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Faith Imagined: ST Publication: Summer

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

May 2, 2011

ST Publication: Summer

I'm so excited to showcase the next Sanctified Together Publication - Summer! We hope you find time to enjoy each article, as you prepare for summer craziness! If you haven't joined our mailing list, you can join here and make sure to receive our ST Publication every three months! If you would like to print out the publication, you can go here!

Eternal Summer

I've been thinking a lot about aging lately. Gray hairs are starting to find their way into my auburn hair, and fine lines and creases are beginning to frame the features of my face. The youthful aspects of my body that I've always taken for granted seem to be losing their momentum. I'm trying to gain an eternal perspective about the physical changes that I'm about to experience as God allows me to live more years on this earth.

To acquire understanding, I looked at the average lifespan of a person. I know that people many times use the concept of "seasons" when describing life, so I divided the average life into four: spring, summer, autumn and winter. If a person lives 80 years, then each season will have a set of 20 years. I realize this is a little cut-and-dry, but I really needed to have something tangible to explore the aging process and to prepare myself for what's to come.

Since I am thirty-four years old, I am nearing the end of summer. The youth I've always known is waning, and I will begin the beautiful season of fall. I'm not angry or scared about this new season. I've just always been horrible with change, and my mind and spirit desperately need awareness before my scenery transforms. I want to stay on the curving path of God's design, so I will have victory in my autumn years and continue to live with confidence in Christ.

Jesus never lived into His last two seasons; He was crucified in the glory of His summer. He conquered death for us and returned to show His resurrected body to the world. He walked the earth in the ripeness of His summer, and the splendor of His eternal body revealed the scars of His earthly sacrifice. His physical brokenness became His everlasting beauty.

Brokenness is not a very nice word in a culture obsessed with perfection and beauty. If someone were to invent a body eraser to airbrush over blemishes and imperfections, that person would become a gazillionaire. We would use that eraser to shave off inches from our hips and stomachs, erase freckles and wrinkles and rub out stretch marks, cellulite and scars. We might even become skilled enough to shade in some muscle tone and firmness! We would definitely not highlight our brokenness, but that's exactly what Jesus did.

Our brokenness is what releases God's fullness in our lives. It is not until we finally admit that we are not perfect and our efforts at control don't work, that we finally cling onto to God's power instead of our own. When we die to ourselves, God lives abundantly in us. And God will break us to get us to understand that. Aging is definitely a form of brokenness. As we get older, we realize that time is no longer on our side. Our physical bodies are dying and we have very few years left to reach our predestined purposes. Aging helps us to look beyond ourselves and into the heart of God, where the spiritual and eternal things dwell.

I pray that in my new season, God will show me how fleeting my looks are and how short my life is compared to eternity. I want heaven-eyes, so I can keep my life aligned with God's everlasting plan. I desire to lay hold of the aspects of my life that have eternal value, so my life can have purpose and meaning. I know that the physical elements of this life are important, but I want to use them to develop and fulfill eternal assignments.

With all that said, I will still hold onto the promise that I will die in this crippled, mortal shell and be transformed into my Eternal Summer self. In heaven I will have long auburn hair, a wrinkle free face and youthful muscles. I will be able to fly, run and dance into God's glory that fills the gates of heaven. But I know that any brokenness I endured in this life for the Kingdom of God will be worn like a badge of honor. I will recite my stories of how I lived by faith for Christ, and I will highlight the brokenness that caused me to cling onto God because I believed in His promises.

And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

"Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"

- 1 Corinthians 15.53-55 (NLT)

*Giveaway! Every person who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing to win Susan Lawrence's Bible study, Pure Purpose! Find out more here!


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15 Comments:

OpenID bluecottonmemory said...

I don't know if I'm in Fall now or now! LOL I do know that I am never to just stop my work no matter the season. I want to have reams stories to recite, like you mention of "how I lived by faith for Christ, and I will highlight the brokenness that caused me to cling onto God because I believed in His promises"

Your post reminds me of how I felt when my grandmother died at 95. It was like her spirit soared from her broken body to heaven, with the same energy I heard she used to race her horse against the trains at Normandy.

No matter the season, the work continues, and the stories are gathered! I so love this!

