I am getting old.
Before you roll your eyes, it’s true. It’s happening to all of us, one day at a time.
I remember wanting to be older in my twenties. I wanted to be seen as an adult. I rushed through those years, always wanting more.
My 30’s have been glorious. I felt good in my skin and accidentally discovered chasing your dreams is a good beauty regimen. I stopped hiding from mirrors and put the spanx away. My laugh lines look more like winkles and my “baby” who left me with a thicker middle is now reading.
The gray is coming in strong now, wild.
This is it.
But my 40’s are next, just one page away on the calendar. I can feel myself aging. I see the proof. And some days, I have a hard time embracing getting older.
I found out last week that my husband told someone I was getting “hotter with age.” I made him repeat it three times. Hungry for his words because I’m still trying to convince myself that I’m aging gracefully. [I feel the same about him. The stray grays are distinguishing and his confident stance is sexy. Maybe we both just know we are stuck with each other until death and are living it up in our old age. Whatever. I’ll take it.]
He said someone he worked with wanted picture proof of this aging beauty. He said he showed them a picture. “Which one?” I asked slightly horrified.
He pulled out his phone and showed them a picture from this summer in Kenya.
The one picture he has where I haven’t showered in 3 days. Awesome. Without makeup or pretense or a blow dryer, this is the picture he shows people who want to meet his wife:
I was a bit mortified and he said, “Are you getting older? Yes. But as you age and live in joy, you just become more beautiful.”
Why is this so hard for me to hear and believe?
I think I would have had him pull out my Glamour Shots from 15 years ago. I was reminded of a simple truth in that moment, one I often forget when I’m busy focusing on the outside. True beauty is found inside. When we are working on who we are there, it is reflected on the outside. And that’s what he sees in that photo.
But I’m old enough to know the danger of putting my esteem in the hands of a man (even a good one). I have to believe that even though I’m constantly changing, I am the daughter of the One who never changes. His affection for me is pure, untainted by sin; He loves all of me very well.
You, with the baby on your hip and spit up on your shirt, you are beautiful. Grandma, with the white head of glory, there is grace in the aging. I’m in the middle of these and I’m looking for it.
You should too.
How to age gracefully:
- See yourself as He sees you
- Live Scared-chase God’s big dream
- Find someone younger to mentor
- Encourage the woman who reminds you of yourself 10 years ago
- Embrace your appearance as it changes
We are beautiful on the inside and out when we acknowledge Christ’s deep and abiding love for us. Love that doesn’t change with our accomplishments or appearance. It’s always, always there -accepting us exactly for who we are or aren’t.
Written by Kristen Welch, We are THAT familyLeave a Comment
Your post is a jewel. I love to read it in the early morning. ( here it is 7:44)
lol! when i first glimpsed at your post (i often do a quick skim before diving in), i read the part about your husband thinking you were getting hotter with age…i thought you meant menopausal hot flashes leading you to want to turn the thermostat cooler! glad it was the other meaning! thanks for your post!
Amy Hunt says
When our heart reflects Him. That’s when our beauty is most evident. His, really.
I nearly cried over that photo of you holding that babe. Truly. I get this welling up and feel an overwhelming sense of His presence when I look at it. Evidence of Him in you. Grace.
Well…I am a bit more down the aging road with you….when I hit 50…I told God I wanted to be gray and gracious…so many woman don’t seen to be gracious as they age…Ummm, I am graying slowly for someone my age…don’t know what that says about my progress:) when I hit the 55 mark…I told God I want to finish strong…body, soul and spirit…I don’t want to become a person who loses her relevance in this world… one who serves herself and I think finding ways to give out to others is a way to stay young…”hot”…compassion…service…love….all are a reflection of Him…so won’t we look beautiful when we reflect who He is in this world.
When I come in contact with people who are doing what God has put in their heart…no matter the age…it draws me…because they are effervescent with God’s joy and love…I think your picture reflect this~ blessings~
Love that photo. That is pure joy.
Just what I needed to hear this morning! Thank you. I too am about to enter my 40s, increasing gray hair and all!
Christy Fitzwater says
This is awesome! I have to tell you that I’m 43, and I feel like I’ve just started to live. I just now really know what God has shaped me to do, and He’s throwing me huge opportunities to serve him. I would say life starts at 40, sister!
Cheri Gregory says
Here to second the emotion! I’m 45 (or 46…can’t remember…) Yesterday, I pulled out a college photo of my husband and me. Despite the fact that we were leaner, tanner, and had far more hair, I wouldn’t go back for anything.
I’m sure some women are far wiser than I and learn to enjoy life in their 20s and 30s…I was super-duper stubborn, unwilling to surrender self ’til my 40s…and then only because I had proved every way possible that self is endlessly destructive.
Lovin’ what God’s doing in my 40s and looking forward to the next decade, hot flashes and all!
Kristen Strong says
I cried last night because I found a whole new patch of gray hair I didn’t know I had. Clearly, I need to take your words to heart. Love you Kristen!
