What Are You Thinking About?

I sat pouring over my journal this morning. Epiphanies to record, scripture to ascribe. I have been in a rut lately. Due in part to physical weaknesses which have been amplified by an interpersonal situation, always leading to thoughts of self-doubt and feelings of uselessness when my old do-it-all-in-one-day is all but a memory. I have felt weak and I have felt less-than – compounding those doubts has been the ever-present, “I am too young for this”.

I’m going to be FIFTY this week! I’ve spent the last year or two saying I am “almost 50” though rarely claiming 40+. I want to repeat, while I still can, “I am FORTY-nine”. FOR-TY because fifty is so pivotal, so commanding (in a good way!). The float between ‘just finished raising my kids’ and ‘time to retire’. Then I ask, “What do I do with the float?” and “What do I do when I can’t ‘do’”

I’m not one to lament the increasing numbers of age. My mom did, I saw how growing older depressed her and I never understood why – growing older is part of life. With age (hopefully) comes wisdom and understanding – lessons learned and experiences had. Yet, on a bad day, I forget.

I forget how bursting full these fifty years have been.
With moves across the country, back and forth again
With travel both local and far
Experiences of history and ministry in RV and car
I grew up in fifty, from babe to grandma expected
I learned hard lessons and how Jesus protected
I’ve had friendships and family which have come and go
I’ve laughed hard, cried hard, and always looked for the grow.
I should be thinking on hope and future and tomorrow
Yet, I have been stuck on set-backs and sorrow
Of can’t
And why
Even the simplest sentiments prompt me to cry.

Why this comes out in poetry, I can't say. I really logged on to share prose and rhyme just sort of poured out! I'm really here to hold up a peak into my journaled thoughts from this morning. Revelations and reassurances sparked after a scrap I found going through some files on Sunday:

The best use of a life
Is to spend it for something
That outlasts itself

- William James -

Suddenly all my complaining stopped when I read those words, penned on a faded purple post-it which once hung on a bulletin over my desk. It prompted me to realize how I was wrapped up in thoughts of NOW and vertical affect – when in fact, for the longest time I was always consumed with the then and horizontal assent.

Once upon a time I raised 4 children, homeschooled, volunteered, attended Bible Study, kept a (mostly) tidy house, cooked nutritious meals, had adventures AND maintained a blogging ministry. Time with my spouse and kids never suffered, I rarely felt run-down by it all. Sure, I was younger then, but it doesn’t take a ton of energy to write. It isn’t as consuming as it once was to manage home and what is left of my brood. It is what I do with my mind and time in-between that is different. What am I thinking on

Sure, the world around will intrude, there is no avoidance of this. However, when a mind is cast to the vertical, to the Lord, those intrusions are less apt to over-take and pull down – to consume our thoughts and pull us away from all the ways the Lord has guided and blessed. In our infirmities we may begin to doubt our effectiveness as humans, with age we may feel irrelevant or dated – too young, too old, too little xp, outdated xp…- yet, in God’s economy, we are still priceless and purposeful – perhaps just in different ways.

My grandmother lived a quiet life. She traveled a little, spent her career in a factory, was married to a difficult man who left while she raised 6. She was never a published author or concert pianist. She did not perform on stage or ever see her name in lights. She was not a perfect woman but, one thing about her, she perfectly loved Jesus with all her heart. She lived by a radical, uncompromising faith which drove some away and drew others. Never once, though, was she a Peter. She taught me to fold and pray, how to paint and love art. I hear hymns and I hear her soprano and see her tear-filled eyes because every note told a deeper story. Old Rugged Cross was her favorite, so it became mine; first for admiration of this motherly figure in my life and then, as time passed and I grew and Surrendered, because the lyrics ring true.

A cross meant for shame became a victory cry one weekend, two millennia ago. We get two lives to live because of the body it bore: one in sin – and one delivered from that sin which stretches into eternity.

It is no longer about what we were able or not able to do…
… how many pages have turned on the calendar…
… where we are…
… when we are…

Rather, it is 100% about WHOSE we are and that we stay focused on Him.

In the busiest season of my life I recorded the highest number of posts on my blog. How? Because I wasn’t focused on me, myself, and/or what was wrong or not working right at that time (and there was plenty then which did not work right!!) Rather, I was surrendered to each next step on a vertical path and a commitment to use the gifts God had given me to make Him known. Grandma shared in the produce section at a grocery store – I shared in an obscure location of the WorldWideWeb… but both of us were simply just walking the path God had laid before us, not for our own glory, rather, for His.

It isn’t about us and now
It is about our posterity and later

No one in my bloodline may ever go beyond their tiny little community with the name of Jesus or the gifts He gives, but that is not what matters… what matters is that they know Who He is and follow, no matter where that path may lead. Setting the thoughts of ‘can’t’ and insignificance aside because even our smallest offering in the most obscure place, when done with a whole heart focused on Christ, is all that is required in this journey of life.

From 49 to 50
All that changes is my age-claim, my Jesus claim stays the same. My physical ability may have diminished over these 49 years and 362 days, but that doesn’t matter. The enemy’s prods to think the worst, can be averted because my ability and heart to serve and magnify the Lord, has grown. I don’t need use of my legs or strength in my back to make that claim.

A thought which encompasses this well, comes from the book of Micah:

With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come to him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good:
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
~ Micah 6:6-7 ~

Just to reassure my reader: I am OK! Battles in the mind are common, especially when one suffers with chronic pain and inflammation. It isn’t that they happen, rather, it is whether the negativity is allowed a foothold – we can’t give it a foothold! I share these thoughts today in the hopes of encouraging: no matter how young or old, able or unable… I pray you will find courage and purpose in the Lord, that your life, even if lived quietly, is not without direction as long as you act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with Him – let every thought to the contrary be cast aside!

One closing thought which has been coming to mind frequently lately; when we first went into missions work, we stood up before our church to share our call and receive sending prayer. After service, a wavy-topped gray headed woman in a pretty deep red pants suit and matching lipstick hobbled over. She took my hand to bid me well and bubbled how she admired those who were called to missions work. She stated how she would love to answer such a call, but she claimed to be too old and held back by physical ailments which kept her from doing such a work of the Lord. I smiled and thanked her for her kind wishes but then continued on to encourage her: you don’t need to get in the car and drive or on a plane to fly to some foreign-to-you destination to do the work of the Lord – His Work is everywhere, all the time. From knitting hats in your easy chair intended for donation to cancer patients or homeless children – to serving in a local soup kitchen, even if only to sit with hungry visitors with a listening ear and ready heart to share Jesus… the work of God is not always fireworks and cheers, sometimes it is a crackling fireside and quiet conversations.

Don’t let the mind-talk of “can’t” get in the way of all that Jesus CAN. Don’t muddy the waters with extraordinary acts if all God is asking in a moment is to Focus on Him and complete the simple. Even the ministry of caring for our families is an investment without measure – our thoughts focused on Him will fuel us forward.



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2 thoughts on “What Are You Thinking About?

  1. You will be Fabulously Fifty 🩷🌸, we should do a coffee morning call soon, sending hugs and love to you

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