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

I love that. Our eternal lifespan makes all this pale in comparison. I recently scheduled a post on numbering days and will link this within. Glad to see it's 80 as apposed to my original thought.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

My mother says she feels like 18 on the inside. I understand now what she means. Age isn't so much about physical deterioration, but attitude.

I want to be vital and strong like Moses and Caleb. Oh - and let's not forget about Sarah.

Blessings,
Susan :)

5:41 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

My friend: On a cheerful note, let me remind you that you are only 5 years older than Kate Middleton! Therefore, you are still young. But throughout our life, we all must strive to be our best in the spirit of service to others. A friend of mine once sat with the late Mother Teresa on a commercial airline flight. It wasn't her old age I noticed, as much as her selfless service to others and your fine post reminded me of this! Well done!!

6:02 PM  
Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

I appreciated the overall thread of hope throughout your blog post, Alisa.
Here's a favorite quote of mine about aging that I used in the introduction of my book on late-in-life motherhood: "The oldest trees often bear the sweetest fruit." ~German Proverb

(If nothing else, a surprise late-in-life pregnancy makes you think about your age!! LOL)

6:09 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

What a good topic and perspective. I like the parallels you drew here. You always get me thinking! :)
Blessings,
Karen

7:50 PM  
Blogger The Unknowngnome said...

Well, in another year winter will be upon me, but I do so love the winter cold and snow.

Forever young and young at heart to love the Lord my God with all my heart.

("Forever Young" - Sung by Rod Stewart, "Young at Heart" - Sung by Frank Sinatra)

And may we be blessed with a maturity of faith according our seasons.

Very nice Alisa.

10:32 PM  
Blogger lioneagle said...

Hi Alisa -

I enjoyed this piece. You said much that we need to keep in focus - those things that are most meaningful.

I especially love this that you expressed, "Aging helps us to look beyond ourselves and into the heart of God, where the spiritual and eternal things dwell."

Also, how interesting that our Lord led you to write on this topic. He led me to write on it also, on my blog LIONS SHARE MAJESTY, on April 18, 2011 - topic title, "WHO WILL CELEBRATE WITH ME" and April 16, 2011 - topic title, "BEAUTY IS HEART DEEP."

Relative to the aging process, one definition that our Lord gave me when things go "south" on us =
"southern hospitality." smiles

Psalm 92:14 - KJV
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;

8:34 AM  
Blogger Shanda said...

I had a comment in my head then read the others and had the laugh at the comment that you were only five years older than Kate!!! Wait until you get my age :) However, I have many friends consumed with fighting age and, I have to say the positive side, is that you have the maturity and wisdom to mentor the younger women and be a source of stability to them.
Look forward to reading more!

10:25 AM  
Blogger Krista said...

Alysa,

"I know that any brokenness I endured in this life for the Kingdom of God will be worn like a badge of honor."

I love that example you gave about badge of honor! I've never thought about it like that. Enduring trials are like earning badges of honor! And boy, they are hard earned.

Blessings,
Krista

11:22 AM  
Blogger Patti Hanan said...

I like your analogy of the seasons of life. It reminds me of Ecclesiastes - For everything there is a season. I am now at the end of autumn in my life, facing winter, and I pray with Paul that I continue to run with endurance the race set before me.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Angel @ Finding The Inspiring said...

Great post about things I've been struggling with of late. Thank you for the hopeful reminder that age can be a catalyst to lead us closer to God and our "eternal summer".

P.S. Thanks for the opportunity to win Pure Purpose. Sounds like a great study.

Blessings!

1:33 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

As always, your words have reached and touched my heart. I am nearing the end of my autumn years (my goodness, that seems impossible!) - and sometimes I get a little weird about it. Thinking that I'm too old for God to use. And yet, He reminds me of all the "oldies but goodies" that He used to accomplish His purposes.

The secret is a heart - a childlike heart - constantly turned and tuned to His heart.

I join you in wearing my brokenness like a badge of honor.

GOD BLESS!

4:30 PM  
Blogger Toyin O. said...

I am sure the glory of your latter days woill be greater than former in every way possible:) I love your new profile picture, you look really good! plus you look about twenty five:)

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Customized Essay said...

Profile pic is really funny.. Blog sounds great..

6:45 AM  

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