By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
As I think about 2023 giving way to 2024, and reflect back on what has happened in the last twelve months, I am astounded at the changes that have taken place inside of me. I turned 70, which was wild and weird. You have to remember, mine was the Woodstock generation which said, “Tune in, turn on, drop out,” and “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Now I am fully twice that and more, and I feel that in so many ways I am just getting started. The good stuff that has bloomed inside has only one Author, the little babe born in the manger whose birth disrupted everything more than 2,000 years ago.
I had the opportunity to be a part of history and attend the Asbury revival, and it was marvelous. It was a taste of heaven; I worshipped with people from all over the world, and I never wanted it to end. You can’t tell me heaven isn’t real. I heard it in song and in the kindest voices I have ever encountered. Heaven is real, and while global disaster could erupt, it will be worth it for what is waiting for those who have come to love the One who had animals attend His birth and who was given gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
I spent six months fulfilling an assignment that I felt came from the Home Office, if you will, and that was to study business. A little over fifty years ago, before I surrendered to the King that was born in a stable, I would not have been willing to be caught dead knowing anything about business. After all, that was the realm of what we described with derision as “The Establishment,” and now I am an enthusiastic card-carrying member of the free market.
I had a life-changing weekend at Pure Hope Ranch in Texas. Pure Hope is a place where young women who have been trafficked get the most remarkable care and opportunity to not only survive, but to thrive. You can’t go to Pure Hope without being changed, and as an ambassador for the Pure Hope Foundation, I can say that I am honored beyond my ability to express to represent that cause and fight for the end of trafficking.
I watched in fascination as a movie about trafficking defied all odds and took the country by storm. Sound of Freedom skillfully portrayed the lives of those who do the rescuing of children from their traffickers, as well as the children who have been taken from their families, and it is something that we now freely talk about. Against all odds, the film not only survived the gauntlet of resistance from Hollywood, pressed past their smears, and earned more than 200 million dollars at the box office.
I binge-watched The Chosen, and at a time that I felt I could not bear being stretched ministerially one more inch, in the dark of night I watched as Peter walked on water, looked at his circumstances, sank, was rescued by his Master, and by his crazy step of faith changed lives, including mine. “Don’t let me go,” the character playing Peter said to Jesus who knew all about his and my storm long before it hit. And the King held me tight in the fiercest of inner storms.
Which brings me to the caterpillar. I was given a refrigerator magnet, of all things, by a friend who is a business associate with a global health food company. She has taught me to dance, has challenged me to keep growing and going, and when she prays with and for me, she starts her prayers with “Daddy…”
What does the magnet say? “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…
That’s all I want. To go from the rather uncomely, bumpy, plodding, crawling munching insect through the necessary struggle of dissolving, “having the world end,” transforming, and emerging as a butterfly. There is only One who has the love and skill to make that happen, and my fond hope is that in 2024 you let Him have His way forever. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner