Monthly Archives: March 2015

Making Peace with Midlife — at the Movies

When something’s on your mind, ever notice how you begin to observe it in spades? When being single was un-welcomed, it seemed everyone was holding hands. Looking for a new car,  the unique model I “discovered” suddenly was everywhere. When I make something a priority, it flavors my days and sharpens my awareness.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we always had God at the forefront… and lived with our senses wide open to the perspective of the One who made us?  We would see wonderful sights, hear wonderful sounds, meet wonderful people … and be happy to return home to tell Him all about our experiences.

IMG_1022The theme I’ve been writing about — the change,  joy and abundance of life’s second half, and God’s purposes for us in it — is no exception. He’s been constantly challenging my earthbound foreboding to be mastered by His Kingdom outlook on midlife. There’s nothing new under the sun, but we each get to personally experience life afresh. All roads lead back to Jesus.

Recently Rob and I saw “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” In the movie, an eclectic group relocates to vibrant India to stretch their Euros in retirement. The resident hotel they choose is more rundown and unorthodox than ever imagined, but the quirky communal living serves to positively transform each guest. They embrace relationships, love and life, as they let go of the past. Familiar ideas. My review: Entertaining and cute with a quite few belly laughs.

IMG_0933One hotel guest is being courted by two men. As they approach a “T” in the road where the paths to her suitors’ homes diverge, her driver always asks, “Left or right, Madame?” She often struggles with her answer.

Finally, she asks the driver, wise beyond his years, how he makes very difficult decisions. He answers, “I don’t think they exist, Madame. When you toss a coin, you always know which side you want it to land on.”

We scheduled a 5th anniversary trip for this summer. Travel together has proven to offer more than enjoyment. God’s voice overwhelms the urgency of the world when we steal away. Nevertheless, circumstances caused us to consider canceling; it’s probably the judicious thing to do. After prayers and mulling over it for weeks, I suggested we flip a coin.

imgres-1We secretly wrote down how we were hoping the coin would “land.” Seems we did have an unrealized preferences; we both voted yes! No coin needed. Carpe diem, (remember Dead Poet’s Society?) is sometimes the best choice regardless of conventional reason. Midlife seems to afford us more space to explore what’s beneficial in His eyes and to make choices that expand us — as God created us to be.

We also saw two trailers suggesting this suddenly-everywhere theme. The first was “The Age of Adaline,” a new movie in which a car accident magically gives immortality to a young woman born at the turn of the century. She never wants to fall in love, because it’s no fun if you don’t grow old together… hmmm.

IMG_0338It prompted me to ask Rob (who sweetly indulges my endless, silly games), “If you could go back to any age and remain there forever, what would it be? Before you answer, there’s a catch — you will always have both the body and mind (wisdom and experience) you had at that time, with no aging or growth.” (I diplomatically told him he didn’t have to consider when we met).

We independently decided we would refuse the tempting deal. We value the wisdom and growth of the passing years more highly than youthful vitality. Job 12:12 says “Wisdom is with aged men, With long life is understanding.” Wisdom increases geometrically with time — especially for a Christian.  James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” Talk about something to look forward to!

The question is, am I living in acknowledgment of the increasing good and perspective each year brings?  Or am I lamenting all that is lost? I loved being young: especially being mom to growing children. And I want to respect my body. However in light of the adult journeys of our awesome, independent children (and our newly defined relationships) and my own good health,  I’ve given the circumstances of this stage more grief than they’re due.

More significantly,  I want to live fully celebrating my life’s present potential and all that God just keeps making better! Gratitude is my new best friend, as we’re becoming more deeply acquainted.

IMG_1513The other trailer was for “While We’re Young,” a movie about a listless middle-aged couple hanging out with hipsters in their early 20s. Some adventures were admittedly out there, but like the colors, connections and celebrations portrayed in our movie, the overall concept appealed and felt transforming in a good way. We were enlivened as we left the theatre.

Rob and I recently spent an evening with my daughter and her boyfriend. It proved invigorating and energizing in a hard-to-express, but different way than our normal night out.

