Good evening, friends!  As it’s been some time since I’ve shared my heart with all of you, I feel compelled to take some time to do so.  So pull up a chair and visit, for awhile.

I’ve spent some time recently reflecting on aging – and working through what impact that has on my life.  At one time, I was the youngest lady in most groups that I became part of.  Twenty years later, that is no longer the case!  Even in my office at work, I look around me and there are salesmen (and ladies) who are just having their first children!  At church, as well – the Sunday School group that my husband and I “belong to” – is no longer the youngest, adult small group at our church.  Strangely, every now and again I find myself being surprised by this.  As I continue to consider it,  I’ve decided that there are benefits directly related to getting older.  One of which is the experience, and the wisdom to mentor younger women.  As we go through different “stages” of life, each stage provides us with experiences and memories that never leave us.  Those experiences – some joyful, some heart breaking, and some just challenging – provide us with knowledge, and insight which can be used to mentor generations behind us.

As I reflect on the last couple years of my own life, it occurs to me that one of the things that has become important to me – is having a group of strong, elder Christian women in my own life who act as role models to me.  For the last several years, this has been integral for me – since distance and (my) job schedule have prohibited me from communicating with my own Mother as frequently as I would like.  For the last couple of years, the group of people that my husband and I dance with are predominantly senior couples – and in the time that we’ve been dancing with them, I’ve come to realize that several of the ladies in this group have wisdom that I can learn from – as long as I take the time to build relationships, with them!  There are also some elder, more senior ladies in my church Worship Choir – who are strong, wise Christian women – yet have always given freely of their time, whenever I’ve asked it of them.   Recently, this has gained importance to me – as I’ve begun struggling to discern what my “goals” are – how I will define my life, throughout the next twenty years or so.  As concerns, and priorities continue to change for me, I need to continue to keep some elder “mentors” in my life.  Individuals who I can look to for encouragement, and guidance – in my life.

Now that I’m entering my forties, I find myself in a position where I have gained some life experience – from which I can mentor younger women than myself.  Ladies who, perhaps, have (or are just having) young children – and who’s parents do not live near them.  Or ladies who are just now making plans to return to work, after being out of the “professional” work force for a few years – during which they’ve stayed at home to raise children.  Even in regard to establishing a balance – between raising children, and personal happiness as a woman!  These are all topics that I feel I’ve gained enough experience, from – to be able to share with younger women.  As God has laid these things on my heart, I pray about opportunities to do so.  Perhaps even through public speaking, if that is where God leads in the future! In this season of life, I need these friendships with other women – in order to find some “balance” between my professional, and my personal life.  Both are important – both significant – but as I continue to age, and start looking back – am I going to be able to feel that I’ve influenced . . . . that I’ve impacted, anyone else’s life – with mine?  And if so, how?  In regards to what?

This is one of the things that I’ve spent some time reflecting on recently.  One of the things that’s become a bit of a preoccupation, with me.  Just recently, there are several of you who have provided me support, and encouragement – through private Facebook messages, and I’m truly grateful!  Your friendship in the midst of a bit of a difficult time, in my life – means more to me than I can say.  I treasure being part of your lives, as well.  Anytime that you desire prayer, or encouragement – I would be honored.  Good evening, and thank you for visiting with me for a little while again.

Greetings, friends!   Today, I’ve had something on my heart that I’d like to share about – so draw close and visit with me, for a bit.

This is a somewhat difficult subject – but an important one, I think.  I’m talking about offense – and how easily it can be given, within relationships.  I think that we’ve all been through it – at one time or another, in our lives.  It can come from family, from friends – or from complete strangers.  It can be given intentionally, unintentionally – or completely unconsciously.  It can be caused by word, by action – or by inherent attitude.  Regardless of how it comes about, though – it’s always painful!

I was thinking today about an acquaintance of mine who is in the midst of a very painful time in his life.  It had been some time since I had last heard from him, but . . . it soon became quite clear that the reason that he was not his usual ebullient, encouraging self on this occasion was because he was suffering from a boute of depression.  When I asked what it was that had brought this about, his response was that he had recently done something that had caused offense, with one of his oldest friends – and as a result, believes that the friendship may now be over.  He didn’t mean to cause offense – in fact, it is my belief that he didn’t even know that he had caused offense with his friend!   All the same, the relationship between them is in jeopardy.

We’ve all been there, friends.  Involved in a long-term relationship with someone – which has developed over time into a close, and treasured friendship.  Then one day without knowing it, we say – or do – something that our friend so deeply disagrees with, that they feel like we’ve betrayed them!  In one fell swoop, the friendship is over!!  I’m not a psychology major, friends – so I don’t have any solutions to propose.  I just know that I’ve had these experiences a few times in my life.  And every time that it happens, it is always just as painful.

What these experiences have taught me – my friends – is that relationships can be precarious.  We’re all created with feelings, and emotions.  And the capacity to love deeply.  This same capacity also makes us vulnerable.  It has been my experience that as we age, we give of ourselves – and form lasting friendships – less and less easily.  I think that as we get to be middle aged, most of us really only have a few very close friends.  And we treasure those friendships, deeply.  Every once-in-a-while, though – life throws a curve ball, and one of our closest friendships takes a turn that we never would have expected!  Sometimes, whatever offense was brought only causes a temporary rift – but other times, it causes such a large – and enduring – rift, that the friendship cannot overcome it.   On the occasions that a long-term friendship ends suddenly, we always feel a deep sense of regret which can take time to fade.  In it’s wake, we usually wind up either drawing closer to a spouse, or another close friend of ours for comfort.

