Growing Older Gracefully Archives 2007
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  • Does Wisdom Come with Age? by Pat Gates
  • Is That Me? by Cindy Granke
  • Journey's End (Life is Eternal) by H. Harold MacNeil
  • The Costly Ideals of the No Longer Young by Paul Earnhart
  • I'm Ready to Go Home (poem) by Jerry Ham
  • When True Love Shines the Brightest
  • The Prayer of an Alzheimer's Patient (poem)
  • My Treasure Box by Joanne Beckley
  • Growing Old Together in Love (1 Cor. 13) by Pat Gates
  • We Have Lived and Loved Together (poem) by Charles Jeffreys
  • My Twin by Ruth Miller


Does Wisdom Come with Age?
Pat Gates

Right now, before we go any further, think of the most wise, understanding women you know.

Now, think about the most foolish woman you know and answer the questions below. Please don't submit any names.

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I'll tell you who immediately came into my mind. The most wise woman I know is older. She is patient, quiet-natured, not outspoken, but at the same time not completely silent, but speaks wisdom humbly and with discretion. I can confide in her as I'm confident she has enough discretion to know how to answer as well as to keep this conversation to herself. She's trustworthy and I feel safe that she will not judge me too harshly and will seek further explanation if she doesn't understand what I'm saying.

My answer to the second part about the most foolish woman was interesting to me. The first woman who came in mind was an older woman and then a younger woman came to mind, but without thinking much about it, I dismissed the younger woman and came back to the older one. After examining why I had done that I realized, while the younger woman in reality is more foolish, I expect more out of the older woman so my thoughts went back to her. Unconsciously I had dismissed the younger one as being "young and foolish" and with age she will grow into wisdom. But will she?

Another interesting thing I realized after I chose the most foolish woman, I chose a Christian. Actually thinking about it more I can think of women who aren't Christians who are more foolish than the one I chose. So, why did I choose a Christian? Again, I expect more out of her.

Let's move on now and see what the scriptures say about growing in wisdom as we grow older.

THE AGED ARE TO BE HONORED
AND THEY ARE EXPECTED TO HAVE MORE WISDOM

"What do you know that we do not know? What do you understand that is not in us? Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us, much older than your father." (Job 15:9-10) Eliphaz, who made this statement in the book of Job, not only determined he had more wisdom than Job because he is older, but he expected Job to come to this conclusion as well. Bildad encouraged Job to listen to the wisdom of the ancients of the former age, as none of them have lived long enough to come to wise conclusions on their own (Job 8:8-10).

God commands us to respect the aged, "You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man..." (Lev. 19:32), "Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old..." (Prov. 23:22), "Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father...the old women as mothers...Honor widows who are really widows..." (1 Tim. 5:1-3).

We all remember the story from our youth of how King Rehoboam rejected the counsel of the elders in regard to the best strategy in ruling Israel and went along with the foolish counsel of the young men (1 Kings 12). His lack of respect for the older men's wisdom resulted in the division of the kingdom.  

DO THE AGED ALWAYS HAVE MORE WISDOM
THAN THOSE WHO ARE YOUNGER?

While we are commanded to respect the aged, we find wisdom doesn't just appear automatically as we grow older as Ecclesiastes 4:13 points out: "Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more." A poor youth can be wiser than an old king.

Job made the statement, "Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding." (Job 12:12) Later in the book of Job Elihu states the same belief, "Age should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom." (Job 32:7) How could these two "younger" men make such a statement when they have spent days listening to older men's (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) rantings and accusations of Job's wickedness and need for repentance? Let's look at their statements again and see the entirety of their thought.

Job says, "Does not the ear test words and the mouth taste its food? Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days understanding." (Job 12:11-12) Job admits the aged gain wisdom and understanding by "hearing and tasting" or by accepting and coming to conclusions based on testing and experienced. However as you continue in chapter 13 he calls these aged men "forgers of lies," "worthless physicians," and "speaking wickedly and deceitfully," (vss. 4-7). He tells these older men that he was not inferior to them and what they know, he also knows (13:2).

Elihu in Job 32 does admit that "age should speak and teach wisdom" and Elihu was a younger man who respected his elders enough to remain silent until they had their say, however, he recognizes that wisdom and justice do not always go hand in hand with growing older: "Great men are not always wise, nor do the aged always understand justice," (vs. 9). 

Let's look at Psalm 119:97-106:

Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.

