A letter to the seasoned veterans of life
Dejectedly, I arrived back in my hometown feeling like a failure as a wife and mother. I walked into the church realizing we weren’t there just for worship but also because we needed help. After a decade of marriage and two kids, we had moved past the arrogance of thinking we had all the answers, and were more desperate than we realized for the wisdom of successful people with experience.
I found the pastor and asked how I might find a mentor. He sadly responded, “Look around you. There aren’t many gray hairs here. Unfortunately, many have flown south for the winter or are caught up in their own lives, tucked away in safe retirement communities. It is a generation we seem to be missing.”
That conversation stuck with me over the years as I’ve determined not to leave those that come after me in the same place. But as I age, I hear too many around me who don’t invest in the younger because of frustration with their choices or feelings of inadequacy.
Maybe we’ve bought into the lie we have to have it all together before we tell someone else how to do it? Maybe we have forgotten how we can help others learn both from our successes and failures.
Whatever the obstacle, my wise friends, we both need and want more of you in our church.
Dear Aging Adults, We Need You!
There are so many lessons in life we can only learn through time and experience (Psalm 92:14). Whether it’s the stubbornness that elevates experience over warnings or the trials that have produced perseverance and wisdom, we need your measure of maturity in our church (James 1).
Solomon is still on point when he said, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The method of growth through various trials and temptations may change in each generation, but the desires to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life remain consistent over time (1 John 2:16).
No matter how society changes, there will always be a need to return to the truth found in Scripture.
Veterans of life, you have a vital role to play. No matter how society changes, there will always be a need to return to the truth found in Scripture. The Bible is relevant and true in every season and for all people (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Applying God’s Word will be the answer to the questions of each and every generation from the beginning of time until the end.
This is where you come in. Sometimes, we won’t listen. Some lessons we’re determined to learn on our own, but sometimes we will hear your words. Sometimes, we’ll heed your warnings and learn from the pits you’ve fallen in. That will never happen if you don’t step into our world with love and speak into our lives. In a world of transition where families are often miles or oceans apart, we need a complete family of God in our lives. We need surrogate grandparents who have come before us just as much, and often more, than the brothers and sisters beside us.
We Want You to Speak Into Our Lives
Although we may lead with a “know-it-all” ignorance of immaturity, time will convince us otherwise. There will come a time when we will be ready to receive instruction because our desire to become all God has created us to be will win out. Despite our many failures as a generation, one strength is our desire to leave our mark on our world, make a difference in people’s lives, and to live with a plan and purpose. We want you to keep speaking truth, even when we fail to show our appreciation or even acknowledge your role.
We’ve been watching and learning from your actions for years. Society no longer seems to be in agreement with many of our beliefs which can be confusing. Everywhere we turn there are assaults on the way we were raised and the values we hold. We want to see lives that have tested the beliefs we hold dear and have fruit to show for it.
We need to see you who’ve traveled the roads God is calling us down and learn from those who’ve walked before us. We want to see authentic lives in their successes and failures. We want a path to follow and loving hands willing to guide. We know we can’t do life alone, but we could use direction and advice from the aging gallery.
You’ve Been Given a Mission
Needing or wanting the wisdom of the aged is nice, but neither of those measure up next to the command of Titus 2:4-8. This passage isn’t merely a sweet suggestion, but a directive to teach the younger. Somehow society has painted the picture of it being nice to invest in those who are younger, but it’s really not an option for our choosing.
There is no time to shake heads in frustration or sit on the sidelines with arms empty and years of truth tied up behind closed mouths.
There is no time to shake heads in frustration or sit on the sidelines with arms empty and years of truth tied up behind closed mouths. There is no time to focus on perceived inadequacies and let them paralyze rather than dispensing the wisdom growing inside. We grow in wisdom. We are not wise in every way, yet we all have something to offer.
If you are in our church or watching online and wondering if there could be a place for you in a loud church with a bunch of young people, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
1 Corinthians 12 says we are one body with many parts. Our diversity makes us stronger. Get out of your comfort zone and mentor someone. We all make time for what is important to us. Heed God’s Word and share your wisdom. It will likely change you as much as it will them.