What I Am Learning As I Get OLD

About this time, 8 years ago, you would have found me curled up on the floor in the fetal position, weeping. As I celebrated my birthday this weekend, I was reminded how much has changed in my life, my heart, since I turned 30.

Thirty was traumatic for me.

For 29 years I told myself that 30 was old. For 29 years I set high expectations for my life. For 29 years I carried the weight of regrets, and mistakes and sin. And then I woke up and was 30. I was old, with no direction, and lots of baggage.

So I wept.

Every day…

For weeks.

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My husband came home from work to find me unshowered, back against the wall, sitting on the floor in a daze. I had to get some help, I had to sort it out. If my car broke down, I’d go to a mechanic. I was a mess, I needed a shower, a washing machine and Jesus!

I dunno, I think we all go through those times in our lives, where we realize that life isn’t what we thought it would be. Someone wrote on a status on FB something like this:

“One day things will go as planned.”

I didn’t want to burst her bubble, but I really wanted to say, “Umm never. Things never go as planned.” Well not never, but almost never. And I could use the first 29 years of my life as case and point. And the last eight years to just throw it all in your face.  Nothing as planned.

I’m still wondering how my plans and God’s plans align, if ever. I think most of the time I simply stumble, and then ooopsey, I find myself some place God can use me. There is always more month than money, I find myself walking places more now than ever, I went an entire year without a haircut, I don’t know the last time I bought clothes. My husband works 70 hours a week, my kids are growing up and moving on and there are days I simply feel like I’m standing still.

But somehow, I no longer weep, I only cry a little.  I don’t curl myself in the fetal position, but there are days I do stay under the covers. I don’t live with too many regrets, only dreams that I keep pressing toward.  I don’t have it figured out, I still question God at times, and I have moments of hopelessness, Then there is God’s grace…  I find that as I am aging, I am so much more grateful for the little things:

A roof over my head

Food in my kitchen

Healthy children

I am taken care of.

Jesus loves me.

All is well.

Until I’m 40…

What are you learning as you grow older? Share with me.

LG|LP

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No Money Back Guarantee For You

I’m driving to pick up kids the other day, one hand on the wheel, the other scooping sugar out of a packet with a candy stick. My youngest bought Fun-Dip to give out for his Valentine’s Day party. I couldn’t resist, so I grabbed one as I ran out the door, so I could shamelessly eat it in the privacy of my car.

fun dip

I remember when I was a kid how old and ancient it seemed the age thirty was. Now that I’m a few days away from being one year closer to FORTY, I realize there are certain things that aren’t guaranteed as you grow older.

  1. Sophistication. I would watch the grown ups, the ancient people on the Awards shows and my grandmother’s Soap Operas during the day, with their long cigarettes, and love lives and Bermuda love triangles. Every adult seemed to have some level of sophistication that someday, when I was thirty I would acquire. As I was driving with my Fun Dip sugar trickling down the front of my dirty shirt, my hair in a bun, I realized that I am anything but sophisticated.
  2. Wisdom. I am at a place in my life where I have no idea what I’m doing. For the first time in a long time, I’ve exhausted all my ideas of what my ideas were. I’ve run out of any type of solution to any and all of my problems. Although I am wiser, I have by no means gained near enough wisdom to successful live the rest of my life. The more I  “mature adults” I meet, the more people devoid of any type of deep knowledge become my friends. Our age does not define our level of wisdom.
  3. Career. I thought by this age I would be on the downside to retirement. My mom worked for the same company for 28 years. By now I should have some sort of idea as to what I’m going to be when I grow up. For the last 14 years I’ve served in full time ministry in some capacity. But, sister, let me tell you, there isn’t a whole lot of financial return on that . Yah, yah, I’m making an eternal investment, yah, yah, I’ll have my reward in heaven. Even though I am completely content with what God has for me, I sincerely expected to be a little more stable in this particular area at this particular time of my life.
  4. Future. It seems every few weeks I hear of someone I know, who’s husband has a heart attack or has passed away. More women are getting cancer. When you are young, there is a switch in your brain that hasn’t been flipped, and you’re in this state of bliss where you actually believe…not so much that you will live forever…but that you won’t ever get old enough to die. But as your friends become grandparents and your own kids move out and go to college, the reality sets in. Today could be the only future you ever know.

