WHAT'S THAT? The dictionary defines a nonagenarian as someone in their nineties. That will soon identify me!
On June 22, I will celebrate my 90th birthday. That seems unreal to me! But my heart is overflowing with thanks and praise to God for His goodness and mercy that has followed me all the many decades of my life. I was often reminded while growing up that at my birth my Dad was notified that there was a chance that both my mother and I would not survive.
So each year has been a gift, a present from God to open with anticipation and joy.
I "count my many blessings ton-by-ton" not one-by-one, to adapt a phrase from an old hymn. My treasures are not silver or gold but of immense value nonetheless—especially family: four sons, ten grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren--so far. And each of the many friends throughout the world that the Lord has brought into my life is a rich and precious treasure!
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all my iniquities, heals all my diseases, redeems my life from the pit, crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies. He satisfies my years with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle's” (Psalm 103:1-5).
Join me in thanking God that my several recent routine medical checkups resulted in excellent normal results. I am a lung cancer surgery survivor for 25 years, and have been a widow for 23 years. I thank many of you for your specific prayers for my health and strength so that I am able to continue the lifelong ministry to which the Lord has called me.
Of course I do have my share of increasing weaknesses and “unfixables” of my “earth suit” (my mortal body), but I accept them as part of the normal aging package. They are manageable with the Lord's help, just temporal and temporary inconveniences without eternal consequences when weighed against God's goodness. Adversities have blended with abundant joys, and shadows have been dispelled by sunshine and blessings—so it is well with my soul!
I count it such a privilege to respond to people's needs for prayer and encouragement on a daily basis, much of it through the medium of my lifelong opportunity for writing and publishing. I recently released what might be my 36th book (I actually haven't counted). It is the third in my spiritual autobiographical Trilogy of “LAND OF MORE” books. (Or the fourth, if you count my first autobio, “CZECHING MY ROOTS,” which I thought might have been my final book. Ha!) I do feel that I'm living the title of my recent book: “STILL MORE: FLOURISHING ON MY SUMMIT.” I am truly flourishing with the Lord's abundant blessings. Two more books are waiting in the wings soon to be published in electronic versions first.
Many changes accompany our advancing calendar years. I believe God expects me to make some adjustments in my activity pace and priorities and I will obediently follow His guidance. I must accept realistically that there are some things I can't or shouldn't continue to do which I did so easily in my younger years. As a matriarch in my vintage season I plan to “smile at the future” (Proverbs 31:25) and to anticipate the icing on the cake: to “dwell in the House of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6) – a win-win situation!
My wonderfully large family, some of whom live at a considerable distance, are planning to gather at my home in Winchester, Virginia to celebrate my 90th birthday on July 18 instead of my real “due date!” That's fine with me, nothing is belated—I plan to keep celebrating this milestone birthday all year long!
My rest-of-my-life motto is:
“Until further notice, celebrate everything!”
Here I am, Lord
at the approach of another birthday
on Planet Earth. How can it be
that You’ve favored me so generously
with ninety years?
And blessed me to experience life
with my children into their adult years
even as grandparents themselves
and to enjoy my children’s children
and their children
while I myself am still Your child
though gray of head with wrinkled brow.
Why am I still here on earth
and not rejoicing in Your presence There?
Do You still have work for me to do?
More of Your life to be lived through me?
More fruit to bear for Your pleasure?
More treasure to send ahead?
I offer the rest of my days
as a living sacrifice to do Your will
heart and soul under Your control
until Your plan is fulfilled in me.
I don't take “selfie” pictures with my smart phone so let the picture below taken this past year be sufficient to remind you to pray for me as I pray for you.