No matter what sprightly people we encounter — it’s useful and inspiring to hang with younger folks — and fully breathe in the experience. In Matthew 18:3 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Sometimes we need to be reminded how to be like little children.

Positano, Itlay
Positano, Itlay

Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there’s “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”  My prayer is that God opens my heart to His presence in all my being. I don’t want to deny the sadness of this season or to miss the fresh joys, but to honestly embrace His promise and purpose in the newness of each day.

Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
    all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
    I’m on the right way.” (Psalm 16:11 MSG)

 If you would like to get future posts by email, please let me know below — or “like” Pink Reflections on Facebook. You can unsubscribe at any time.

A Midlife Prayer Offered in the Middle of the Night

***I took this post down yesterday, so that I could add a few explanatory thoughts that might be helpful if this seems “heavy.”  This is a real prayer first written in my journal – just between God and me. Friends have asked me how to pray — to have a personal relationship with Jesus. There are many answers. I decided to share one intimate prayer of my own.

I posted this with a lightness of heart and spirit only God can provide. He showed me that while the backside of life and the empty nest require a lot of letting go, it’s not predominantly about loss but change. And that there is value and purpose NOW – especially growing more like Jesus, which means more like myself every day. This half (including a few tears) is a wonderful gift we can slowly unwrap and savor until we understand fully what’s at its center (spoiler alert: it’s Jesus).

My blogs often involve being vulnerable and allowing others a view into my heart. My prayer below is a glimpse of a small fragment of my prayer-life — which is filled with honesty, love and joy.  Please read this noticing how God moved me from acknowledging my fear (the world tempts us all with its ways) to victory and joy. To Him be the Glory!***

The response to moms at midlife was humbling. My husband said men experience similar emotions and told me he wanted to read more… for me to answer so what now?

I don’t know. I’m not there yet. God’s still working out His plan and asking me to share my journey as it unfolds. The vulnerability  that requires is scarier than the actual experience. But God has never disappointed me when I listen and obey Him.

IMG_0176I’m no longer at home in my “normal” life. I usually sleep well, but restless, I started to pray this morning around 3 am.

Dear Jesus, I’m scared. I’m not sure who I am or what I’m doing — but I’m pretty sure I’m off-track. Something feels wrong. I need Your help.

I’m thinking about my children and the details of their lives; You are good. I’m worried about my parents, our business; You are sovereign. My neck hurts and doctors have no answers; You are my Healer…

I’m quickly recognizing that I’m more focused on circumstances than Your character and faithfulness. I’m not trusting You. Why can’t I hang on to what I know to be true? I know You use all things for good – I’ve lived it. Yet, I feel stress, unrest and fear.  Is this something you can work with?

IMG_5919You say Your strength is made perfect in my weakness — I am ripe for the pickin. I know myself to be less strong, less in control, less knowledgable, less proud, less attractive, less useful… than I ever thought before.

I’m 50 years old and often don’t know what to do, and don’t do what I know is right. My head knowledge masquerades as faith, while my heart so often doubts the Truth. I don’t feel as together as I thought I would at 50.

I conformed to this world’s idolatrous bill of goods instead of believing Your Word alone. How ridiculous that I thought life was about events, accomplishments and circumstances I could piece together and control — instead of about You. Instead of fearing You, I’ve put you in a box I could understand, and built a life around that. It turns out it was a house of cards… and what has proven to be truly meaningful in my life is all about You, relationships and love.

IMG_1059I naively thought if I checked the boxes, did my best (or at least followed conventional wisdom), life would look a certain way. Today’s reality wasn’t my vision. In fact, this whole in-between stage was never on my radar. I’m totally caught off guard. My present life is a blank slate of sorts. Maybe that’s how you want it?

I know it sounds dumb — and it was — but I didn’t anticipate my body beginning to ache, pooch and wrinkle. Not yet. I believed in my parent’s immortality, too. I thought if I was a great mom I could protect my children, and they wouldn’t have to learn things the hard way as I did. It’s difficult letting go of what was and what was supposed to be, even though I know you love us all more than I can comprehend.

