Have you ever noticed on a tombstone, at least very old ones, the year a person was born is chiseled in the stone, then comes a dash and finally the year the person died. When I see this I am reminded that between the years, the dash represents a whole lot of living.
I love the verse in scripture that says: I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Psalms 37:25. This is true for me. I have been young and today I am old but in between the young and the old there was a whole span of “messy in the middle.”
This quote says “ah, youth- it is a pity to waste it on the young.” I don’t know who said this but I certainly can relate. My childhood was dysfunctional but at the time I didn’t know it. I just thought it was normal. I loved making things, playing in the dirt and all the activities that accompany childhood.
Somewhere in between the beginning of my teen years and the age I am today there was a whole lot of messy. My parents worked and we would have probably been considered poor but what we were was normal to me. Mom was a nurse and dad was a panel electrician. Church was a given at least for my mother, sister and me. My father was- well my father, depending on circumstances attended church or didn’t attend. Life at home could be calm and in an instant it seemed everything was turned upside down. Messy fits concerning my life.
I left home at 17 to attend Bible College and Seminary. My father drove me to the campus that was 1500 miles from my home. He pulled up, dumped my stuff on the sidewalk, got in the car and said have a nice life and promptly drove off. I so wanted to cry but refused. I had no idea where to go or what to do next. I didn’t even have answers for the finance office until I called my mom at home. In the 4 year period there were peaks and valleys. I sang in the band vocal chorus and then for 3 years traveled with the college choir. How I managed to pay for all the extra is a testimony to God’s provision.
I fell in love got engaged – oops broken engagement. The next year I met someone and the courtship was combination of hills and valleys but we finally married and set out to pastor our first church. It would take pages and pages to tell about the happenings. We went on to pastor 8 churches in 7 states. During this time I learned that not all Christians were –well I will leave that to your imagination. I can tell you there were many nights I cried myself to sleep. There were times of no food in the cupboards and no money in the bank. When you are hungry you really learn how to pray.
As young married couple we survived a head on crash in a VW Bug and lived to tell about it. After the crash, I checked myself out of the hospital because we had no health insurance. We had been driving to a church to candidate for the position of pastor. My husband was going to call and tell them He couldn’t come but I told him to go. He placed a roll away bed by the phone (that was when phones were mounted on the wall) and I sent my husband off 200 miles away. I said I would call if I needed him. If I needed help I had the phone nearby. My husband took off in a rented car (ours could not be driven) to candidate for the church, I survived, and by the way we got the church.
The doctors said I probably should not have kids and they would be surprised if I would be able to conceive. Surprise, even though they thought I could not become pregnant I did. I lost the baby but in a short time I found I was expecting again. We had 3 children and they arrived one right after the other. The family now consisted of mommy, daddy, 2 girls and one son.
During the early years of marriage we managed to survive croup, chicken pox, measles and mumps. Their teen years saw me on my knees often. It is a wonder the kids survived. Messy, oh yes –pastor’s kids are supposed to be perfect – mine were not.
Middle age brought about other messes. I found myself in the unusual situation of having a marriage that was in trouble. It was over I thought, where was God? Again I am amazed that God can pick up the pieces of a broken life a broken marriage and put it all back together again and restore what the devil tried to destroy.
Messy – oh yes the middle of my life was certainly anything but calm or normal. Each of my middle years brought new challenges and more opportunities to trust my Heavenly Father. Was I the picture of faith and belief? I wish I could say yes to that but often I found myself praying or maybe screaming at God. He is ever patient and I am glad he did not call down thunder and hail upon me. Ever patient, ever caring, He listed as I cried and saw each tear shed.
Now I am old, and I can tell you the scripture I quoted in the beginning is true. I learned to stand on the promises of God and though at times I wondered and it seemed like hope was gone God was faithful. He did not forsake me and I have learned that every promise in the Bible is mine. I learned to live by faith even when I could not see the results. I am still doing this every day.
I don’t know how I got to this age. (Lol) I am not claiming old, maybe seasoned but not old. Things have settled down a little and the major messes of the middle years have passed. Do I still have problems; do I still have to daily stand on His word and trust Him? Yes! Yes!!!
My future is as bright as God’s promises. The older I get the more I look forward to that day when I shall see Him face to face. Don’t get me wrong I want to live every day to the fullest. I will take every day that God allows me but now heading into the sunset years I know He is always near.
I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him. One day all the messy parts of life will end and I will be home at last