The Psalmist understood more than his teachers and the aged because:

        • God's commandments give him wisdom.
        • He keeps God's law and it is always with him.
        • He meditates on God's law throughout the day.
        • He loves God's law.
        • He restrains his feet from every evil way.
        • He does not depart from God's judgments.
        • God is his teacher.
        • God's word is sweet to him.
        • He hates "every false way."
        • He gives God the credit for any wisdom and understanding he has.
        • He uses God's law to light his path.
        • He sees God's judgments as righteous.
        • He has made a commitment to keep God's judgments.

Yes! "The silver-haired head is a crown of glory" -  "IF" - "It is found in the way of righteousness," Proverbs 16:31. If not, by all means a younger person may have more wisdom and understanding for, "The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all they that do his commandments," Psalm 111:10.  "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom," James 3:13.

THE ULTIMATE WISDOM:
A RIGHTEOUS, GOD-FEARING, BIBLE-LOVING,
KNOWLEDGEABLE, HUMBLE OLDER CHILD OF GOD
OR
YES! WISDOM CAN AND SHOULD GROW WITH AGE

There are two factors that come into play for a woman to be a wise, older woman.
Experience
• Growing in love, Bible knowledge, and discretion

We all understand the longer we live the more experience we'll have and, with the experience, time to live through the outcome of the experience, whether it be good or bad. This is why it is usually good for younger mothers to listen to the advice of the older mother when it comes to raising children. And, we mothers of all ages, wish our children would listen to our advice and understand how much we have learned from our own experience.

Experience, however, is limited when it comes to wisdom. If experience alone brought great wisdom, all older women would be wise, but many who have experienced much in this earthly life lack wisdom. Experience may teach us if we do a certain thing wrong it will bring negative consequences, but it does not teach us the mind of God, which is where wisdom originates. Without knowing the mind of God and His will in our lives, we will depend on our own "wisdom" and often we fail to make the right choice or lack the understanding to know which choice to make.

Experience, however, does promote wisdom, if it is coupled with the growth of love (true, Godly love), knowledge (from the word of God), and discretion that comes with the actual use of love and knowledge in our lives. Philippians 1:9-10 states: "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense til the day of Christ." Without learning and growing in the love and knowledge from God's will as well as learning discernment (good judgment) we will not grow into older, wiser women.

However, when an older woman has learned God's love, knowledge, and discretion and has actively put this qualities into her life she will, no doubt, be a wise, older woman. Just having the knowledge of God's will and the knowledge of His love will not produce a wise woman, but putting these to use throughout her life will produce wisdom: "For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil," Hebrews 5:13-14.

When an older woman teaches the younger women what she has learned from her experience, looking at life through godly, Christ-like eyes, she will be the proof that wisdom can and should grow with age.


Make wisdom your provision for the journey from youth to old age, for it is a more certain support than all other possessions.

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Here is your response to the questions in last month's article, Does Wisdom Come With Age?

Let's examine ourselves as we look at these qualities and ask ourselves if we are growing in wisdom as we age. We have a couple of younger women mentioned that teaches us wisdom can come at a younger age when you "pattern your life after the Lord."

Think of the most wise woman you know. Is she older? Why did you think of her?


older: No
comment: She patterns her life after the Lord, is compassionate, dependable, hospitable & caring.

older: Yes
comment: Her example of submission even during hard times is an encouragement to me and a good example to her 8 children.

older: Yes
comment: She is the most sincere and considerate person. She is a great example to her children, grandchildren and dear friends of whom I include myself. She treats everyone with respect. She is an active listener, dependable, wise and always willing to teach the gospel or help anyone she can.

older: No
comment: Loved her

older: Yes
comment: She always gave me good advice, but not always what I wanted to hear. She did it in love and fairness to every situation and to every party involved. I held her wisdom in very high esteem, as she was a Christian and loving, selfless person.

older: Yes
comment: She has raised godly children.  She submits to her husband. She is consistent.  She is not arrogant or prideful (as some are) although by comparison to others she is a superior disciple of Christ.

older: Yes
comment: She is an example to follow......and usually has good advice......is forgiving....and honest.....

older: Yes
comment: She was at services as long as was physically possibly.  Always had a cheerful outlook till the end.

older: Yes
comment: She was married to a nonChristian for over sixty years and the only time she missed services was when she had a heart attack and open heart surgery.  She was a wonderful woman who obeyed the Gospel at age nineteen and love the Lord so very much!

Let's examine ourselves and make sure these things can't be said of us. 