I took the financial climate of the 80s and 90s for granted, and let it offer me security. It’s obvious now that the global economy is fragile, and my trust was misplaced. You are my only real supply. And you offer abundance.

I’ve been surprised by the many troubles I’ve encountered in a fallen world, even though you gave me fair warning. I thought people were basically good and life would constantly get easier. I believed in arriving at some greener patch of grass — just around the bend. You are teaching me to lose entitlement and live in consuming gratitude — usually my best lessons have come in the midst of storms.

IMG_4167I welcomed the freedom of living in the United States and felt sorry for people in many other nations. “They” were the ones we send prayers, money and missionaries to. I never dreamed of terrorism on our soil or of Christians being persecuted here. I fear it’s only the beginning. I never thought I would really have to suffer for You.  Listening to the news is beginning to humble me;  I want to be courageous and honor Your Name, if that’s where You lead me.

Jesus, forgive me. I haven’t been humbled nearly enough by your completed work on the cross. Or overwhelmed by your love for me. I haven’t feared you. I’ve often asked You to bless my own desires, then been surprised by unfavorable outcomes. I haven’t understood my sin or taken it as seriously as You did. I still condemn myself instead of fully accepting your forgiveness and freedom.  You are teaching me more and more about the magnitude of Your Grace, Glory and Majesty.

IMG_0747I can talk a good game, Jesus, but I want to walk your walk. Drink from your cup. I know how earthbound my heart is. My hope is in YOU Lord, but this world’s promises tempt and distract me. You are wooing me to be still at your side. To prayer and listening.

I see You in it all, Lord. Before me, behind me, holding me, guiding me. This season is a gift, isn’t it? Thank you!

Forgive me for resisting it. Keep teaching me what it looks like to repent. To turn toward You. Jesus, here I am at 50, a hot-flashing mess of a child. But I’m Your child and heir, and you love me. I desperately want You, despite my selfish ways. You will never leave me. You want to bless me with abundant Life.

IMG_1324My hands are open, Lord. Take what I need to let go of.  Fill me with your Spirit. Teach me what it means to let You carry my burdens. Your yoke is light. Teach me how to love my neighbors well and how to be a friend who loves at all times.

Lord you are dissipating today’s stress and fear and replacing them with hope. I am closer to You than ever before. You are my Life. My changing body is clay in Your hands. Mold me into whatever vessel pleases you. I want to reflect You.

Thank you for this unique season where the noise is a little less and distractions more negotiable. I have ample time to pray; Lord give me discipline and desire for You. I want to hear Your voice.

Jesus, I sense this second half of life is less about loss than I thought. “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” You are actively working in my life. As long as I surrender my will, each day I will more closely resemble the woman you created me to be. I’ll be a little more like Jesus.

IMG_1840Give me patience in the journey. Sometimes I just want to be home with You. The joy of the Lord is my strength! Fill me to overflowing. I’ll trust You and lean not on my understanding. With You all things are possible. I will not fear for You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Teach me to trust Your Word, not my fickle feelings.

It’s a bold prayer offered in total weakness, Jesus. I’m trusting You to have Your way in my life and to help me remain focused on You. You knew this was how 50 would look on me. You began a good work in me and by grace through faith, You promise to finish it.

Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I am greatly encouraged by your comments and thoughts!  If you would like to get future posts by email, please let me know below. You can unsubscribe at any time.






Mid-life Mom… Who am I and What am I to Do?

What happened to my flowers?!?


We went to the beach in the midst of a beautiful Tallahassee spring. My yard was full of color and promise; azaleas, Japanese Magnolias and Dogwood were splendid with blooms! Less than 48 hours later, the flowers of “spring,” certainly the shortest season in North Florida, were all but gone.

Pictures of the same Japanese Magnolia taken just days apart


Spring’s promise is being fulfilled too quickly for my tastes. It seems the transition happens overnight, as one day we wake up to the full-on green of summer’s heat. Cycles of change are inevitable in nature and in the lives of individuals — in my life.

