When I Was Young …

I’m beginning to settle into the fact that there are many joys and sorrows that exist in life at the same time.  Learning to balance those is going to be an essential challenge for the future, but I have hope that it can happen.  I’m pretty sure I have been way too spoiled by a lack of sorrows until the past couple of years … or maybe as we get older the sorrows absorb into the crevices of our wrinkles and stick around longer – as do the joys.  Who knows, but I recognize a definite change in me, and yet it’s okay.  I’m calling it the “peace that passes understanding” phase of my life.

–Received from a dear friend who I haven’t seen enough of lately… and used with permission

When I was young, there was something innocent and fresh about a new year.  It seemed to imply a “clean slate” … a new beginning. It arrived like young love, offering the hope of a future filled with dreams come true.

And so I embraced it with excitement (and perhaps some naivete) like a blossoming bride on her wedding day …
… or a first-time mother enamored with her newborn.

But somewhere along the way, “always on duty” parenting and the constant challenges of running a household resulted in Januarys that seemed to offer no new beginnings but rather more of the same … and “the same” was exhausting.

Do my words sound familiar to any of you?  As a young mother “way back when” … or now … do they ring true?

I love this set of etchings that depicts four early stages of womanhood.  They are pages removed from an old book; I suspect there were more. How I’d love to see the artist’s portrayal of a woman with older children … in middle age … in the Winter of her life.  I’m certain they, too, would include beauty.  Why is it that so often we women let ourselves >arrive at the beginning of a new year overly tired from a busy holiday season and overwhelmed by our reality?  What happened to the clean slate … the excitement … the hopeful future?
I think I know the answer. At least, I know how it happened to me.

Life happened…

and I didn’t always embrace it.  In fact, sometimes I fought it.  I failed to accept, perhaps even to admit early on, that my happiness as an adult woman was not tied to my circumstances but rather to how I responded to them.  LIFE is hard. True.  LIFE is unfair. Okay. LIFE can be good if we choose to be grateful … regardless of our circumstances. Try it.
When I was a young woman, I couldn’t possibly have foreseen the highs and lows that Life would bring.  I had no idea how I would have to struggle just to find focus; to balance the happy and the sad that so often co-existed.
How constantly I would have to remind myself that how I felt on any particular day did not dictate what my future would look like.
There’s something else I think I know…
If, somewhere, there’s an “older woman” etching by the above artist, it surely contains a beautifully dressed woman gazing into an ornate mirror … reflecting on her life, her choices.  I want to believe that the look on her no-longer-youthful face is one of peaceful contentment, accepting her past and hopeful for her future, for she’s in the “peace that passes understanding>” phase of her life.

Whatever your age, I hope the same for you.

Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your heart and mind as they rest in Christ Jesus. Philipians 4:5-7 (PHILLIPS)
* * * * *

When your life took turns you didn’t foresee, how did you deal with them?
Have you ever experienced the “peace that passes understanding?”

This is all I know about these pictures. If anyone knows how to find out more, please tell!
A. Liezen Mayer pinx
Fr. Felsing Imp. 
E. Forberg sculp.

Theo. Stroefer’s Kunstverlag in Munchen


  1. This a fitting post for the new year, very thought provoking. Yes I remember a few times in my life when God’s peace is all I had to cling to. I was married and got pregnant while living in Mexico. I flew to the states to have my baby but hubby wasn’t an American like me so he stayed behind and worked on getting his visa.Our son was almost 3 months old before his daddy arrived to be with us. Those 3 months were lonesome but full of blessings too. Right now I’m experiencing some health issues with a chronic illness I’ve had since the age of 27. It’s very active right now, but no matter how horrid I feel, I have that hope and perfect peace in my soul that only my Savior can give!

    oh and I must comment on the drawings. They were wonderful!

  2. Beautiful post Susan,
    When our daughter, Amy, passed on to heaven, in our living room, my husband picked her body up and placed it on the funeral home cart…he did not want to let a stranger place his daughter on the cart and although she was 33, it was the last time we would hold her while her body was still warm…it was then I found the peace that passeth all understanding and felt the love of Jesus and his mercy and grace. There have been many times in my life but that night 3 years ago was when we needed God’s peace.
    I can’t make it through a day without God’s peace with all deaths and sadness and meaness in the world…I don’t know how they make it without Jesus, Susan.
    hugs and prayers

  3. The first thing that I did this morning was to check email. The second was to come to blogs. Therefore, this post is twice as poignant and meaningful to me. I relate to every breath you spoke here, and I loved the way that you and your unnamed friend put it.

    Why do we wipe a slate clean anyway? Is it so that it stays clean or so that we have space for all the stuff yet unwritten? Sometimes, it’s not only that stuff but the fear or uncertainty about the stuff that threatens to steal my peace.

    I have, though, experienced the peace that passes understanding. It wasn’t until I had the need for it that I found it. I can remember vividly the first time that I “got” it. It was like a light bulb going on for me.

    I love (and needed to hear) what you said about how we feel on a particular day not having to dictate what our future would look like.

  4. Wonderful post, Susan! You express so beautifully what we women-of-a-certain-age feel but often are unable to articulate. And those verses from Philippians are my “life verses,” so they really spoke to me this morning.

  5. A beautiful post. Women, like the one in Proverbs 31, who can face the future, uncertain though it may be, with a smile, are a blessing to others and an example of peace.

  6. Susan- What a wonderful, wonderful post. I think it is so true. I know that there are things in my life that made me want to turn tail and run back to the safety of being a young mother/wife again…but life is not like that- there are downs for every up and reality to replace every dream. I have often said that is a good thing we don’t know the future or we would’t have the strength to move forward. Blessings to you-again- GREAT post- xo Diana