OK, sometime in the next few weeks, I am having a birthday.
Before you stand up and give me a *TA DA* – might I just ask you to take into consideration the number of candles on my birthday cake – (and then, please call the local fire department…)
I am turning 60.
Yup, I'm pretty sure that cake is going to explode.
How on earth did I ever get to be this age??
I can remember when I was in my teens, I would calculate how old I'd be if I lived to see the turn of the millennium. Ooo, I would utter with googly-wide eyes – I'll be 46.
Sigh, 46 sounds so young right now.
I gotta be honest – 30 didn't really bother me. And 40 was really OK – not so bad. Hitting 50 didn't faze me too much. I was a lot thinner, in much better shape, full of energy, and falling in love with "The Hub."
Turning 55 made me pause.
That number no longer meant just an advisory speed limit, it represented *turning the corner* for me. Now I was heading down "the other side" of the slippery slope into those middle-aged years.
What kind of a dumb phrase is that anyway? Middle-aged? I'm not liking it on principle alone – because if you look carefully, it has the word "aged" in it.
I'm not sure how I really feel about this milestone birthday.
Usually I'm a big fan of my birthday. I'm the sort of person that likes a lot of fanfare, a lot of attention. Cards and gifts and flowers – bring 'em on!! I actually wouldn't mind telling the server at a restaurant that it was my birthday. Beyond the free dessert, I like the extra attention.
There's this particular seafood restaurant where my sons live that actually makes you put on some sort of outfit and dance around the room acting silly. Again, I don't think I'd mind doing that. I did mention that I like attention, right?!
But, this year, I'm not so sure.
Maybe this year I'd like to crawl into a quiet corner and count wrinkles or pluck chin hairs. Maybe I'd just like to toast this birthday with a glass of Geritol – (remember that stuff?)
Hey, let me tell you that the father of lies is already starting his party early. He's been whispering a lot lately. Telling me all sorts of negative stuff. He's brought to mind my aching joints and sometimes-faulty memory. He's pointed out the age spots and the sagging jowls and turkey neck. Oh, and it's been really enjoyable being reminded of all the cute little clothes I can't wear anymore (emphasis on *little*).
And most of all, he's tried to convince me that I am past my prime. Useless and purposeless. That my dreams are unattainable now, that my goals will never be achieved, that the Lord will pass me over for more vital disciples.
You know, I've almost bought into it all.
But, with greater age I have also gained some greater wisdom.
And he's full of baloney.
At the end of this post, I am including some wonderful words from Scripture about growing older. And as I read these verses, I was overcome with a renewed sense of God's message and purpose for me – at just such a time as this!
Here's what I learned:
Growing old represents gaining a crown of glory as we live a righteous life.
Experience brings a certain splendor to us – and we should share it with others.
We have a responsibility to proclaim the Truth about God to future generations.
God never leaves us, and He will carry us along when our bodies and spirits grow tired.
God remains our hope for a future in His presence – an eternity guaranteed by Jesus Christ.
OK, that sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it?!
The Lord loves His people, and perhaps never more than when they start to slow down a bit (or a lot!). For in our weakness, He can become more. His strength can shine brighter in bodies that are aging – for His Holy Spirit can renew our inner souls until we glow!
As prayer warriors, our achy knees can still storm the gates of Heaven. We can use every ounce of our abilities to intercede on the behalf of others.
We can strive to live like Jesus. Sometimes growing older affords us the ability to let go of the false enticements of outer beauty, enabling us to cultivate that inner quiet and gentle spirit that the Lord finds so attractive.
And we can pass on Truth.
I like that idea best of all.
For it truly doesn't matter how many years have flipped over on that calendar called life, I'm still needed for Kingdom work! In some ways, my testimony and witness to the faithfulness of God holds more weight – for I can tell about decades (!!) of His great love and unchanging character.
This world, and perhaps more than ever, the younger generation, needs to hear about Jesus. They need to hear from the ranks of gray-haired Christian soldiers. We have a duty to speak.
And so, my birthday this year comes with a mandate to re-focus on what's important.
And what's important is that I have walked with the Lord for almost 57 years. I have stories to tell, and I have a Savior to share.
I still have purpose – and I am still needed.
Oh Lord, may You empower me to do the things that You purposed for me since before the time of creation. May You grant me the wisdom of experience, and the opportunity to counsel others with the Truth I know about You. May others see in me the many years that You have walked with me and shaped me. May I never forget to tell others about Your faithfulness, and the mighty wonders You have done in my life. May I reflect You more clearly, and glow from within. May I serve You ever more faithfully.
Oh, and one more thing…
Could you maybe give me enough breath to blow out all those candles???
Put another candle on my birthday cake,
I'm another year old...
"Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life."
(Proverbs 16:31, ESV)
"The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old." (Proverbs 20:29, NLT)
"I will be your God throughout your lifetime--until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you." (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)
"O Lord, you alone are my hope.
I've trusted you, O LORD, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
from my mother's womb you have cared for me.
No wonder I am always praising you!
My life is an example to many,
because you have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you;
I declare your glory all day long.
And now, in my old age, don't set me aside.
Don't abandon me when my strength is failing…
God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me."
(From Psalm 71, NLT)
"So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong." (Hebrews 12:12-13, NLT)
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV)
Are you *buying the lie* and thinking you're "over the hill"? Or will you grab on to God's purposes for some much-needed gray-haired warriors to serve in His Kingdom?!
(True confession: My gray hairs are dyed, but I still think I'm wearing a crown!!)
Linked today with:
Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD
Jen at UNITE
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Jen at SOLI DEO GLORIA
Kathy at TITUS 2 TUESDAYS
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS
Judith at WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY
Rosilind at A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS
Beth at THREE WORD WEDNESDAY
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Jenifer at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Kasey at WALKING REDEEMED
Lyli at THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAYS
Crystal at THRIVING THURSDAY
Julie at FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS
Bonnie at FAITH BARISTA JAM
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"