The Defining Moment
By Joanne Sher
Some people live their lives in a fairly steady routine. Their days are similar, it is hard to tell the difference between Tuesday and Thursday, and the pattern repeats year after year, decade after decade.
For some, often those who were once in this pattern, something happens that breaks them out of this mold: something that changes their routine and life forever.
This event, which we'll call your "defining moment," can be either positive or negative. The common thread, however, is that you often begin dividing your life in two: what happened before and what has happened since.
A change in relationships is one common type. For some, their defining moment is marriage or having children. They look back, sometimes with fondness and sometimes not, at how different their lives were before this life-changing event.
For others, it could be more devastating. The death of a family member, an act of violence against you, a debilitating illness or a serious betrayal can certainly change your outlook--your whole life--in an instant.
One of my defining moments fits better into the latter description than the former. Four years ago, at the age of 36, my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor on his optic nerve. Since then, he has been through three brain surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, as well as various complications from the diagnosis and treatment--from a blood clot in his lungs and infections to hormonal imbalance and the loss of much of his sight.
I often find myself using the phrases "before Marc got sick, I..." or "ever since Marc has been sick, we..." in describing my life. Some days, it seems like I have truly lived two completely different lives--one before and one since my husband's illness began.
As life changing as this has been, there was another moment in my life a little over four years earlier that I can truly claim as MY defining moment. It happened as I sat in my recliner, reading. In this case, it was the Bible that I was reading--more specifically, the Book of Isaiah, the fifty-third chapter. For it was at that moment I realized Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, sent by God, for my sin. And when I believed that, my life changed dramatically and permanently.
Before that day, I was destined for hell. Now, I'm going to heaven. Previously, I was a slave to my sin. Now, I am a child of God and righteous in His eyes. In that instant, my destiny changed from everlasting torment to an eternal life of joy and holiness.
I often thank the Lord that Marc's health issues manifested themselves when they did--after, rather than before, my defining moment. God's peace, the support of His people, and His presence were absolutely crucial to helping our family through this trial, and continue to be to this day. My husband and I are both confident that we would likely be divorced, or at least miserable, if we'd had to go through this time alone.
In His wisdom, God made both my husband and myself "new creations" (2 Corinthians 5:17) before he gave us this trial, so we could get through it, while glorifying Him in the process.
Yes, the benefits of salvation are not only for the future. Every day, I thank God for the blessings and resources he has given me now that I am His child. My life may not be easy, but it is certainly easier because I have an all-powerful, loving, mighty God on my side.
I am living a new life--I have a new existence--thanks to the free gift of salvation and my acceptance of it in that defining moment eight years ago. And, no matter what other "defining moments" may come my way, I know my life's true dividing line will always be the day when I went from being lost in my sin to a forgiven child of my heavenly Father.
(c) Joanne Sher 2007
Joanne Sher is a freelance writer and homemaker who was saved out of Judaism in her 30's. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two small children. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction work on God's protection, provision and preparation of her and her family for her husband's health problems. If you would like to write to Joanne, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.