Last month, I came across my own "Barbara Bush." Over Spring Break, we went on a mission trip to TX/MX. I met the most beautiful silver-haired lady from Kansas named Mary. She’s 89! You'd never know it by watching her serve with love and laughter. Her goal: to celebrate her 90 birthday on another mission trip! Amazing! I want to live like that!
Last week, the world said goodbye to Barbara Bush. She was known and loved the world over. Her signature snow-white hair and strands of pearls added to her charm. She extracted as much as possible out of living with little concern for her own wrinkly, age-spotted skin.
She resisted culture's lure and poured more energy into her inside than her outside.
Reminiscing about these two older ladies, it hit me! We have been duped! From songs and commercials, to magazines and sitcoms, aging has been frowned upon and something to be feared. And slowly, we Jesus girls have bought into that lie hook line and sinker.
With each commercial and social media ad, we pour more and more of our money and time into something that is fleeting. Yes, quickly slipping away. We can delay the sagging and spotting, but we can't stop the toll aging takes upon our face and body.
What are we thinking?
Am I advocating we rise up and flush our anti-aging miracles down the toilet?
My concern though is where are we finding our worth? As Jesus girls, we need to ask ourselves hard questions:
"Is my worth found in the reflection of a mirror or in reflecting the Maker?"
"If all my anti-aging magic suddenly disappeared tomorrow, would I still feel worthy? Beautiful? Needed?"
So what is the remedy? How do we in our 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's grow old gracefully? I don't know Barbara Bush's faith story, but I do know Mary's.
Here are seven pro-aging pearls from their lives to string on the silken cord of aging well no matter the age.
Pearl #1. Embrace God’s Perspective on Aging.
Our hearts were made for eternity. This earth and these ole bodies are passing away. In past generations, the elderly were revered. They got it right! We need to, also.
Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life.
Pearl #2. Be a Woman of the Word
Spend your downtime in the Word reading and growing in wisdom and knowledge. The old hymn sings, “Sweeter as the years go by…” May knowing God more, truly be sweeter, more rewarding, and so much more satisfying each year of our lives. Proverbs 31:30. Matthew 13:45-46.
Pearl #3. Lead by Example
When you were born, phones were attached to a wall, not to your hand. Therefore, model how to interact one on one or in a crowd. When you’re with others, resist being on your phone.
Take notice of those around you. Speak a kind word to the weary momma. Encourage the disgruntled youth. Thank your server. Make eye contact. Smile. 1 Peter 3:4. Colossians 3:15.
Pearl #4. Embrace Your God-Given Beauty
Trust me; I too wrestle with the effects of aging. The mirror doesn’t lie. Nor do photos. (Selfies are of the devil every aging woman knows! Lol) We must marvel at the truth in Psalm 139:14 whatever our age!
Pearl #5. Don’t Grow Frumpy.
Just because we’re aging isn’t a license to let ourselves go. It’s essential to maintain our health and body as much is possible for the glory of God.
God has given us a bevy of resources to fight the toll aging takes on our bodies thru exercise and eating. It’s good to still style our hair and dress attractively. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Pearl #6. Testify of God's Goodness!
As the years pile on, so do the faithful acts of the Lord. Psalm 71:18. 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
- Testify to that young momma that the long days of toddlerhood will soon pass, and she’ll make it!
- Testify to the young widow that God hasn’t forsaken her. She is still dearly loved. He is fighting for her!
- Testify to the weak that God hasn’t given up on them. God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness and steadfastness is their stronghold!
Pearl #7. Step up and serve!
God hasn't called you home yet, so do something!
- rock the babies in the nursery.
- serve as a greeter at church.
- make the coffee for this coffee-loving generation.
- write encouragement notes to new visitors.
- bake a cake and deliver it to a new momma or a recovering member or to your pastor.
Barbara Bush's final gift to us women? Barbara poured more energy into who she was becoming rather than pining over who she was. Beauty from the inside out. Her silver hair and wrinkles didn't stop her from living beautifully.
I want to do that, to become more beautiful on the inside as the years pile on the outside.
Like my friend Mary, I long for my worth to be found in reflecting my Maker rather than the reflection in my mirror.
I'm with you, my friend. The mirror reminds me I'm aging. My joints moan and groan one too many mornings. My clothes fit differently than they did a couple of decades ago. (ahem.) BUT! I pray I am becoming more beautiful for Jesus. I pray I am contagious in living a life full of love and joy and laughter and kindness and truth.
Join me, dear one. String the 7 pearls on your silken cord of life so you too can bloom in this next season of sagging, wrinkling, and creaking. May your worth be found in reflecting the Maker rather than in the reflection in the mirror.
May others be drawn to you because your inner beauty is irresistible. Just like Barbara Bush. Just like Mary.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock,
and there is no unrighteousness in him.