Think of the most foolish woman you know. Is she older? Why did you think of her?

older: Yes
comment: She craves attention like a child, she is silly & self-centered. She grumbles a lot!

older: No
comment: Her foolishness has caused much trouble in her marriage and her family.  I see the damage her behavior has caused in her children and for her husband.

older: No
comment: Well, she doesn't have much experience in life, but I can tell she is learning, and will someday understand the problems of life.  Most of the time young women have yet to experience some kind of enormous trial to overcome in her life.  Of course, she has little ones, that with the help of God, can pretty much be successful in extinguishing the problem.  I have hope that she will be more understanding with age. 
This is a good example of wisdom growing with age by you saying she's learning and that is the key... to learn.

older: No
comment: She is wicked -- so deceived by Satan that she will make choices that are detrimental to herself and her children simply to be defiant.

older: Yes
comment: Through her compassion and care for others she is always getting herself into situations that most anyone would see through and avoid. Naive, I guess you could call her. Loving and caring, but blind to the outcome of befriending some people.

older: Yes
comment: Great Love toward her and respect.
(This may have been a mistake and was meant for the wise woman section.)

older: No
comment: Insists her brassiness does not affect how people of the world look at her.

older: Yes
comment: Through her compassion and care for others she is always getting herself into situations that most anyone would see through and avoid. Naive, I guess you could call her. Loving and caring, but blind to the outcome of befriending some people.

older: Yes
comment: Great Love toward her and respect.
(This
may have been a mistake and was meant for the wise woman section.)

older: No
comment: Insists her brassiness does not affect how people of the world look at her.

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A stiff, aged woman stands on the road ahead of me
The path bends and broadens into all eternity...
But her tired, frowning face is all that I can see.
As I come closer, I can sense her fears
I see her hands, wrinkled with the years
I gaze into her empty eyes and mine fill with tears.
I am haunted by the woman, her body and spirit so lame
And I turn around to head back down the way from which I came
Only now that I have walked it, the road is not the same.
It's foggy and clouded, and I stumble down the street
The pavement, then so sturdy, now dissolves beneath my feet
I don't even recognize faces of people that I meet.
Faint become the images that were once clear
I lose my grip on the things that I hold so dear
As all that once seemed far away threatens to come near.
I struggle to grasp even the smallest grains
But it all slips away, and the streetlight wanes
Until behind me, it is dark, and ahead is all that remains.
The road passed has disappeared from sight
But for one smiling face, bright eyes glistening in the night
There's a young girl, dreaming big and fearing little, and I hold her hand tight.
Then she gives a little wave and tells me to let go
She stays behind as I must leave and grow
And I continue down the broadening road, she forever in my shadow.
A stiff, aged woman stands on the road ahead of me
Her tired, frowning face is all that I can see
I fear that she, with empty eyes, is what I am to be.

~ author unknown

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Is That Me?
By Cindy Granke

Do you see yourself in the poem above? As we see our changing images in the mirror we learn that each of us still has a “little girl” that lives inside of us. It causes us to feel joy at the smallest and silliest of things. But like a small child we may sometimes feel a little apprehensive about what lies ahead for us. This may be especially so when our aging bodies no longer have the energy to do the things we used to, or perhaps when we are facing that time in our lives when we must learn how to live alone after the death of a spouse, or we are becoming more and more dependent upon our children, or others.

I can honestly say that I do not dread growing old. I have to admit that occasionally I have wondered what it will be like when death is imminent, but I'm not afraid to die. Admittedly the dying process is a bit frightening, but the older I get, the more I realize that this earth is not my home and there is nothing here that I cling to, other than my loved ones.

My prayer is that I might remain well enough, and able to do the work which God still has for me to do here on earth, and when death does come that I might face it with courage. With that in mind, as my strength grows weaker, and my soul grows weary, my thoughts turn longingly to the rest and the beauty of Heaven. Cindy

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Are you weary, are you heavy hearted?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you grieving over joys departed?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Do you fear the gathering clouds of sorrow?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you anxious what shall be tomorrow?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Are you troubled at the thought of dying?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
For Christ’s coming daily are you sighing?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

~Edmund Simon Lorenz, 1876

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Journey's End
(Life Is Eternal)

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then some one at my side says “There! She’s gone.”

Gone where? Gone from my sight -- that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when some one at my side says, “There! She’s gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “There she comes!”

It could be a glorious feeling for me some day when I might hear the glad shout, "Here he comes!" We shall all pass one day to the other side.

