A little background: Our yard has a variety of huge mature trees, including a lot of burr oaks. In the fall, their dropping acorns beckon every squirrel in the county, and these innocent looking pirates torment my poor little girl. But I can’t lie, it’s kinda entertaining.
So yesterday morning, one darted across her path, and the chase was on! The squirrel zig-zagged all over the yard with Piper hot on its bushy little tail—until it shot up an oak tree. Then my poor girl sat at the base of the trunk, yipping “You cheated!” To which the squirrel chattered, “Pirate!”
She shot me an exasperated look, which made me laugh. However, she didn’t see the humor of the situation and gave me her best dirty look before continuing to circle the tree.
Finally, she came and sat down next to me. As I scratched behind her ears, I could feel the chase going out of her. She looked sad. While I kissed the top of her head, I wondered if she was remembering when she was younger—when she could catch those little pirates; when she was faster than they were. But at ten-years-old, she’s not a quick little young pup anymore.
I drew her into my lap and whispered, “I understand.”
When I was younger, I didn’t have to think much about what I ate. But now, it’s an entirely different story! For example, my dear friend Lora Bloomquist has a fun blog that’s like Country Living with a Christian influence. She posts how-to’s for repurposing old junk into uber cute things for the home and yard; inspirational tidbits; and recipes. OH, the recipes! Her recipe for Carmel Apple Cake is divine…I think I gained five pounds just reading it!
When I turned 40 in 2016, I felt like my life was over. I was ancient, old! My expiration date had passed. I kept asking: Why was God calling me to write now? And to students and young adults? I’m too old to make a difference. Then the Spirit whispered in my ear:
“But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:10-13, NLT)
It was then I realized I do have something to offer BECAUSE of my age: I have knowledge and wisdom gained through life experiences these students don’t yet have, and this knowledge can help them navigate these strange waters when it’s their turn to encounter them. I’m on the other side of the pit of depression after having gone through the healing process, and I can share my story and how Jesus help me out of that pit to help encourage them through their process. I’ve spent more time in Bible study than most of these students and can communicate these truths to them, helping to eliminate their biblical illiteracy.
I also realized I’ve put away my childish things and youthful passions and lists. I pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. And I truly enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. (2 Timothy 2:22, NLT)
We live in a culture that puts a premium on youth. We do all we can to look, act, and be young. However, we don’t glean the treasures of life when we’re young, it happens as we age—as we get older. When we’re young we’re so busy learning how to find our way in the world and trying to figure out how to do this adulting thing that we don’t take the time to gather the wisdom that comes with age. That’s where we “old people” come in. This is the passion God has put on my heart: to encourage, love, and mentor our youth and young adults so they too can pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. So they too will fall in love with Jesus follow Him.
I’m grateful for what God has taught me over my 40+ years. I’m grateful for the wisdom He has blessed me with. And I’m honored to be able to use it to edify others.
However, I will confess, I wouldn’t mind being young again if I could take my life experiences with me into my much younger body.
“But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” (1 Timothy 6:11-14, NLT)