The glory of young men is their strength,
And the splendor of old men is their gray head.
I’m neither. And it’s a challenge to find myself in the ethereal middle ground. If I had to be honest, I feel more old than young. And though there are a few gray hairs now, graciously hidden throughout the curly long brown ones, I am still years away from the “splendor” of old age.
Things that make me feel young:
1. I still have my Strawberry Shortcake collection and that cheery faced, red yarn haired girl still make me smile.
2. I enjoy Saturday morning cartoons as much or more than my kids.
3. Disney’s new movie is almost here and I’m anticipating new favorite songs to sing.
4. I wear my mostly brown hair in braided pigtails at least once a month.
5. My favorite books reside on the Youth and Young Adult shelf.
6. Suncrest Camp is still my favorite place on earth to be.
Things that make me feel old:
1. My knees hurt… often.
2. Those afore mentioned gray hairs!
3. I’ve been with Ron for 18 years. Um, how is that possible?
4. I have a twelve year old.
5. Things that Ron and I used to fight about have turned into mostly pleasant encouraging conversations devoid of the insecurities and immature selfishness that those hot button issues used to pulsate with.
6. The butterflies of young love are gone. There are more moths in my stomach than Monarchs these days. If you were to open the closet of my heart, the moths of long-suffering and day-to-day duty would fly out in numbers leaving behind the holes they’ve eaten in the fuzzy feelings of my teenage wardrobe.
Well, despite my cellulite, forehead wrinkles, and the second list above, I wrote a book for young women. I wrote INFECtIOUS to encourage teenagers and young adults to find excitement in a life lived for our awesome, powerful, miracle-working Jesus. Ivy’s story is nothing like my life and yet so much like me and so full of the feelings that rule a hormonal, young Christian girl’s heart. I remember.
The other night Ron and I were watching a show on T.V. and the hero and heroine shared their first kiss. If you are feminine and girly like me, watching first kisses makes feelings in you. You can actually feel the butterflies that a first kiss hatches. You remember your own first kisses with clarity and, probably, with longing. It has been a long time since Ron and I had our first kiss. To be honest, I can’t even remember where or when it was. I remember that I knew I loved him after only two weeks of knowing him. I was sixteen and he was seventeen. I remember singing the Sound of Music to myself when I thought of our new love: “I am sixteen going on seventeen, I know that I’m naive… You are seventeen going on eighteen…” That adorable song ended in Liesl and Rolf’s innocent first kiss. But, as Liesl learned, life doesn’t stay that innocent or uncomplicated.
I digress. So, the other night, when our favorite onscreen couple shared their passionate first kiss—producing all kinds of emotions in me—I asked Ron if he felt things too. Nope. He said guys don’t feel things like that. That couple’s kiss was their own and had no effect on his masculine heart. He said that remembering our first kiss could make him feel something, but not someone else’s. For some reason I started crying. Why did God give girls such stupid hearts? I was crying because those butterflies are pretty much all gone. Crying because I missed feeling the excitement and passion of young love. Crying because I remember with clarity a conversation that I had with my mom when I was just sixteen.
We were parked in the driveway at our Harlansburg Rd. house. Sitting in our big conversion van. I asked my mom if she still felt those feelings for my dad. She said she loved my dad like crazy but that the butterflies were gone. She said mine would go away too! I remember tears stinging my eyes as I resolutely assured her that the passion I had for Ron Forkey would never be dimmed. We had REAL love. Unstoppable love. Undying Love. I would always feel this way! She said, “No, you won’t. But don’t worry. The things you get in exchange for the butterflies are better. Long lasting faithfulness, unconditional love, deep and abiding friendship.”
And she was right. When I sat crying on the couch in the middle of our favorite show for absolutely no sane reason, that best friend of mine paused the T.V. and rushed over to hug me. He listened to my ridiculous blubbering about butterflies or the lack thereof and, instead of being offended or insecure about my lack of “feelings”, he kissed me. He held me. He listened to me tell the story of the conversation with my mom—for probably the tenth time in our life. Later that night he prayed over us. Prayed that God would help him to take care of me better. Prayed that he would remember to be romantic and take care of our precious relationship. Guess what. Seventeen year old Ron Forkey didn’t do things like that. In fact, seventeen year old Ron Forkey didn’t even know Jesus when we met.
So, though there are more moths in my heart than Monarchs these days, I still remember what it was like to be sixteen. I remember the temptations. I remember the passion. I remember the fierce longing to do something great and remarkable with my life. That particular longing still hangs on today. Now, like my mom, I’m in a position to encourage young hearts. I know what happens on the other side of choices, both good and bad. I know the consequences of unchecked passion. I know the rewards of obedience when it’s hard. I want to encourage others with what I’ve learned.
So, I started Ivy’s story with INFECtIOUS and I plan to continue it. Some of you have already read it for me. Thank you so much! I’m in the process of trying to get it published and I’d appreciate your prayers for this ministry. I have an agent who is interested and she’ll be getting back to me with the next two weeks. That’s stressful! I know it’s not my only shot, but it feels like it. Pray with me that she will decide to move forward with my story. One of the things the agent strongly recommends writers have is a blog. So this is the start of mine. I’d appreciate your feedback about what it should be about. I feel strongly about a life lived on the edge for Christ. I feel strongly about a wife’s heart and responsibility in marriage. I feel strongly about raising my girls to know and serve The Lord. What kinds of things would you like me to write about?