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