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By Mel Carpenter
Spiritual Autobiography is a 5-week series during Lent when we take some time to reflect on our spiritual journey, share our faith experiences, and hear the stories of others. It’s a powerful and transformative experience that is hard to put into words. And so we’ve asked past participants to share their experience in the hope that it will encourage you to give it a try as well. (Sign up or more info here.)
After retiring from a successful 35-year career as an engineer for a large corporation, I immediately began to experience a sense that God was calling me to serve, but I had no idea of what that really might look like or mean for the future. I clung to Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s mind plans the way, but the Lord directs his steps,” I had engraved on my Bible cover years before for clarity of purpose and a foundation in my discernment. Not long after that, I was invited to write my own spiritual biography, and it was a unique and powerful experience because it required me to reflect on those times in my life when I experienced spiritual growth or a personal change. But doing so also showed me how each event built on the last and often prepared me for the next. That was truly an eye-opener! I saw how the events of my life connected and fit together like a puzzle. I connected growth and turning or waypoints as far back as age 15, linking all the way to the present. My spiritual biography today is a living document that I update from time to time and review every so often, as a journal of my life almost. Every now and again, I’ll remember something I omitted in the original version and add it to the appropriate point on my timeline. These are usually those times when God was ever present, but I may not have fully appreciated it at the time. I am fond of the words, “some of God’s greatest gifts can be found in unanswered prayers.” Most of those times in my life are revealed as true blessings in my Spiritual Biography. I have even shared my personal spiritual biography with others who are faced with similar quests of discernment or just to use the approach to jumpstart their own thoughts about a higher power and what went into their spiritual beliefs. That’s the beauty of your own Spiritual Biography, it is YOUR STORY. I would always recommend you do it at least once to illuminate God’s perspective of your life’s journey. You will have something very significant revealed that you will take forward to your own adventure in life.