"Lord, help me to accept the ME you've made for this season," she prayed silently, "I want to be effective."
Sometimes we look at ourselves, the real us, and wonder what in the world. We ask questions...what was God thinking when He made me with the personality I have? What was He expecting to do with the desires He placed within me? And how does He expect to bring it to pass when I apparently don't have what it takes any more? What does it even look like now? Have you ever had similar thoughts?
Or what about this route...
Look at what I've become. See the gray, out-of-control, strands of hair protruding from my head and the ever-increasing, dark-spotted skin of my face? What about these frames of newly, prescribed bifocals? My mind isn't as sharp as it used to be. How did I become this "older" version of myself? My figure has changed...gravity is winning the battle! I no longer have young children to care for and sometimes need my children to care for me instead. I'm all washed up. I can't make a difference. Ever been there?
Or what about this route...
What am I supposed to do in this phase of life? What is my purpose? It seems what I've done for the past number of years is no longer in my wheelhouse. Where do I fit in? Life is passing me by so quickly! Is there a new purpose for me to fulfill or am I finished? What is God's plan for me now?
These, and hundreds more thoughts and unwanted suggestions can plague a woman's mind at some point during her lifetime. I suppose they are legitimate questions to be asked. We do change. In every way. Some of us quicker than others. Every season of life, from childhood, to zealous teen, to young married, and onward, as life passes by, we change, must fulfill new roles and carry ourselves a bit differently than before times. But it doesn't mean we are finished or a "no longer."
Psalm 92:14 says, "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing..."
This verse brings a chuckle to my heart..."fat and flourishing" - just what we all want, huh? Hey, it's in the Word though! Tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor? (By the way, I know what it's talking about...just sharing a smile today.)
It's during times of transition and change that the enemy would like us to think we're failures. We've not measured up! What we thought God had chosen for us to do was just a waste of time. Because, after all, we're all washed up in that area now. It's over.
For some of us, we're no longer mothers of little toddlers, we're no longer wives of young, strapping, good-looking husbands, we're no longer at the top of the leader boards in our company, we're no longer employed, we're no longer able to serve like we once did. We're no longer...
It can be quite a challenge to deal with the "no longer" stages of life. And, although it can happen at any stage, I'm speaking of the "older" ladies today - the middle age and beyond. (I'm there!) You still have a purpose. There is still something big for us to do; it just might look a little different than it did yesterday.
We're not a has been or a "No Longer"; God doesn't make those models!
Although we may feel on some days, that we don't measure up or have what it takes, we can be sure God will never be finished with us as long as we walk this earth. We're not forgotten! There is a purpose for our lives, we are still fighting, still making a difference, still shining the light in darkness.
"And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." Isaiah 46:4
Never, ever give up. We were made to make a difference in every season of life. When we're feeling "old" or of no effect - a "No Longer", let's realize that's not from God; with age comes wisdom. What you're seeing from behind those bifocals, what you're feeling under that warmth-giving shawl, still matters. What we see in those fine lines and wrinkled hands can be an encouragement, she can offer compassion like no other, and can touch lives in gentle but powerful ways.
True...you may no longer be physically strong and able to keep up with the youngsters but you're spiritually strong and are full of so many life testimonies to share with others.
Accept where you are. Shine bright, flourish, and make a difference. You can be effective. Celebrate!
To every lady out there who is asking questions, who are wondering about the stage of life you find yourself in...we can be amazing in every season. There is a purpose for our being because God always has a plan, accepts and longs to use us. It's time to get up and celebrate, let's make a difference - whatever that looks like for you during this season. He never considers us, no matter our age or season in life, to be a "No Longer."