I’ve realized I’m an older woman. This knowledge didn’t suddenly strike me. I’ve seen the strands of grey growing coarse and shiny for several years. I’ve traced the wrinkles around my eyes. I’ve pulled my ponytail tighter and wondered at how a bit of loose skin can make such a difference in the mirror. I’ve also been struck by how the soul, my spirit, my inner being doesn’t feel age. “I” still feel like “I” felt in my 20’s. My body? My stamina? Not so much.
I don’t begrudge being 53. According to the social-security-life-expectancy calculator, I’ve got another 34 or so years unless Jesus comes first or decides I get an express pass to heaven. According to a chart on the Berkely.edu website, if I had been around in 1900, I would be 7 years past my life expectancy already! Wikipedia says that women in ancient Rome (if they lived past their teen years despite the high mortality rate of childhood illnesses) were also likely to die in their late 40’s. In either ancient Rome or the USA in 1900s, I would be a very elderly woman. My young, beautiful newlywed daughter-in-law would be nearing “middle age.” Instead, today, 50 is the new 20 and I have 30+ years to live, Lord willing.
What I don’t have is any way to justify not listening to Him calling me. That is the growing realization, the increasing urgency of knowing I am one of the older women. No matter how young “I” feel inside, no matter how much I still have to learn, no matter how much I am still missing the mark, because of my age, God is calling me to something different. This started weighing on me a couple of years ago. I started hearing Him calling me to something different when I was asked to lead a Tuesday morning Ladies’ Bible Study. Over and over again, I keep coming back to this realization that He is calling me to something different. I hear Him calling me most clearly in Titus 2:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)
I know His voice. I hear Him calling me. I have followed Him since I was 8, and I’m going to keep following Him. When I left high school, I headed to Harding, confident of His leading. After college, I married Mike, sure that God had brought us together. We raised our children confident of our calling as parents to introduce them to Jesus, to be Bible school teachers, to work in our careers as best we could to glorify God and love people. Now the kids are grown–and everyone of them is working and living life as independent adults. That leaves a momma of 26 years a bit disoriented.
I know His voice. I hear him calling me, to a new thing. I feel a bit like Abraham when God called him and “he went out, not knowing where he was going.” If you know me at all, you know I yearn for goals. I crave a plan. I love to problem-solve. I like to identify the target and then dive in full throttle to make it happen. The truth is, I tend to jump right over “Ready” to “AIM” and “FIRE!” Starting anything without a target, without an end-goal feels like jumping out of a plane without a parachute: deadly preceded by terrifying.
I’m not sure where He is calling me. But, I hear His voice. I am drawn over and over again to Titus 2:3-5. I hear His voice in those verses, and they seem to echo in my heart more and more each day. I have been dragging my feet for a while on this, waiting until I knew where He is sending, trying to figure out the path, the destination, the what or the how. No more. He is calling. I am going. I’m heading out, not knowing where, but fully convicted that He is leading the way. With God’s help, this blog post is my first step toward the new place He is leading me.