Do you believe that the God who is in control of the universe is also in control of what happens in our lives?
He blesses us, and He allows the bad stuff to happen. He uses it all to build us into who He wants us to be. Through it all, it does seem as if there are specific moments and times in life that have a huge impact on who we've become. When I think about it, there are 5 of these "defining moments" that come to mind.
One defining moment for me came when I was in 7th grade. It was when I learned that reading the Bible for myself was a source of strength and encouragement. That year a modern translation called The Living Bible came out. Prior to that my Bible experience had either been in fun Bible stories and activities from children's church, or hearing or trying to read a King James version of the Bible that made no sense to me. But that year as I experienced the beginning of that extra emotional, angst ridden, adolescent intensity, I discovered that I could totally relate to the writer of the Psalms. So I began pouring over the Psalms. That practice of spending time in the Word became a habit for me. That habit has brought countless good things into my life.
Another defining moment for me was when I was 16 and a Campus Crusade for Christ staff person took an interest in me and invested in me and taught me how to share with people what God had done for me, and how to study and teach the Bible. Those foundational tools have stayed with me throughout my life. Those foundational skills have been blessed repeatedly through the years and God has used them to allow me to minister in various ways during various seasons of my life. From working both one on one and in small groups with high school girls, to developing and facilitating Christ centered recovery groups, to teaching 4th & 5th grade Sunday school, and now coordinating women's ministries curriculum and Bible studies. In all of these experiences I've felt overwhelmed at the goodness of God that He would use me.
Then when I was 40 and my then-husband left me and I realized that life was not going to turn out as I'd planned it, God surprised me with a new time of defining. As I've described before on this blog, this was a time in my life when God taught me gratitude and how to live in thanksgiving and joy. My life has never been the same since!
Just after this God blessed me with a man, who wasn't even a Christian (yet, I'm still praying for him) who chose to invest into me and my career. He made me his assistant and he worked me over and above what was reasonable. But he taught me how to lead, how to produce and perform, how to take care of my staff, and how to come up with new ways to make money. This experience lighted a fire inside me, a passion, that still burns.
When I turned 49 I was terminated from a career job that I'd worked for years to develop and hone the skills to be able to perform. I felt bereft and confused. Yet God used this time to deepen the resolve within to praise Him and live for Him no matter what He allowed in my life; in the good and in the bad.
Looking back on these moments in my life causes me to look forward to the future and whatever else God has in store for me.
What does thinking about your defining moments do for you?