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About the Writer:
Cindy Amelung

With a warm heart and a joyful spirit, Cindy reveals Godly principles and heavenly purposes for the circumstances of life. Her honesty before the Lord and in her writings help her readers connect, learn, grow and develop a contagious hope that God will bring good things from astounding situations.



The Joys(?) of Turning 50

By Cindy Amelung

So far, so good. In all fairness, as I write this on February 4, 2006 , I have only been 50 for two weeks. It is going well so far. My family gave me a birthday party to celebrate the big 5-0; it was a wonderful time surrounded by family and friends and lots of beautiful decorations. I had a great time catching up with those I hadn’t seen in a while, hugging necks and laughing at memories.

As I stand at the top of the second half of my life, what do I see? As I look back, I see me as a young wife and mother, trying so hard to be an adult when I was so not ready for the responsibility. Those days were a blur of chores, housework, homework, bath time, bed time, Sunday morning church, summer vacation, holidays – the regular ‘life’ stuff. I didn’t slow down much in those days and appreciate what was around me. Lest you think I am going to go down the road of regret here, forget it. I have had my share of regrets, repented of them and been forgiven. It took me much longer to forgive myself, but I have done so and am facing straight ahead. I cannot change or undo the mistakes of the past and beating myself up with them serves no Godly purpose. By His grace I have learned from my mistakes and have carried those lessons forward so I won’t make them again – hopefully.

Life is interesting from this perspective. When I was a child I thought adults were old. I even asked my mother once if she enjoyed riding to school in a covered wagon – she was all of 28. Her response had a punch line I didn’t appreciate until I was 13, “I enjoyed the ride over on the Mayflower better’. Grownups were a complete mystery to me and I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to be one. Until I turned 13. I knew everything then and couldn’t wait to get away from all the rules and chores. I couldn’t wait to be the boss of me and I wouldn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do. Are all kids this clueless or was it just me?

Life is extremely funny from this perspective. Many women, myself included, are dealing with menopause at this stage of the game. What an interesting phenomenon it is. While I don’t miss certain things each month, there are some things I miss on an ongoing basis. Like my memory…I used to have one and it even worked. Not so much anymore. And then there is the eyesight. My arms weren’t long enough two pairs of bifocals ago – or was it three? I can’t remember. I never used to be vertically challenged – I need to be about 6 feet 2 or 3 inches to be height/weight proportionate. I used to have brown hair and keep thinking I still do. When I look in the mirror, I still see some but I’ve had the pleasure (?) lately of seeing pictures of myself. I really don’t know when all that white hair showed up and light is cruel – it reflects off all that white hair and doesn’t let you see any of the brown at all! The wrinkles aren’t terribly bad but I could pack for a weekend getaway with the bags under my eyes. Again, when did they arrive?

I now buy under eye concealer in the industrial sized economy container – it takes more than it used to. And then there is my newfound interest in advertisements for men’s razors – the ones that have 4 blades and promise the closest shave ever. Add unwanted facial hair to the things that have surprised me about menopause. Then there is the stiffness – body parts that don’t work quite like they used to. Now, when I get up from a chair, I need a short runway to get completely upright and walking with a normal gait. I have the great privilege of working with several ladies who are around my age and you should see us when we go out to lunch. Between the four of us, there is almost one whole body that works.

Last, but not least, hot flashes. Here is a tip from me to you about those. If you see a woman on the street in the dead of winter with no coat or jacket on, she’s in menopause. The flashes keep you toasty warm in the winter and in the pool in the summer. I believe I could warm a Third world country some days. The increased deodorant purchases in my life have put a bit of a crimp in my budget. You laugh now, but just wait….

What else have I gained from this perspective? The most wonderful thing of all. I have seen God’s Hand in my life since I was a child and His faithfulness to me even when I wasn’t faithful in return. He has loved me, guided me, disciplined me and healed me. He has allowed me to cry, be angry, be sad, be happy, be me. I have laughed till I cried, have cried till I fell asleep, have remembered a million wonderful memories and have been unable to remember where I last put the car keys.

Just when I have been sure He has given up on me (I gave up on myself enough times), He has delighted in surprising me once again. His creativity in dealing with me is incredible. I have campaigned so hard to be a ‘liver’ in the family of God. I have never wanted to be in the forefront, the limelight, in leadership of any kind. Guess who keeps winning this fight? My current ‘completely-out-of-my-comfort- zone’ ministry is as a facilitator of a women’s Bible study in my church. In addition to the Sunday School class He has given me the privilege to teach.

I am finally beginning to learn to just say ‘yes’ where my Heavenly Father is concerned. How much grief have I put myself through because of rebellion? Those have been some of the hardest lessons to learn. I am very much like a Missouri mule in this area – the old joke goes to get a mule’s attention hit him with a 2 by 4; he pays attention after that. Once God gets my attention, we do pretty well. It’s just that ‘getting my attention’ part that is painful. The other lesson I have learned? It doesn’t have to be that way.

I am so much more comfortable in my ‘own skin’ now. I like this age. I like being at the beginning of the second half of my life. I hated turning 40; I locked myself in a condo in a resort town for 8 days and didn’t lay eyes on another living soul unless I left the condo. I grieved. I wailed. I felt sorry for myself. I thought life was unfair. I thought God was unfair and cruel. I was already a grandmother. My life was over……

It sounds so silly and dramatic now, but that’s where I was at the time. How grateful I am that God didn’t write me off. So thankful I have been given another decade of life. So thankful that I’ve been given another ‘do-over’. God is the God of second & third and 37 th and 4 billionth chances; He has let me start over so many times. He has picked me up, brushed me off and put me back into life again and again and again.

He has ‘redeemed the years the locust has eaten’ and restored to me some relationships that I thought were permanently damaged. He has been so lavish in His love for me. I have asked Him to let me fall more and more in love with Him each day and He has overwhelmed me with His answer. I cry tears of gratitude nearly every single day as I reflect on His love for me. As I think about the next 50 years, how will that ever be long enough to serve Him and show Him how much I love Him?

What I see from the top of the second half of my life is this – I may not know where the journey will take me, but I know my Tour Guide and I can rest in His love. I can take His courage when I have none of my own. I am going to laugh and cry and grieve again and He will be there in all of those experiences. To quote the old Gaither song, “I know Who holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives”.

Copyright © February 6, 2006 – Cindy Amelung. All rights reserved.


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