I want to say nobody told me this was going to happen… but I think maybe they did. I just wasn’t listening. Or somehow I didn’t think it would happen to me.
This growing older stuff. You know what I mean. The slower metabolism thing and the memory thing and the hormonal thing(s) and the sagging and wrinkling and creping things…
And it’s not just the physical changes we have to grapple with as we age, but the wear and tear we experience mentally, emotionally, and spiritually! Good grief!
We’ve experienced so much change, so much turmoil. We’ve both experienced and witnessed so much loss and grief and pain and suffering …
It starts to feel overwhelming – if we focus on it. It can be discouraging and depressing.
I get it now, why all the old ladies at church used to sit and sigh, “I just want Jesus to come take me home!”
But you know what? It’s not all bad news.
There are some good things that come with growing older. A lot of good things. So many blessings. Sweet memories and special experiences we would not have wanted to miss.
And the things we have learned! About life, about ourselves and others, about the goodness of God and His faithful love for us.
In fact, I’ve discovered there are about three or four things I absolutely LOVE about being older, and at the top of my list is one of these life lessons: it’s the gift of perspective.
Living as long as I have, I can look back and remember so many times when I thought I had reached the end of my rope… when I thought I could not take another step… when I thought my life was over… when I was in so much pain or felt so discouraged or hurt or abandoned or betrayed that I wished I could just die…
Times when I had no money or no home or no job or no ministry or no friends or… my friends and family had no money, no home, no job, no ministry, no friends…
Times when not only my world, but OUR world seemed to be coming apart at the seams…
Times when I had no hope. No hope at all.
And yet, here I stand.
Here we are.
“I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13
Today when I face crises that threaten to undo me, when I start feeling that dread, that discouragement and despair, I remember that I’ve been here before.
I’ve stood in front of raging waters and seen them part and make a pathway before my very eyes (metaphorically speaking). I’ve faced giants and monstrously thick city walls and watched them come tumbling down. I’ve been thrown into the fiery furnace, and though it was scary and terribly hot, I found that Jesus was right there with me. And that there was life afterward. Joy afterward. Love afterward. Reason to keep hoping, keep believing, keep persevering and pressing on.
See what I mean about the gift of perspective?
I’ve got mine the hard way – getting older and living through a lot of tough stuff. But there are other ways to get it. (Other ways I have gotten it, from time to time.) We can borrow it from other people – by listening to their stories – and from the Word of God.
If you’re struggling to hold on to hope today — for you or someone you love — I want to encourage you to take some time to remember specific examples of God’s faithfulness in the past.
Let that be the lens – the perspective – through which you look to the future.
Life may not be getting any easier as we get older, but we can grow through it gracefully. Full of hope. One day at a time.
Virtual VBS Assignment:
We’re in Week Two of our free online summer Bible study, Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls: Holding on to Hope… When Life Is Hard. If you’re participating, here are your instructions for this week:
Read: Psalm 73:14-18, Psalm 103, and Hebrews 11:1-12:3 (I’ve linked to them on BibleGateway if you don’t have a Bible handy.) You can read all the passages at once, read a few verses a day, or read them several times through the week and really meditate on the themes. I’ll have some journaling / discussion questions for you on Thursday. For tips on getting the most out of your Bible reading, see Five Simple Ways to Focus on the Words You Read
Memorize: Click to download our free Memory Verse Printables, which you can print out on cardstock or plain paper, tape to your mirror, computer or car dashboard. This week’s verse is Psalm 42:11. It’s in the graphic above and also on our VBS Pinterest board.
PS: I do hope to get our posts up sooner on Mondays — sorry for the delay (For our new friends, I’m still recovering from partial knee replacement surgery and it’s been a bit of a bigger ordeal than I expected!) Thanks for your patience and grace…
I’d love to hear what you’ve lived through and learned… what the gift of perspective has given you!