I am now a woman "in my 40s" and I'll tell you, there are some pretty crummy things about aging. For example, I have to use Oil of Olay AND Clearasil on the same day sometimes. Sadly, the young guys working at stores now say "yes ma'am" to me and it wounds my pride. Worse yet, to my shock and horror, I found a WHISKER on my chin the other day!!!! Yes, you read that correctly. I found an honest-to-goodness wiry hair on my chin and to top it off, it was white. Additionally, the things I used to do for fun in my 20s, I now consider exercise and they are in a completely different category on my "to do" list.
Despite those little annoyances, I am perfectly happy with my current age. One reason is that young moms come to me for advice on occasion and I never cease to be honored by that occurrence. I have also noticed an exponential increase in my patience level as I age. Yesterday, my sweet Ezekiel had a nasty stomach virus. He was miserable and he was creating scads of laundry as well. By 11pm, he was done actually getting sick but still very uncomfortable. I brought him into bed with us. He moved and kicked and whined off and on all night. In my 20s, I am ashamed to admit, I would have been angry with him. Taken him back to his own bed harshly. Stomped around slamming doors the next morning out of irritation. Had a "woe is me" attitude all day long . . .
Fast forward 20 years and I was more patient than I knew I could be. I had compassion for my boy rather than aggravation at how his sickness was effecting ME. I snuggled him, rubbed his back and felt truly grateful that he was by my side rather than oceans away. I think that's called "maturity" and it feels pretty good! There's also a bittersweet element to the patience God is giving me. I grieve for the fact that I did not cultivate it sooner. I let so many harsh words and snap decisions rule my life as a younger mom. I had little wisdom so I borrowed from authors like Gary Ezzo, James Dobson and Tedd Tripp. I created my own concoction of justice and training that often lacked mercy. God, in His infinite wisdom, seems to have protected my older children from my frenetic brand of mothering. They are kind and gentle yet confident enough to perform in front of large crowds and they both WANT to be parents someday (despite me, not because of me).
How I wish I had known THEN what I know NOW (cliche but true). I understand that I still have so much to learn and so many areas of my life as a wife, mother and child of God which need improvement. The difference between a 20 year old "me" and a 41 year old "me" is this: I don't pretend anymore. I admit it when I can't handle something and I start looking for someone with white hair (on her head, not her chin) who knows the Lord much better than I and can point me in the right direction. Let me be that "wise white-haired old lady" someday . . . but not just yet. I'm kind of liking 41!
"Wisdom is with the aged and understanding with length of days" Job 12:12