Lesson From Rehab- Volume Three

Struggling with the F word……Fifty…the big 5 0

My 30th birthday was very painful. I’m not sure exactly why it hurt so bad. Probably the usual egocentric stuff like money, prestige and influence. In retrospect, we had a great life and we were really enjoying the kids. Our marriage was on the rebound and we were discovering a new love for each other that would carry us for the next twenty years. I know that I didn’t appreciate all that I had been given and all that God had done in our lives. I was not as grateful as I should have been and perhaps that enhanced my aging discomfort.
Turning 40 was amazing. My perspectives were changing and I thought I was just beginning to hit my stride. Peace and joy were a major focus of our family life. We traveled a lot for ministry and sporting events. Our time together was rich and rewarding. We loved opening our home for weddings and special events. We enjoyed the simple things and soaked up every moment that we could.
The last ten years seemed to have been more eventful than the first 40. We packed and moved my parents from Colorado to Arizona. We loved them deeply. The time with them was precious and way too short. We watched as they both took their last breaths. I’m not convinced that we have grieved that loss fully. Tiffani fell in love and got married at 18. She finished nursing school and started a career and a family. Our son, Buddy graduated from high school, went to USC on a swim scholarship, competed in the 2008 Olympic Trials, quit school and swimming…….then started swimming and school again….
The last two years have really been life changing: enduring two major surgeries (total knee replacement in 2011 and rotator cuff repair 2013), leaving the ministry that we served in for 25 years, and changing churches after two decades of faithful attendance. We watched our daughter and her husband pack up their life and move to a new job in Atlanta this past March with our precious little granddaughter in tow. Being a grandfather has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Having them leave the state was more than painful.
At 50, I’m not so certain I have all the answers to life that I once thought I did. It seems that most of the questions have changed. However, there are a couple of things that I know for sure:

1. Don’t waste another moment, life is shorter than you think. James describes life as a “mist or vapor”. It vanishes after a “little while” James 4:14. I can attest to this, as our years have truly evaporated before our eyes. Soak in every little bit of your life. Let the simple joys consume you. Allow yourself to appreciate every single second. We get to choose how we experience our life; choose to enjoy it. If you are sitting at a swim meet, and it’s 105 degrees in the shade, and you have to wait 2 hours to watch your kid swim, savor it! Make the most of it! This season of your life will not last very long. I wish I could do all of that again. I do not regret spending too much time with Carol or the kids.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life God has given you under the sun-all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”

2. Our generosity is a reflection of our gratefulness to Him. 2 Corinthians 9:11 “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” Our heavenly father has given His life for us to experience “fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). The greatest way for us to express this fullness is to pass it on. There are many ways to express generosity:
A. Giving of your time. Our most precious resource is our availability. Where do you give your time? Who do you give your time to? Are you generous with your kids regarding “your time”? What happens to your attitude when your wife calls you during the day? Are you generous with her? Or, are you put off by the interruption?
B. Giving of your talent. Every man I know has been given a gift or a skill that others can benefit from. Are you passing on these gifts? Who are you blessing with your skill? Maybe it’s plumbing, roofing, carpentry, pool cleaning, yard work, organization, marketing or a thousand other talents. Your heritage will be passed along through your willingness to be generous.
C. Giving of your treasure. This is not limited to your cash. Your treasure is also your “stuff” (your home, your car, your motorcycle, your trailer, etc.); except it’s not really yours is it? It is His. He has generously allowed you to be steward over it. How generous are you when those in your care have needs? Do you fret over finances? Do you blame God when things are tight? Do you tip well? Stewarding our resources is an area that most couples typically have trouble. I think it is part of God’s design to make us surrender to him, together. We must pray together, we must save together, we must plan together, we must budget together.

3. “Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6. One thing I know for without a doubt; God wants to do a work in all of us. That work will never, ever looks like we want it to look. Sometimes the work is painful. Sometimes the work is glorious. The work always takes longer than we want. Yet, He is faithful. He is kind. He is patient. He never leaves me or forsakes me. He promises that work will get completed. Amen

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