In the spring of 2017, I faced the possibility I might not live to see my 70th birthday. I was in the cardiac ICU in a hospital in Branson, MO with complete heart block waiting for a pacemaker to be inserted.
It didn’t feel like God was done with me yet. I had so much to do. Stories to write, authors to mentor, grandkids to welcome and enjoy. My wife and I were embarked on a new and exciting ministry in the area of stewardship in our church. Our fiftieth wedding anniversary was coming up and I didn’t want to miss that.
Then my heart stopped three times. Medical personnel hooked me up to a defibrillator that sent repeated shocks to my heart while they rushed me to surgery. That’s one way to be moved up on the waiting list. I don’t recommend it. The repeated shock was a hard, constant punch to my chest. And I wanted it to stop.
The last thing I remember before the surgery was how cold the operating room was and wondering whom all these masked people were. It flashed through my mind that I’d been abducted onto an alien space ship and they were going to mine all the intelligence from my brain. Which wouldn’t take long.
Before I succumbed to the anesthesia, I heard from God. Not an audible voice, but a knowing in my heart—I knew he wasn’t calling me home. The devil was trying to send me.
So I’m still here and looking forward to my full 120 years. See Genesis 6:3 NLT.
Are you like me? Looking at the downward slope of life?
Are you aware God’s not surprised we’re getting old?
Trust me. He’s not done with you yet. He still has plans for you and for me. Plans with a future and a hope. No matter your age or your health, you can still serve him.
So put on your skis or your snowboard. Jump on your old Flexible Flyer sled and fly over the snow that seems to want to suck you down. Fly on the wings of our Lord and the strength of his love and the beauty of his grace and mercy and the promises of his Word.
If you’re a writer, write. Listen to him, to the words he puts on your heart. Those are the stories he wants you to share. Can’t type anymore? Dictate into a recorder or into your computer. Don’t let the devil use age to stop you. Don’t let him win. Most computers now have the ability to transform our speech to text. If you’re looking for more sophisticated options, here is a link that ranks dictation software and provides helpful hints on using it. Many of the programs mentioned are free. Click Here
Share your wisdom. Get involved in your church and community. Seek opportunities to mentor those younger and even those your age who are struggling with life changes. I met my first mentor at a writer’s conference. It’s vital we get involved in our town, our church, and our writing communities as much as possible.
I’ve mentored several writers over the years. The opportunities came about because I was involved in my church and in the writing community. God makes divine connections. On several occasions, he arranged an encounter and gave me a clear message to help the person. With other mentees, they’ve approached me to ask for help with their writing. In both scenarios, I prayed for direction. I wanted it to be from him, not my ego.
And mentoring hasn’t just been limited to writing. Is there an area where you serve in church? Such a place is an open door to speak into another person’s life. My wife and I serve in the stewardship ministry at our church. Not only have we helped people with their finances, we’ve mentored several couples and individuals with life situations for which financial problems are only a symptom.
One way to participate in the writing community is to join a local writer’s group. Or start one. Check your local library. They may have a writer’s group. Or you could propose starting one. You can do the same in your church.
Do a Google search for writer’s groups in your area. Visit them and test them out. Are they a good fit for you? Are mobility issues an obstacle for you? Think about using Skype or Face Time. Online groups are also a possibility. Word Weavers International has local chapters in several states as well as online groups. American Christian Fiction Writers also has local chapters as well as options of online groups.
God wants us to flourish and be productive. Growing old doesn’t mean sitting on the bench and watching the world go by through eyes growing increasingly dim. Not at all. My wife calls my writing life my third career.
Pray and meditate on these Scriptures:
Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. Psalm 92:2 NLT.
I will be your God through your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4 NLT.
Live long and prosper. In him.
Tagged as “one to watch” by Publishers Weekly, award winning author Henry McLaughlin takes his readers on adventures into the hearts and souls of his characters as they battle inner conflicts while seeking to bring restoration and justice in a dark world. His writing explores these themes of restoration, reconciliation and redemption.
Besides his writing, Henry treasures working with other writers and helping them on their own writing journeys. He is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. He regularly teaches at conferences and workshops, leads writing groups, edits, and mentors and coaches.