~ By H. Harold MacNeill ~
Taken from his memoirs, "A Century of Change: My Story,"
written when he was in his 80s.
Submitted by Joanne Beckley

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The Costly Ideals of the No Longer Young
by Paul Earnhart

"Veteran soldiers should not be found gathered safely out of range of conflict, content to stand around and reminisce endlessly about old wars."

When Benhadad, king of Syria, added to his already oppressive price for the release of the city of Samaria from the grip of his besieging army, Ahab of Israel responded that he who "girdeth on his armor" should not "boast himself as he that putteth it off (1 Kings 20:11). Idealism comes rather easily to the young. They feel the strength of their youth and find it natural to "dream dreams and see visions." Their vision of truth and right is pure and undivided - not yet obscured by the dark memory of countless personal shortfalls. Their consciences, though slightly bruised, are not yet deeply wounded and scarred. I confess that I love this special quality in young people - their wholehearted enthusiasm for a high purpose and their capacity for a heroic commitment to it. But it is the very naivete of their youthful, idealistic dreams that can put them at risk.

It is the special temptation of the young to treat with great impatience, and often intolerance, the moral and spiritual failures of others. Yet untested themselves, they find it inconceivable that anyone should fail to meet directly the highest standard of right with the maximum investment of energy. I know - for that is exactly how I felt as a young, idealistic and untried preacher, and I doubt I was slow to express it.

Burned in my memory is the response of one of my teachers to a very genuinely conceived, but impatiently delivered, rebuke of my elders delivered at a college lectureship. He was a good and dedicated man with a commitment I greatly respected. As he approached me after I had liberally unburdened myself about the current production of "hot house Christians" who were, in my judgment, being carefully protected for the real demands of the gospel, I am sure I anticipated a warm commendation. That is not whet I received. He shook my hand warmly, but said something to this effect: "Paul, that is all well and good, but you need to learn some patience and compassion."

Candor requires me to say that my ego smarted a good bit and I was disappointed in the "softness" of a man I had judged to be a kindred spirit. But he was right, of course. I had a vision of how things ought to be, but not the patience and understanding to produce it. My ideals were true, but I had no idea how costly and difficult it was going to be to fulfill them, both in others and in myself. I had courage and boldness, but it was the courage and boldness of a warrior who had never gone to war.

But if it is the disposition of the young to be impatient with any spiritual weakness, and have no stomach for the long hard road of patient teaching necessary to produce change, those of us no longer young have a problem with a "patience" which runs to indulgence and to compromise. It is not easy, after all, to be old and idealistic. The hard reality of entrenched human iniquity has penetrated us deeply, and the memory of our own sins against the ideal weighs heavily on the mind. If the young run to high confidence and boasting before they put on the armor, the old are disposed to take off the armor and leave it off. The memory of old battles makes new ones less attractive. with increased age comes the increased temptation to seek accommodation with old enemies and find release from constant combat.

But age should not rob us of that youthful vision of a resplendent Savior and a world to conquer for Him. The thought of our intervening failures may be painful, but the ideals of God's kingdom remain both true and, by His grace, attainable. Veteran soldiers should not be found gathered safely out of range of conflict, content to stand around and reminisce endlessly about old wars. Their courage and wisdom are needed in the forefront of present battles where love wages war against hate, truth takes up arms against error, and holiness engages immorality. Young and largely untried soldiers of the King need to see us standing there, confident in the gospel, seasoned in godliness, unafraid of the adversary. We are the ones who, going willingly to hard places and standing in the heat of conflict, should invite our younger comrades, as did one aged warrior of old, to "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:3).

Ideals may be costly to those of us hwo ar no longer young, but never in our lives has it been more important for us to hold on to them with a dogged tenacity.

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“I’m ready to go home now.” Are the words that I hear.
She forms a faint smile, her eyes filled with tears.
I help her stand, holding onto her hands.
The look in her face, I can’t quite understand.
“I’m ready to go home now.” She says once again.
She seems to be talking to a very dear friend.
I find myself asking, “Could this be the day?
“That God will come and call her away?”
“Lord, I know she has loved You for years.
“Yet at this moment, my heart fills with fear.
“Lord, I’m not ready, I know in my mind.
“Yet…if You take her, I know she’ll be fine.
“Lord, one more time, if it’s all just the same.
“Let her look at my face, and call me by name.”
As we walk together, my mother and I,
I resist the urge just to break down and cry.
“Take courage my child, look up and take heart.”
A soft calm voice makes my fears fall apart.
“The time will come when she’ll enter My rest.
“It’s all in my hands, you just do your best.”
There’s a calm in my heart that soothes like a balm.
Without a doubt I know, she’s ready to go home.

