Saturday, March 8, 2008

Crossroads: “Growing Old Gracefully”

9 March 2008

I popped in the player my new Josh Groban disk as I went doing about my Sunday chores. While listening to his music and theatrical voice, all of a sudden, sadness crept into my inmost being. “Hhhhmmm, must be just the music,’ I hummed to myself. But my heart insisted that it was not Josh… it was something else....

I dropped everything and went to my place of silence and began to read my Bible.

“Why am I sad, Lord?”, was my inquiry. I sensed, however that I was undergoing one of those moments, ‘growth pangs’ in my midlife journey.

I will be 40 in 6 months. I can honestly say that life has began for me this year…. because of some obvious and not-so-obvious facts: my beautiful hair is turning white (I freaked out when I first had a couple of strands of gray hair at 32 and my friend, Jessa can attest to that!); I’m beginning to have less hours of sleep (an average of 6 hours a day); my back gets really sore after just a few minutes sitting on the computer chair; I find myself using my reading glasses more often and finding myself resigning to the fact that I could never go back to that slim figure as to 15 years ago. My son who is 15, is seldom seen at home with us on weekends. Instead, he spends his time with friends (and the fact that he’s taller than his father and wears one size bigger shoes makes me wonder if he’ll ever stop growing!) It’s all happening! I’m getting old by the day and that is what’s making me sad! You know, the worst kind that makes your stomach churn?

I had two choices: this thought could ruin my day or I could keep up and enjoy 'this' day. I tried to keep the negative thoughts out of my mind. Each time I thought about it, rejection and insecurity tried to rule the day.

I had to do something. “An idle mind is the devils workshop”, so they say. I attempted to trim my youngest daughter’s hair and while my mind was occupied at last, she said, “Mom, my hair is beautiful now but yours is nicer. You’re very pretty mommy. Someday, when I grow up, I will look like you too.” What a thing for a 5-year old to say at the time when I needed some encouragement to lift my spirit! I don't call that coincidence, do you?

While my fingers were engaged with my daughter’s delicate hair and the comb and the sharp pair of scissors, I continued to reminisce the times when my husband and I would go out on our weekly “dates”. He never missed to tell me that I look beautiful!
Then, my Lord led me to Psalm 45: 9-17,

9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

10 Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father's house.

11 The king is enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.

12 The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift,
men of wealth will seek your favor.

13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber ;
her gown is interwoven with gold.

14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you.

15 They are led in with joy and gladness;
they enter the palace of the king.

16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land.

17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

My Lord thinks I’m beautiful [v. 9].

My Lord thinks I’m glorious within [v.13].

My Lord opens opportunities for me and bring me to high places [v.14-15].

My sons will be successful [v. 16].

I will be remembered by all the generations after me [v. 17].

Wow! What wonderful assurance! How wonderful are His promises! How awesome is His love for me!

Thank you Lord. Thank you for loving me just the way I am.

The Lord’s plan for me doesn’t end with the advancement of age. My desire is for Him to use me for His kingdom in my older years. As He has promised in Psalm 92; 12-14:

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

13 planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.

14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,

God is changing me from one degree higher. Because of Jesus, I have hidden beauty of the heart that makes me grow old gracefully. Like wine, as it ages, tastes more heavenly!

And the fact that my Lord, my husband, and my daughter, they all think I’m beautiful....

My soul rests.

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