Reflections on the Upsides of Aging
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Reflections on the Upsides of Aging
Living with Joy and Purpose After Age 50
Published:
2/25/2011
Format:
Perfect Bound Softcover
Pages:
316
Size:
6x9
ISBN:
978-1-44971-132-0
Print Type:
B/W

Aging is God's gift to you.



Even as your body grows old, learn how — as a Senior member of God's Forever Family — to live the balance of your earthly life with hope, joy and purpose.

“This is a great book. Everyone over 50 years of age must read it. It contains many practical ways to live life after fifty with significance and great joy … It certainly shows that we will still count in life and can make a difference as we grow old.”
Rev. Dr. Arthur W. Davenport,
Senior Pastor, First Church of God, Far Rockaway, New York

“Dr. Helen Mendes Love’s Reflections on the Upsides of Aging is so Spiritfilled and powerful. After reading it, I am renewed in the wonder of God’s blessings to me in my many years … I have also learned through Dr. Helen’s sharing that I will never be too old to grow and to enjoy new ways of telling this loving God ‘thank you’!”
Paulette Meeks,
former Daughter of Charity
and author of The Best For Last: One Woman’s Unusual Tale of Life and Love

“I enjoyed this book. Dr. Mendes Love’s handling of a variety of delicate subjects shows her deftness, aplomb, and confidence in her research. The chapter on sin is an exemplary treatise on a subject with sharp, jagged edges. I thank Dr. Mendes Love for speaking so freely of aging with great purpose and direction. Her scholarly, grandmotherly, sweet slap is a welcome wakeup call.”
Brett Jones, Senior Pastor,
Grace Church of Humble, Texas

“This book will inspire the reader. The content will enrich your life …”
Marvin Powell, Retired Judge,
Liberty County, Texas

Helen Mendes Love, author, speaker, and life coach, earned a Masters of Social Work degree from Columbia University and a doctorate from UCLA. She has served as a professor at the University of Southern California and director of Social Work at Pepperdine University of Malibu, California. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six. She and her husband, Gregory R. Love, live in Humble, Texas.

CHAPTER ONE



Aging in the Dimensions of
Time and Eternity


“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though out-
wardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we
are being renewed day by day, For our light and
momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal
glory that far outweigh them all. So we fix our eyes
not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For
what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4”16-18 (NIV)

This scripture encourages us to not be frightened or lose heart as we age and experience the aches, pains, and diminished strength and vitality associated with getting old. These and other age-related maladies and diseases are definitely unwelcome. They are, however, confirmations of scripture that declares that “outwardly” (i.e., physically) we are perishing, wasting away.

Intuitively, we recoil at the mere idea of wasting away and of dying. We are wired to cling to life, however troublesome it sometimes may be. Like all living things, we humans are powerfully motivated to live, to preserve our lives.

Even the relatively small numbers of those who attempt to commit suicide have to overcome this inbred desire for life. In my experiences counseling people who planned or attempted suicide, it was clear that decisions to end their lives were always preceded by furious internal battles to live. I have also worked with parents, spouses, and friends of suicides who killed themselves after losing struggles that sometimes lasted for years before succumbing to overwhelming despair or mental illness. They definitely did not “go gently into that dark night.” Even people who blow themselves up for religious or political reasons (and steal the lives of others in the process) seem to believe that their actions will jettison them into “paradise” or some other happier afterlife.

The desire for life is so intense that the surest way to experience the downside of aging is to focus on your perishing body and your inevitable death. God, who made us, intends for our bodies to die. (Job 34: 15; Eccl. 12:7; Gen. 3: 19) Each of our bodies has an expiration date. The exact date and time are known only to God. In spite of our efforts and those of our doctors and scientists, we all have appointments for the end of our tenancies on earth.
But although our bodies will inevitable die, our spirits – the essence of who we are – do not have to!

God gives us a choice! As with all choices that we make,
our choices about this special offer have temporal and eternal consequences. Scripture informs us that “for God so greatly loved
and dearly prized the world that He gave up His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3: 16,)

Our safety from eternal death was purchased by Jesus who agreed to be the ransom for us. Our sinful attitudes, words and behaviors deserve the deaths of our spirits; but God allowed Jesus to be our substitute: His crucifixion and death were accepted by God as payment in full for our sins. Therefore, He who believes in Him, (who clings to trusts, relies on Him) is not judged (he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection no condemnation-he incurs no damnation.)” (John 3: 18, Amp.) When we make the choice to believe and trust Jesus as Lord and Savior of our souls, we in effect make the choice to surrender control over our lives to God. This pledge of allegiance commits us to living the rest of our lives in ways that please God. When we make this choice, our spirits-in interaction with the influences of God’s Holy Spirit-help us to develop into people whose character and integrity resembles those of God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).