© 1999, Jerry Ham ~ Used by permission
http://www.zarcrom.com/users/alzheimers/poetry/jer/jer-00.html

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When True Love
Shines The Brightest


     It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I  took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him.

     I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, I saw  it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

     While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, but he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health and he told me she had been there for a while and was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

     As we talked, I asked if she would be upset  if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him for 5 years now. I was surprised, and asked him,
"And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?"

     He smiled as he patted my hand and said,
"She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is."

     I had to hold back tears as he left. I had goose bumps on my arm and thought,
"That is the kind of love I want in my life."  True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

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  The Prayer of
an Alzheimer's Patient


Dear Lord:

     Please grant my visitors tolerance of my confusion, forgiveness for my irrationality, and strength to walk with me into the mist of memory my world has become
.

     Please help them take my hand and stay awhile, even though I seem unaware of their presence.

     Help them to know how their strength and loving care will drift softly into
the days to come, just when I need it most.

     Let them know that, when I don't recognize them, I will ask them to keep their hearts free of sorrow for me.   For my sorrow, when it comes,
only lasts for a moment and then it is gone.

     And finally, Lord,  please let them know how very much their visits mean.   How, even through this relentless mystery, I can feel their love.

                                                                                    Amen

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Thanks to Joanne Beckley for two great articles this month.  I have a box with saved notes and cards that meant so much to me at times when I needed encouragement.  As I've grown older, I haven't written as many personal notes or letters as I used to.  I am going to try to change that beginning right now.  Thanks for reminding us, Joanne.  Cindy
My Treasure Box
By Joanne Beckley


". . . If we love one another, God dwells in us,
and his love is perfected in us."
1 John 4:12


     I have a wooden treasure box just the right size. It holds my heart's longing to be loved and appreciated. How can this be? Because within are all the notes and cards I have received and saved from loved ones and even from a stranger or two. Written words of encouragement and thanksgiving – to me. Written for me during times of joy and times of heartache. Times of sharing and times of crushing loneliness.

     I know I am not alone in needing to literally touch the love extended to me. Several out there knew this, and took their precious time to write. Today, I am now writing to encourage you to write to those around you who need and will benefit from your love. Often, written words can surely reach into hurting hearts more easily. Why? – because we have time to consider our thoughts and to carefully order them as we write, seeking to reach another's heart. Whereas, too often in another's presence we are caught tongue-tied in the moment, unable to think of anything to say – and even fearful of saying something hurtful!

     Can't a message on email do the job? A woman, quoted in Ladies Home Journal (2003, p132), described the difference between email and the written messages she writes to others. "I want to be accessible to the people I care about, but I need to give my words consideration. A correspondence I believe is different from a conversation (including quick emails). It needs the right pace for reflection. When we write in our own hand, we are more apt to add nuance and inflection with the occasional smear of ink. Our words go further, last longer." Our words are literally held in the hands of others.

     Written words become a bridge that connects one heart to another heart.  They are saved to savor another day, another year, and then comfort us in gathered memories as we grow older and the time comes when we are not able to go and do as we did before.

     Consider this. What if God had not chosen to have his words written down? Where would we be today? Truly, we rejoice in ALL the benefit we reap from His Word, not only from His commands, but from His words of encouragement and comfort (1 John
5:13). Just for you and me. Love ~ pure love.

     Life is busy. Life likes busy. We have to rise above our good intentions in order to love one another. Let us consider the occasions when we received written words that proved helpful in our own lives. Thereby we can know how to help others with our written words:

Personal needs:

