Word for Wednesday: The Turning Point

November 8, 2011

Dear Diary

I had a “George Bailey” moment last night. Remember that movie It’s a Wonderful Life? In the movie, the angel Clarence shows George what life would be like if George had never been born. I remember something Clarence said to George: “You’ve been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you.”

I felt that way while I perused Facebook last night. I decided to look up a few people I remembered from my younger years, back when I was a teenager living near a big city, back before my parents dug up our roots and went to live the self-sufficient life in the wild boonies of southern New York. Moving is hard on a teenager. It was very difficult for us. I remember resisting vehemently, lamenting that I had just begun to make friends and become active in a social group. I learned much later that my parents were concerned for me and my brothers, and they moved the family to get us out of the bad neighborhood. My eldest brother had been arrested for drug use which was rampant in our area, and he later dropped out of school and ran away from home. My parents were increasingly concerned about the kids we hung out with; they were coarse and the elder siblings were junkies. So they yanked us away to the rural outback.

I looked up some of those folks on Facebook, wondering how their lives turned out. I saw some of their shattered lives, bruised by teenaged abortions, drug use and gambling. Some of my peers were on their third and fourth marriages, their children wayward and aimless. It was very sad. As I saw their faces, I kept thinking, “That could have been me. That could have been my life.” It was sobering.

When I moved to the rural setting, I was the “city slicker” for a time (until I learned to adapt). Life in the country was much slower, and, to me, duller. In retrospect, I don’t think it was so dull now. And there was certainly less opportunity for trouble and more opportunity for hard work and accomplishment. Even though I never felt like I fit in, I eventually did well. I became a Christian, too, and found peace with God. My life completely turned around.

I once had a dream where my entire life was slowly swirling around on a great big stage. Major events of my life were portrayed with props and characters. As I watched the stage slowly turn and saw my life’s big moments from an objective perspective, I covered my face and cried. Some of the events brought me great shame, while others just made me sad. But then I looked up and I saw God looking down at me. His face was glowing white, shining down on the entire stage. It was as if He was telling me that He was here with me — through thick and thin — in everything. It gave me courage to face the giants.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Maybe it’s a rare thing to be able to see your life this way, to see how life COULD have been had something not happened. But then again, I believe that God is always trying to get through to us, to tell us that He is here with us no mater what stage of life we are in. It’s very sobering. I think that the move to the country — as much as I hated it at the time — totally changed my life. It was the turning point.

Are you aware of a turning point in your life?

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.

-Psalm 40

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2 Responses to “Word for Wednesday: The Turning Point”

  1. Karen and Gerard Says:

    I wonder sometimes what my life would have been if I didn’t accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior at an early age and then thank God I did! I’ve had a very blessed life with years of service to my Master!

  2. Karen Says:

    I often think, if not for the grace of God, I could have taken the wrong road. I thank the Lord for the way my life turned out. It may not be easy every day but He is in control.