“Mom, I don’t want to get old because I don’t want to get lines on my face.”
This from my 4 year old daughter.
My first response was a quick glance in the mirror … ("I have lines on my face?!”)
It’s not that I’d never considered the fact I’m getting wrinkles, I just didn’t realize that anyone, particularly my 4 year old, would notice.
In my late 30’s now, this was the year I began to notice the effects of aging, struggling with back pain, shifting hormones, and finding those grey hairs. Knowing we age felt different from experiencing it.
There are all manner of attempts to hide the aging process, like botox and hair dye, but these solutions are skin deep. The culture we live in defines beauty as solely physical, so as our bodies age, we mistakenly believe we are no longer beautiful.
The transition of age presents challenges as we become caregivers for aging parents or spouses, support friends & family who become sick or pass away, and we struggle with identity and our place serving in the church as physical limitations hone in around us.
To help guide our perspective on aging, Sharon Betters and Susan Hunt write, “Aging with Grace: Flourishing in an Angi-Aging Culture.”
In 8 chapters, they share their own stories with vulnerability, along with those of other women, and women of the Bible, teaching us to think through what Scripture teaches about aging. They tell us that, “aging with grace, or what the Bible calls growing in grace, is impossible apart from God’s grace.”
This book is “not a list of ideas to become a gracious older woman. It’s about the life-long adventure of God giving his children the desire and ability to do all things – even aging with grace – through him who strengthens us.”
When we face illness, the new role of caregiving, and shifts in how we serve the Lord, we learn that just as before, the gospel is before us, inviting us to traverse the depths of scripture to discover our purpose and identity, for “there are many things we can no longer do as we age, but age does not keep us from fulfilling our purpose to glorify and enjoy God.” This is no skin deep issue, it's a matter of the heart.
They encourage us that, “this is not wasted time. It is growing time, because my physical weakness and pain push me to trust Jesus more.” Our resolve and trust in the Lord can grow as we face weakness and change. We may feel like our suffering doesn't have a purpose, but it puts us closer to the feet of Jesus.
“Old age, when life becomes quieter and slower, is prime time to reflect on the power of the gospel to change us. It is also a time when we are tempted to think small – to think about our aches and pains, our disappointments and unrealized expectations. Will we be good stewards of our old age? Even as physical strength diminishes, will we pursue our destiny – knowing God? We are never too old to look up and be transformed from beast to beauty, without Botox or anti-aging cream.”
I love that! We are never too old to be transformed, never too old to pursue our destiny of knowing him more, never too old to grow in the beauty of our Savior!
This is an important book for Christian women, to help us assess what we believe about age, beauty and purpose in a world that gives us all manner of other definitions; rooting ourselves in the Word is the place we can find the answer. This book helps us to do that.
In the same way, after you've put your pickles through the canner, you don’t eat them the next day, you leave them in the pantry to sit for a few months, because they taste better after time. We get older each day, but every one is filled with new mercies from the Lord, new steps of obedience to take, and new ways to grow, by grace, in love and faithfulness.
If you are a woman curious about what it means to flourish with age, this one is for you! I give it 5 stars!
“It is at the end of life, not only at the beginning, that Christians are most different from the rest of the world. Then the true beauty of a woman, the true character of a man, is seen for what it really is.”
May the Lord give us courage as we age, to continue becoming women who glorify and enjoy him.
*Thank you to Netgalley and Crossway for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.