•    Joyful occasions (weddings, graduations, new job, new baby, new home – and all the little successes that bring happiness into our lives).
•    Thanksgiving or admonishment – By expressing their joy or concern in writing they confirmed their hearts toward us. If it is a criticism, it is good to know that someone took the time to write us, expressing their firm beliefs and concerns. It will cause us to open our Bibles to study more! When we write down our feelings of thanksgiving, it focuses our own hearts to be grateful. We are also more apt to be forgiving and seek the good in others.
•    Health concerns – Their words of sunshine balanced our pain and despair.
•    Personal challenges – Empathy and understanding, and a longing to share and carry the trouble we face brings peace.
•    Grieving the loss of a loved one – God is love and He gave us the ability to love. But love in this life carries pain. It sometimes overwhelms us. Every grief is different, but thoughtfully written words carry comfort. (Romans 12:15).
•    Emotional wounds – When someone inadvertently (or otherwise) speaks hurtful words and we cannot seem to let go of the hurt, we need help. Others cannot know the depth of our hurt, but they can see the pain in our eyes and can offer their love and concern. Their written words did not require us to "save face" – and we could hear.
•    Shut-ins – Four walls has the ability to block in loneliness, stagnant thoughts, and destroy hope. A written note that says someone is thinking about us removes those walls. Reminisces shared remind us that we are not forgotten. We read the note yet again and again.
•    Spiritually sick – Immediate care must be given, for too often something goes amiss and we allow yet another week to go by before seeking help. This, above all areas of pain and heartache, should be addressed as promptly as possible. Why? Because spiritual pain goes deep, so deep that the pain can be buried before we know it – because our minds cannot accept the guilt of sin for very long. Soon we cover the sin with rationalization until we literally do not care. The conscience has been seared and others' love will not reach our hearts. One who loves us will seek any and every way to save us as soon as possible.

Other needful areas:

•    Encouraging children – We must reach out to our teenagers. They need to know when we are proud of them. Life is not easy and they have not had the time necessary to develop protective armor through Christ against emotional pain or to acquire the knowledge of how to cope in this sinful world. You and I can remember those days. We can reach them with non-threatening written words.
•    Parenting – The wrongdoings of wayward children cause parents to feel a tremendous sense of sorrow, and even guilt. Don't forsake them. Your written words will remind them they are not alone.
•    Reaching out to those in the world – They of all people need encouragement and comfort. Not only can we share the gospel, but we can write of our care and concern for the troubles they are presently facing, whether they are our neighbors, the bank teller, the person standing at the grocery checkout, or someone who has been kind to us.

     The possibilities are wide open and endless. Jehovah asked Moses a question, and I now ask you the same: "What is that in your hand?" Pen and paper and perhaps a stamp or two is all it takes.


"Rejoice with those who rejoice,
and weep with those who weep."
Romans 12:15

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Growing Old Together in Love
1 Corinthians 13
 by Pat Gates


The next time you teach a ladies' class on marriage or if you are a participant, don't limit yourself to the verses specifically for wives, rather add verses that are relevant to all personal relationships. If our husband is a Christian then we are to treat him as we are commanded to treat all Christians. If he is not a Christian then we are commanded to be an example of a true disciple of Christ to help win him to Christ.

1 Corinthians 13 list of the characteristics of love is a wonderful lesson for wives to learn at a young age so that they may continue in love for their husband well into the "October Years."

I will be patient with my husband. The NKJV says "suffers long" but I didn't think writing, "I will suffer long with my husband," sounded just right! Laughing  After the wedding, it doesn't take long to come to the awareness of how different men are than women; it doesn't take long to learn our husband's little "quirks." Instead of this always being a joke when we speak to younger wives, let's reinforce the fact that, yes, men and woman are different and accept that. Just as the men are to "live with their wives according to understanding," so are the wives to their husbands. God created men and women differently; even the physical properties of their brains are different. Instead of fighting this unchanging law of creation, let's learn to live with the differences. As far as his "quirks" go, we need to remind ourselves we too have our quirks and we expect our husbands to learn to live with our's, so we should with them.

I will not envy my husband. When might we envy our husbands? Those of us who are ill may envy their energy and that they are able to get out and do activities we can not. Others may envy their husband's praise he receives from others, while we are in the background. Young wives may envy their husband's job where he can get out of the house and be with other adults while she stays at home all day with the children. A shy wife may envy her husband's warm, friendly personality and wish she could be like that. Wives will not readily admit their envy because it sounds so petty and will make them look bad, but the fact is, these feelings happen at times and we older women need to teach younger women to learn to admire these traits in her husband. If she is feeling unhappy about a situation in her life, work on the problem or on her attitude, and keep her mind thinking rationally that envy is not the solution, but rather adds to the problem.

I will not brag, nor be arrogant (NASB). Have you seen an older wife always take over a conversation while her older husband sits back in silence? Perhaps he was always the "silent type" but I wonder if some gave up long ago when they realized it was no use trying. Wives need to build up their husbands and recognize their accomplishments and not compete for attention.

