By Joan Endicott
While sitting on her Grandma Lucy’s lap, little five-year-old Sunny sweetly caressed and carefully examined her grandma’s wrinkled face and neck, then moved on to her crooked, bumpy fingers and thin-skinned hands. Then she looked very closely at her own hands and asked, “Grandma, God made you and He made me, right?”
“He sure did! He made everybody!” Grandma answered with a smile. Noticing the puzzled look on her granddaughter’s face, she asked, “Why do you ask?” Sunny sat and thought for a moment and then shrugged, “Ah nothin’, He just must be gettin’ better at it, is all.”
Every chapter and season of life has changes, challenges and celebrations. Aging has its own set. It can also be a target of disrespect, cruel jokes and ridicule in our youth-obsessed culture. I’m grateful for Ecclesiastes 3 that offers the reminder that there is a time and season for everything under heaven. (v2) A time to be born, a time to die; (4) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance; (6b) A time to keep, and a time to cast away; (7b) A time to keep silence and a time to speak.
A few years ago when I was blessed with the opportunity to begin The Change, as my grandmother’s generation called it, I overheard a gentleman (who should have read that Scripture about keeping silent) say, “It makes me feel uncomfortable when women talk about hot flashes.”
Now, if you could have seen the thought bubble above my are-you-kidding-me? facial expression, it would have said, “Oh you poor thing! You’re uncomfortable hearing about women’s hot flashes? Why don’t you swallow a barbecue, then be smothered with a wet wool army blanket…then we’ll chat about what uncomfortable feels like, okay brother?”
Since the word men-o-pause always sounded like something that happened to much older ladies, I decided to use words that sounded less old. For example, instead of hot flash, I could just say things like heat wave, power surge, or simply, flash! (And just a note to our loved ones, when you see us red-faced, fanning the raging inferno within, while running to stick our head in the freezer, please don’t draw more attention by asking the obvious!)
One Sunday after church, I was running into Costco for just a couple things – famous last words before spending $137, right? I walk through the door, Costco card in hand…and could immediately feel it coming. Ladies of a certain age know exactly what I mean…that feeling when you know it’s mounting and you’re seconds from a full-blown flasharoonie! Then I got a bright idea, so I start trying to speed-walk back to the produce department. It was so crowded I ditched the shopping cart by the men’s clothing so I could make my move. That’s when Mark called to tell me what else we needed. As I’m doing the dodge-ball-dance side to side, in and out of other shoppers, I’m narrating to my hubby, “I’m hurrying back to the cooler to flash!” Then, realizing what I had just said out loud, I decided NOT to look back to see who I might recognize. Sometimes it’s simply best not knowing!
In the various seasons of life, if not careful, we can look at other seasons in our own lives or even the lives of others and start to entertain envy without even knowing it. When we start down paths that begin with If only, I wish, Can’t wait ’til, or What if, the joy we could have experienced in those moments is sucked right out of us. Every. Single. Time.
Remember in your younger years, wishing for your next birthday? Maybe that started at 7 and you thought 8 would be great! Then 10 meant double digits, 13 is being a cool teenager, 15 is driver’s permit and more independence, then graduation and being on your own, married, children, then those same children are hurried through potty training and, before you know it, into driver’s training…and so it goes. If not living gratefully and in the present, we can easily wish our lives away, then look back, wondering where it went.
Alfred D’Souza shared, “For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”
Taking that even further, these obstacles are really opportunities. Everything you and I get to do, in every season of life, is indeed because of the life, breath, gifts, talents and abilities God has blessed us with. We can choose to be gratefully present for each and every part of it – even the challenging times.
I know you’ll also love the perspective Kelcey Grimes, a young wife and mama of two, shared:
IT’S NOT MY TURN
It’s not my turn to go where I want, when I want.
It’s not my turn to get butterflies on a first date.
It’s not my turn to plan a wedding. I’ve had my turn.
But, it is my turn…
It’s my turn to have some sleepless nights.
It’s my turn to have my clothes stretched out by little hands.
It’s my turn to have fingerprints on the screen door.
It’s my turn to do laundry. So. Much. Laundry.
It’s my turn to keep romance alive amidst the routine.
But even more than that,
It’s my turn to start family traditions.
It’s my turn to let a popsicle make anything better.
It’s my turn to heal boo-boo’s with a kiss.
It’s my turn to cuddle and rock.
It’s my turn for park days and play dates.
It’s my turn for first steps, first words, and first days of school.
It’s my turn to earn my laugh lines and gray hairs.
It’s my turn to soak up the beautiful, exhausting, magic of motherhood while the turn is still mine.
(This is only an excerpt. Enjoy more at www.OkieSunshine.com.)
It’s a powerful perspective that we can all use for wherever we are in life. For example, I can say, it’s not my turn to be the bride, rather, the mother of the bride. It’s no longer my turn to have tight, firm, young skin to live in; it’s my turn to see how gravity’s gift makes everything loosen up and head toward Venezuela. It’s not my turn to have the waist I once had; thanks to The Change, I guess it’s my turn to, let’s just say, have it covered with extra layers of fat to keep it from getting scratched. It’s not my turn to have youthful hands, straight fingers and pain-free joints; it’s my turn to look at my hands and see the blessing of hard work, and how well they’ve served me over the years. My hands have had the joy of preparing good meals for my family, cuddling and rocking my babies and grandbabies, and being held by my sweetheart for 43 years. And they’ve expressed love and compassion by tightly holding those who were hurting.
The reality is, God alone knows the number of days we each have on earth. But whether you’re in what you believe to be the first part of your life, the last part or somewhere in between, remember that God gives you the strength and power to live in joy and gratitude right where you are.
I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly, and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret, whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens and empowers me (Phil. 4:11b-13 ESV).
Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book and videos at www.JoanEndicott.com. Joan is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author and Coach who’s coaching has reached over 30 countries. Meet her and enjoy her encouraging messages on Facebook and Instagram.