Every great story has at least one pivot point, a place in the plot where the reader gets jolted by the unexpected.
Remember the climactic scene in the wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain? The instant the fraudulent and powerless wizard is exposed, Dorothy and her friends are forced to pivot. Without what they thought was the easy solution, they’re forced to consider a plan B.
Pivot Points Happen in Life
Such pivot points don’t just appear in good fiction. They happen in life.
Looking back, each of us can surely identify one or more pivot points when our story took an unexpected turn. Whether it’s a wonderful serendipitous surprise or an awful unpredicted event, we often struggle with these plot twists. It can take weeks or months or sometimes a lifetime to adjust and adapt.
While thinking about the content of this weeks article, multiple disruptions sidetracked me. These annoyances beyond my control as if purposefully timed, weren’t life-altering, but they demanded my immediate attention and forced me to pause and pivot. Pause and pivot. Pause and pivot.
I was reminded of that familiar verse.
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
Over the course of the next several days, I thought about a lifetime of pivot points. When I pictured each as if it was reflected on a line graph, an unmistakable pattern emerged.
Each pivot point presented an opportunity, a decision point, and a chance to invoke my faith. Whether the pivot point was big or small or negative or positive, wasn’t what was most important. What mattered most was how inclined I was to the Lord’s influence with the change in course.
I recall one key pivot point happened when I was a new college graduate and relocated to Memphis for my first real job. Life was exciting as I figured out adulting far away from my family home. One night while sound asleep, I woke to a hand on my face. I thought I was having a nightmare, until the smell of alcohol and body odor gripped my awareness.
God protected me in countless ways that night, including a clouded memory of the awful details. I was grateful for the reassurance from the hospital that I had been miraculously untouched and physically unharmed.
But the incident was a pivot point. I wanted to quit life. Such brave independence had cost me something. I lost my sense of self-protection.
Mike, my Christian boss, was kind and understanding. Take all the time you need he told me. Within the hour I was driving home to PA. Three weeks later I drove back to Memphis accompanied by my mother who didn’t want me to face my apartment alone. In spite of the passage of time and some major redecorating efforts, I still did not and could not feel safe.
Prepared to Quit
In a somewhat rash move, I approached Mike to quit. I was only six months into a coveted management training program, with a lot to lose, but I was desperate.
Mike’s response shocked me. “You’re much too good of an employee, let me see what I can do?” Two hours later he asked me, “if you could transfer anywhere in the country, where would it be?”
Without hesitation, I answered “Denver.” (Having skied competitively in college, I dreamt of the day I could visit Colorado.)
“Done,” said Mike. “While the transfer is organized you’ll move in with my mother.” In a musty room covered in doilies, I felt safe and cared for by my new sweet friend Edna.
Fast forward another month, and I was relocated to Denver, Colorado where I connected to a vibrant new church and I met this cute guy named Doug Hucke.
Clearly God’s fingerprints were all over that pivot point. And as I think about it decades later it occurs to me… pivot points in all shapes and sizes are the catalysts the Lord uses to grow our faith. What seems to us to be a plan B, is always the Lord’s plan A. Perhaps instead of resisting pivot points, we should embrace them.
Consider this…It’s only after the evil wizard is revealed that Dorothy and her friends discover what they possess within. The same is often true for us.
Dear Loving Father, I praise you for your Sovereignty. When I consider your mighty power, it’s easy to lose sight of your tender care. Forgive me for assuming you’re too big and important to care about the details of my life. Thank you for your involvement even when I don’t notice. Father thank you for your patience with me to see things from Your perspective. Help me to embrace the pivot points in life. I know that’s when my faith grows the most. Amen.
Anne kole says
Thank you Debbie. What amazes me about your story is that God used a terrifying experience for your good. He can use even evil for his glory.
I am thankful he protected you and gave you a plan B! And then led you to meet Doug Hucke!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Thank you Anne. He does NOT waste a thing!
What a beautiful story, I loved the verse you sent with it. Thank you once again for your application of the Bible verse. Makes us consider our own pivotal points
Thank you Gerrie. I love the usefulness of scripture.
Wow!! What an incredible story!!! It certainly shows how something terrifying can turn into something beautiful! What a miracle! God can do anything!!!❤️🙏❤️ I’m so glad he brought you and Doug together, and we are so lucky he brought you and Doug to us. Have a blessed day!!!!
Thanks Mary. Yes… God can. We have been blessed by our time in ABQ.
That was a hard one to put on paper. Pivot points of life are sometimes blessings and sometimes bring sadness, but God always uses them for his purpose. Some we might not ever understand, but that is God, his plans can be mysterious. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you chose Denver and met your man.
Yes… His ways often do seem mysterious and sometimes even confusing. But someday it will all make sense. Thanks for weighing in Donna. Debbie
Martha Martha Nail says
Debbie, thank you for this message as I face what may be a pivotal point. Thank you God for all the pivotal points that brought Debbie into my life. Be with her today and always.
Awww Martha. We have a dusting of snow today and it made me think of our wonderful ski outings. Miss you, friend. D
Emmy Browning says
What a wonderful message. I often wonder when next pivotal point in my life will be. Need to trust God to help me through.
He is up to the task. Thank you Emmy.
Thank you so much for this article. I think it may apply to my situation today, more than any other you have sent, but then they have all been relavent and applicable and “pregnant” with wisdom and Grace and guidance for their time of arrival in my life. Yes, God wastes nothing. I pray that this “pivot point” will be one that God will use to show me how to take the next step in improving important relationships. by His LOVE and GRACE for His Glory. Thank you for helping me to define this experience. God also used a 54 year old distant past “pivot point” to bring my husband and I together. Hallelujah! I Pray that His Peace will be supreme in my life and I will allow Him to totally control every aspect of my current situation. God Help me to have the strength to keep my mouth shut. Please,Heal my Brain
and restore my ability to function in your strength with thanksgiving to Share Christ’s Love. Thank you LOrd, for Jesus, my Savior. AMEN!
Oh Glenda. I continue to pray for your breakthrough of PEACE. He’s holding you in the palm of His hand. May you sense His Peaceful presence.
Thank you! So much truth and was a wonderful encouragement
Indeed. Thank you Cinda.
Heidi Shepard says
Thank you Debbie! I am continually encouraged by your reminders of our loving Father who has all in control. So grateful!
Good to hear from you friend. What a relief He is in control.
At the beginning of this article, I was reminded of the trope, “Man plans; God laughs,” but as your experience unfolded, it was once again clear that, while we plan, a loving God guides.
Amen. Thanks for weighing in Ruthie.
Berta Pitzer says
I love this!! It reminded me of a serious pivot point in my life. It was horrific like yours, yet my Dad’s job promotion moved us from VA to KY when I was a Junior in High School. Because of that move, I met people and found out about a great college in IL where I could get my nursing degree! And I got to meet the man of my dreams there and you know some of how God has blessed me through our marriage!!! I love how you breathe life into His scriptures for us. God bless you!
Aw yes I do. And the pivot point that forever linked us…. More evidence of God’s fingerprints.