What Do We Mean by “Transforming Moment”?
A transforming moment is a time in your story—past, present, and future—when find yourself in trouble, in need of redemption.
Trouble as pain, suffering, sorrow, guilt, or shame
Trouble as temptation, sin, or idolatry.
Trouble as weakness.
In this moment you face death in some form, or at least the shadows of death.
You have lived this moment a thousand times, and yet you may have never noticed how you have been shaped through it.
When you know the Redeemer in that moment—the real you, and the real Redeemer—and walk with him through it time and time again, he transforms you.
From death to life; from slavery to freedom.
Suppose Joe and Mary have been married for fifteen years. Like every marriage, theirs has its strengths and weaknesses. Each of them brought baggage from the past into the marriage, and they’ve also fallen into some of their own patterns of relating with each other—some healthy, and some not so healthy.
One of these unhealthy patterns shows up often when Joe’s mother comes to visit. There have always tensions between Mary and Joe’s mother, and in Mary’s experience, Joe favors his mother. When Mary tries to express her concerns to Joe, he becomes defensive quickly and his anger flares up. Mary tells Joe that he doesn’t listen to her concerns—she suggests that Joe doesn’t really care about her. Joe feels disrespected and tells Mary that she’s too critical of his mother.
The transforming moment isn’t so much that this scene happened once upon a time. It’s that something like this happens over and over again. A similar scene plays out at various times of the day, maybe even involving different relationships, but this pattern of relating between Joe and Mary is a common thread running through all of those scenes.
Every time Joe and Mary go through a scene like this, there’s the possibility that their hearts will become further hardened toward each other, that the rut they’ve fallen into will become even deeper. But it’s also an opportunity for something new and different to happen. For change to occur in their relationship—or in either one of them individually—it has to happen in the particulars of moments like this.
So, for Joe, in that moment—in all of the moments that play out like this scene:
- What is his trouble?
What is Joe’s pain, suffering, sorrow, guilt, or shame ?
What is Joe’s temptation, sin, or idolatry?
What is Joe’s weakness?
…not just in general, but in that moment?
Sometimes we get stuck in these ruts because we don’t know ourselves. We don’t realize the trouble we’re in. At least, we haven’t considered it well enough to make thoughtful choices in a healthier direction.
- Who is God?
What if Joe’s experience of relating to God has been skewed by a distorted imagination of who this God is? Healthy change for Joe happens as Joe encounters the real Redeemer in these moments of trouble.
- How does that encounter—the real Joe, with the real Redeemer—change that moment?
Mary would explore the same questions for herself.
Now find your own example. What is one of those transforming moments in your life?
The Transforming Moment and Redemption Groups
One way to approach storytelling and exploration in a Redemption Group is to try and identify a single transforming moment in your life. Use the group process to help you know your trouble in that moment, and to know the Redeemer in that moment.
If the entire group process for you resulted in an encounter with the Redeemer in that moment, it can begin a change process that continues happening in those moments and they occur time and again long after the group ends.
The Transforming Moment and Redemption Daily Prayer
Redemption Daily Prayer, as a practice on your own or with friends, can help you walk through those moments with the Redeemer.
While a Redemption Group can be a great catalyst for your growth, it’s a practice like Redemption Daily Prayer—especially when practiced in redemptive community—that helps you to sustain growth and experience change over the long term.
By the way, the term transforming moment is borrowed from James Loder’s book by that name, though this concept as described here for Redemption Groups and Redemption Daily Prayer is shaped by a variety of influences, including Loder’s book, and Esther Meek’s interaction with Loder’s in her book Loving to Know. These are philosophical underpinnings, written by Christian philosophers. Another influence is David Powlison’s idea of a “watershed moment”.