Author: Carolyn P. Simoneaux, Ed.D.
"For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing."' Deuteronomy 2:7 NKJV
“He's been preparing me, for forty years, to be right where I am. And I believe He's been preparing me for the fulfillment of promises. His Promises.” Laurel Christensen
Forty is a pivotal time is a woman’s life. My generation, at forty, was facing an empty nest and few job opportunities due to lack of experience or education. Women turning forty today may still have small children at home. Regardless, this is a time that a woman looks at herself, her life, and questions where she is and where she is going. Some women have put off education and/or a career of her own because of her husband’s education or career, or having small children at home made it impractical to work or go to school. Others have had to work and goals they sat in their 20’s just never happened. Still others are in the midst of their education or career.
We each have diverse statuses – married, single, divorced, widowed. Some of us have grown children and grandchildren. Others have small children or teenagers still at home. But, we have all looked in the mirror and noticed our changing bodies. All of us have looked at our lives and asked the question – where to from here?
Is there life after forty? Yes, emphatically yes, there is life after forty; in fact the best years of your life lie ahead. At this time in your life, whether you or forty or 70 – your best years lie ahead. You ask, “How can that be”. Every year we live for God we draw closer to His promise for our lives. Now is the time to redefine, then refine our commitment to God.
Priority 1: Redefining and refining our commitment to God.
Shall we examine the meaning of the words redefine and refine? According to Google redefine means to reexamine or reevaluate, especially with a view to change. Refine is defined by Dictionary.com as: to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities.
As mature women in the Church we must redefine ourselves – examine ourselves closely and make sure that we are what we say we are - women of God. After this close examination, the refinement comes; making sure we are in a fine or a pure state; free from impurities. Redefining, refining ourselves is not an easy task and isn’t accomplished in a weekend at a women’s conference. It takes time and commitment. It takes prayer and study of the Word.
Priority 2: Redefining and refining our commitment to our family – the Church
Nehemiah is my favorite book of the Bible. I love the Psalms and Proverbs and they have lifted me up many times in my life. I love to read of the life of Jesus in the Gospels. The Book of Acts is exciting and always rekindles that new birth fire, and the Epistles give direction. But, Nehemiah reminds me of my commitment to God and to this Truth I have been blessed with.
When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and saw the condition of the wall he told the leaders, “Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach” (Nehemiah 2:17). Nehemiah was calling the people to redefine their position as God’s people. One hundred fifty years earlier, Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon; the Temple and its wall torn down. After Babylon was conquered by the Medes and Persians, some of the exiled Judeans were allowed to return to Jerusalem and the Temple was rebuilt. The wall around the city, however, still lay in ruins. Nehemiah called the people a reproach and challenged them to redefine themselves, to once again behave as the chosen people of God. Challenged and inspired by Nehemiah, the people answered, “Let us rise up and build” (Nehemiah 2:17).
As mature women of God, we have a scriptural obligation to our families and to the Church to build the wall of the Kingdom of God. We are the mothers of our families and of the mothers of the Church. In Nehemiah chapter four, Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, tried to cause trouble to those building the wall, laughing and mocking them. The sixth verse of that chapter states simply, “So we built the wall”. In Nehemiah six, the builders were threatened with the sword, but they refused to quit. They declared, “I am doing a great work and I can’t come down” (Nehemiah 6:3).
So what that our tummies aren’t as flat as they used to be! So what that our hair is not the same color it used to be! So what that we can’t wear what we used to be able to wear! We have a great work to do and we can’t stop now. So, we must “just build the wall” (Bernard, 2015)! When opposition comes – we must build the wall. When we become discouraged – we must build the wall. When it gets hard – we must build the wall. We can’t turn back, we have to keep going!!!
Now is the time to redefine, then, refine our commitment to God and His work! When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem later to check on the wall building work he heard the children speaking the language of Ashdod and some could not even speak their native Judean language. Nehemiah 13:24 says that he became so angry that he cursed the people, he struck some of them, and even pulled out their hair. Why? --- Because the people had forgotten the most important thing of all – their commitment to their God. Part of this commitment is their responsibility to teach their children. The Judean children were growing up without being taught the Truths of One God. It is our responsibility to keep our commitment to God by teaching our children and our children’s children the Truth, so when Jesus returns He will find them speaking the language of Truth – the Truth of One God, Infilling of the Holy Ghost, Baptism in Jesus Name, Righteous and holy living. It is up to us. The preacher can preach – but we must teach also.
As the Wall Builders, we will face ridicule (Nehemiah 2:9, 4: 1-3), wrath (4:1, 6-9), discouragement (4:10), fear (4:11-23, internal strife (5:1-5; laziness (4:10), satanic subtlety & compromise (6:18), and lying prophets, (6:10-14). But, we must “just build the wall” (Bernard, 2015)!
Priority 3: Redefining and refining our commitment to ourselves.
We’ve looked at the priorities of our commitment to God and to His Church and our families, but, there comes a time in the life of every woman that we must look at ourselves and our lives and redefine, then refine, our commitment to ourselves. Life goals that have been put on hold need to be taken out of the moth balls, redefined, then refined to a finished work. Perhaps the goals that we had in our youth are no longer applicable – they need to be redefined. Once redefined, then we need to refine them until they are in fine or pure state; free from impurities. I’d like to share with you some women who have redefined their goals and priorities after the age of forty and refined those goals into major life accomplishments.
· Ann Ahrens – completed her Ph.D process after the age of 40.
· Evelyn Drury – Board Member of Urshan; struggles daily with the challenges of M.S. but has completed her Ph.D over the age of 50.
· Nona Freeman – completed her first book after the age of 60.
· Ruth Harvey – rebuilt a shattered life, remarried and moved to New England to, with her husband, establish a church after the age of 40.
· Cindy Miller – Associate Professor at Urshan Graduate School of Theology, co-pastor, and conference speaker, completed her Ph.D after the age of 50.
· Stacey Perry – Moved to New Haven Connecticut to co-found, with her husband, a church after the age of 40.
· Jennie Russell – became Executive Vice President of Urshan after the age of 50.
· Lakelie Simoneaux – started a new life as a single mother and college student after the age of 40.
· Vicki Simoneaux moved back to the US (a huge cultural and life change aftter serving as a missionary for 20 years) to pastor alongside her husband after the age of 40.
It has been thirty-one years since I turned forty. Those thirty-one years were exponentially more productive than my first forty years. I can compare the difference between these life periods to riding a tricycle and riding my son-in-laws Harley! I could list some major accomplishments during those thirty-one years, but, I haven’t accomplished everything God has for me yet. My husband, Tim, spoke a prophetic word to me the year he turned sixty. He said that our later years would be more productive for God than our former years. Looking at age 60, I was just a bit skeptical. I questioned what we could do in our winter years. Working at Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School has fulfilled that prophetic word. He and I are in a position to touch more lives in our winter years than we did in our former 35 years of ministry. The lives we are so blessed to be able to influence will reach exponentially more than we ever could, exceedingly, abundantly, above, all we could even imagine!
What are the goals you have put on hold? What are the dreams that you have thought would never happen? Your latter years are going to be greater than your former years! Let’s just build the wall!
“He's been preparing me, for forty years, to be right where I am.
And I believe He's been preparing me for the fulfillment of promises.
His Promises.” Laurel Christensen