The Unexpected Frustration of Aging

by Debbie Wilson

Those watching me heave a carry-on suitcase into a plane’s overhead bin wouldn’t believe I was the arm-wrestling champion of our 5th grade class. The legs that earned me a blue ribbon for speed, in my 6th grade, city-wide relay competition, and scaled any tree with ease, almost failed me when I took the second step of a stepladder with no hands.

I am painfully aware I’m no longer fast, strong, or young. What happened?

Aging not only brings limitations, it taps fears when our limbs—and mind—lose the speed and strength we’ve learned to depend on. The recent experience of some friends reminded me that the challenges that unnerve us don’t surprise God. He never leaves us.

My friend’s husband slipped during a vacation and injured his back. Instead of getting better, the pain grew worse. After numerous doctors’ visits and tests, he heard the news no one wants to hear. Cancer. Of the bones. And he needed back surgery.

The surgery left this formerly active husband and father with a back brace and a cane. His wife struggled with responsibilities he’d previously carried with ease. Sometimes the loss of the life they’d taken for granted and the frustration over lack of youthful strength boiled over.

One such day, she fumed to herself and her husband as she hurled boxes that contained a lifetime of accumulated junk and memories into the dumpster at the local junk yard. “Why didn’t we prepare for old age before it was so hard?”

In her rant, her keys sailed with her belongings into the huge dumpster. Suddenly my friend’s frustration turned to desperation—and then to God. “Lord, forgive me for complaining. Please have mercy and rescue my keys!”

Halfway down, the keys dangled from protruding trash. She asked two burly men, “Please, would you crawl in and rescue my keys?”

One man fished out a long pole with an attached magnet and snagged the keys. “No problem.”

Has weakness, frustration, or lack of planning dropped you into the middle of a mess? Have your limits or those of someone you love raised fears for the future? We can’t predict or prepare for everything. But we can take refuge in the One who cares enough to rescue even lost keys, for He has promised:

Even to your old age and gray hairs; I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Is. 46:4 NIV).

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your many promises. I choose to trust you to rescue me in my stumbles and carry me when I can’t walk. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie writes and speaks to connect sojourners to the heart of Christ. She and her husband Larry founded Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit ministry offering life and relationship counseling and Bible studies. Despite time in Boston, the Midwest, and Southern California, she still says y’all. Her family, which includes two mischievous standard poodles, calls North Carolina home. Find free resources to refresh your faith and connect with Debbie at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What fears do you have about aging?

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The Answer is in  Your Cell Phone

by Pam Farrel @PamFarrel

In your distress you called and I rescued you. Psalm 81: 7

It happened again today, a friend, a leader, called to share that their marriage was over. My response was sadness and a little curiosity, so I asked, “You had our cell number, why didn’t you call for help?”

The answers we have received to that question over the years have included:

We thought we could handle it (so at some point you must have realized you couldn’t).

We didn’t want anyone to know how bad things were (but now the whole world knows of your divorce- that seems worse as far as PR problems go).

Only one of us wanted help (but one can often make a difference as it brings change to a relationship).

Our friendship with you is too important to us, so we didn’t want to spoil it by sharing our personal lives (by I thought being “real and authentic” was the definition of friendship).

We thought it might cost money (and a divorce is cheap? Counseling is a small investment, and often in a community free or nearly free help is available).

If you hit a rough patch, pull out your cell phone. Chances are you have at least ONE person with a strong marriage in your world  who would be willing to mentor you, a pastor who would be willing to shepherd you, a therapist willing to counsel you, or a family member willing to walk alongside you. 

Shame wants you to sweep issues under the rug. Shame isolates you from those who love and care. Shame inspires you to make up excuses. Don’t listen to the voice of shame. Desperation is a better voice. Be desperate to find the best, most quality, most experienced, or most caring help you can find. Be desperate like the woman with an “issue” that came to Jesus:

A woman suffering from bleeding for 12 years, who had spent all she had on doctors  yet could not be healed by any,  approached from behind and touched the tassel of His robe.  Instantly her bleeding stopped.

What were Christ’s words to her? Were they filled with condemnation? Anger? Frustration? No. He simply said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace” (Luke 8:48, HCSB).

Show that kind of faith. If your marriage hits a rocky patch, pick up your cell phone and call someone. If you can’t locate someone in your world willing to help, then call a ministry you appreciate. They likely can help you find a clergy member or counselor in your area willing to answer your call for help.

Lord, give us the courage to desperately defend our marriage. Help us combat pride and call out when we need help. Give me the faith to reach out for help trusting you will send someone who cares. Amen.

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The Answer is in  Your Cell Phone – encouragement from @PamFarrel on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

pam ferrelAbout the authorPam Farrel is the author of  Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, as well as books to help couples in crisis: Love, Honor and Forgive and 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make. If you are a couple in Crisis, there is help at Marriage On the Rocks? Try Again blog.

Join the conversation: Have you ever reached out for help when your marriage was falling apart? If not, what stopped you?