I will not behave rudely to my husband (NKJV). Oh, how many times have we spoken to our husbands in ways we would never speak to others? We feel the most comfortable with our husbands and we let our guard down and if we feel irritable or tired we snap back at them. Or we may not think of doing nice, loving deeds for our husband that we might do for another. Let's teach younger women to be polite to their husbands, unselfish, giving and kind.

I will not seek my own. Selfishness causes more problems in a marriage than anything else. My husband may not be perfect in this, but he comes the closest to perfection in this than any man I know. His thoughtfulness makes me feel loved. We all need to be unselfish with our mates and teach this younger generation to be so. In the 60s woman began to be taught to look out for themselves and not give into the man, and not only is that true today, but overall it seems selfishness and greed abounds. Love gives in to another and looks out for other's interest. The best marriages are based on unselfish behavior and it is never regretted because it bears sweet, lasting fruits of happiness and contentment.

I will not be provoked. I will not be easily exasperated. Older women, we need to be careful about this as we grow older, more tired and nerves get on edge. Teach patience to younger women, especially to those who may have a husband who lacks self-control in his impatience and gets angry too easily. "A soft answer turns away wrath."

I will not think evil. Stashing away our husband's flaws into a mental safe to bring them out whenever we need to "get back at them" is not the way to go. Looking for faults in our husband is not love. We are commanded to respect our husbands and the only way to do that is to look for the good and cherish it.

I will not rejoice in iniquity. We need to be spiritually-minded women and be a help-meet spiritually for our husbands, never tempting him to do wrong. If our husband is the one who initiates sin and spiritual weakness, we are not loving him if we allow him to influence us to sin; this includes missing worship services and Bible studies, sinful movies and tv programs, cheating on taxes or any other business practice, drinking, drugs, etc. etc. etc. We are to help our husbands get to heaven. There is no greater love.

I will rejoice in the Truth. I will love the Truth, joy in it, never be ashamed of it, and will always put it first in my life, even over my husband's wishes. This is the best love I can give my husband. Compromise with UN-truths create a false peace and only leads to spiritual weakness of all involved.

I will bear, believe, hope, and endure all things for my love for my husband. I will bear pain, trials, and losses for the spiritual, emotional and physical good of my husband. I will believe the Truth of my Savior and never deviate from it, even if my husband disagrees, because it is for his eternal good that I do. I will keep hope in my heart and never give up, looking to the goal of heaven for my husband and myself. I will endure all things because I love my husband. 

I will always remember true, godly love never fails. If practiced, my love for my husband will continue to grow into the October years.

Your responses to why your love has remained throughout your marriage....


Our love remained throughout our marriage because: We have always had complete trust in each other, respect and love. We are each other's best friend. We have learned to overlook each other's faults and help one another to become a better person. - Married 56 years.


Our love remained throughout our marriage because: We have always had complete trust in each other, respect and love. We are each other's best friend. We have learned to overlook each other's faults and help one another to become a better person. - Married 56 years.


Our love remained throughout our marriage because: even when things were stressed between us and we felt "apart" due to busyness, children, or resentments - we were always working together in the same direction. Our focus was on raising godly children and serving others.

Our love remained throughout our marriage because: We each put the other's needs before our own and we never, ever went to sleep upset with each other.  31 years in December and he's still my dearest and best friend!

Our love remained throughout our marriage because: We each put the other's needs before our own and we never, ever went to sleep upset with each other.  31 years in December and he's still my dearest and best friend!


Our love remained throughout our marriage because: When we were married we both knew it was a life long commitment.  We have had our ups and downs but we never even considered ending our marriage.  We always came through and each low point in our relationship made us stronger, and made us appreciate our love more.  Both of us were Christians when we married and we were determined to continue building a strong relationship.

Our love remained throughout our marriage because: When we were married we both knew it was a life long commitment.  We have had our ups and downs but we never even considered ending our marriage.  We always came through and each low point in our relationship made us stronger, and made us appreciate our love more.  Both of us were Christians when we married and we were determined to continue building a strong relationship.


Our love remained throughout our marriage because: We developed a relationship together that did not include the kids. Some couples the only thing they have in common is their kids. You must work on having common interests. Sometimes is is not easy. Learn to enjoy sports of any kind. Ask him out for a date - don't wait to be asked. Dress up for him and don't let your appearance suffer because you think he doesn't care how you look. Always be proud of him.

