The virtuous woman ages gracefully. Unlike some women we’ve probably all known, who seemed as if they didn’t want to grow up. Although perhaps they were really only afraid of aging and death.
My school teacher husband took a job one summer at a beach-side coffee bar. And many evenings he would come home perplexed and saddened by the behavior of some of the older clients. Women, no longer young, wearing more make-up than swimwear, yet still striving to look young and sexy.
Seemingly ignorant, unlike the ones who realize it, that as we age, we wrinkle, sag, and droop, no matter how good of shape we keep ourselves in! Well past their prime, they spent their days trying new makeup and buying skimpy clothing to match that perfect tan. Trying to look like Marilyn Munroe.
Not that I’m not saying that we older women necessarily need adapt the long-sleeved or shawl beach attire of Miss Marple in A Caribbean Mystery! On the beach in the typical street garb of an older woman! And there is a time when looking like Marilyn Munroe is possible. Though I find more wisdom in aspiring to the grace-filled beauty of Queen Esther.
And there also comes a time when no amount of makeup, sexy attire, exercise, or tanning, will ever make us look like either Miss Munroe or the young Queen Esther.
There is a time for everything. And a lot of wisdom in aging gracefully.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,” — Ecclesiastes 3:1.
There is a time for everything, for being born and for dying, for being young and for aging…and wisdom teaches the wisdom of embracing the aging process gracefully.
Aging gracefully — accepting each season of life, and finding fulfillment and contentment in them.
I’m not yet at the age where everything is wrinkling, sagging, and drooping, but I’m getting there, and that’s OK. I had my time of being young and beautiful, of being able to wear anything and look great in it. But that time is past, and I’m content with the time I’m in. A time to enjoy slower-paced, leisurely activities with my husband. A time to for playing with the grandchildren. And the time of being a middle-aged woman, hopefully wiser than she once was, but not as wise as she will become.
The progress of Proverbs 31 seems to represent the passing years of a godly woman’s life.
Starting out young and energetic, she spends her early years accomplishing as much as possible. She has a family to take care of, and their futures to prepare for.
But as we draw near the conclusion, I envision her not only older, but more dignified.
Now in the middle years of their lives, she and her spouse are given well-earned respect and honor. Her husband, assisted by her diligent efforts on his behalf, has become a leading citizen and community leader.
She is not afraid of the future, or of dying. She is not afraid to age, nor to the show the wisdom and good sense of her older years. She is aging gracefully. Much like the Shunamite woman who helped Elijah. (2 Kings 4:8-10). Through her story we see an older virtuous woman, focused on different things.
But still beautiful, even in old age, for inner beauty need never fade .
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue, (Proverbs 31:23-26).
There is a time for being young and heroic, like Queen Esther. But there is also a time for using the skills and wisdom of a lifetime to lead and guide others with strength, grace, and thoughtful, sensible advice. Sort of like Miss Marple, now that I think about it! Do we have such wisdom? If not, are we working at learning it?
Are you afraid of growing older, or able to appreciate the special gifts and blessings of the season you’re in?
[Image is our own.]