Who has helped you to grow and mature in your faith? Who has been a guide on your faith journey?
For me three distinct people stand out.
First, my dad. My dad was a longtime champion of stewardship. As parish pastor, synod official and administrator in the United Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church in America (predecessors to the ELCA), he served as Secretary for Stewardship for a number of years. He not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk. From my dad, I learned about stewardship of the church’s resources and of all of my resources…my time, my talent, my money, my body/health, my environment, but even more than that. From my dad I learned that I am also called to be a steward of others…their worries, their fears, their joys, their sorrows, their concerns, their struggles. In other words, he taught me about compassion and empathy and caring. Most importantly, he taught me about the importance of being a steward of the Gospel! He was a giver, not a taker. He did not seek recognition for himself, but only worked for the glory of God.
My mom. My mom taught me about God’s healing power. A little history is required here. My mom was diagnosed with “terminal” cancer at the age of 46. She was told that she had 6 months to live. But she experienced a miraculous healing which she recounted in her book Healing /A Spiritual Adventure, which is in our church library. She lived to be 61! My mom was way ahead of her time. She was one of the first to write about the connection of body, mind and spirit. Her faith in God’s healing power and His love was so strong, and she shared it on an international platform through the Healing Missions she led. This has helped me greatly as I have struggled, and continue to struggle, with the disease I contracted in Peru on the SHLC mission trip.
Carol Ekholm. From Carol I learned that faith does not have to be complicated. It is, in fact, simple….like the faith of a child. Her faith was summed up in her favorite hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus. Carol talked to Jesus throughout her every day. She truly walked with Him. She trusted in his love and forgiveness, and in return she loved and forgave others. I often try to draw on her example when I am struggling with the challenges of life.
How blessed I am to have these faith models of Stewardship, Healing, Love, and Forgiveness! I pray that I can draw on their examples as I strive to live a Christian life.
Each of them is now in the church triumphant! What a legacy they have left behind.
Who has guided you on your faith journey? How did they impact you? I would love for you to share that!