BY MELISSA SAVARIO

It is hard to find words to describe the wonderful experiences I’ve had and continue to have because of the guidance I have received through the Ministry of Spiritual Formation at FUMC.

I remember years ago hearing about the topic of spiritual discernment offered in a class led by Cherri Johnson. That was the beginning of my desire to know more about God. I began to wonder to myself, “Can God really speak to me through the Holy Spirit living in me?” I had to know!

Melissa Savario in the courtyard of the Center for Spiritual Formation at FUMC

I continued to engage in spiritual formation classes and other opportunities for exploration and growth as a Christian. I participated in the one year Academy for Spiritual Leadership at FUMC which was an incredible experience! I was learning more and more about prayer, the means of grace and the spiritual disciplines, and I was sharing my journey with others. I joined a weekly covenant group where I could speak freely about my relationship with God.

A turning point came when I began to formally meet with an FUMC spiritual director. I had developed a personal relationship with God but through one-on-one spiritual direction, I learned how to listen to God’s whisper in the depths of my soul. My spiritual director gave me the beautiful gift of holy and sacred listening and companionship. I started journaling my prayers and making notes on scriptures that really touched my heart and helped me in my devotional readings.

I began practicing centering prayer and taking time to invite God into the start of my day. At the end of the day, I examined where I had experienced His Presence. I shared my insights, doubts, questions, struggles and joys with my spiritual director.

Today, my spiritual director continues to helps me understand how God might be nudging me; what may need healing, and how I can be present and respond to the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a gift from God living in me and in you! When you know the Holy Spirit lives within you, you will also know that you have everything you need. We all have this desire and need for the reality of a living relationship with God, but often we ignore it. We may simply need a little help tapping into our Ultimate Guide and Source. Spiritual direction can help with this ‘tapping into’ God’s gift of grace.  Spiritual direction is truly God’s

transformative grace changing us into who He created us to be; from the inside out.