Half Century Legacy (or I'm Sally O'Malley)

• Bonnie Alderdice • September 1, 2020

I have a big birthday this year. It’s rapidly approaching. I’ve never really been hung up on my birthdays. I’ve tried to make them good for my guy and girls, but for me it’s just another day around the sun. Other than birthday pie for dessert, I don’t ever give it too much attention. I won’t lie though. This one has me a bit shook. It feels like a milestone, a marker on the road of my life. It’s the kind of birthday that is making me pause and take stock of where I am. Questions I recall from past interviewers – “Where do you want to be in 10 years?” and great aunts – “What do you want to be when you grow up?” have changed into Is this where I thought I would be now? Have I accomplished what I planned? Is this enough? Is there more? Am I enough?

Questions like these have the ability to plant seeds of doubt, insecurity, and discontent bringing on a full-fledged midlife crisis if they are not put into proper alignment. By that I mean, as these questions plant seeds in my brain that try to take root in my heart, I have to be diligent and recall not what I’ve done, but who I am. I remember that ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.’ (Proverbs 27:3) and I begin to ‘Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Understanding our identity is crucial to not being crushed by the world’s measure of success. Like a house built on a strong foundation, it’s essential we too have a strong foundation.  Jesus told us this in Matthew 7. We’re instructed to build our lives on a firm foundation in Him so that when the world beats up against us, or the enemy is whispering lies, like a house with a firm foundation, we are able to stand firm knowing who we are. Christ is our foundation. Knowing and believing who we are in Christ is the key to an effective life.

So while having a milestone birthday is having me take a deeper look at where I am on the path of my life, it is not making me question whose I am.

– I know I am created in His image (Genesis 1:27)

– I know He knew me before I was born (Psalm 139)

– I know He chose me (John 15:16)

– I know through Him I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)

– I know He created me to do His good work (Ephesians 2:10)

– I know I was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)

– I know my real home is in heaven (Philippians 3:20)

Turning 50 isn’t making me question any of these “who I am” facts. It has prompted me to realize that “Wow. I’m 50.” (Which is a measure better than being 49 all year and dreading turning 50. At least now the wait will be over.) This birthday has me asking myself “Have I done all that I planned?” That is an easy one to answer. No. No I have not done all I had planned. But that’s okay. Because ‘A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.’ (Proverbs 16:9) While I was on the path of my choosing, the Lord had other plans for me that led in a different direction. Much better, never anticipated plans on a different trail. This route with Him in these unexpected places is much better than anywhere else without Him could possibly be.

Seeing my youth a bit more behind me his year I also am asking myself “Is there more? What legacy am I leaving?” Yes. Yes there is so much more. He created me to do His good work here. I have kingdom business to attend to. I hope to leave people better than I find them. I wish to be depositing hope and faith in others. With the Lord’s leading I will love better and encourage more as I travel to the next decade.

As I reflect, celebrate, and embrace who I am as I turn 50, it becomes a litany in my head, reminiscent of the way Uncle Hub declared what he’d done and who he was to the town thugs in “Secondhand Lions”. Hopefully what I’ve done is be a friend to the many gifted, loving people in my life. I’m the good wife of a handsome, musical, generous, red-headed man. I’m the cheerleading mother of two beautiful, spirited, creative, wise young women. And who I am is a daughter of the King, and that is enough.    

Habakkuk 2:3

 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time;

It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.

Though it tarries, wait for it;

For it will certainly come, it will not delay”