrated God’s goodness and witnessed His grace. I’m leaning into making disciples and learning what it’s like to walk in a life of faith with like-minded people. It feels good to be loved regardless of my sins and imperfections. It feels good to be reminded God loves me always!
Heather Abel resides on the outskirts of Carroll County with her husband John, mother Suzie and three wonderful children. She is a member of the Board for the Keep and Till and leads a weekly women’s bible study at her home.