Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31)
In ancient times, old age and gray hair were synonymous with wisdom and knowledge. According to Rachael Gibson, the Hair Historian, throughout the 18th century powdering elaborate wigs and your hair off-white became all the rage for the European elite. We’ve come a long way from that mindset for now in our culture it is implied that gray hair is unattractive. We’re fixated on looking young which has spawned the hair coloring industry. As a person ages, melanin production is reduced and causes the hair to turn gray and, ultimately, white, which means there's no melanin stimulation in the hair follicle.
By default, gray hair is associated with age. But many things come with age including beauty and strength. As a culture, our hair – the color of it, the length and the style seems to have a direct impact on our value and worth, which is sad. I am a woman of a certain age – over 50, with the gray hairs to show for it. I too fell victim to our culture’s lies around gray hair as I used to pluck them out as fast as they grew in. When I realized that this was a fruitless endeavor, I stopped. I admire older women who rock their gray hair with grace and beauty. They seem to breathe rarefied air and I wanted to be like them. It’s not the hair but what they personify – grace, beauty, strength, confidence. Their hair lets those in their presence grasp these truths sooner. Though gray hair lacks color it possesses strength and resilience. Gray hair is nothing to be ashamed of. Because of the increasing gray hair on my head, I can say the following with certainty. You can too.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Ridofranz
1. You know His mercies are new every morning.
As you wake up each morning, you give thanks because you’re still here. Our days are numbered, yet you’ve lived long enough to know that God has a limitless supply of mercy which starts over each day we are alive. We may have our ups and downs but his mercy is always available for us.
2. You’ve learned not to take anything or anyone for granted.
Life can change in an instant. For some life is fleeting, and for others it’s lengthy. But in all circumstances as you’ve increased your heavenly perspective, you’ve become more adept in spotting the good. The good in people and the good in circumstances. God’s good doesn’t always look like our good, but now because you know the truth of His word, you can look at things with eyes of love. You’ve learned that He is love, and you try to embody His love in all your relationships.
Photo Credit: Unsplash
3. You know your pattern.
Good seasons or bad they don’t last forever. You recognize the seasons and ride them through. You see the God of nature and know that he has a similar pattern in your life. You don’t know how long your season will last, but you know it will change because that’s what seasons do; they are cyclical. In this stage of your life, you have a greater understanding of how God works.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
4. You have knowledge to pass on.
You have finally become one of the older women mentioned in Titus 2. Some avoid this role, while others embrace it. As a young person in various stages of my life – sister, wife, mother, I was always appreciative of the women who chose to pour into me by providing counsel and nurturing me. It is because of the way I’ve been blessed that I gladly look forward to mentoring younger women. Because I’ve seen how God’s hand was evident in every season of my life and can now share this confidently with younger women. Because you were blessed, you can be a blessing to others.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
5. You’ve seen the fragility and resiliency of the body.
As the gray hair appears, the body has more aches and pains and more joints that seem stiff with pain that shows up in random places. You know the Creator was intentional when he formed every sinew of your body, and you’ve seen his healing hand in your body. Whether it’s through doctors or through miracles, you’ve seen changes in your body where God has sustained you over time.
Photo Credit: Pexels
6. You aren't scared of God’s sovereignty.
Even if you think you know how God will work in a given situation, you’ve learned to allow room for His sovereignty, which may show up in ways that you cannot anticipate or think. You know that God is in control and he equips you to do his work, but you also know he can work in ways you don’t understand. You make greater space in your life for his sovereignty.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Wenping Zheng
7. You learn to forgive quickly.
In all relationships the capacity for hurt and pain exists. Some people hold grudges for so long they don’t remember why they were angry in the first place. The offending party may have even passed on, and they’re still angry. This anger colors their perceptions of everything and makes them miserable company. If you live long enough, you will be hurt, and others will hurt you. What do you do with that hurt?
You’ve learned to forgive because you know unforgiveness is burdensome. Even if the situation exceeds your understanding, you’ve seen the truth of scripture. You know that vengeance is God’s, and you no longer worry about when the wronged party will get what’s coming to them. You’ve learned that forgiveness is freeing.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/jacoblund
8. You're not undone by disappointments.
You’ve had highs and lows. Dreams have come true, while some dreams have failed. You recall how when you were younger, a disappointment would seem like the end of your world, but now you know that it just wasn’t meant to be or meant for you. You just don’t stay down for long because God is with you. He sees what you can’t see, and you’ve learned to trust Him more.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/marydan15
9. Your prayer life is integral to the rest of your life.
You’ve weathered many storms; your hair and your life are a testament to that. You’ve learned the beauty of praying all the time for all things because you’ve learned the longer you live, the less you need to worry. You’ve realized that nothing is too insignificant to bring before God, and you take great delight in coming boldly to His throne. You no longer rely on your limited understanding, but lay it all at his feet. You pray about every circumstance that crosses your path. You don’t simply say, “I’ll pray for you.” Instead, you pray immediately.
Photo Credit: THinkstock/PaulMaguire
10. You’ve seen Him provide, and you know He will do it again.
You’ve had plenty, and you’ve had little, but as a righteous person, you’ve always had your daily bread. You’ve seen provision show up in ways that can only be God-ordained, so you no longer worry about your needs. You know that the care he gives to the birds is also available for you. You’re not irresponsible with your provisions, so you share and are a wise steward, and you reap the blessings – tangible and intangible. As a righteous person, you have not been forsaken.
Photo Credit: ThinkstockPhotos/monkeybusinessimages
Not everyone ages gracefully. But when you make a choice to listen and obey God’s leading, His grace is available for you each step of the way. This grace brings wisdom and love. The grayer the hair the greater the realization of a God that knows and loves you. You know it’s by God’s grace you’re still here and still standing, so you extend grace almost effortlessly. You can look forward to heaven and hearing, “well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)
Nylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who loves life and inspiring others. She likes to have fun but is very clear on who she is and Whose she is. A prolific thinker, she blogs to encourage others from a Christian perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She can be found online on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
Originally published Wednesday, 07 August 2019.