God keenly desires that your spirit and mine live eternally with Him. He decided, however, to leave that important decision to us. He will not force us to choose Him. He has given us free will, which enable us to tell Him, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

If we decline His generous offer, we forfeit the benefits of belonging to His forever family, and deprive our souls of eternal life. In essence, when we turn down His offer, we choose to go through our remaining years on earth without experiencing the special blessings He gives to those who choose to live with Him forever.

Those of us who choose to accept God’s gift and cooperate with His renewal and transformation of our inner selves-our personalities, characters and integrity, so that we bear His imprint-are adopted by Him as righteous members of His forever family.

This adoption into God’s family has enormous consequences for the remaining years of our lives. As members of God’s forever family, we become entitled to the rights and privileges of being a child of God. He gives each of us unique life assignments for the purpose of furthering His awesome ambition. His ambition is that no human souls should perish, but spend eternity with Him
(John 3: 16)

Acceptance of our life assignments gives direction and purpose to our senior years. None of us need ever question what to do with the rest of our lives. For some of us who are retirees, making transitions out of our careers, the prospect of twenty or more years with time on our hands is anxiety-provoking. Likewise, you who have reached middle age may be wondering what you will accomplish during the second half of your lives, especially if you have met or exceeded your career goals. Many of us older adults long to move beyond success to significance. We want lives that really matter.

Making the choice to live the rest of our lives for God will help us be fruitful and productive in our senior years. Our life experiences, knowledge, wisdom, friendships, money, and memories, as well as the free time many older people now have, are resources we can use in the service of God’s awesome ambition. In a later chapter we will discuss how to identify your unique life assignments. I want to encourage you to think of these resources as seeds that you can plant in your family, workplace, community, and the world. The seeds you plant in the lives of other people can spread and grow into harvests of goodness for generations to come. In this way, the contributions you make in this world will also survive beyond your perishing body.
Our commitments to God through Christ make the difference between whether we flourish or fade as we age. Scripture says that people who are committed to God and live righteously are like cedar trees of Lebanon planted in the courtyard of God.

“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing.
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock and there is no
Unrighteousness in Him.”
Psalms 92: 12-15 (NKJV)

Cedar trees have deep root systems that enable them to withstand the storms and hardships of life. When you and I are deeply planted in God, we too will be better able to withstand the inevitable losses, changes, and other hardships that often come with aging. As we cooperate with God every day, we will find that by being deeply rooted in Him, our spirits, like cedar trees, will retain their vitality and strength, no matter what the conditions of our aging bodies. This, indeed, is a significant upside of aging.
Dr Helen A. Mendes Love is President of Mendes Consultation Services which she founded in 1976. She and her Professional Associates encourage people to cooperate with God in solving stressful personal, marital, family and work-relationship problems.

Dr Helen Mendes (Love) earned her Masters Degree in Social Work at Columbia University and her Doctorate at UCLA. She studied theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. As a professor of social work at the University of Southern California she taught Masters and Ph.D students how to help people with a range of stressful problems. She is former Director of the Social Work Minor program at Pepperdine University where she taught undergraduate students. She was also on the faculties of UCLA and the Hunter College School of Social Work. She is a member of the Academy of Social Workers and a Diplomat of Clinical Social Work.

Dr Helen Mendes (Love) has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, the San Francisco Chronicle, Essence Magazine, Redbook Magazine and Human Behavior Magazine.

She is the author of The African-Heritage Cookbook, a history-recipe book and God's Stress Management Plan - Ten Biblical Principles for Avoiding, Reducing or Better Managing Stress. She has authored numerous articles for professional and lay publications. Her work as a cultural diversity consultant is the subject of a chater in the book, Choices - Careers fo People Who Like People.

She has given hundred of speeches and seminars for churches, non-profit, for-profit and governmental organizations. Dr Mendes (Love) has been a guest on radio and television. among them were KCBS, KNBC, KACE, KJLH, KZLA and KKLA.

Among the honors she received are an Award of Excellence from The Women of Religious Achievement, Inc. and the City of Los Angeles, Zeta Phi Beta's Woman of The Year Award in Education, a University of Southern California Award of Merit for Outstanding and Dedicated Service. She has been listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who Among Black Americans and in the Outstanding People of the 20th Century.
 
 


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