Growing Up and Growing Old

Today I invite you to come with me into the back rooms of Lorretta’s mind to the file drawer labeled “Crazy Thoughts and Panicky Moments.” It’s the one right before:”Stuff I Probably Shouldn’t Say Out Loud” and right after, “Things I’d Do Differently if I Could.”

bravely growing older

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 surprising.

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 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. Because otherwise, it seems like a big waste, you know?

Fear of depreciation sometimes keeps me from ever beginning. I get stalled on 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 premium on youthfulness and looks down on aging as something to be avoided.  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. (Although I did buy some cream the other day……)

Because if I’m looking to hold on to “value” the shaping and shifting of my outer self isn’t 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 oughta know better!  KWIM?

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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 and the church has wide open arms in these departments. But growing older and keeping an ACTIVE faith? Not so much.

Then, 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?

Symphony of life

I swear, I’m NOT judging. But I got …well …TERRIFIED. Because I thought, “Is this IT?!!” 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. 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 something else our entire society–churched and unchurched– 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.  I need to be thankful for the opportunity.

God also helped me to shift my focus away from my self, 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 begged God to send older women who’d understand this need and wow… God placed several fine examples in my midst. These women  challenge my walk and my witness. They listen hard and love me well, honestly share their hearts, hard-earned wisdom and Christ-submitted struggles…and pray–they pray for me and ask me to pray for them too.

I’ve got Jane and Jan 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 become anyone’s sermon example 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.

The challenge now is to recognize my role in this equation which is expanding 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… or my Lord.

Something tells me that I won’t if it’s more about God than me. He will be my guide.

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

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

“My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.” Psalm 71

I pray I’m well on my way to bravely becoming a sweet, little old lady too …an older warrior woman for Christ.

Lorretta signature

 *This post originally appeared on LiveBrave.com in April 2013. It’s a word worth repeating here today.

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Growing Up and Growing Old

  1. I loved this post. (And I adore your writing, I feel like I am right in front of you having a conversation). I am pretty sure you are older than I, but I forget it often… because I feel like you are right here where I am. I think that’s a gift you have. I recognize the greater well of wisdom, the larger vat of experience (okay, and I don’t think you are that much older LOL) but do you get that? You are accessible and I think those are the older women I have been able to glean from, because they are willing to appoint value to me and this season and come back here where I am and remember. I want to be that kind of woman for those coming up behind me. Accessible, full of grace, not so full of been-there-done-that that I fail to listen. Thank you, Loretta!

  2. I too pray to be a sweet older woman, Cousin. I think of Titus 2 “They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children” and I’ve wondered for a long time where those women are. The olders will rise up– even if it’s us 🙂

    1. Thanks dear Linda. I know that there are many things I can not understand yet (much the way that when I was 16, the thought of being 45 seemed SO old!) but I just want to do it as gracefully as possible. With God’s help and a lot of grace and fun! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Honey I hear your heart! I’m over the hill and I’m loving it. The only regret I have at all about old age is the fact that my husband was older and I lost him five years ago, the hardest thing in my life. But, Jesus grows sweeter, and I feel closer to Him every day. I’ve lived long enough to know He is the answer for all things, and that as long as I continue in the secret place with Him, I will always have much of Him to give to others. I made a shift a long time ago from the outward things of Him, to focusing on the inward dwelling of Him, and that will continue for ever, no matter the outward circumstances. Now I’m going over to read the conclusion of your post. Wrapped with you in Him!!

  4. Loretta thanks for your brave and honest post! I always enjoy reading posts on this topics as I have so much to learn and also find myself looking for the older, wiser women of the faith!

  5. 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.

    Hopping over from Emily’s link up.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    1. Thanks Jennifer…. honestly, it’s been such a blessing to live through this answered prayer and now to begin to honestly pay attention to the “littles” I bring along behind me. Thanks for popping in over here!

Welcome to the discussion!