Did you ever wonder where the phrase, “turning over a new leaf” came from? In the 1500’s people referred to the pages of books as leaves. When they turned over a new leaf they were really moving to a blank page to begin writing something new. So, the phrase came to speak of starting a new behavior, moving on, “turning the page.”

Andrew is turning over a new leaf. To do it he is battling three decades of bad behavior, shaped by nature and nurture, and he is trusting in the God who is greater than both.

“God is good and He is definitely looking out for His children. I’m starting to see life at a different view these days…”

turning over a new leafA new outlook requires a new mindset, and a new mindset requires that you think differently about things. For years Andrew thought of himself and how he could make his own path in life. The “I can do it myself” attitude shaped his thinking and led him away from others, toward independence rather than dependence upon God,

Prison is a rude awakening from that dream. It would be easy for Andrew to go dark and drift further away from God. He has chosen instead to wake up to a new reality where he exists to serve God and others. It’s all part of the new path he has chosen.

“I’ve been wondering how everyone at First Christian is doing. About a year left and I shall be free again, yet I’ll be on parole, probably a good thing (since) I need structure and also a job. That is mandatory…

“I’m also sending a card to the kids of First Christian and, of course, to your two new granddaughters (although they can’t read yet)…

“I would be very appreciative if you could contact my sister for me and wish her my love, along with my parents…”

This is all new for Andrew whose life up to now has taught him not to trust anyone and to look out for himself. The thing about prison is you’re only one outburst away from “the hole” and surrounded by inmates who could easily lead you back where you came from.

With parole around the corner and Andrew looking forward to Christmas on the outside, he is realistic about his chances of success. “I remember how you said, “Sometimes it can be hard being a Christian.’ All I need is a little prayer and guidance (to be) a productive person in society again… The ways of the world can sometimes allow one to fall short. This has definitely been a learning experience…”

Like the pages of a book, life can go forward and back. While Andrew’s mindset is changing, he is judged by his actions, and his December letter casts yet another shadow on his future. As the learning experience continues, he tries to stay positive and braces for another three months in prison.

I often think of that verse I wrote out for him to tuck in his pocket: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. The old has passed away, behold the new has come!” It turns out that this describes only our standing before God because of Christ. Every day is a challenge to live up to that standard and turn another page.

 

(read Andrew’s story on Thursdays here)