Editor’s note: At yesterday’s PerennialGen-hosted Growing Sage workshop, we invited our friend Carol Longenecker Hiestand to offer an invocation for the day. Her beautiful prayer is for all of us who are journeying with God through the uncharted territory of midlife and beyond.
Oh, God, our help in ages past . . .
all the ages we’ve
ages we are now
ages we’ll never be again.
Each one presenting a new challenge
for we’ve never been that age before.
The age when we hoped Jesus wouldn’t return
before the big party,
before we got the job and the degree to go with it
the engagement ring and the wedding band.
before we became
business women, entrepreneurs
There is the age when heaven seems
nearer than before
when we pray Jesus will take us home
content to go
longing to be with loved already there
There’s age of
making it happen.
the age when we doubt our dreams
the age we begin to realize
not all our dreams will come true
and you have been there all along and
are still here for the letting go.
There is the age of productivity
our lives full of
when we felt like we’d live forever
and our parents would always be there
There’s the age we see our parents caring
for their parents
when we don’t stop to think much about
us caring for them some day
The age we know we will
and the wondering how will we do it
and then the age we are in the middle of it all
There is the age it dawns on us
the years we have before us
are far less than
the years behind us
God, it frightens some of us,
I suppose all of us at some point,
and we wonder if we’ll finish well.
There’s the age we find
the number of our friends matter less than
the quality of our friends
those who listen with their hearts
willing to be vulnerable in sharing
their lives and wisdom with us.
There’s the age
when the things we wanted to become are
than who we are becoming.
And vocation is not our job, rather
who we are
wherever we are
God, by the time we are in our second half of life
we know things learned only in the
crucible of pain and loss.
and you never
wasted our suffering
when we cooperated with you
We’ve learned we don’t have to respond
to each opportunity presented to us.
now content with responding to needs
while taking into account how we are wired,
more aware of our limitations.
We find we are quick to listen
less likely to offer solutions.
We have learned presence
is more important than advice
And some things will never be resolved
this side of heaven.
You, oh God, have been our help in ages past.
and you’ll be our hope for years to come
Continue to be our guide while life shall last
and be our eternal home.
Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame
From everlasting you are God,
through endless years the same.
May we continue to
as we move
We have seen your faithfulness in our yesterdays.
May we trust you
for our todays
and our tomorrows
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Carol Longenecker Hiestand writes when inspired about things that often go unnoticed, and sees herself as a storyteller. She’s a wife, mom, grandmother, and friend living right in the middle of the second half of life. She’s passionate about writing to and for her grandchildren about her life, passing on the things she’s learned. You’ll often find her immersed in making photo books for our family, working to keep her scattered family connected. She’s a lover of all shades of purple and rose. Lilacs, waterfalls, any body of water, porch swings and Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi (when she can find it!) make her happy.
This is absolutely beautiful! I hope I can make a future Growing Sage gathering.
We hope you can too. I was all I had hoped for. From the time to chat to the 25 minute guided quiet reflection to the panels to the table chats and Michelle’s talk. It was all good and made the morning more than worthwhile.
What an appropriate prayer. I love it! Am going to print it out and place it where I can pray it often. So much truth. Thanks for sharing it.
What I have been realizing again with these thoughts is this: when we press into the hard parts of our lives, gifts emerge, gifts we didn’t know we needed and just hoped arrived with “old age.” Glad the words spoke to you too.
I attended the Growing Sage workshop this past Saturday and want to say thank you to Michelle and Amanda, and all those who participated in some way. In its simplicity it was beautiful and soul filling. I can’t wait to see how God grows this ministry!
And I would also like to say thank you to Carol for the beautiful invocation, and to Michelle for posting it. I was going to ask for a copy!
Well, Sandy – here is your copy. Wasn’t it a wonderful morning. I am excited to see where it all goes from here.
This is a beautiful prayer; thank you for it. I would have so liked to attend this workshop — maybe someday!
fyi Jeannie, the reply to your comment ended up below.
Wow, such a prayer for us in these years. Uncle Larry calls us Seasoned. Thank you for writing this.
“The Seasoned.” Yes, I guess you could say we are. I like that!. Thanks, Diane
It was a morning well-spent. Quiet time, sharing, listening and meeting other women, hearing bits of their stories. It would be lovely to have you there. (although it would be quite a hike from Canada!