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Defining Moments
Photo: Ron Chapple
“Defining moments put the spotlight on us….Our character isn’t made during these times—it is displayed!” These words from John C. Maxwell’s latest book Leadership Gold challenged me to consider the defining moments in my life.*

More than the major milestones of baptism, graduations, marriage, adoption of a son and daughter, and professional accomplishment the author urged me to consider times of heart break: my personal failures, the impact on my life of more than a few geographic relocations, crises in our family's life, my husband’s terminal illness, death of my father and of other friends and family members—events that caught me by total surprise.

Maxwell suggests that defining moments are “intersections that give us an opportunity to turn, change direction, and seek a new destination. They are times that declare to others who we are—without a mask to hide behind.”

Never be the Same

When I read, “You will never be the same person after a defining moment because defining moments are not normal, and what’s ‘normal’ doesn’t work in those times,” I underlined those words. I had never thought about it that way before.

Later as I was adding ink to my blank 2009-at-a-glance calendar I wondered which of these dates might hold a defining moment for me this year: I wrote in the birth dates of our family members; I made note of the dates my husband will be out-of-town; I put down appointments this month I have at my church; I transferred the date of my next dental check-up from their reminder card; I recorded the anticipated date for reunion with a friend who is a student missionary in India; I noted future appointments with my physicians; I wrote in the names of the brides and grooms for the two weddings we’ll attend in May; I highlighted the Tuesday evening that will be my time to hostess a group of 11 friends at my house; I circled our vacation days and even put a heart on the date of our 41st anniversary.

I couldn’t help but wonder what might occur in 2009 that would catch me by total surprise. So I wrote out these words on a Post-It-Note that I can move on my calendar from month-to-month this year: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:34).

With that verse attached with a prayer I hung the 2009 calendar on a nail on my wall knowing that the one who bore nails in His hands and feet for my sins will sustain me during my defining moments this year.

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By Carol Kilcher. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE
*John C. Maxwell, Leadership Gold (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2008) pp.20-28.

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