Thursday, February 23, 2023

Writer Birthdays—Millstone or Milestone--You Get to Choose

by Henry Mclaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Birthdays can be millstones or milestones. It depends on our perspective and on where and how we see ourselves in this life.

My seventy-fifth birthday passed recently. OK, it’s more like it flew by—a blur of the calendar pages spinning.

More and more, birthdays are a time of reflection, of assessing. Where am I? How does that compare to where I dreamed I’d be at this age when I was in my twenties and thirties? Back then, I thought I’d be long gone from this Earth. At least that’s what the devil tried to tell me.

But God had different ideas. Several major health crises later, I’m still here, still active. Maybe not as strong in the physical sense as I’d like to be. But God’s brought me to spiritual, personal, and relational maturity I never imagined possible.

Spiritually, I’m closer to Him than I ever expected to be. I’ve grown in my heart understanding of how much He loves me. I’ve moved from seeing myself as unworthy to a place of receiving and rejoicing in His love. He’s birthed a servant’s heart in me. I no longer look to be noticed. I look to serve. This is a significant ego shift for me, a complete change in my approach. I no longer look to lead or be in control. I look to obey Him and the spiritual leadership He’s placed me under.

Now, I’m coming out of lengthy writing dry spell—a Sahara of withered ideas at best, or complete drought during its worst moments. I didn’t know if I would ever write again. Writing was a struggle for almost two years while He worked with me on other, more critical areas of my life. Now the writing juices are stirring again. Even at seventy-five, He has plans for me, for my writing, for my contributing. And I’m looking forward to the next phase of the journey.

Birthdays can seem like millstones tied around our necks, dragging us down, telling us the end is near, time to pack it up.

Or birthdays can be milestones marking our journey of life. Yes, there may be many milestones behind us, and we don’t know for sure how many are ahead of us. Milestones are landmarks and guideposts. They call us to keep moving forward in His plan and His will, to be all He is calling us and wanting us to be.

Millstone or milestone? There’s a choice here.

To paraphrase Joshua 24:15, I choose milestone. I decide to see birthdays as markers of a life well-lived for God and my family.

Which do you choose? Millstone or milestone?


Henry’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest.

Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers.

Connect with Henry on his BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK.


  1. I appreciate your perspective and encouragement, Henry. "Milestones are landmarks and guideposts." What better way to use our birthdays?

  2. What thought-provoking words to start my day! Thank you for sharing!

    1. I appreciate your comment, Julie.

  3. I choose milestone. And praise God for every one of them.

  4. Milestones! I published my first book at age 75 (in spite of two decades of fibromyalgia, which I still deal with). I'll be 79 in June, working on my (gulp) fourth "Leora book"!

  5. Definitely Milestones! Just think--no bureaucrats can tell us we're too old to do whatever we choose!