I just turned 64, but I’m not asking what the Beatles asked: “Will you still need me? Will you still feed me, when I’m 64?” I am asking something else.

It started when I hit 40. That day I went for a walk on the loop of our gravel road, my husband and our kids. I had just started to color my hair, which was greying around my face. When I was eighty, I decided, I would go shopping in a purple jogging suit. I would wear bright red lipstick until I died. I would be kind and generous but feisty and wear whatever I like.

When I turned 50, my husband threw me a party. A houseful of friends came for lunch. Ten years older than me, Sue gave me the best present of all: “I loved my fifties. It was the best decade ever.” Our mothers and fathers died suddenly. I scattered stones. I mourned. I wondered how to live with such losses.

Then I turned 60. My sons and then my daughter got married. I spent my days locked in closets wrestling with God, writing books. I traveled. I taught. I wore bright lipstick every day, even to the gym, where I tortured my muscles and felt glad to be alive.

At 64 now, I am working harder with more joy. I no longer feel alone. I have people who come alongside me and beloved learners all over the globe. I’m a grandmother twice over, soon three. Even when I feel unworthy and inadequate, I no longer let that stop me from doing everything God puts in my heart.

But I know that someday I will lay it all down. I will arrive where the writer of Ecclesiastes arrives at the end of the book in chapter 12:3, at the door of the house of the bent old woman looking through the windows—seeing dimly. Soon, my “dust will return to the earth,” and my “spirit will return to God who gave it.”

I’m closer now to that house than I’ve ever been before. We all are. We’re standing on the porch before that cracked door. I don’t want to be afraid. Because the one who has filled my empty cup every day of my 64 years, he’ll still be there. Listen to what Isaiah says:

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” (Is. 46:4)

Dear ones, please don’t resist Him any longer. Let him carry you—all the way through that door.

*For deeper reflection, listen to Isaiah 46 today.

The U.S. presidential inauguration introduced a new voice, as twenty-two-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman inspired a fitful nation with her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” on January 20, 2021.

Her final hope-filled lines stuck with me:

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it


History is full of ezer-warriors “brave enough to be” light in their time and place. The Bible frequently highlights women (often very young) who confront the challenges of the moment to bring light and hope to others.

I think of Ruth.


Marriage to Naomi’s son swept Ruth into Naomi’s tsunami of suffering. Naomi was a famine refugee and a widow. By the time the dust settled both women had plummeted to the bottom of ancient society. Both were childless widows. Post-menopausal Naomi and barren Ruth had no future. Ruth was about Amanda Gorman’s age when she faced the hardest decision of her life. Yet instead of abandoning Naomi, Ruth chose a dark, foreboding future in Bethlehem by embracing Naomi, her people, and her God.

That changed everything.

Ruth took refuge under God’s wing and, from that place of blazing light, drew courage to do whatever Naomi needed. From that moment, she refused to hold back or shrink from bravely making bold initiatives to a powerful man—all on Naomi’s behalf. She ignored cultural boundaries limiting her as an immigrant, an impoverished widow, and a scavenger for food to bring light and renewed hope to Naomi.

Ruth never knew God was advancing his purposes for the world through her brave, selfless love for Naomi.

Her story reminds us never to underestimate how God might multiply our smallest act of kindness, encouraging word, or helping hand. We should all be asking, “If Ruth, why not me?” May God help us to be “brave enough” to bring the light of hope to others.

*For deeper reflection, listen to Ruth 1.