I was scrolling through the bazillion pictures on my phone the other day and came across one of this gem, who I still miss terribly and whose influence on my life bears fruit with regularity.
She is one of an army of women who were a generation ahead of us and who walked with grace and wisdom and dignity. They loved Jesus and spent time with Him in study and prayer and then out of the overflow, they called back to us younger women to spur us on.
Phil, Helen, Aura, Joyce, Mary….my mom, Russ’s mom, moms of friends of mine… and so many more…their faces are among that great cloud of witnesses. There are others who are still with us but as all our days are numbered, we know the time is short.
And now my generation is stepping into their place.
Commercials between ball games this past week and my social media feed are filled with previews of two movies coming out that feature actresses who are in the fourth quarter and perhaps even overtime in the game of life.
Some of them are enhanced with surgeries to try and hold onto youth and some have just aged naturally.
I don’t know any of them and their voices have no influence on the direction of my life, but as I look at them I find a beauty in the ones who have chosen to just grow older without seeking the fountain of cosmetic youth.
I think of the mentors who radiated an inner beauty that rivaled anything a surgeon or chemical could produce and while I do not like the signs of aging in the skin around my neck and eyes and mouth…I know who my role models are.
Several Scriptures come to mind and are helpful as I ponder the beautiful faces of the women who have gone before me and who I looked up to and learned from:
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.1 Peter 3:3-4
Even to you 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. “To whom will you compare me or count me equal?”Isaiah 46:4
To grow in age with grace, literally…walking daily in God’s grace…this is the goal.
It is a fine balance between taking care of our health and holding on to a youth that was only for a season. It is a challenge to remember this and be grateful for the process of life we have been a part of.
It reminds me of yesterday’s chat and how we have desires within us that we have no control over making happen. Of course the youthful appearance of those coming along behind us and the agility of energy that is part of being young is attractive, but it is not ours as we age.
Our bodies begin to slow and wrinkle and do things we wish they didn’t and refuse to do things we wish they did, but all of this reminds us what we are made of…finite flesh and bones. But God has loved us and sent His Son for us to redeem us of this dying world.
What a precious gift as we continue to place our trust in His promise that this life is not all there is for us.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.Isaiah 40:31