bravely growing older

bravely growing older

Today’s post comes from Brave Writer, Lorretta Stembridge.

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Today I invite you to come with me into the back rooms of Lorretta’s mind as I access the file drawer labeled “crazy thoughts and panicky moments.” This file comes right before the one marked “stuff I probably shouldn’t say out loud” and right after, “things I’d do differently if I could.”

 

I don’t know who makes the rules for these things but apparently a new car depreciates in value by nearly 30% in it’s first year off the lot. I googled it. #truestory. The same is apparently true for mobile homes although that doesn’t seem as shocking for some reason.

There are days I feel the weight of depreciation –especially when it comes to my writing and ministry. I want so badly for these offerings to keep their Kingdom value and to work miracles in my life. I want them to produce healing miracles in the lives of others as well. Any edgy shard or fragment– I so desperately want God to use. Because otherwise, it seems like a big waste, you know?

Fear of depreciation sometimes keeps me from ever beginning. I get stalled in the water, stuck at the gate, too afraid to move on.  But if I have to be honest, probably my greatest place of personal wrestling has had to do with personal depreciation. Getting older.

Our culture places a ridiculously high value on youthfulness and looks down on aging as something to be avoided. Seriously? As if only the new thoughts, new ideas, new methods or new stories hold any weight or value.

 

Seriously?!?!

 

Trust me, I’m not looking for the Fountain of Youth. I’m not interested in lipo-anything or the “lifting” of anything besides my Spirit or hands in worship. I can’t afford it anyway, but truly I’m not interested.

Because if I’m looking to hold on to “value” the shaping and shifting of my outer self isn’t where it’s at. That’s not where my value lies. Don’t get me wrong;  I still take care myself but I recognize there’s a fine line between “fashionable” and “foolish” and I’ve reached the age where I ought to be awarez. ‘Nuff said.

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No, it’s deeper than that. See, a few years back I came to what Henry Blackaby refers to in Experiencing God,  as a “crisis of faith”.  A lot was involved in that period of time–there was no singular event to refer to–just a whole host of things got real “muddy” and even a little dirty.

It wasn’t that I doubted or stopped believing or lost my faith in God but honestly,
I just couldn’t see how to sustain it into old age.

 Being a teen or young-adult Christian woman, a VBS and homeschool Mom, a “valuable worker bee” in the Kingdom hive– I knew how to do all that, but growing older and keeping an ACTIVE faith? Not so much.

Because honestly? I looked around the Church and I saw very few older women I wanted to become. I saw very few older women involved in much of anything outside their comfort zones or interacting with anyone outside their own age or financial bracket. I couldn’t find many living much further beyond the “been there-done that, complainin’ about it” mentality.

 

Where were the older, wiser, warrior women for Christ?

 

I swear, I’m NOT judging. But I got …well …TERRIFIED. Because I thought, “Is this IT?!!”  I mean, once you turn the corner, round the bend and go over that hill–then what?!?

God led me gently into that temporary place of wilderness where I learned a whole lot about His purposes for my life at any age or stage. Among other things, God showed me that how I see this purpose and these next stages of life is a choice. Granted, there are some things I don’t get to choose but my attitude is still one of them.

 

Getting older is inevitable,
being old is a choice
and growing older is the goal.

He showed me another thing our entire churched or unchurched society seems to have forgotten: aging is a privilege. Like work, getting married, owning a home, having children and a bunch of other things– aging is a privilege not afforded to everyone and I need to be thankful for the opportunity.

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Symphony of life

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God is also helping me to shift my focus away from myself, (notice, it’s still developing) and to look more lovingly and carefully for the women who could mentor and model for me what these next stages of life need to look like.

Not perfectly–but faithfully.

 

I prayed…begged God and prayed that He’d send older women who’d understand this need and wow… God placed several fine examples in my midst.

These are women who challenge my walk and my witness.
Women who listen hard and love me well,
who honestly share their hearts, hard-earned wisdom and Christ-submitted struggles.
And pray-
-they pray for me and allow me to pray for them too.

 

I’ve got Jane , Jan, Jean, Carolyn and dear Paula, who spent her life on the mission field and whose goal is simply to become a “sweet, little old lady” (emphasis on the sweet!). She doesn’t want to be anyone’s sermon illustration  although she continues to live an active sermon before me and so many others as she tirelessly works and loves missionally right where she lives.

These women continue to inspire and encourage me, spurring me on to the next moments of my next stages of walking with Christ, however long that may be.

