There is a benefit to aging for me and that is having perspective. As a younger person I was very involved in getting married, making a home, building a family, and building up a successful life with my husband. I worked hard to keep my home clean and looking appealing as well as comfortable for my family and any guests that came to visit. I scrimped to pay the bills and I always felt that God was blessing me with every month that passed when I had enough to pay each bill. My life was all about nesting, about building up my family and making sure that they were a success. I wanted my parents to be proud of me as well. I spent hours and days and weeks working out details for helping my husband become a successful person. It was, you might say, all about him and seldom did I input to myself. My career was my family and I felt that God was blessing me with them. I worked hard to encourage the children to do well in school and get good grades and to reach for more than just being a housewife and Mom like me. I wanted them to go to college and in fact the expectation in our family was that everyone would get a college degree, and they did!
The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives. Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:1-3, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
I had such plans for my children, that they would be productive leaders and leave their mark in this world. I expected that my husband would also make his mark in this world and helped him to fulfil his goals. I was always building up and never thinking about how much was enough to obtain, or to have, and to show off. All through those younger years I felt that God was directing my life path. I gave God the glory for all the wonderful opportunities that came our way as a family and I was so pleased to be favored by God. I was also ill a lot and I do mean a lot! But my attitude was always that God could keep me ill and I would handle it as long as my husband and children were well, sort of like I was their scapegoat. I spent those times of illness in much prayer for my family and for anyone else that I knew was needing prayer.
The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil. When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice. The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:4-9, (NASB).
My children grew up and went to college and did well. I was now out of a job and so I searched for my place in God’s world and sought what God wanted me to go and do. It was an interesting time as my husband and I had really become quite successful in the world’s eyes. We had money in the bank; we drove nice cars, and lived in a big beautiful home. I knew, however, something was not right in me and I read more in the Bible and tried to find out what was missing in my life. My husband, on the other hand, had grown distant over the years and I often felt we were just roommates. I had an inkling of what was to come but not really. Have you ever been in such a situation where you feel something is not right but you can’t put your finger on it so you just ignore that feeling? Then you know what I am talking about. It was during this time of my life that I became unable to sleep at night and so I would sit up all night looking at the stars and praying for God’s guidance and help in figuring out what was wrong in our lives and asking God to make it right again.
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver. The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life. Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud. He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD. The wise in heart will be called understanding, And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, But the discipline of fools is folly. Proverbs 16:16-22, (NASB).
After we adopted our son from China I felt my emptiness disappear. He was such a cute little guy and so full of energy and I was back in my comfort zone of being a Mom. I felt happy and blessed that God had given us such a wonderful son. A year later that pride came falling down and I found wisdom to be so much better than gold. God was answering many of my prayers but I didn’t see it at the time. A crossroad was formed in my life path and it was time for me to decide whether I would go the way of the world or continue following the path God had laid out for me. I chose to stay on the path with God and my husband chose not to stay on that path and so he divorced me. The Bible became my lifeline and since I thought I would need to have a job I returned to college. I thought God wanted me to return to college and I graduated with a bachelor’s degree and then with a master’s degree. But no job offers panned out and I never have used my education to earn a living. I have, however, used much of what I learned to help me to understand much about my life and about the lives of those I love. God has shown me that trusting Him is valid and He never fails me, not ever! God’s plan for my life is still unfolding and it will as long as I breathe in this life. I love that I can rely upon Him to help me understand the things I don’t understand. God has been my rock!
There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 16:25, (NASB).
So what would I tell me as a young person? I would say go, have a good life, seek wisdom and not riches or success. Stay focused on God and not on the world because the path of the world does not fill you up and in fact it ends in destruction. Encourage your children to have strong relationships with God and encourage them to be strong Christians. Be a good wife and keep your husband close and engaged into the family life. Smile more and laugh more and build good memories for your aging years. Institute family devotions and teach about the love Jesus has for us and don’t rely upon youth programs, Sunday School, and youth groups to teach your children. I would tell the younger me that you are beautiful regardless of your weight or age and that you need never to feel less-than. I would say to not compromise so much and don’t be a person that runs from confrontation. Fight for God in your marriage, fight for God in raising your children. Be loving always and never, ever, ever, forget that you are walking a path laid out by God for you because you are His child and He loves you forever!