I am middle aged and yet in so many ways just beginning. I am beginning to paint. I have wanted to for many years but had not taken up a paint brush since high school. Two years ago I began again. I started by painting a picture of my father who died in 2006. It was amazing how the painting just came out of me. I painted nine other portraits in the next 12 months. Wow! What an amazing experience. I found a huge part of myself I did not even know existed. I have since branched out to landscapes and other subjects. I am just beginning.
At 55 I am just beginning to write. Don't get me wrong. I have done a lot of writing in my time. I am notorious for hammering the letters right off the keyboards of my computers in a matter of months. I am a talker and consequently a prolific writer, but only of sermons, homilies, articles and letters, and documents, most for limited reading and use related to family or ministry. But 23 years ago I began getting my father's story as a WWII POW written down. I spent several years interviewing him and taking notes. The material sat for over ten years. Then 18 months ago I began in again to write in earnest. I researched, I painted, and I traveled to the places he fought and was held as a prisoner, and I wrote. It just came out of me. Like the paintings, it was like it was all inside me waiting to come out. Within the next few weeks I will publish this labor of love that has become so much more than a book about my dad's experience as a WWII POW. In writing it I discovered so much about myself and how my father's experience shaped me as a person and as a pastor. The book is about to be published but I am just beginning to write. I think there is a lot more writing in me.
I have been in ministry of one sort or another for over 35 years. I have been a pastor for almost 15 years. But I am just beginning to really trust God. I have been a high energy, hard driving, over-achieving leader but I have done so much on my own steam. And I am running out of steam. I have done so much out of a messianic complex filled with arrogance and rooted in my brokenness. I have been a workaholic out of a need to feel significant based on the world's value of productivity. (Thank you James Bryan Smith for pointing this out so clearly through your first chapter in The Good and Beautiful God!) I am just beginning to sleep well at night because I am just beginning to really trust that God can do without me a few hours a day.
The Spirit of God has lived in me since I was a young girl, but I am just beginning to learn what it means to practice the presence of God. Thirty plus years of ministry, a bible education and a seminary degree you would think I would be seasoned by now. I am just beginning to learn to be present in the moment and available to the Spirit of God for what God has in mind to do in me first, then through me if he chooses.
Middle aged and just beginning. I hope the good Lord gives me a few more years now that I am beginning to really learn.