Friday, May 9, 2014

TGIF: The best is yet to be

Grow old along with me.  The best is yet to be—
the last of life, for which the first was made.
Our times are in His hand 
who saith, "I whole I planned."
Youth shows but half.
Trust God!  See all! Nor be afraid.
- Robert Browning

Those words by Robert Browning were part of my wedding vows to Dennis Worley.  Thirty five years ago, I thought the first of life was the best, the point.  And it is wonderful to be young and in love, to get to do life together with the person who makes the world a magical place.  But to get to see it all together, trusting God every step—that's even better.

What I'm Trusting:
Coming to mid-life, with an empty nest, I was wondering if our best days had been.  But God plans a whole, not a half.  And the past few weeks have unfolded some of God's next plans for our family.  Big things are in store for the Worleys! We don't have all the answers.  We are in that space like Abraham, where God says, "Leave the place you are and go to a place I will show you." We are just in the leaving-this-place in our hearts.  We've been saying goodbye to the picture of us raising boys and discovering what it's like to be a couple again.  What it's like to love grandchildren and get to help raise them.  What it's like to encourage and empower grown sons and their families. What it's like to serve in ministry at this point in our lives.  And in all those areas, we keep hearing God say, "I will show you."

How I'm practicing Gratitude:
This week we made the decision to get our house ready to put on the market, to look for our next home.  We've lived in this house 24 years this July.  We'll probably be moving out about the same time we moved in all those years ago.  This decision has been percolating for a year.  When we finally felt God say, "Leave this place," I cried.  This is where we found out we were pregnant, where we raised those babies, where we grew a marriage and a family.  Every place I turn there is a memory.  At first that made me incredibly fearful and sad.  Now as I am making lists of everything that has to be packed, downsized, given away, I look at every photo, every fingerprint on the wall, every bin of old school jerseys, every tree we planted, and I thank God for getting to make those memories, getting to be here for that life.  Evidence of his blessings are all around.  As I start to make an inventory for what will go to the next part of life, I take an inventory of the blessings of the first half.

What Inspires me:
My boys, making lives for themselves and their families.  Going out bravely into the first part of their lives.  Last week Seth turned 30 and sold his house, the first little house their babies lived in.  Watching Seth and Arley go through this transition has given me a template; I'm walking in their footsteps, right behind them.  This time last year, we were helping Matt sell or give away everything he owned that could not be fit into two crates and shipped to South Africa.  This year he has followed God so closely that I've never seen him put his foot down without setting it in God's footprint.  He has shown me that your life is not where you live, but how present you are there—how you love  the people in the place God shows you.  This year Ben has lived on his own for the first time.  He'll never forget this first house he shared with a bunch of other starving musicians.  He has made his own first home.

What's Fun:
This week Matt flew back to the U.S. with a ring in his pocket and asked the girl he has loved for 7 years to marry him!  Their happiness is so golden, so huge, and it is shared by so many of us who have loved them and rooted for them to be together.  I'm so thankful they get to begin planning the first of life together!  They have so many questions to answer about the future!  But God will show them, just as he is showing us.

24 years ago, when our realtor handed me the keys to this house, could I have ever imagined that on this Friday I would be walking through it with her again, this time making a list of what to do to get ready to sell it—on the same day that my daughter-in-law-to-be is graduating from grad school with a brand new engagement ring on her finger?

Out times are in his hand
who saith, "A whole I planned."
Youth shows but half.
Trust God! See all! Nor be afraid!

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