Our love remained throughout our marriage because:  We developed a relationship together that did not include the kids.  Some couples the only thing they have in common is their kids.  You must work on having common interests.  Sometimes is is not easy.  Learn to enjoy sports of any kind.  Ask him out for a date - don't wait to be asked.  Dress up for him and don't let your appearance suffer because you think he doesn't care how you look.  Always be proud of him.

Our love remained throughout our marriage because:  We developed a relationship together that did not include the kids.  Some couples the only thing they have in common is their kids.  You must work on having common interests.  Sometimes is is not easy.  Learn to enjoy sports of any kind.  Ask him out for a date - don't wait to be asked.  Dress up for him and don't let your appearance suffer because you think he doesn't care how you look.  Always be proud of him.


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WE HAVE LIVED
AND LOVED TOGETHER

We have lived and loved together
Through many changing years;
We have shared each other's gladness
And wept each other's tears;
I have known ne'er a sorrow
That was long unsoothed by thee;
For thy smiles can make a summer
Where darkness else would be.

Like the leaves that fall around us
In autumn's fading hours,
Are the traitor's smiles, that darken
When the cloud of sorrow lowers;
And though many such we've known, love,
Too prone, alas, to range,
We both can speak of one love
Which time can never change.

We have lived and loved together
Through many changing years,
We have shared each other's gladness
And wept each other's tears.
And let us hope the future,
As the past has been will be:
I will share with thee my sorrows,
And thou thy joys with me.

CHARLES JEFFREYS

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My Twin
by Ruth Miller

As a normal country kid, I liked to fabricate stories.  The one I liked best was about my twin Bruce.  You see, my name was Ruth and Bruce would rhyme with Ruth. Back in the olden days, twins’ names rhymed and they dressed alike.  They didn’t cater to all this individuality stuff they have now.  Since I was the middle child of five, I caught all the guff from my two older and two younger siblings.  I just wanted a play mate of my own, hence Bruce came on the scene.  Bruce was my confidant, my hero, my best friend.  The first time someone asked me where Bruce was, I told them he was away . . . this wasn’t far from the truth since he was not present, right?

      Bruce was kind of my mystical self.  He epitomized all I wanted me to be.  I knew he would be there for me whenever I needed him.  I could feel the soft touch of his hand as he wiped the tears of sadness from my eyes; he would tickle me to make me laugh, he would listen to all of my problems and he could sense when I was down and would always cheer me up.  Bruce would do all the things necessary to keep me happy and in a good frame of mind, but yet being myself.  He would play psychologist with me to and help me try to understand how to better get along with people, yes, even my brothers and sisters.  Sometimes I listened and sometimes I didn’t, but Bruce was always there to talk over my wrongdoings.  We would play act each others roles.  He would show me through this method of how I could have handled a situation differently. 

      I began to see through what he had been telling me and showing me while I was growing older.  I loved the way he was keeping me in line.  I began to think Bruce was perfect.  He was so gentle, so kind, so patient with me, especially if my darker side should rear its ugly head.  Yes, Bruce and I we were inseparable buddies. Our friendship lasted for several years and I realized I was not mentioning him as much as I used to. . . I guess I got tired of coming up with different things to explain him away, for one. 

      Then one night, I had a dream . . . it was such a beautiful dream.  Bruce was there, in fact, he WAS the dream!  He was telling me how much he enjoyed the years of our friendship and camaraderie.  He spoke in such a soft but yet commanding voice. I was mesmerized . . . I could not talk to him in my dream-like state, so I just listened and hung onto every word he spoke.  He told me his journey with me was complete, as I had learned all he could teach me and he knew I could move on in my life.  He said in such touching, almost sad words, that he had been sent to help another young lady just as myself.  He spoke of fond memories which were made between the two of us.  He reminded me of all the times we cried and laughed together and how mature in matters of life I had become.  He said I should always put them into practice with others and that I should help others as he had helped me,  Bruce said he would always be near . . .  just tucked inside a secret corner of my heart . . . and I could always visit our memories there.  

      I tried to tell him he was an inseparable part of my life and that I would always remember his wisdom, his kindness and his patience with me, but the words stuck like a ball in my throat.  I reached out to touch his fading hand for just one more time, when I felt a sudden feeling of warmth and being surrounded by love; I had a slight sensation of touch on my cheek . . . and then it was gone.  I woke up the next morning and although I could not remember the entire dream, I could remember the sensation of being kissed goodbye.  I continued to mature and became a well rounded and well educated person in my adult life.  I never forgot “Bruce” but I finally came to realize that he was my conscience for all of these years . . . and he trained me well. 

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