The other day, one of the elders at our church referred to those of us fifty and over, as being in the fourth quarter of life. This is not a new or shocking revelation for me. I've told my man not a few times that I've lived more years than I likely have years ahead. He doesn't like it when I say that, but truth is truth. I just turned fifty-seven.
I've been struggling lately with a whole lot of regret. "If only I had" has been a recurring thought. This thought doesn't involve anything major, like marrying my husband. I'd do it again in a hot second. My kids? Absolutely never a regret! I wouldn't have missed them for the world!
Some of it is rather personal; not sharable here. But can I just say that I have left a trail of quite a few years behind me, and there are indisputably things that I would've done differently?
I wish I was in my thirties again. My whole life ahead of me. Wisdom like I have today. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, right?
The truth is, I'm no longer thirty. I'm fifty-seven, and maybe these regrets aren't just something I've dreamed up. Not to give any credit to the enemy at all, but I think some of it is just a mental battle he wages to make me depressed, discouraged, and ineffective.
I've done too many things wrong.
I've wasted too many years.
I'm too old now.
It's too late.
I could have...
I should have...
If I would have...
He only lets me host my unattended pity party for so long. Gently, on a spring morning, He knocks on the door of my heart and enters to sit awhile and reason with me.
He says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43: 18-19)
He shakes His head and says, "Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which I called you heavenward in my Son." (Philippians 3:13-14)
O. Kay. But...
With a smile on His face, His words perfectly echoing my thoughts, as if He can read my mind, "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." (Isaiah 46:4)
"I will sustain you, like I did Paul, and Peter, and David. Look what they became in spite of the things that lay in their pasts. They made mistakes. Big ones! Paul murdered my followers! Peter denied me! David!! He slept with Bathsheba and murdered her husband! For goodness sake, child! Go back and read about what I did with their lives and see what I can do with yours! It's not over until I say it's over!"
You know what? I'm not a big football fan, so I'm not relating so much to that fourth quarter thing. I do love me some baseball though.
I would prefer to look at this period of my life as a seventh inning stretch.
I'm going to stand up.
I'm going to shake it all off.
I'm going to str.....et....ch.
I'm going to get back in the game!
And if I'm really blessed maybe I'll get to play some extra innings!