Posts written by Michelle Van Loon

by Michelle Van Loon We learn from a young age to have a ready answer to the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” The question trains us to think about vocation solely in terms of career: “I want to be a firefighter…a teacher…a veterinarian…a landscape designer…a pastor…a writer…a rock star.” […]

In 2012, I wrote the following piece about how I was never going to return to college at midlife for Her.meneutics, one of the predecessors to the Christianity Today Women’s website. The piece was entitled, “When Higher Education Is Neither: Why Should I Earn A Degree?” At the time I wrote it, I was 53 […]

A recent study found that there has been an alarming spike in suicides among midlife women. I am neither scientist nor statistician, but I am a midlife woman. Some have called mid-life “Prime Time.” but few midlife women in my circles are crowing that they’re living their best life now. Most of my friends tell me they’ve experienced […]

I was in a room with a bunch of young pastors-in-training, and commented to a friend that I could feel the testosterone in the air even though there were a number of women present. “That’s not testosterone you’re sensing,” he told me. “It’s ambition.” As I observed the body language among the group (so many […]

I started my forties looking too often into the mirror and getting tangled up in my thoughts – my goals, my shifting identity, my disappointments, my hopes. As I leave this decade behind, I find myself focusing less on me and more on how I might, bit by incremental bit, make the world more whole. […]

If ever there was a question that fit our Perennial Gen July/August theme of the empty nest, it’s the title of Brenda Poinsett’s book, What Will I Do With The Rest Of My Life? The subtitle hints at the answer: A Woman’s Guide To Discovering Peace, Power, and Purpose After 40.  Though the empty nest […]

When I was in sixth grade, a teacher divided the three or four classes by gender. One of the teachers came into the girls’ room and gave us a talk about our changing bodies and a sample box of mattress-sized Kotex sanitary napkins. It wasn’t quite the rite of passage at which other cultures seem […]

There is a poignancy in the process of preparing to launch a young adult child into the great blue – to college, into a first apartment, or to begin military service. The questions bubble: Have I prepared him well? Is she ready? Am I? (The answer to the final one is almost always “no”, by […]

I thought we were friends. At midlife I learned that I might have overstated some of these relationships a tad. It seemed that my BFFs had really been church and parenting co-workers. Inspirational speaker Barbara Bartocci parsed the difference, noting, “People frequently think they have friends at work—or church or the tennis club or any location […]

The language of “seasons” in our lives is a familiar and useful, if tired, metaphor. If familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, it certainly does cause us to stop thinking about what we might really be saying when we throw it out there. When we talk about the seasons of our lives, it is a way in […]