New Experiences – At MY Age?

See, I am doing a new thing! – Isaiah 43:19

So, 2023 has begun. In February I will turn 70. As in, “seventy years old.”

Seventy years old!? When did that happen? Seems like I was just getting adjusted to the idea that I am a grownup now. Even after having taught for several years, there were still times in my classroom when we were having so much fun learning that things got a little out of hand, I would think, someone should take control here, and I would suddenly remember I was the adult, so I’d better start adulting.

My adult life has been full of “firsts,” but by 2022, I wasn’t expecting many more, at least not positive ones. However, the Lord still had a few “firsts” in store for me – three that I can think of:

1.) Seeing good friends I had never met before.

I had already been surprised at how important and time-consuming blogging had become, and the number of fellow bloggers who would become friends, although I had never met them. In February, when we were spending time in Sanibel Island, Florida, I opened a blog post by “Russlings of the Spirit” to see a photo of a seashell that was very familiar. As I read the post, I realized Russell was, at that moment, about half a mile down the road from us! I let him know we were in (on?) Sanibel, too, and soon after, he, his wife Joan, and I were sitting by their pool, telling stories of our lives and God’s faithfulness.

In December I got an email from Mark Brady, letting me know he and his wife April were coming to Louisville for Christmas. He had told the family there was only one thing he insisted on doing while there, and that was to visit the church I had repeatedly (and apparently effectively) bragged about on my blog. So, on Christmas Day, I met Mark and his wife at the church visitor’s center, worshiped with them, and then talked about God and writing afterwards.

2.) FINALLY! A published song!

The 1980’s was my songwriting phase. Although I received much encouragement and support from friends, it seemed that seeing my songs published was not to be… at least not then.

But more recently, as the Christmas choir at my church was at their first practice of the year and warming up with “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” the director commented that he loved that song and wished that there were more than two verses. The songwriter in me was resurrected, and I thought, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! I prayed for inspiration …

I have always loved Christmas carols that tell the whole story of the gospel, not just the part about the cute little Baby in the manger that gets put back in the closet in January and not thought of until the next Christmas season. As I thought about the meaning of “come,” I realized, we’re not waiting for Jesus to be born, that’s happened already. And we’re not waiting for Him to rise from the grave, either – that’s happened, too. Now we’re waiting for His promised return! I wrote two more verses, careful to write in the same style as the first two. I wrote verse 3 about who Jesus is, followed by mention of the Resurrection. All of verse 4 is about the Second Coming and the final destiny of “sinners saved though faith alone.”

The first Sunday in Advent, there it was! All four verses were squeezed between the lines of music, and at the bottom of the page, fine print said, “vs. 1&2 Charles Wesley, vs 3&4 Ann Aschauer.” I smiled at seeing my name right next to Charles Wesley’s. Most of the people didn’t notice, and I got a bang out of that, too. Just my little secret, hidden in plain sight. I later got a note from the pastor saying he hadn’t noticed until someone pointed it out to him. Before that, he had assumed those verses had been there for the past 200 years, like the first two. (I refrained from telling him I’d been there for the past 200 years, too.)

For anyone who’s interested, here are the third and fourth verses:

Vs 3:
Come, Thou whom the prophets promised, Thou of whom the cantors sing;
Come, Emmanuel; God, be with us, Thou, our Prophet, Priest, and King.
Jesus, Thou art all perfection, Thou whose fellowship we crave;
Thou the Life and Resurrection, Come redeem us from the grave.

vs 4:
Come, O King, and claim Thy Kingdom; With the angels split the skies!
With a shout and trumpets sounding, Bid Thy sleeping children rise.
Gather in Thine arms so tender Sinners saved through faith alone;
Lead us in Thy heav'nly splendor Unto our eternal home.

When the “Old Louisville Christmas” was held, that song was again in the program, and again I got a thrill hearing the members and guests singing the words God had given me. At the last verse, when the musicians stopped playing, and 700+ people sang a cappella in 4-part harmony, I got tears in my eyes. Thank You, Jesus!

I’ve shared these verses with friends from other churches and told them the lyrics hadn’t been copyrighted, so they were free to add them to their own singing of that song, if they liked. I love the idea of “my” lyrics being sung all over the country. Maybe all over the world. So, dear readers, feel free, too.

Besides meeting two fellow bloggers face-to-face and seeing “my” lyrics in the church bulletin and hearing them sung by hundreds of people, I had another big “first” in 2022,

… which I’ll share next time.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Prayer: Lord, Thank You for coming that we might have abundant life at any age. Fifty years ago, I would not have imagined having so much fun now, but it shouldn’t surprise me that the Creator of all things always has something interesting and new. Thank You! In Jesus’ name, amen.

