Half A Century

This is the year I turn 50. It feels monumental. More so than 30 or 40. Although each came with its own significance and milestones.

At 30 I felt as though I was finally old enough. Old enough to be married, old enough to be a mom of 7 children. Old enough to not be told I wasn’t old enough for…whatever, you fill in the blank.

At 40 I felt older and wiser, the wisdom of having lived lots of years and knowing that I had gained so much more experience, knowledge and know-how than in my 20s and 30s. I felt a calling to lead, encourage, counsel, and mentor others.

Yet here I am approaching 50 and it feels monumental. Maybe it’s because I will be officially “over the hill?” Maybe because I have lived half a century? Maybe because I headed into my 40s a mom of 7 but now I’m so much more with a quickly expanding family. Maybe because I faced cancer and lived. But honestly it’s all that and so much more. I conquered so much to make it to 50! Yes 50 is definitely to be celebrated!!!

The things I know now that I wish I knew then and learned along the way:

Stay skinny! It’s too hard to take it off once you’ve gained it!

Live within your means when you are young so you can invest and have more in your later years. That means set aside money for giving (to the Lord and other godly causes), 10% or more. Also set aside money for savings and building an emergency fund, 10% or more. Then live off the remainder. Once you get married live off of one income only, so it can be your choice to stay home if you desire when the babies come. Don’t pay interest!!! It just leads you down the wrong path!

Don’t just love your spouse, cherish them. Let them be your best friend. Look for a God loving partner, even during your teen years (I’m proof teen marriages can lead to happily ever afters), who exhibits fruit from their life. (Fruit of the Spirit), look it up! Age is just a number. Getting married to the right person at a young age is a blessing. People who wait, miss relationship opportunities, carry more hurt and baggage into their marriage, and ultimately have just as much chance for divorce. In many cases maturity is a choice. Besides being a grandma at a young age is fabulous! Make Jesus the center of your marriage. Choose to stay (no matter how tough it gets), choose to love everyday even when it’s hard, choose to forgive always, and choose to be on the same side in every situation!

Learn, study and apply Gods word to your life everyday! And know that you will always be learning and growing in your relationship with the Lord until you reach heaven. You will never stop learning. It’s better to be humble than self righteous.

Be there for your kids during their growing up years, be involved, make special time with them to attend to their individualism, include them and teach them even if you can get it done faster on your own.

Don’t just teach your children what to do and what not to do. Teach them why. Teach them what it means to them, to others. Teach them how to sincerely apologize when they are wrong and why it’s important to have a repentant heart. Teach them how to be humble, loving, faithful, truthful, respectful, merciful and a hard worker. Teach them to love and respect others. All others. Teach them the value of words and when to be silent. Teach them the tongue is two sided, it can bless or curse, teach them to choose the blessing side and be aware that they don’t allow the other side to take over. Words can’t be taken back after they are out. Oh, and make sure you are practicing what you preach!

Most importantly teach your children about the world so they are aware that humankind needed a Savior and then teach them about Jesus! Everything the Bible says about Him. Teach them to love Him with their whole hearts and teach them what it means to love with their whole heart. The most important thing you can do is raise Jesus-loving children who will pour into generations to come. Teach them to love the Word of God and how to weave it into everyday life. Teach them how to pray, it matters.

Involve them in politics and government, what freedom is and what it all means at a young age so they can grow up understanding the importance every citizen has in voting and standing up for what is right and just. Teach them how to discern truth and not believe the lies and deception of the world.

Don’t be to proud to admit when your wrong and apologize to your children when you hurt them. Oh, and you don’t have to get angry and yell to get your point across or get them to obey. Gentleness and love always send the best message.

Learn at a young age what it truly means to “take your thoughts captive” and how to separate the lies we assume and conclusions we jump to, from the truth. Learn how to communicate clearly and how to clarify so they do not misunderstand others. Most offenses happen through misunderstandings.

Don’t gossip or spread falsehoods. Exaggerations and reading into others intentions and words are falsehoods.

What you focus on is what will dominate your thinking, your attitude and your behavior. If you focus on the good it grows bigger. if you focus on the bad then it grows and soon will overpower the good and make it hard to recognize. Know that joy and sorrow coexist. Choose joy to be what you focus on! Gratitude is often the key to joy! Learn how to count your blessings!

Learn how to let go and understand you will never be in control. God is in control. Learn how to trust Him completely, and I mean with everything. Learn how to deny yourself and follow His will instead of your own.

Be a loving friend, a loving son/daughter, a loving sister/brother, a loving neighbor, a loving wife/husband, a loving mother/father, a loving person and work at it with all you are because love returns to you when it’s given out. And because it’s the second command Jesus gives after loving Him with your whole heart. Love is everything.

Forgive. Always choose forgiveness. It removes the bitterness from your soul that festers and turns to poison inside you. Do it, even when they don’t deserve it. Then let it go as many times as you have to until your heart is healed. Leave it at the cross, never use past forgiven offenses to hurt, demean or shame someone you love. And forgive yourself because you will never be perfect this side of heaven.

Never judge others, correction with a loving and humble spirit is not the same as judgement. Too often we judge others by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions. Remember we all are sinners and God doesn’t differentiate between sins. If He offers forgiveness and grace to us, who are we to deny it to others?

Learn how to set healthy boundaries and how to surround yourself with relationships that seek the same values as you do. Give people second chances, they may surprise you. But also know when to separate yourself from someone who seeks to hurt and damage you without a truly repentant heart that bears fruit. Learn how to tell the difference.

Accept people for who they are. Love them where their at. Stop trying to make them into someone they are at. And don’t expect things from them they can’t give, or you will always be disappointed. Not everyone sees things the way you do. Not everyone thinks, loves, communicates and gives how you do. Get to know them for who they are, how they best communicate and what their strengths are. Your relationships will benefit!

Don’t allow Satan the ability to use you as a pawn against your loved ones. Never forget that in a relationship worth holding onto, you’re on the same side. Learn how to let the little things go. Choose not to be offended.

In everything you do, do it for the Lord, not for man. People are only human and even those closest to you will disappoint you but Gods long term plan for your life can not disappoint!

Focus your eyes, heart, understanding on Jesus because He is the author and perfector of your faith. And remember this world is temporary and stay heavenly-focused, so fear cannot take hold in your life. Spread the good news of Jesus and your testimony to others because it will overcome all. You will be plant seeds even when you can’t see it!

Know from an early age that this life isn’t about YOU! It’s about your relationship with the Lord and expressing His glory.

50 here I come! I made it!

To God be all the glory! There is hope beyond 50!!!

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