By Lisa Huddleston
“He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word” (Heb. 1:3).
Last week I turned 49 years old. I know that 49 doesn’t quite carry the significance of turning 50, but being the early bloomer that I am, I’m already looking ahead to that monumental date. Fifty years is a long time. It’s half a century. It’s five decades. Come on now—it’s truly approaching what I always used to call old. Yes. I am almost old.
Now I know that those of you who are already 50—or in your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, or even 90’s—will probably laugh at my premature designation. But you have to admit it. You begin to feel it around this time. The wear and tear is beginning to show, and I have to coax my body with some TLC to get it going some mornings. I’m almost 50, and I know it.
I’m also amazed to find that two of my kids are in their twenties now. I remember being their age. It was a time of big transitions. I was out of my teens, finishing my schooling, beginning my career and family, and actually realizing some of the dreams of my youth. It was a time of several physical moves and many more emotional adjustments, but it was a good time of life.
As I entered my thirties, I remembered the saying, “Never trust anyone over 30,” and I was shocked to find myself an adult. When I visited my college campus to attend a football game, I noticed they were now admitting children—the students looked younger and younger! I was a mother of two and then three babies, and I had already altered my dreams a bit and put my whole heart into the role of stay-at-home mom. We made a big move during that decade in order to allow my husband to be more involved as a dad, and we began to plant our lives into a new community. It was a challenge, but it was definitely a good time of life.
By the time I turned 40, things were rolling right along. The kids and I were into a comfortable homeschooling routine. Chuck was established in his career, and our family was thriving. Wouldn’t you know it? Just when we were safely in our rut, everything changed. Did you know that kids grow up and leave you? They do. And as one after another graduated from high school (the last one this June), my world was rocked. To top it off, Chuck kept being promoted right out of the work he loved the most until he found himself in an administrative role he hated. We both hit what felt like a bonified mid-life crisis at about the same time. Ka-boom! I frantically scrambled to redesign my identity and recover some of those earlier passions I had once pursued, and Chuck also went through a period of rediscovering his natural strengths and passion for hands on work. Thankfully, with help from people who God placed around us and more than a little direct intervention from Him, we both were led to satisfying resolutions and have seen the settling down of our trauma with little to no PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome). Despite the mid-decade travail, I learned a great deal in my 40’s so I must admit that it also has been a good time of life.
And now I face 50. Ok, the face that I face it with is getting a little weathered. There’s quite a lot of gray in my hair now, and the aches and pains nag me a little more each year. I know there will be many more transitions ahead. Soon my children will be starting their careers and raising their own families, and bringing me grandchildren to babysit (I hope)! Chuck and I will face more career changes—perhaps retirement or reassignments. But I have to say that I can’t help being excited by what we will learn in the next ten years. Through it all, there have been rich discoveries, new revelations, and a true deepening of our faith in the One who holds it and us all together. It is exciting to ponder what the future holds.
Despite the fact that I know there will be trials and challenges and times of great stress, I also know that my God will carry me through those time to a greater understanding of His ways. And the learning will be worth it! I am certain that I can say in advance that the next decade, as well as any more that I may experience, will bring ever increasing growth, and it will be a truly good time of life. After all, it’s Jesus who holds it all together—in the past, in the present, and in the future. He is the author and sustainer of my life, my faith, and my next ten years, and because of Him, I know it will be good!