Sandra Heska King says
I’ve passed that 60 mark and wrote 30 days of aging posts last month trying to come to grips with the fact that I have much less time in front of me than behind. I’m learning to keep my focus on Him and not so much in the mirror. But…my hairdresser and her pot of color might be my best friend on earth. 🙂
Karen Fawcette says
I just realized yesterday that I will turn 55 next year… oh, I knew that I turned 54 this year, but unlike other years — I did not look ahead this time! and I was shocked… and a bit sad… it seems so much older somehow — maybe it has to do with that uphill / downhill momentum thing… approaching 60 will come faster now! I used to think when I was a little girl that my mom, in her 30s, was sooo old!… then when she passed away at 76 I thought she was way too young… and we talked often about not feeling our age. She and I somehow met in the middle and felt often more like sisters. Now I look at myself, and while my mind still feel so much younger, the body is just not agreeing with that image! I think I lost a few years when my mom died, but long so to enjoy life as she did when she was ‘my age’… we really need God’s help with this don’t we? I know I do…
Ellie Mae says
Kristen, you never cease to amaze me with your wisdom. I just turned 48 and I highlight my hair, it is my splurge every 3-4 months. I pray that someday I will come to terms with aging, I have gone through breast cancer and am now possibly having some heart issues. I have let others dictate to me how I feel about myself, I need to follow your example and just and ” believe that even though I’m constantly changing, I am the daughter of the One who never changes. His affection for me is pure, untainted by sin; He loves all of me very well.” thank you for this reminder!
I, also, am much further down the aging road than you. I enjoyed your post, though, and could relate. I would like to gray graciously, as well. I have two older teens left at home out of seven children. I think more about trying harder to achieve grace and usefulness in some other God inspired directions at this age, but also always remaining available and busy as Wife, Mom, and Grandma.
I love the photo! There is obvious joy in holding that little one and a sense of love and caring that goes deeper than skin. That is true beauty!
Thanks for your encouraging words! Honestly, I always have to think about how old I am (just 45). I don’t keep track, I have plenty of gray hair with no intention of coloring it, and I try to take one day at a time. : )
Mary Ellen says
Yes, it is a challenge to keep our focus on Him and His view–especially at 68 and counting. But, each year, each season brings new revelations of His grace and new benefits along with the age lines and grey hair. Not as hung up on age or on how others see me anymore. There is a freedom in aging that is WONDERFUL. Keep pressing on–it is glorious.
My husband says the self confidence I gain as I get older is what seems to enhance my beauty. He finds self confidence gorgeous and self doubt ugly.
Thanks for these words. I too am nearly 40 and feeling it in aching muscles and weight that won’t budge. For the first time ever I am dreading a birthday (I LOVE birthdays), and this post was just what I needed. A beautiful reminder that I am beautiful in His eyes and that IS enough. God’s blessings to you.
Kathy @ In Quiet Places says
Wish you had posted this great post yesterday, before I was feeling old in the mirror as I was doing my hair and makeup for my 29th anniversary date last night 🙂
Susan G says
Had to laugh at this one. 🙂 Isn’t this the topic all women talk about, and yes, most of the time fret about – getting older. I have decided it’s not the number of being older, but we fear the ‘old’ looks…that we will not be pretty, desired as much (even by our husbands). But now being 61 I have resigned to do what I can to make myself look presentable, and leave the rest up to the Lord. Afterall He has made it that we grow old on the outside, but are “being renewed” on the inside…so one day we will not desire to stay here, but desire heaven much more. And back to that desired thing…my husband still can get a little jealous and think I’m beautiful…as a 61 yr old Grandma of 5 and 11/12’s grandchildren! Enjoy your age – all of you – because it doesn’t get any better than where you are right now – until we get to Heaven! 🙂
What a beautiful post. Thank you.
Delonna @ Chick Flick Diva says
You look fabulous and I can see why your husband shows that picture – it captures your joy 🙂 Thank you for sharing your post and story. I was touched by your words and encouraged to continue to develop my inner beauty. YOU ROCK!
Pam O says
Great post, Kristen. Wise words. I felt like turning 40 was a right of passage. I was (am) proud to be 40-something and don’t mind that I’m now knocking on 50’s door. With His joy in your heart, age is just a number (even taking into account gravity and gray hair!).
I’m 61 now and whilst I struggle with my weight and have a few aches and pains, I’m happy with the girl I am now. I feel as I’m growing in the grace of my God, I’m actually a nicer and more authentic person than I was 20 years ago. And I can feel that on the inside and it’s a good feeling. I am trying to age gracefully in all areas and ways, I’m ok with the grey hair and the happy lines. I’m enjoying the journey.
How to age gracefully:
“See yourself as He sees you
Live Scared-chase God’s big dream
Find someone younger to mentor
Encourage the woman who reminds you of yourself 10 years ago
Embrace your appearance as it changes”
Oh Amen, hallelujah and all that wonderful Jazz!
This made my day. I’ll be 65 my next birthday, and my husband and I are “living scared…chasing God’s big dream” right now. Our security for the future is a big God. And I’m happy. Thanks for these beautiful words. (And I know why your husband keeps that picture…you shine in it.)
