Many years ago I remember sitting with an older woman who shared with me that she really didn’t have anything left to share with the body of Christ, except to pray. It was time to let the younger ones take over. She didn’t say it with conviction, but with a sadness of heart. A sigh. As if she had resigned herself to being “put out to pasture.”
I remember thinking how sad it was to come to that season of life and feel you have nothing to offer. I wish I would have thought to ask her why she felt that way or how she had come to that conclusion. I did however try to encourage her by saying that she still had much to offer and I for one would love to have just half the faith she had in her God.
Today I am sitting here working on my Bible Study lesson as Beth shares, “Contrary to my expectation, the women who stood before us were not beaten down by a youth-obsessed culture nor were they gearing down for spiritual retirement. Their heads were raised high…they weren’t proud but, make no mistake, they were confident….They’d suffered too much and lived too long to pretend to the rest of us that life turns out like a Disney movie.” (Beth Moore: Children of the Day;135-36)
I am of an age that it’s easy to give into the lie that I no longer have value in the church. Too often it seems the younger generation are the movers and shakers and the older ones are being left behind or left out of the work. Maybe it’s just that I attend a church where there really are not any women over the age of 65 and the age demographics are closer to 30 to 40 something.
As I reflect on this season of my life I understand now, how and why that older woman may have felt the way she did, but I want to choose to be like the women who stood confident knowing that they had a lifetime of truth to share.
I am tired of giving into the lies that I have nothing to offer a younger generation. What better way for the enemy to lead a whole generation astray than to convince an older generation that they are not needed.
The truth is they are desperately needed. They are needed because
- they have walked through suffering, sorrow, heartbreak and come out on the other side stronger in the Lord. They can walk along side the younger generation and show the way.
- they have been successful leaders and business owners, and they have learned from their failures. They can mentor and teach from both their success and failures.
- they have raised families, buried children, prayed for the prodigal, and walked through life with a special needs child. They can help guide the younger mother.
- they have lived life in the valleys and on the mountains. They have walked through the hot humid deserts and the land of fertile soil yet still found God true to His promises.
- they have life experience which is different from book learning. This new generation has a greater opportunity for higher education, which is valuable, but books can not always teach us everything about actually living life.
- they have been in plenty and want yet have seen the faithfulness of God.
Yes I want to be an older woman that stands with confidence knowing that her God is not ready to put her out to pasture. I want to stand firm on what I know in the face of the lies and self doubt. I want to live life to the full (at least as full as this decaying body will let me) and know that while I can most certainly pray there is still so much work this older woman can do!
But the reality is, most days, I am too tempted to give into the lies that I am no longer needed….or worse…wanted.
Oh God may you speak truth into this stubborn heart of mine and help me stand firm in the knowledge that you still have a purpose in my life. As I heard someone say recently if I’m not dead then God isn’t done with me.
I still have a purpose for Your Kingdom…help me see it.