My closet eating Fun Dip escapade was a reminder that even though I’m getting older and there is nothing in life guaranteed, that I’m not sophisticated or even wise…I can enjoy small moments. I can taste the sweetness of life. I may be acting a fool at 38, but I appreciate every moment of it. In a way that I didn’t appreciate things at 15 or 25. I definitely didn’t appreciate straight up sugar on a stick the way I do now. And that’s growth my friends. That. Is. Growth!

LG|LP

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Life Is Not Worth Living

It’s been a long, long, long week. After ignoring my cough for two weeks, it turned into bronchitis. And bronchitis is some real stuff! Like for real.

I have had my share of antibiotics, Mucinex, and Poise pads. (Ladies! After three kids, my bladder just doesn’t have it. Don’t act like I’m the only one!) I’ve spent entirely too much time alone, with my thoughts, while on drugs, feeling sorry for myself- trying to solve the problems of not just the world but my life. I’ve fought with God and the devil. I told you this bronchitis is some serious -ish!

I kind myself completely aggravated with people on Twitter and Facebook…borderline judging people –ok full out judging people–for the life they choose to reflect. I really haven’t been able to put my finger on it. I haven’t been able to figure out why people just Annoyed me…

Then, in an effort to use my brain I streamed a few TED talks (if you never have you MUST). A journalist who became a hemiplegic during an accident, went on a pursuit to find the man who instantly forever changed his life. He wanted some sense of remorse, instead he found something worse. He found another man’s life that was not worth living.

As I scroll through feeds, and have discussion and sometimes even arguments I find that what irks me most –most than anything — is the person who lives an unexamined life.

I’ve been examine by a doctor to discover my bronchitis. I was weighed (don’t even ask) and prodded– the cute little Serbian nurse shoved a toilet bowl cleaner up my nose to check for flu. The doctor talked through possibilities and treatments and options. He gave me some drugs & said hey if that doesn’t work, come back so we can figure something else out.

We aren’t really willing to do that, to shove toilet bowl cleaners into our spiritual lives or emotions or past choices. We aren’t Ig to let someone else in with their perspective, in fear they may judge us… Because judging is only God’s job. We don’t really want to change. When someone comes at us with conflicting view points, or makes us feel uncomfortable with their statements or challenges what we have known to be true for 20 years we defend and yell loudly:

YOU CAN’T JUDGE ME!
YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING!
THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE!
NO
NO
NO

(As a counselor I hear this so often, it’s almost epidemic.)

I am learning that I want to be uncomfortable. I want people to challenge my thinking. I want to take all that is offered and seek out the Scriptures so I am always sifting my beliefs through truth.

Admittedly, I have unfollowed several people this week–not out of judgement –but because I want to be surrounded by people who are truly willing to live an examined life–even on Twitter and Facebook.

I’m not perfect, I have my blind spots and much, much, much room for change and growth and improvement… But I’m willing. Because I want life worth living. I don’t want to ignore things and they turn into Bronchitis– have I mentioned it’s some serious stuff?!

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates

How Clooney at the Globes Challenge Us to Greatness

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Sunday I sat on the couch watching over privileged, pretentious actors tell each other how amazing they are over food and drinks that cost so much it most likely could have fed the entire population of hungry and homeless of the entire GLOBE.  Hence the name: Golden Globes.  I was not impressed by their hidden LGBT agenda, or their super shiny foreheads, but I did enjoy some of speeches. One in particular struck me.

