Growing older is the natural progression of things. It is a privilege to live to old age. There are those who do not. I am sure you have heard numerous times, “Getting old isn’t much fun.” also, “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.” But I can say from my heart that I have more blessings than trials.

I admit to some down times with cancer and recently becoming a widow, but Jesus lifts me up, shines his light, and provides my heart and soul with abundant joy. My attitude about growing older is this: It is a privilege to grow older. I still love and enjoy my adult children and grandchildren and their spouses. I also love the great grandchildren. They are all my treasures. There is that progression again. How could I have the privilege of these next three generations had I not grown older? For those of you who aren’t yet “older,” enjoy every phase of this cycle. It is the perfect order of things.

I Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became an [adult], I put away childish things.” This is what is expected as we grow older. I loved my childhood as you can tell by my writings. However, I loved my 58 years of marriage. Paul treated me with respect and love every day. My favorite, which he said frequently as I’d come in the room, “There’s my beautiful bride.” I was not beautiful, and no longer a bride. Truly ‘in the eye of the beholder.’ The “hearer” always loved it.

You have probably all heard from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. It was written by King Solomon. It contains much confession on his part for the times he turned from God and went his own way. He had great wisdom, but he mourns the fact that he did not always follow the wisdom God granted to him. Chapter 3, you may remember hearing at funerals, or in studies.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance ……. A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to cast away …….A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to speak; A time of war, and a time of peace…….. He hath made everything beautiful in his time.”

Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I know that, whatsoever God does, it shall be forever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it.” I also read this verse from Chapter 5, verse 2. Today, as I write I know the Lord led me to it. “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and you are upon earth: therefore let your words be few.” My dad was a man of many words, and I guess I took up the banner. Having been an elementary school teacher was the perfect job for me. I had to talk almost all the time. I’m not too old to learn that everything I am thinking is not important to other people though.

Psalm 51 is a writing of King David. It is his confession after some very sinful behavior on his part. I like to read it sometimes as my own confession. My favorite verses are 9, 12, and 17. “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”

Even we older folks can set goals. Mine is to strive to (Deuteronomy 6: 5-7) “Love the lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my might. And these words which I command you this day, shall be in thy heart; And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

Don’t fret about growing older; enjoy it the best you can, but keep a song in your heart for our Master Designer. Happy birthdays my dear old friends.

Betty Blyler lives in New Berlin. For comments, questions or speaking engagements, e-mail: blyler@dejazzd.com.

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