Here I am grown-up thinking a thought told to me by an “old” person in my life when I was young. The thought that just fired off in that soft matter between my ears was this: I don’t feel as old as I am. How strange that words that once seemed odd to a young girl now resonate like I had spoken them myself. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe her. I did. Her attitude about life didn’t match her wrinkles or gray hair.
I have a few wrinkles. I have to say modern hair color gives my thin mousey hair great texture. Regardless, the birth certificate doesn’t lie and there is no doubt I am at mid-life or maybe past it. Only God knows the answer to that mystery.
I decided to reflect back on the life I have lived since I have grown up. I think there are several reasons I am thinking about it today. There obvious circumstantial events happening in my life that are obvious give-aways like the fact I have been preparing for my first grandbaby and the fact that my second-born moved out in May to go to the big university and will probably never live in my house again. I gave my baby boy a tour of the high school a couple of weeks ago; my last time to walk the halls to find the classrooms. I watched him grow last summer like Jack’s beanstalk and now I look up to him to tell him to do his homework and brush his teeth.
But there is something else, less obvious, but something I have been struggling over-- processing--grappling to find the answers.
I grew up and I married my best friend. It was hard at first as he finished school and took all the years necessary to fulfill his destiny and dreams. God was faithful and sent me my little one, a surprise, mistaken by me to be cancer. It was a growth but not the malignant variety. She was the miracle that God creates called life and with her life everything in my life changed forever. It was quite glorious and hard, but she gave more focused purpose than anything that Life had ever handed me.
Blessed with a loving husband to support me, I was privileged to live as a Mom in my grown-up me. And we lived happily as God allowed me to have them all three at home to school and play and grow. Beautiful blessed days that made my days as a Mom even more purposeful with goals for learning math, reading books and painting pictures with blueberry juice. Doing my best, each day I tried to focus on pouring love into them and reminding them of their Creator who had given us all the good things of the life we were sharing together.
Then, slowly my life crept toward a pivot point. Pivots change the direction you are moving. Life comes with all sorts of pivot points for all kinds of people but mine was dark and difficult, debilitating. It was depression. I knew it was there for a purpose but I wouldn’t accept that truth. Instead of embracing the battle and attacking it head on, I was sure I could reject it. I couldn’t or didn’t. I really am not sure which. This I do know, it changed me and changed me for the better but not in the midst of it; it was only on the other side of healing.
After a little over year of my life living in the storm, it settled and I spent years moving in the new direction. It required renewing thoughts, allowing God to give me a new mind, to complete the works of suffering in me, to give me the gifts of mercy and compassion, to comprehend the depth of what it means to be healed and to believe it and receive, live it, and love it; and love the One who gave it to me. More importantly to receive the love He had for me especially after my “humiliation.” It has been a journey of living in the true skin of me, not what others wanted to be, or expected me to be, or what I wanted them to think about me. It was a freedom that I had never lived in, at least not as a grown-up.
All that “new” direction living caused by the pivot took a lot of effort. Brains work that way in the flesh. They resist the effort to be transformed and renewed. It would have much easier to fall back into old well worn paths but the Spirit had a work He desired to for me, and in me. By His grace I was willing to accept His offer. He used people and books, sermons, and Bible studies. And he allowed me to be a Mom at the same time. He took his time. Time isn’t that important to God. His agenda is complete and the One who knows the end from the beginning knows how to pace those he is reshaping. Nine years for me of challenges of the heart and the emotions, of the physical body have brought me to the day that I ask, “What now?”
The years of concentrated Mom are closing in quickly as my babies have gotten their wings. The boy that looks the spitting image of his Daddy, so smart and independent, is already dreaming of flying himself. My heart knew that he had to be thinking about it, but then he talked about it in words this summer as we tossed a Frisbee to each other in the swimming pool.
Now I am wondering what is the next pivot? My heart wants to cry out, “Nothing painful, Lord.” Who am I to ask such things when I live in a world where all things are common to all men? As much as I hate it, I knew these days would come. Mom (as I was knew it) is coming to a close and with a new mind and healing undeserved, what direction do I focus my attention? I know my God wants me to live and live to the full with those closest to me and those who cross my path but what to do with a day---a precious day. I know how precious they are but not in the way my sweet friend does this moment as she fights off infection with no immune system. And another, as she grieves the granddaughter that left this world in the beauty of her youth.
Esther, Queen of Persia, walked an ornate hall to the throne room of a husband who had not called her. She must have walked in fear for her life hung in the balance but she did what she was compelled to do in order to save others. I know each step was empowered by a Great Strength that was not her own. The scepter was extended to her. She lived and she was rewarded with life to the full.
Today, I ponder the fear I must face to find the path before me and I listen for the voice that guides “this is the path, walk in it.” So with my mind that feels younger than the date on birth certificate indicates, I am a seeker of goals, of purpose, of not taking a day, a glorious day for granted. Seems so petty being that my husband loves me exceptionally, my children are my joy, and everything else, all that is out of my hands, safely sits before the Everlasting’s throne. Yet, here I tap away on a keyboard, directionless, but not defeated-- waiting for the revelation of the next step on the journey. Waiting on the new thing. Believing it will come.