Today is my 60th birthday. As I have been anticipating this day, I was not sure how I would feel—excited that I made it this far, proud of where I am at this stage in life, or depressed because of a “number.” Now, as I sit here and reflect on the past 60 years, I realize I have been shaped and molded by the Great Creator for such a time as this. I am ready to jump off the high dive once again (which is a big deal for me since I am deathly afriad of heights), entering the next decade not knowing what lies ahead, but trusting that God has something planned that is even better than my greatest expectations. The splash zone is out of my comfort zone, but if I don’t take that leap, who knows what exhilaration I might miss?
The past few months have been an incredible time of introspection for me. I used to think 60 was really old. In my 30’s, I assumed that, at 60, I would be like Aunt Bea or Grandma Walton, grey haired and puttering around in the kitchen wearing a white apron. Well, I do have the grey, though it is well-covered to hide the alarming rate of “transformation” my hair is experiencing. I do have grandchildren, whom I love dearly, and often find myself in the kitchen creating family dinners and memories, though handmade pie crust is no longer in my recipe file. There are some great qualities about those TV “seniors” that I like to emulate, but in so many other ways, I want to be more like Jane Goodall, Mother Teresa and Corrie Ten Boom, who kept going well beyond their 60’s, making a lasting difference in the lives of those they touched.
To remain young, and young at heart, we must keep trying new things, no matter how old we get. (Read a previous post for ideas!) To truly make life count, even after 60 (I shudder to write those words), we must never get complacent. We must keep growing, stretching our minds and infusing new joy into each day, with an overshelming sense gratitude for even the tiniest of blessings. That is why I am taking another giant leap out of my comfort zone this month to start a nonprofit, The Flourishing Life International Ministries.
I have been a life purpose coach for the past five years. I have worked with women all over the world, to help them find new meaning in life as they ask the question “Now what?” It’s been a great ride, but it’s time for me to step up my game and do something bigger than myself. Here’s the exhilarating—and scary—overview.
The mission of The Flourishing Life International Ministries is to awaken hope and significance in women who have been broken through abuse, addiction and exploitation. My vision is “to support the restoration and renewal of marginalized women through coaching services, outreach programs and educational resources. By helping each woman overcome her negative beliefs, discover her unique gifts and skills, and create a future rooted in her God-designed purpose, we provide the “what’s next?” step in her transition to a new way of life. The Flourishing Life International Ministries provides faith-based coaching and training programs, retreats and workshops for women around the world. We also work closely with ministry partners who provide holistic care for women who have been rescued from sex trafficking, addiction, and poverty.”
I have no idea where this is taking me, but I am trusting that God will use me to make a difference in the lives of women who are hungry for a second chance at life. One by one, I will be God’s messenger of hope and renewal in a sometimes-dark world. I already have a trip to Uganda planned for February, 2017, and opportunities are opening up in a prison ministry and in the battle against sex trafficking. No doubt my brain will be stretched and my resolve will be tested as I do battle against the enemy. But I am reminded of one of my favorite passages.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 MSG
A few years ago, I posted this picture which still applies today. I want to reach the end of my days with no regrets, with no thoughts of “ if only I had…” I want to know that I have followed God’s lead, totally trusting His way as I release control of my future with an open hand. I want to be remembered as someone who loved life, and who life loved back. I want to enter the heavenly realms hearing “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Which means no holding back!
Tomorrow will be a new day, I’ll be past my big 6-0 and can move forward without fear. Today, I’ll just celebrate with champagne and chocolate, toasting to the future and knowing that the best is yet to come. Cheers!