September 30, 2009
"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life."
"There comes a moment when you know that your face has changed; when that effortless glow you always had going for you suddenly requires serious effort. For me, that moment came on the first of August at 4:13 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, while buying a pound and a half of chicken breasts at Simchyk and Sons." - Lisa Kogan
At first I laughed hysterically when I read those lines from an article. Pretty soon, though, I realized that the laugh was just hysteria and that it had a real note of panic in it. It hit a little too close to home, because I had my own well-defined realization of my aging recently. I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of my car window, and I almost turned to see who was standing behind me.
Unfortunately, the neck that was reflected was my own. I just couldn't understand where all those little crepe-y lines had come from. I had never seen them before. Upon reflection, I think I must even do the turtle neck in the mirror. You know the move. It's the stretch I do with my neck during pictures to try to eliminate any extra chins. Evidently, I've been doing it in the mirror, too, and that's why I hadn't seen any of those wrinkles on my neck!
I had a significant birthday this year, and there were almost instant changes in my face. I've enlisted my good friend Holly to be my dealer -I mean supplier - of skin care products. Even though Proverbs assures me that my gray hairs are a crown, I still want my crown hidden for a while under color from a bottle. I want to age gracefully but not suddenly!
With all the angst over a few wrinkles, I have to admit that I'm also embracing all the good stuff that comes with age. There's actually a lot to celebrate. I have gradually felt myself feeling more comfortable in my own skin. Although I strive to make my words godly, I also feel bolder and more empowered to stand up and speak up. I've increasingly realized that although I have nothing to offer, Jesus in me has everything to offer. I'm relishing becoming the older woman who knows a little bit about the world, mothering, pursuing a passion and cultivating a walk with God.
My outward body may be deteriorating, but I know that running hard on the heels of Jesus will keep me spiritually fit and beautiful. I can revel in each year as long as my image is more closely matching His image.
I see the stretch of the years in front of me as the stretch to truly begin looking more like Jesus. It's the stretch where, if I do it right, the outside matters less and less. The world is less and less attractive. Heaven becomes more and more my home. My character is more and more submitted to Jesus, and my final destination is in sight. I may decide to apply specialized creams to my neck and dye to my hair, but the increase in years is worth it to gain from God the things I need to be a woman of substance!
Dear Lord, help me to keep laughing about all the changes in my body as I age, but help me to take inner change seriously. I truly want to grow older and godlier instead of older and grouchier. In Jesus' precious Name, Amen.
God's Purpose for Every Woman: A Compilation of Favorite P31 Devotions by various Encouragement for Today authors.
Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be by Donna Partow
Make a list of the blessings that have come with age.
Thank God even for the hard things that come with age. They are the things that make heaven become more appealing and more like home.
What steps can I take to look more like Jesus every day?
How can I encourage the older people around me that they are valuable and loved?
Job 12:12, "Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?" (NIV)
Isaiah 46:4, "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (NIV)
© 2009 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 30 September 2009.