I am ashamed to admit that my only knowledge of Catherine Marshall, her life, and writing had come through watching A Man Called Peter, and one of my favorite TV shows, Christy, starring Kellie Martin and Stewart Finlay-McLennan. Awful, I know.
Years ago I received a beautiful hardcover edition of Christy, which I never got around to reading, and somehow, between our various moves between the past five years, it was lost. After I was given the complete series of Christy on DVD for my birthday, I decide to read more about Catherine Marshall, and I realized, SHE WROTE MORE THAN CHRISTY!
So I checked out a stack of books from the local library by Catherine Marshall, and the first one I read was Meeting God at Every Turn. By the time I completed the book, I was absolutely in love with Catherine Marshall’s writing, and I am convinced she is Kindred Spirit!
“My early childhood was a crazy mixture of exuberant joy interspersed with moments of fear.”
Thus begins Marshall’s book that describes different seasons in her life, from early childhood to the marriage of her children and birth of grandchildren. She describes the ups and downs, the triumphs and trials, the joy and pain of her journey. And the common theme that she pointed out, was that God was always there, meeting her in her need, growing her in the midst of pain and sorrow.
She opens her book describing her father, his strengths, his weaknesses, his humanity. But also how God used her earthly father to point her to her Heavenly one.
“The catechism had said that He had loved me first. So had my earthly father.”
She then describes how God used her Mother in mighty ways, not only in her own life, but in the lives of everyone they knew. Her Mother, the inspiration behind Christy, was generous and frugal, but it was her faith that impacted young Catherine the most. She was a living illustration of what it was like to trust God fully and walk in faith.
When Catherine attended Agnes Scott College in Georgia, it was a time of great spiritual growth for her, and she began to realize that her God was “too small”. As she began to seek God more earnestly, she was encouraged by many of her classmates to attend Westminster Presbyterian Church and hear the handsome, Scottish minister, Peter Marshall, preach. Little did she know her life would be forever changed!
“My girlish heart was not the only part of me affected by Peter Marshall. My hunger for excellence was stirred by the quality of his preaching… he pricked my spiritual conscience deeply.”
After finishing college, she married Peter Marshall, but their happy marriage was short lived. For a large portion of their marriage, Catherine was bedridden by Tuberculosis, which was used by God to force her to study Scripture and seek Him, even in the midst of her suffering and self-pity. But in January 1949, Peter Marshall died suddenly of a heart attack, ushering Catherine and their son, Peter John, into a new and difficult season, in which she would learn in new ways what it is to trust and follow God.
“You write on your calendar three letters: FUN.”
In time, Catherine met and married Leonard LeSourd, a widower with three young children, who worked for Guideposts. Thus, she was thrust back in to full-time parenting, in the midst of continuing to write. God continued to stretch her, as well as strengthen her, and she found His Grace in the everyday. As Peter John, Linda, Chester, and Jeff, grew up, married, and began to have families, the tragedies and joys of Catherine’s life only continued.
But through it all, you can see that she was Meeting God at Every Turn.
“Jesus in our place. Jesus our substitute. Jesus covering for us.”
Overall, I found Meeting God at Every Turn to be a wonderful book, full of moments that will make you laugh or cry, but most of all, filled with encouragement that you are not alone. No matter how dark or tragic your life may seem in the moment, God is right there, with you at each turn and bump. I would give the book an “A”.
Have you read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?