Marie Krum says
NOT ONLY LOVELY ON THE INSIDE AND THE OUT WISER WITH AGE! wHAT A GLORIOUS TESTAMENT TO GOD’S GRACE( FORGIVE CAPS- computer glitch!)
Linda Rufi says
Your post is really beautiful. Aging gracefully with grace is a gift. I have spent several days since I attended Allume thinking about aging and who is my “audience” and do I truly have something of value to offer. I don’t want to be a clanging gong and babble. When I returned from Allume I wasn’t feeling very well, nothing specific but not my usual self. My goddaughter wanted me to go to the hospital the night Sandy landed in Virginia, but I said it was too dangerous. On Wednesday I went to my GP to get a medication refill and tell her I was not feeling myself. Within half an hour I found myself in an ambulance and on the way to the ER. I was having a cardiac “incident”. I should have listened to my goddaughter, even though she is only 23 and just graduated from nursing school. I have had most of the tests and today I was hooked up to a 30 day monitor. I admit I am a little scared. I know that God has my back, my heart, my feet…I think I want to be in control…it is okay to laugh… At the end of December I will be 62 and I need to pay more attention to my health. So I feel like I have had a big wake-up call. Speak Lord your servant is listening. I think the greast gift women of all ages have to offer each other is the bond we share as women. We know what it feels like when the unsightly pimple shows up the day of that “important” something; the fear and joy in childbirth and the anguish and pain when there is no little one on the horizon; that realization of the gray around the edges…I think we use serum now instead of wrinkle cream, but in our shared experience of life we also share the tremendous love our Father has for each of us “girls”. Enjoy the journey, it is a beautiful adventure.
I am 52and now have blonde highlights in my hair as a negotiator between the brown and the gray. But I can honestly say that this is the best part of my life. For the first time I know what I want and I care little about any negative opinion others might possess
This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.
Diane bailey says
I forgot to put my name on the comment above. That too goes with getting older! Laughing
Emilee Mellinger says
WOW! I’m 55 and needed that! Thank you
Lauren Cunningham says
I loved this post. I especially loved your husband’s words. Thanks for the reminder to embrace every part of change. I’m reminded that choosing to live in joy brings out the best in me all the time.
Jane Davis says
You’re very wise to be “so young”, at least from my side of 40. I’m a silver haired grandma who can tell you with all truth (and some Texas slang), 40 ain’t about nothin’ when you’re walkin’ with The Lord. Yes, it IS a fight to over come what the world has programmed us to think about beauty, but then that’s all part of why we renew our minds in God’s word. See yourself, LOVE yourself as He does!
Shelly Wildman says
Well, dear, you are officially ten years younger than me. The calendar will “turn” for me in April, and I have to say I’m not handling the change as well as you are. (Of course, 40, for me, was welcomed, just as it is for you.) But your picture here . . . oh yes, you have reminded me that what I’m about is not what’s on the outside. At all. The outside will break down (it is!), but the inside can just keep growing and growing. Love that!
Beth Williams says
My pastor’s wife puts it this way “I’ve never seen an ugly woman at a Christian conference. They are all radiating His love & grace”.
Growing old never bothered me. It was just a number. True beauty is found on the inside of oneself–where He resides. I want to always radiate true Christian joy, happiness & love.
Aging right along with you, I’m reading and nodding my head.
Your hubby is right in his picture choice. You look beautiful. Read it again… You.Are.Beautiful in this photo. The fact that you haven’t just been fluffed and buffed means your beauty is true and not smoke and mirrors. (and if that’s with 3 days of ‘roughing it’, you must be rock star when you have time to primp!) The joy on your face and the love you are showing that child clearly shows your inner beauty and there’s nothing more gorgeous than that.
Thanks, I needed that.
And on a less serious note…
Need a great way to appreciate how *young* you are? Take your mom bra shopping — for her!
How to age gracefully | quote closet says
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And, you’re going in my quote closet!
Proverbs 16:31….”gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by a righteous life”. I LOVE THIS SCRIPTURE!!! At the age of 61 believe me, the grays are starting to win, but I wear them proudly. Refuse to cover them up, as I’ve earned each & everyone of them..,it’s as if everyone of life’s lessons reflect back to me via the grays. Crazy, eh?? Aging is not easy….but let me tell you it’s been quite a “ride”, thru all life’s stages. I see young moms today and feel little pings in my heart for what use to be. Then I see my grandchildren s faces and can see in their eyes what IS to be. I see pieces of my parents who have passed away in my kids & their kids. Tugs @ my heart strings….. And I continue to age, as gracefully as I can, with Gods grace.
Good Reads and Good Deeds says
[…] To the Woman Who Is Looking for Grace in the Aging – This post from Kristen on the Incourage blog is just beautiful…for any age. […]
Weekend Reading: November 24, 2012 | Life Your Way says
[…] To the Woman Who Is Looking for Grace in the Aging | (in)courage […]