I Am Now Older Than My Mother

You know that moment a child blurts out, “When I grow older than you, …”

And everybody laughs. Because you know that isn’t possible.

Well, it happened.

I am now older than my mom ever was. Actually, a few years older.

It’s a strange feeling.

Everyone always said she died young. I know it even more now.

But what she did with the time she was given was huge—an incredible woman, mother, wife, teacher, Christian…You can read more about her in my post, Calling Her Blessed.

No, she wasn’t perfect. I talk about that in that post, too.

Yet she made an impact on everyone around her. At her funeral, the receiving line went out the door and around the block. Person after person tearfully clasping my hands, telling me what she meant to them. The memory is bittersweet.

She wasn’t old. But she was wise.

So what am I doing with the days I’ve been given? Especially when they are more than hers.

The question came again this past week when I opened Facebook. An acquaintance of mine passed away. I didn’t know her well. In fact, I only met her once. Took a workshop with her. Sat down with her for fifteen minutes to talk about my novel.

But in those few moments, it was clear. She was kind, generous, a gentle spirit even while giving excellent suggestions. As I read her obituary and the comments of others, I saw similar thoughts again and again. She touched many.

Have I?

I imagine when I die, there will be many jokes about Diet Coke, my burning the candle at both ends (and sometimes in the middle), and the way words often come out of my mouth wrong. (You can read about those here. Because, no, Elizabeth. Cucumbers do NOT become butterflies. *sigh*)

But I hope when I have lived my last moment here on earth, those aren’t the only stories told.

I want my life to count.

I want to live in such a way that I make a difference in those around me, even if I just meet them once. That I remind them of hope and peace and joy. That I shine Christ’s light. His salvation. But also that I’m real with them. That they know I’m not fake. That I truly love them with His love. And still cry like He did at the tomb. And in the garden.

I want my anger to be righteous, not selfish. My sorrow to be holy, not self-pity. My joy to flow from Him, not things. And my compassion to be understanding—as a fellow sinner—made in the image of God—bought with a price.

I want my words to help others live daily for Him. To know—as He has shown me—that they are truly loved by Him as they are, but that they can be changed daily by His grace to look more like Him.

I don’t want to waste the time He’s given me. scrolling. gossiping. whining.

Instead, at the end of the day—both THIS day and my LAST day—I want to know I lived it for Him and the Word He has put in my hands. I don’t want to thrash against the walls of the room He’s put me in. But I also don’t want to be afraid of the doors He’s opened.

Because, in the end, I don’t want my life to be about me, but about Him. Only then will I have truly lived.

Lord, let this be my testimony.

“Teach us to number our days that we may present to God a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12, NASB

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18 thoughts on “I Am Now Older Than My Mother”

  1. Yes, Lord, make my life reach someone for you. I agree with your sentiments, Elizabeth!

  2. I love this line: “I don’t want to thrash against the walls of the room He’s put me in. But I also don’t want to be afraid of the doors He’s opened.”
    You’ve put this so beautifully, Elizabeth. Not just this line, but the entire piece. It’s a good challenge to all of us–how are we using each day as a gift?
    I know I really want to have an impact, too. I yearn for it. I want people to feel encouraged or more peaceful or loved after being with me. But I also know there are plenty of times where I fail. OR–when I do my best to love someone and it is misunderstood, or not appreciated. Bottom line–I have to remind myself that only God’s opinion matters. He already loves and accepts me, and doesn’t love me more no matter how much good I do. I have to rest in His hands as His own child, love others the best I can, and leave the impact of that up to Him.

    1. Yes, Laura, such a good point to make. This isn’t about earning Christ’s favor, and it isn’t about earning man’s applause. It’s just about loving Christ and wanting to live in a way that brings glory to His name and affects people for good, whenever possible. I can’t make the fruit, but I want to give Him my hands and feet to do the gardening that He has for me. Thank you for the comment!

  3. Crystal

    “I want my anger to be righteous, not selfish.” Poignant and meaningful to me, thank you, Elizabeth!

    1. I’m so glad, Crystal. It’s amazing how that emotion can spring up so quickly, and I have to take a step back and ask myself why.

  4. Josh Ortiz

    Elizabeth, I didn’t have the privilege of meeting or knowing your mother, but I can say without a doubt that the Lord has used you and your family to be an incredible blessing to us over the years!

  5. Shelly

    Having known your mother, I think she was perfect, ready to be an Angel. And now reading your eloquent words, I think you are making a most beautiful difference. Please keep sending me your stories.

    1. Thank you, Shelly! She was a pretty incredible woman. And I’ll most definitely keep sending my stories 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy them.

  6. David Weber

    “She wasn’t old. But she was wise.” Amen. I need to remember to write about when she solved a problem I was having at school in a way I would never have thought of . . . by baking bread. And double-amen: I so want my life to count for God’s glory, but I feel like a hypocrite just saying that. Not that I’m living a life that clearly dishonors him, but just that it seems so feeble, so actionless. For years I have thought I would like to call Philippians 3:10-11 my life verse, but I know that I am not worthy of it; it is not the epitaph someone would put on my gravestone. Yet one can dream (see Ephesians 3:20-21), so here’s Php 3:10-11: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” I want it, yet I’m afraid of getting it.

    1. I’d love to hear that story about the bread. I know she taught me the parts of a cell by baking a cake.

      And I agree. All our actions can seem feeble and actionless. I tend to get myself caught “Feeding Geese” [Don’t Feed the Geese] rather than letting Him feed me. Praying that we will rest in Him and His power as He helps us deny ourselves, take up our cross (i.e dying to ourselves) and follow Him (Mark 8:34)–in a way that shines His light and brings Him glory. I’m so thankful He knows I am but dust–and yet He still gave Himself for me.

  7. Jill Daghfal

    This is beautiful, Elizabeth. Praise the Lord for godly mothers and their example and legacy of pointing us to Him. How blessed we are! Praise God also that He is the God of all comfort so that our sorrow is holy and not self-pity as you said. That we can learn so much and be drawn so near to Him even in the sorrowful times and losses. He is so kind and faithful!

    1. Amen. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (the God of all comfort) is such a beautiful passage of truth. His steadfast love endures forever.

  8. Elizabeth, this brought tears to my eyes. I lost my mother when I was 8 years old and in about 12 more years, I will surpass her age when she died. I get knots in my stomach every time I think about that. It’s such a weird feeling! Thank you for sharing. – Kaitlyn

    1. Ah, Kaitlyn. Hugs. 8 years old is such a tender age to say goodbye. I often say, no matter how old you are, when you lose your mom, you feel like a child again. But you literally were a child. I’m so sorry. What’s one thing you would love her to know now?

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