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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Career Peak

“Women in their 50’s and 60’s are at the peak of their careers.”

My law-school son read this quote out loud, sitting at the antique school desk serving as the kitchen table in our upstate New York Airbnb. Luke and Ali had escaped the city to spend a couple of nights in the Catskills with Mom and Dad during our recent Easter visit. We enjoyed a leisurely Saturday morning, Kyle preparing coffee two servings at a time in a stovetop percolator, as Luke enlightened us with his social media insight…

It’s often when children are grown that women enjoy renewed mental energy to focus on their best work.

This was the gist of the article, and it caught my attention, resonating with something I’ve been pondering lately. Something Kyle and I have even talked about. Because just as my husband is planning his timeline for retirement, I feel like I’m making some major decisions about a new season of work and ministry.

But my son’s article also leads me to ask a question:

If I…a woman in her sixth decade…am at the peak of my career…which career are we talking about?

Because my primary career for most of my adult life…a career I am very proud to own…was being a MOM.

I rocked at being a Mom.

And yes, along the way I dabbled in a few other part-time gigs, teaching and church-work and writing a book and such. But I think it is fair to say I gave my very best energies to nurturing and knowing and cultivating the soil of five young hearts, and I did it well. And loved every moment.

My best work was being a mom. Which means maybe the peak of my career is seeing five young men thrive as good humans and knowing I had a hand in that.

That said. I do believe my sixth decade holds some exciting possibilities. Recently I wrote about the ways I’ve sensed God’s “call” throughout my adult life and how He has led me one season at a time to trust and follow His lead. God has given me a heart for the church and a love of learning and the gift of writing. And maybe the most surprising “call” of all was the dream-vision He whispered prophetically at least a dozen years prior to its fruition—

A dream about enjoying grandchildren!

A joyous career-peak if ever there was one (:

While traveling last week Kyle and I discussed my return to seminary and we made plans to attend a writer’s conference together. If the measure of a successful career is its paycheck, it looks like all of the eggs are in my husband’s basket. But if the measure (as I often remind myself and others) is doing “the next faithful thing”—then I am committed to doing my best work for one more holy season.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5).

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