Facing the Reality of Aging

Now Moses was 80 years old, and Aaron 83 years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh. – Exodus 7:7

We stayed with our daughter during Hurricane Irma and returned home to find our house undamaged but our yard covered in trees and pieces of trees. Little wonder, considering we have more than 200 trees on our property. The next morning, cleanup began.

Our son had recruited some friends to help, so we developed a system: My chainsaw-wielding husband cut branches, and someone else lugged them to the road. Some raked while others bagged. Some cut and made bundles of thinner branches.

I raked, bagged, cut, towed, cooked and served. (Thank you, Jesus, for charcoal grills.) I rode on a wave of victory as I saw our front yard reemerge from piles of debris, the post-hurricane cool front propelling me along.

Then several hours along, as we were wrapping up the front yard, my son pulled me aside and said, “Mom, you need to stop. You’re working too hard.” A friend chimed in: “Let the younger people do the rest.” Then my son said those three dreaded words: “At your age . . . ” I don’t even remember what came next.

With those words, I realized I had fallen into a new category – one in which people feared I must be careful not to overexert or injure myself. When – how – did I become that person? When had youth so unceremoniously slipped away and the concept of aging taken its place?

The next day, I was exhausted, and my everything hurt. This was not helped by the 90-degree temperatures inside our house in the heat of the day. And then I realized – and please don’t tell him I said this – that my son had been right. I’m not as vigorous or resilient as I once was. And my current goal is to learn to be okay with that. This will be a process, possibly a long one.

But I don’t have to curl up and die. God can, and does, still use me. Lord willing, if He doesn’t return within my lifetime, I could have another 30 years ahead of me. And I intend to die with my spiritual boots on.

I may not be as strong in my body, but I am strong in my spirit. I may not be able to lift heavy loads, but I can help lift heavy hearts. I may be unable to endure physical exertion as I once did, but I can endure suffering and teach others to do the same. One thing I have learned: When I am weak, Christ is strong. My remaining years will, by necessity as much by the desire of my heart, be reliant upon His strength.

Lord, give me the strength of Moses and the fire of Joshua and Caleb. Give me the vision of Simeon and the faithfulness of Anna the prophetess. And give me the grace to accept my station in life, knowing the best is yet to come as I eventually enter into Your timeless, perfect eternity.