Friday, February 4, 2011

Life in the Parenthesis

The title of my blog (as you are aware) is about what it is like at this stage of my life to wait on how God wants to use me (or the in between time of life).

Today, I found an amazing book that echoes exactly my thoughts and feelings about this time of life! I heard the author for just a few minutes on Bott Radio (more specifically "Focus on the Family"). It is EMBRACING YOUR SECOND CALLING by Dale Bourke.

Just in the first chapter Bourk captures my fears about facing the last half of life (although living to 116 would be an amazing feat in itself, we still consider after 50 the last half of life, don't we?).

The author (Dale Bourke) shares how most women were told, "You CAN have it all. Don't waste your education. Aspire to be all you can and more! You can take care of family and career and achieve anything a man can!"

She describes how in her 30s she did just that. One particular crazy day in her life, she shared how as a young mom living in Washington D.C. she was called during dinner for an emergency meeting in L.A. Knowing the flight schedules by heart, she fed the kids, bathed them, put them to bed, got a flight and a red eye back so she could be the room mom during St. Patrick's day at school, got to LA, ran to the mall before the meeting, bought St.Patrick's Day decorations, shipped them FEDEX to the school, did the meeting and got back in time for car pooling the next morning.

She said she realized that today if someone called her to be in L.A. on such short notice, she would just laugh.


This part of life isn't easy either. She writes, "We are suddenly not so busy. In fact, we might even be feeling a little lonely. Where did all the noise and activity go? Where are all the people who once needd us? ...It is in this parenthesis, this time of reflection, that we are so very vulnerable."

I listened just yesterday to the past supermodels on Oprah talking about aging and laughing at plastic surgery results on aging models (yet, I swear they were puffy from injections and their eyelids were raised in constant surprise and their hair colors were beyond what 60 can do on its own).

We color our hair, buy creams, exercise, but the fact is every day we wake up, and we are aging, and quite frankly, some of us are now old. I know I am.

I like the new idea though that this author offers. She says, "if you listen carefuly, you will hear a whisper. It is not the cacophony of advertisers telling you to hide your wrinkles. It is a whisper that says you are being called to something new. It is a gentle voice that seems to say, 'AH,NOW I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION.' God doesn't care if we are sagging, graying, or much estrogen we have or if our falling arches have moved us from stiletto heels to Birkenstocks. ....the fact that we are becoming less physically attractive may be jus the way he wants us."

Anne Morrow Lindbergh's quote is also poignant, "Perhaps middle age is, or should be, a period of shedding shells; the shell of ambition, the shell of material accumulations and possessions, the shell of ego."

What I really like, Dear Reader, about this author is that she does not sugar coat any age nor the sadness of aging, the loss of physical beauty and abilities that once were taken for granted.

She does not stay there.

She calls us during this parenthesis of our lives from success to significance (Bob Buford's book Game Plan for men used this idea and she likes it for women as well).

She claims God wants us to know that the best is not behind us. He is calling us to step up the the challenge and to leave the past behind!

As we have come to a point in our lives where something is different, where the silence in our homes may be deafening, where our purpose seems purposeless, where loss replaces love, we feel out of control and wonder how to fill the rest of our lives.

"He will whisper to us NOT in the mad rush and fever of our striving and our fierce determination to be someone, but rather when we are content to rest in him, to put ourselves into his keeping, into his hands."

Naomi is the Bible woman this author admires most. Yes, Naomi became bitter and wanted to change her name even, but who would not? She was happy and HAD IT ALL! Then suddenly, while living in a foreign land, her husband and sons die leaving her at an age she could not remarry or start over. Her daughter-in-laws loved her dearly. (That tells you a lot about her relationship, doesn't it?)

Naomi did not lose her faith. Yes, she blamed God. She told her daughter-in-law that God had dealt her a heavy blow. Naomi did not give up though, especially for Ruth. In the end she ends up caring for her grandson who became the grandfather to King David and you know whose relative he was....

"It was not because of what she did the ine first half of her life but because of what God did through her in the second half."

I like this book. (Can't you tell?)

And yes, I will stop using the parenthesis now. I know you have noticed my not-so-subtle use of them in illustrating my point. We are taught in English class that these expressions are side comments and not as important to the text of the story. However, in math class, these symbols give direction to the user for the order of operation and are crucial in solving problems.

I like to think this part of my life is more mathmatical. This parenthesis part of my life is finding the order God wants me to have in the sudden silence of aging.

I hope you join me in reading this book. It is exciting to see what NEW THING (Isaiah) HE is going to do in this ( ).

For His Glory,

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