72 thoughts on “New Experiences – At MY Age?

    1. C.A., sadly, no one recorded any of the 3 services where it was sung. But I have always been so familiar with that song that I (mistakenly) assumed everyone else knew it, too.
      I’ll find a recording of the traditional one sung with the two verses, and y’all can imagine the last two. Or give my verses to the music directors at your churches, and next Advent … πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 3 people

  1. This is wonderful, Annie! I will be hitting the same birthday milestone in May of this year. I don’t understand how that’s even possible, do you?

    I would love to hear your new verses sung along with the rest of this beautiful old hymn. More than twenty years ago, I wrote a gospel song and shared it with the minister of the church I attended at that time. The contemporary choir made my song a regular part of their services. I recently sang part of my song for a cousin and her husband, who live over one thousand miles away from the church I attended in the 1990s. My cousin’s husband said that he had heard my song, and he began singing along with me. How cool is that? I never copyrighted my song, either.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. The title of my song is Makes Me Want to Shout. Here is the first verse:

        He is the rock of my foundation
        He is the joy of my salvation
        Makes me want to shout
        Hallelujah to the Lord
        Oh I was lost, but now I’m found
        I’m a new creation and I’m heaven bound
        Makes me want to shout
        Hallelujah to the Lord!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I look forward each week to your blogs. I am feeling so blessed to have been able to meet you through Tenley. Blessings, Dianna

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ann, the two verses you wrote, the words are lovely. I am not very familiar with the song so cannot imagine it. But I hope to hear it someday. And awesome to see fellow bloggers.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Annie, did you listen to Christian music in 1983? If so, you may be familiar with a Randy Stonehill song that was released that year, called Turning Thirty. It was the first time that I dreaded having a birthday.

    My granddaughter turned thirty last year. It just doesn’t seem possible!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yikes! My oldest granddaughter just turned thirteen, and THAT was hard to wrap my head around. Teenaged grandchildren! I haven’t heard that song, that I know of, but I’ll look it up. My youngest daughter just turned thirty last summer, and I made her a play list of all the songs that were special to her, starting with Amy Grant’s “Baby, Baby” that I used to sing to her right before and right after she was born!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, how sweet that you put that playlist together for your daughter.

        I was married at 16 and had my first child when I was 18. My youngest turned 42 today. I have a 10-year-old great-grandson. And I still feel like a young girl in my heart.

        I bought a shirt that says:
        Mom
        Grandma
        Great Grandma.
        I Just Keep Getting Better!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ann, I especially like how the new fourth verse points us to Jesus’ second coming and our eternal home. My new first in 2022 was preaching for the first time; it was well-received, and I’ll be preaching twice more this year. To God be the glory!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, Ann! At our small (70+) church, our pastor preaches most of the time, but there are four of us brothers who also preach twice a year. We also have guest pastors now and then. We’re looking for a pastor so that our current one can retire! He started our church with a handful of people 15 years ago, so there has been tremendous growth. BTW, a lot of what was in my Thanksgiving post in November was also in that sermon.

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  6. Wonderful song, proclaiming who Christ is and His glorious return. We need to sing it!
    Ann, we’re still in the race with more track to run! I’m so glad His word promises the last laps are the best.
    “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree… They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green…”
    To my fresh and green sister- let’s press on!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen, sister! – LOL, thanks for calling me “fresh and green” at my age! πŸ˜€ What a wonderful verse! (Is it Psalms or Proverbs, or…?) I guess if we’re going to live for eternity, we should be fresh and green at this point. πŸ˜‰

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  7. I met a fellow blogger in 2022 for the first time, too! It was a great experience. How beautifully we’re all connected and closer than we sometimes might think.
    The lyrics are wonderful and what an achievement! It must have felt quite surreal to have others sing those lines as if they had been there forever πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Ann,
    My husband Trevor and I go to your church, and we noticed that Sunday of Advent that your name was at the bottom. We got very excited (even though we don’t really know you) and it was fun to look over at you during the service.
    Such good lyrics, thank you for sharing them with us!!
    Hope to meet you soon, officially.
    -Alyssa

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It seemed so natural to them, and as I said, most of them didn’t know they were “my words.” And maybe they weren’t. As “Goldie” said in his comment above, it seemed as if they had always been there. I felt so blessed that God had given them to ME. Was it just because I asked Him? ❀

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  9. My heart is rejoicing with you, Annie! I can deeply imagine how special that moment was, hearing everyone sing those lyrics. And they are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and so authentic with the original style of the song! I’m not surprised at all that the pastor thought they were penned by Wesley too. I am in awe of what He gave you. Also SO cool about meeting blogger friends face to face! Amen and AMEN to the Creator ever coming up with new exciting things for us πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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