I think that as a partial result of these occasional losses, we wind up meditating on our own behavior – and the quality of our relationships with any remaining close friends.  I know that for myself, I wind up feeling a compulsion to run to the comforting arms of my Lord and Savior – as I try to discern what went wrong!  In His compassion, and steadfast love – I’m usually eventually able to come to grips with the loss.  I would admonish you though, friends – that as you’re working through the process – don’t distance yourselves from others that really care about you!  I believe that this is the point that I’ve been attempting to draw to – throughout this whole monologue.  There are always at least a few other people in your life who really care about you!  If in our grief, we deny any attempt that they may make to love and support us – we could be unintentionally causing a rift, ourselves.

It says in the Bible that acceptance and compassion are virtues.  I think that it is important for us, then – as we go about forming friendships – to bear these things in mind at all times.  As you keep, and develop friendships through the years – be kind to those you care about – and accept them for who they are, even with their weaknesses and short comings.  Have compassion for those less fortunate than yourself – or with special needs.  For not doing so is to to not – truly – value, the relationship.

Well, friends – I think that I’ve made my point for this evening.  Thank you for sitting and visiting with me, for a bit.  My friendship with each of you truly warms my heart!!  And as always – if something I’ve said strikes a chord with you – please comment, so that I may be party to your thoughts as well.




On Aging, and the Importance of Friendships

Good evening, friends!  Tonight’s blog is not going to be as deep as the first two that I put together this last weekend were, or necessarily taken from the Bible – but the topic is one that is near to my heart, at my age.  If you’ll bear with me – I want to discourse for a little while on aging, and the importance of friendships. For those of you…

who didn’t know my husband and I before we moved to Minnesota – you don’t realize how different our lives were, in WA.  Now that we’ve called Minnesota home for a little over seventeen years, we’ve discerned that there are many – huge – culture differences, between the two states!  And for the most part, we don’t “fit in” here!  Oh – don’t get me wrong – we don’t mind trying new things, and having new experiences . . . but in the years that we’ve been here, now – we’ve discovered that there are some gaping, societal differences also.  In addition to the fact that neither of us water ski or ice fish, we didn’t grow up here.  So neither of us have come up through school with any of you, nor do we have a cabin up north.  Seventeen years ago, when we were both younger – and my husband was just making his initial career decisions, it became evident that if we stayed in the Seattle area – he would reach the financial “ceiling” of his profession relatively quickly.  So he made what has turned out to be a very quality decision to look – nationally – for work.  After doing phone interviews with companies in several different areas, he was extended an offer by a software consulting firm out of Minneapolis, MN.  At the time, my husband was stunned – as in conversation with me following a second (phone) interview, he was of the opinion that he had “come across” very poorly, and completely blown the interview!  When they called him back and extended him an offer – we were both floored!  After discussing it for less than a day, we were both of the opinion that the only God-honoring decision that we could make was to accept the offer – and leave all of our family, and mutual friends – to pursue God’s will for our lives.  After all, I already had extended family here – and when it comes right down to it, we’re only a short plane flight away – right?  When you’re young and childless, these are the kinds of decisions that you’ll make. Now that we’re both older, and are raising children of our own . . . some of these things have begun to resonate more, within us.  For the last thirteen years, we’ve been blessed to have my husband’s Mother, and younger Sister living close to us.  There’s a story that I could go into detail about there, also – but suffice it to say that when my husband and I found out – a little over thirteen years ago, now – that we were expecting twins (not just a single baby) – my Mother-In-Law made a decision to leave her (very good, secure) job at Boeing in Seattle – and move out (with her youngest Daughter – my Sister-In-Law) to Minneapolis to assist us.  We knew that my (single) pregnancy being our first – that having one child to care for was going to be enough of a challenge, but having multiples right out of the gate??  In mid-May of this year, however – my Mother-In-Law received a stroke of good luck, and had a home (on a rather moderate lot) in the Long Beach area of WA State reduce in price deeply enough, that she was able to purchase it!  She and my Sister-In-Law are now living in WA again.  Seventeen years later (and both of us a bit wiser) – we’re still living here, and raising our own children with no immediate family in the area.  Out of necessity, we have found activities here that we enjoy doing together.  And the church that we belong to is a dynamic, growing church with strong, capable leaders in charge of different areas of ministry!  Time, and some tough experiences in recent years, have shaped our thinking and feelings heavily.  We still don’t “fit in” to the culture here – and having aged, as long as we’re able to do well enough professionally to be comfortable – we’re starting to have some regrets about not living close to our entire families, and many of the – mutual – friends, that we had before (and for the short time after, until we moved away) we got married.  To that point, the advent of Facebook has been a wonderful, and important tool for us. The point that I’m driving to with this blog, my friends – is this.  For those of you who are still young enough, and in a position in your lives to benefit from my/our experience – when life offers you opportunities to make radical changes, ensure that whatever decision you make is God’s will for you.  Because sometimes those decisions result in more sacrifice as we age, then we initially thought that they would involve!  Don’t get me wrong, friends – this sounds like a very pessimistic end to this blog.  Yet I’m not desperately unhappy here in MN  – I love The Lord my God with all my heart, and in many ways – our moving cross-country years ago has been one of the best experiences that we’ve ever undertaken.  But in hindsight, I would admonish you to pray – friends – before making any life-changing decision!  Praying God’s will for your life is not something that should be considered lightly!! Blessings to you, Friends – and as always, I anticipate your input!!   : )