I turned 50 this year–actually last year. I’m staring at 51 in November.
And I finally have to admit, I don’t look 29 anymore. This was definitely one of those milestones that felt more like a giant hailstone…on my head. Actually–my neck. What is this business about your neck going south when you age?
Anyway, during my 49th year, I did a lot of mental preparation. In fact, I spent my entire 49th year feeling 50, so I never got to be 49 at all. I’m serious. I’ve spent two years being 50. I am now so OK with 50, that it only just occurred to me a few weeks ago that…ackkkkk!…I’ll be 51 soon.
As I geared up for the big 5-0 during my 49th year, I told the Lord that I wanted to hit 50 like a race horse. I wanted to be in the starting gate, and when the gates opened, I wanted to bust out and start running like the wind. I told Him I wanted a new career, or ministry. One of my fears is that when my kids are grown and leave the house, I’ll be left standing here, wondering what the heck happened to my life. So, by the time they are ready to go, I want to have my new career/ministry ramped up and going strong.
I have to tell you what has happened so far this year. Several months ago, my girlfriend told me about a mini-triathlon that she was thinking about participating in. She wanted to do it as a 3-woman team, so that one person would do the biking portion, one the running portion, one the swimming portion. Although I’ve never been in a triathlon of any kind, I immediately volunteered to be the swimmer–I’ve always been half fish. So, in August, I swam a half mile in Lake Washington–further than I have ever swam in my entire life. I found out later that several brave women who were going to do the whole mini-triathlon looked at the swimming course, and burst into tears. It apparently is the least favorite part of the triathlon for a lot of people.
Then, the very next month (2 weeks ago, in fact), my husband decided to do a mini running triathlon. My 13-year-old daughter and I decided to do it with him–walking. We walked 12 miles–twice as far as I can remember ever walking in my life.
This is more significant than you think. About 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety/panic disorder. I had lost my mom and dad to death through ugly diseases, and I was falling apart. I had lost about 40 pounds in 3 months and had absolutely lost my appetite. Truly–I could not eat and managed to force about 500 calories into my body each day. I had no energy and for about 3 or 4 months, I spent most of the time in bed. I couldn’t even make it on my own power through the grocery store. I was trembling 24/7.
God reached down and pulled me out of the pit. I had been put on medication and told to stay on it for a year, but after three months, He told me unequivocally to stop taking it, have faith, and start walking across the water toward Him. I did, one shaky step at a time. For the last three years, I have been completely healed–hence the rolls of fat that have now re-established themselves on my back.
And now one more wonderful thing to praise God about. You know that career/ministry I was talking about? My heart’s desire is for the Lord to use my writing for His glory. I have a B.A. in Journalism, and I’ve been editor of two small trade mags, but I’ve never been published in the Christian genre. Until now. Discipleship Journal just accepted a feature article from me, titled, “The Tenderness of God.” You cannot know how thrilled I am.
When the editor sent me the contract paperwork, she asked for some biographical information about me. She wrote, “you are becoming a teacher to more than 100,000 readers and they want to know more than a job title about you.” I knew the magazine had a circulation of 100,000, but when I sat back and tried to visualize 100,000 people in a huge arena, I thought, wow. WOW. A teacher to all those people?
Father God, how wonderful you are. You have taken this broken child of yours, and placed her at the starting gate, and you have opened them, and now I am running like the wind.
Only You can make fifty fabulous. I can hardly wait to see what you do with 51.