Growing older

Last week I read a lovely story of  a elderly lady (Miriam Schmierer) who has just turned 111 (born 20 August 1899) - she has experienced three different centuries, outlived her husband, two sons, three brothers and five sisters and was born before Australia had chosen its first prime minister.  Asked about her long life, she replied:
"My main interest is my spiritual life, my faith," she said.
"Because of my age I have had more opportunity to spread the word about my faith and the benefits of living a Christian life. I'm very fortunate to still have my memory and be able to write."
I was touched by these words, finding them inspirational in this day where people no longer wish to live a Christian life.  It is my birthday today and I am a year older - yes, I know this normally occurs and there isn’t much I can do about it.  But it got me thinking. I am in my 40’s (quite a few years before I reach 50!), my children are almost grown up and soon, within a few years, we will be empty-nesters. When I read blogs written by young Christian women I read about their dreams for the future and I wonder about us more mature women. What is our place in the world, in particular when we reach those "older years" (no, not quite there yet).

Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, “Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest in life and living wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair – these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.” As we advance in years, we need to consider that “how” we grow old is far more important than how “old” we grow.

The Bible talks about the important role we are to play in teaching and sharing our faith, just like Mrs Schmierer has been doing:
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:2-4)
Wow, what an important role we have to play - getting older, according the Bible, this doesn’t mean “kicking up one’s heels” or “going slightly wild” or perhaps “spending all the inheritance so the children don’t get any” (I’m sure you have heard of these being said).  However for older Christian men and women it means playing a important role in the formation of the next generation, helping them to start their life's journey, sharing our experiences and being a guiding hand.

In this country, when people retire, the first thing you hear is "I'm off on a holiday", their first thoughts are not of others but to themselves. God doesn't want us to look selfishly at ourselves but to those around us.  To share our wisdom, to teach the next generation. So even though I can now see grey strands in my hair, the weight isn't moving as fast as it should and the years are starting to advance (ok - not that fast), I do have something very exiting to look forward to as I grow older and I would love to be Mrs Miriam Schmierer, who at 111 still is eager to share the word of God with all those around her.

If you all lived much closer - you would be very welcome to come and share my birthday cake - I plan to make a dark chocolate cheesecake - and forget about dieting and carrot sticks for a day.
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  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, and may indeed as you age, that you will mature with the wisdom of God, through the Holy Spirit's work within, you will have the opportunity to share that wisdom with others, and that you may age gracefully, though you are only a young thing yet!!
    Lots Love

  2. Happy birthday! ♥♥♥

    And you are going to have to post that recipe! I wish I could land on your doorstep & help you eat that.

    The Lord has blessed us. I am mentoring a new mother who has returned to the Lord after some years away. She is a blessing to me; I hope I am one for her.

    Verification is desslat. Mix of dessert & chocolate?

  3. Ganeida - click on the words "dark chocolate cheesecake" and it will take you to the recipe. I made it with 85% coco so it is REALLY CHOCOLATY!!! I think I added more than the recipe asked for - I didn't think it would affect the cheesecake too much!!!

  4. Happy Birthday! Your cheesecake sounds delicious! (o:

  5. oh wow! Happy birthday Jo! We share the same birthday then, except I wasn't going to tell everyone on my blog:) we must be about the same age as well I reckon. I had my dd in my thirties:)

  6. joyfulmum - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you are the 2nd person who I discovered shared the same day as me. May you have a wonderful day. I spent mine waiting for a plumber!!

  7. Happy Birthday Jo! What a wonderful role model Mrs Schmierer is to us all.

    PS I think I'm older than you. 50 is not very far away at all...

  8. Happy birthday to you dear Jo!! I would love to share your cake with you, and perhaps have a little cuddle with Ruby while I'm at it! lol

    What an inspiring person Mrs Schmierer is! Defininetly the Lord's hand is upon her! To be so old, and still have her wits about her is indeed a blessing.

    Enjoy the rest of your day!

  9. Thanks Jo! hope the plumber showed up and was able to fix the problem? you will have to take a rain check on your birthday now:) do make sure you do something special to celebrate!

  10. What an amazing lady - no wonder the Lord is so happy to leave her here to work for Him if she is so keen to share her love and faith in Him with people around her - her life glorifies Him still, and that is His ultimate purpose for us! And what an incredible gift to be so lucid and capable at that age; what an incredible story!

    Regarding people getting old, I think it is terrible how old age has become a time to focus so much on oneself and be so horribly selfish in today's society/world...

    The other thing that is terrible is that when you get an older person who is willing to share their wisdom or try to guide or help a younger person, too often the younger person bristles and rejects it anyway because we are living in times when young people "know it all" worse than at other times in history, I think (or so THEY think)! And not only that, but those young people have no respect for the elderly - and unfortunately something that encourages it is that older people don't act in such a way that encourages respect! (And in all that, I am of course talking in generalities - you will find older people who want to help younger people and you will find younger people who will listen to older people - especially in moral and family orientated and Christian circles... but those senarios are not common at all - sadly).

    And as I said elsewhere... Happy Birthday!! The Lord bless you! xo

  11. Happy Birthday and God Bless! If only the whole world saw age as Ms. Schmierer does!

  12. Happy Birthday, Jo! A wonderful post, too. It makes you think, doesn't it? We live in such a youth-conscious culture, as well, and that can serve to derail us as Christians if we're not careful. God has plans for us in all stages of our lives, if we are but faithful to Him!

  13. Well just great - I missed your birthday. Hate that~~~ can I send a belated wonderful birthday wish to you anyway!

    I feel like I have been gone forever from your blog - missed so much. A bit of travel and a blog break for me because I am sooo busy right now. And of course - I missed your birthday. So so sorry!




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