Our faith changes as we get older. Have you noticed? Do you have experiences and questions that could only have come out of the soil of midlife and beyond?
Michelle Van Loon, in Becoming Sage: Cultivating Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality in Midlife, explains how our faith journey can be described in stages, based on the work of Janet Hagberg, Robert Guelich, and James Fowler. These stages from the 'infancy of first belief until the final, self-giving love of a matured faith" each carry their own sets of challenges and tasks. Van Loon describes these stages simply and weaves these truths throughout the book.
I found her book very readable and relatable. As we get older and experience more - highs and lows, serendipities and deep disappointments - we will grow in wisdom if we allow ourselves to let go of preconceived ideas about how our lives should have played out. We release the grip we have held on so tightly, trying to do everything 'right', hoping for expected outcomes. We realize that Jesus walks with us each step of the way, through the messes and the miracles. Our focus doesn't necessarily look like 'doing great things for God', but being faithful in making the world a better place, laying down our lives for others in simple ways, and becoming more comfortable with being loved by God, no strings attached. We don't have to be 'productive' to be loved. We never have. As we get older, we are able to use our personal experiences to go deeper with God and others.
"Maturity is forged from the beautiful and terrible and mundane stuff of our lives as we seek to crawl, stand, walk, and run with Jesus on our way to Real."
Becoming Sage is an honest, hopeful book, and one that will encourage those in the second half of life. If you are questioning and looking back at your life, as well as looking ahead, this book will encourage you.