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Isaiah 42-16 rough pathThe challenge now comes as I recognize my role in this equation expanding now in both directions. Because somewhere out there are younger women who need to see what living a real Christian life and growing older with God looks like and some may be watching me and checking my pulse for signs of life too!

I don’t want to fail them here. I don’t want to fail my Lord either.

 

Something tells me that I won’t because it’s more about God than me and He promises to be my guide.

God’s Word reminds me that as long as I keep bravely focusing on the Truth and keep his Word as my guide and the Kingdom as my goal, He will not forsake me–even into old age.

That’s my goal:  to be a brave warrior woman of God, a sweet, little old lady actively on fire for Christ until He takes me home. 

I pray it will be your goal too.

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:17-18

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Lorretta strives to live every day as God’s big “show and tell”, trusting nothing past, present or future will be wasted in His capable and loving hands. Lorretta writes at Dancing on the Dash http://dancingonthedash.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “bravely growing older

  1. Well said – I can still remember my arrogance when in my 20’s and 30’s and I glibly remarked that I was going to grow old gracefully . . . now that I’m in my early 60’s, it seems just a little harder! TX for your post.

    1. Yes. I know how naive and arrogant I have been and I still can be even with what I know…or think I know…I still don’t know it all. I just want to serve faithfully and well to the greatest extent possible no matter how hard it gets. Thanks for stopping by Dear Friend!

  2. As I consider your comment ” some may be watching and checking my pulse for signs of life too ” it causes me to reflect back where I’ve been and where I am now. It also brings to mind two versus. Psalm 69:5&6. These two verses simultaneously send an ominous chill and reminder of God’s grace through my heart. As we consider the legacy of our age I hope we can remember the gravity of our behavior. I am haunted by these verses.

  3. Thank you for this.I became a Christian at the age of 50, jumped in with both feet, and my life has changed emmensely because of it. But I often wonder – am I too old to be doing all these ministries that I love? Is it only for the younger generation? Almost everyone I serve with is younger than me, so I hope, after reading your blog, that maybe I am helping in some small way, to mentor them. Great post.

    1. Yes Sharon, YES. God has brought you into the fold with such energy for such a time as THIS and trust me, you are very much needed. It’s so important. I’m so glad you hopped on this train with me because your voice, your wisdom and your passion for Christ are so desperately needed. Bless you!

  4. Hi Leslie, and Loretta,

    Loretta, thank you for your honesty here. I could relate to your line here: “I want so badly for these offerings to hold Kingdom value and to KEEP working miracles in my life. I want them to produce healing miracles in the lives of others as well. Any edgy shard or fragment– I so desperately want God to use.” and for the growing older part, may I just say that we need all ages in the church? I am so thankful for the women who are older and younger than me in my church and in the Bible study I’m part of. I learn so much from them all, and see them living wildly, bravely, joyfully, transparently for Jesus. And it’s inspiring.

    I’m so glad to see that you found some women too.

    Hopping over from Emily’s link up.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    1. I know it’s hard. I know there are things I don’t know about how hard it’s going to be. But I want to be a light. I need lights. I think we all do. The greatest injustice we do to our witness in later years is to give in to the bitterness and complaining we held off while we were younger. We’ll need to access deeper grace and help one another…and Jenni, I do believe that even oceans away, we can be that for one another. Bless you Sister.

  5. Boy can I relate to the “fear of depreciation”! Love that phrase (or maybe I hate it,lol) because it is so dead on. Been sorting through this very issue and I appreciate the perspective you’ve brought to it, Loretta.Thankfully, I am learning there is grace here too. So grateful for you and others on the journey committed to keeping their passion for Him alive–always. 🙂

    1. I’ve been thinking about this all day–the fear of depreciation part–and I’ve come to the conclusion that as mentors and strong, Godly women–we never depreciate! At least not in the sense of lasting, Kingdom value. It seems like a no-brainer except we live in these “tents of flesh” and it’s a struggle. Thankfully, God knows. 🙂

  6. I began this post on your blog, then moved over to here. I’m lovin’ your conclusion: “That’s my goal: to be a brave warrior woman of God, a sweet, little old lady actively on fire for Christ until He takes me home.” That’s exactly who I’m going to be as well!! I’m also thrilled God answered your prayers and sent you some mature Christian women to love you through your transition.

    1. It’s wonderful to see you here and over at my Dancing on the Dash too! I started following you because of your “flair” and “flavor”…for being such a witness in and through these transitions of life. Yes, I’m watching you and you have the aroma of Christ. Bless you Sister! Thank you for visiting and for guiding the way today.

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