George Clooney received a lifetime achievement award. His eyes teared, yours perhaps could, too. Or maybe not.

 

 

It dawned on me that there is something to be said about the appreciation of marriage as we grow older. I’m not certain Clooney would have even publicly expressed his love in such a way to a wife at 30, or even 40 years old. At 53, Clooney  appreciates his role as husband. It seems he embraces the feeling and choice to love.

Michael and I are working on our twelfth year of marriage. Only in the last two years have I truly grown to respect the covenant of marriage. Besides this roller coaster we ride called hell LIFE that has taken him and I up and down and then back up and then back down, it has been my age, my mistakes and God-given wisdom that gives me my new outlook.

Marriage is hard, people. So very hard. Hard enough that half of the people who decide to do it, bail out. And then there are the group of people who don’t even dare try.

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Tom Hanks as Coach Jimmy Dugan said it best in the movie A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN:

There’s no crying in baseball!

Yah, that was a very. important. statement, by the way.( There is absolutely NO crying in baseball.)

But when Geena Davis’ character Dottie is leaving the team, she explains to her coach:

“It just got too hard.”

And Coach replied:

” It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

We all want great marriages. We want to be the Proverbs 31 wife, and our husbands to flawlessly transition from provider to husband to father. We wish we had Clooney’s money because we are tired of being behind on bills, and let’s not even talk about how our kids have outgrown every piece of clothing we bought a few months ago, all $400 of them. We want our co-workers, and fellow MOPS moms to sit around and clap and give us awards so we can tell millions of people how grateful we are for our love and our chemistry that happened after waiting a lifetime for the right person and Praise God, we made the right choice and there is no looking back.

LBR (Let’s Be Real)

It just doesn’t work like that. Because…

Marriage is hard.

But when we do have those moments, those brief exhales when we can look around at our unbathed kids as they giggle at their dad’s crude jokes, and there isn’t one thing on the living room floor, and it is the day you washed your hair, we have our own version of greatness. Embracing those simple, fleeting moments is what gets us through the hard, and is what will make us great. Embracing great moments needs to be enough to fuel us through the hard.

Because your husband may never do a load of laundry for you…

Or know exactly what that squint of your eyes actually means…

or be able to talk to you for two hours starting the second he walks in the door from work.

Your wife might not always have every single dish put away…

or know why she’s crying…..

or understand the burden you carry every day.

But each of you have the possibility of greatness, within your marriage. Embrace it, and love it–like you’re a 53 year old Clooney.

LG | LP

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This Time, It’s Different

My house is drenched in Lysol and the scent of every possible Scentsy bar I could find in my drawer. The stomach bug is being passed around in my house like good weed at Woodstock. (Probably bad weed, too). Either way it’s not pretty, or fun. We are just making bets on who is getting it next, who will have it the worse, and who will sleep the longest. Thank goodness we are past the age of, “Mommy, I didn’t make it to the bathroom!”

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I will not let this horrible little prick of a virus stop me from writing. Even if I only get a paragraph or two out of myself between picking up sick kids from school, buying ginger ale, and spraying down every light switch. I am receiving so many stories: heartbreaking, cries from the soul, triumphs of strength. I’ve cried reading every one…EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

I am writing this book…and I’ve started writing books before, but not like this. This time, I swear it’s different. I’m certain you’ve heard that before…I know I’ve told myself that. Oh this job will be different…this boyfriend will be different. But for real this time. It’s like when I married Michael, it was just different–and right. For some reason, this time when I sit to type it just all flows out…and no only does it just flow out of me, it actually might make sense when I’m all done.

If you have “daddy issue” stories, please keep sending them. If you need some questions to help you get started, I have a few. Or if you just want to tell me your story, how you tell stories, I’m listening (and I will then proceed to cry). And if not, pray for me. I believe God will use this thing I’m doing in some small way, to make some huge difference in some jagged corner of this round world.

And just keep doing your thing, loving God and his peeps!

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