I remember my mom saying each year passes more swiftly than the last. It made no sense to me as a child enduring the seeming eternity between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But today I agree with the generations before me. “Tempus do fugit,” as Granny liked to say agreeing with Mom; time flies.

I said in my last post I would write about “His continuing work of grace in my heart.” The time stamp says it was a month ago — I would have guessed 10 days. Barbara Bush had a quote about the life of young mothers being comprised of “long days and short years.” It’s so true! And for this 50-year old empty nester, this month has been similar. I am a mother without a child.

IMG_1317Lately I feel like a misfit: a stranger in my own body and mind — lost and confused. Something akin to the insecurity of adolescence when we are children in increasingly adult bodies, I am a searching version of my past self, with obviously aging skin, bones and muscles.  The real me feels invisible in a crowded room.

With incessant digital capturing, I’m shocked at images of my middle-aged face and form —  so drastically different from the athletic, unwrinkled woman inside. This matronly version of myself is not one I easily appreciate. And my mind? The forgetfulness, the confusion and unrest. Not knowing what’s next or what to do? Who am I?

In the little time my youthful self spent thinking about midlife, my current reality was not a part of my imaginings. Midlife crisis doesn’t fit because it implies recklessness and chaos. I don’t want to dismantle what I spent a lifetime building.  Yet something tells me, even as Rob and I are creating a second infrastructure with “family” in mind, I need to face the truth that the old is falling away like the blooms of spring, and new growth is happening without my permission — it’s time to embrace it!

We are blessed and grateful that our children come home fairly often. But nothing is as it once was, and their departures back to their “real” homes always loom. Each good bye is a reminder that the full-time mom season is over.

IMG_1211I get up at 6:30 and begin my morning rituals — but why? I could kiss Rob good bye and sleep a bit more. Most days, I have no where I need to be and no one who is counting on me.

The remaining tasks still available from my stay-at-home-mom days leave me feeling empty. I used to create our family life, full of friends and activity. All that went into homemaking and being mom was fulfilling and gave me great joy. A place and a purpose.

Whether at work or at home, I’ve managed to “busy myself” through the days, even productively sometimes. Then, Rob and I continue the old nighttime patterns, as if we still need to be home weeknights — a rut of sorts.

Recently, I wandered around Fresh Market, departed and drove to Publix — pushing a shopping cart again, but collecting only a bag of grated cheese (I later returned it and left empty handed). The futility of my leftover routine overcame me. We laughed and enjoyed a night out.

I try really hard to live in the present, but I often carry the grief of moments gone. Sweet memories of times fully lived and the regrets of opportunities lost. Recently, I’ve been overwhelmed with longing for my familiar and imperfect but beautiful past life as a bustling family.

IMG_0269God has met me in these last weeks, full of grace and compassion. The funeral of a 90-year old family friend who lived exceptionally well gave me glimpses of my own finish line, my obituary. Thirty, forty fifty… they came so fast. I never really considered life beyond my little “family.” But I am here and God-willing, I have 25-30+ more years. I want to live well and age gracefully.

Psalm 92:14 says, “They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green.”

Everything in my life is fair game to offer for examination. To retain if still useful or to remove if outdated. I want to make room for God’s continuing plans and purpose for me. I feel more urgency to share His love. To engage others. More intentional and thoughtful about my steps than before, when doing all the things that made up my days was enough. Now I’m spending a lot more time praying, being still, and listening.

My conversations tell me I’m not alone in this unsettling stage — struggling to loosen my grip both on what always was and on what I thought would be. Wondering if I have the courage to create something new and to claim the life God has for me now.

IMG_4230At 50 I’m living the backside of what I always thought of as my “future.” My goal is to keep my eyes and my heart on God whose grace is eternal and whose work in me will continue until he brings me home.

Something inside whispers that being busy is not the same as being fully alive — and that I have a lot to look forward to, as each day I surrender to being more of who God made me to be. The great thing about the passing years is we get to hang on to every age, as we build on all God accomplishes in each season we are His child.

Isaiah 46:4 says “Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.”

I am greatly encouraged by your comments and thoughts!  If you would like to get future posts by email, please let me know below. You can unsubscribe at any time.