Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How Can We Pay It Forward


How Can I Pay It Forward?

They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green…
                                                                                                                        Psalm 92:14



It was kind of funny…in a way that wasn’t all that funny.

Opening night, I walked into the big social media/writing/blogging conference. There was something different about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I felt slightly out of place. We were gathered around big round tables, women were friendly and a little nervous, many of them first-time conference attendees like me.

Then I had a realization took me maybe a little longer than it should have...I shook off my feelings of discomfort and followed the schedule to attend the workshops I had selected. The conference was full of life, and faith, and women, mostly, who were cheering each other on and sharing with each other generously.

Then there was one keynote speaker who was a little older…59, I believe. She was lovely, full of grace, wisdom, and a peace that had been refined through the years.

Then it hit me…She was the first woman I had seen who was closer to my age.

Everyone else was about 20 years younger than me. Funny, but it really took me almost 24 hours of being at the conference before I realized why I was feeling…different. I could’ve been a mother to most of the attendees!

“I’m old!” It was a moment of reckoning.

What am I doing amongst all these beautiful, young, tech-savvy gals? I surely don’t belong here. Though I’m way past most of them in years, they are way ahead of me in this world of blogging and social media. Was I barking up the wrong tree? Running in the wrong race? Out of my middle-aged (at least) mind?

I had to process this for a while because I hadn’t thought much about being old-er.

When I returned home from the conference, I told my sister that I seemed to be one of only a handful of women over 50 at the conference. (And several of the older women came just to take care of their grandbabies.) My sister encouraged me, “I hope you don’t feel bad about this. I’m so proud of you. This means you’re doing something that most women your age aren’t. You’re cutting edge. Good for you!” Well, that was a different way of looking at the situation.

It also dawned on me that I was almost 20 years older than Kimberly Amici, the Cofounder and Managing Editor of our Contributor/Community website Circles Of Faith. Hmmmmm…

And most recently, I spoke at a MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. I was definitely an older woman speaking to a room of fresh-faced, young (and maybe a bit sleep-deprived) moms about how to stay married.

Then I was asked to help with MOPs Leadership as a Mentor. Is there a common thread here?

God is so good…He knows my youngest daughter is on the brink of leaving home for college this Fall. That means I’m on the brink of a home no longer full of kids…on the brink of, as my husband says, “Not an empty nest. That’s too negative…a successful nest.”

But what’s next? So far I’ve had a rich life. A life full of ups and downs, twists and turns, good and bad, tears and laughter

How can I pay that forward?

As God opens the door for sharing my stories of raising children, marriage, friendship, fellowship, life lessons, aging parents, I pray I can use it all to bless, encourage, edify younger women…and to glorify the God who has given me this wonderful life.

What stage in life are you in? How can you pay it forward?


Today I’m linking up on Holley Gerth’s site…Lots of inspiration. Join me!

photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc

21 comments:

  1. I am so excited to have you in my life "to pay it forward"! I am also excited about what God is getting ready to do with you in the area of mentoring. Keep that vision before your eyes and expect God to do big things.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Kimberly. You truly are a gift. I pray I would be a blessing back.

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  2. You are such an encouragement and a wonderful mentor!! I wish you were closer so we could hang out!! I really want to find a mentor and there isn't someone here to fill that role. :( Maybe I'm not really looking...but so grateful to know you and see the many ways God is using you!!

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    1. Kristin, If there is ever any way I can mentor you more, just let me know. Prayers...chat...whatever. I'm open!!

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    2. THANK YOU Elise...I will have to reach out to you so we can talk more! I do need someone who can help keep me accountable and encourage me! :)

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    3. Just let me know how/if I can help!!

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  3. It's great God wants to use you in so many ways and that your open to it. A mentor is something we all could use no matter what the age, and a what a blessing you are to not only me but so many others!

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    1. You too have been a blessing to me, Alecia. And when we meet (in)RL...well, it's gonna be so much fun!

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  4. Kimberly, Kristin, Alecia,
    AMEN. I'm so grateful that Elise is paying it forward by extending herself to me in friendship both on and offline. When it comes to we dreamers, I am often amused at people telling toddler tales and sharing the trials of potty-training, all the while thinking "Thank You, LORD, it ain't me". While I love those sisters, you, Elise, are more my season, and I appreciate that when we're together I'm old enough and you're young enough that it feels okay. I appreciate what you bring to our friendship, and Praise God that you're pouring out what He pours into you.
    Keep it up, sweet sister. I get your jokes!
    Peace and good,
    Chelle

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    1. Oh Chelle! So glad you get my jokes...so delighted God allowed us to make friends in(RL)...though we really have made RL friends through God-Sized Dream Team even across the miles. Thank you God...and Holley!!

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  5. Oh, Elise you are such an encouragement! So grateful the Lord has placed you right where He has :) You are such a blessing to so many! God is using you in such mighty big ways!

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  6. Elise: I am a 60 year old pastor who experiences the same thing every time I now attend a conference. Least it seems that way. Not many older pastors are interested in changing and making changes in the way he relates to today's world. So I find myself the "grandaddy" for many. My girls are 37 & 33. My grandson is 6. But God still is not done with me yet. Keep staying alive! Oh, and your husband is right. :)

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    1. I know Bill...doesn't my husband say it well? No, I'm sure God is definitely not done with you yet. So delighted to have you stop by Bill!

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  7. Elise, I love your sweet heart for helping others!! You put yourself out there, even when it's challenging. God is using you in big ways and I can't wait to see what else He has planned!

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    1. Thanks for your always encouraging words Christine. I so appreciate the way you've pulled us together for prayer. Nothing more powerful than that!

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  8. I'm so thankful for your encouragement, friend...like everyone has said, God is using you in some big ways. :) Though I may be that potty-training-my-toddler mama now, one thing I am always starving for is a friend who's walked this road...one who can offer encouragement because she's been there. (But praise God...as of yesterday my girl is potty trained! Just had to celebrate a little.) ;) Blessings!

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    1. Woo Hoo Mel for potty training! Happy to help/encourage you whenever I can. Please know the door is open (or the inbox, or hangout, or whatever!). Blessings!

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  9. As a young-ish mom (I'm kind of in the middle, having elementary kids, 8 and 10) and then a 3-year-old, I so appreciate the wisdom and support of more experienced moms. I was taking a walk with the mom of my babysitter and our neighbor, and she gave me such a sweet compliment on my blog that she made my day. So, on behalf of the young women you'll encourage, I say Bravo! They will soak it up.

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  10. You have been doing this already for a LONG time in my life! So I know firsthand how good you are at mentoring, encouraging and loving! It's a new season, but just another extension of what you have always been doing :) Love you so!
    Cala

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    1. Love you so...and I am so very thankful for your wonderful life. I'll never forget walking in Hoboken with you, holding your little hand, having a chat...and I thought, well this little person is going to be my friend. Friends forever!!!

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