Photo by joyce huis on Unsplash
You look in the mirror. When you actually see the reflection of an old lady and stop seeing the young girl that was you, you see them. The signs of aging.They become more apparent each day. Lines and wrinkles here. Bulges and bumps there. Dark, prickly hairs popping out in places you don’t want them to be. And if you allow them to show, the gray hairs pop up in increasing numbers. Some of us just want to live in denial and keep them covered. It is disheartening to see the ravages of age attack us as each year marches on.
Some of us faithfully exercise, watch our food intake and carefully care for our bodies. Others of us get discouraged…or have other things that distract our attention. By the time we start to notice, the damage is done. By then, is so much left to do that we are overwhelmed!
Sometimes a milestone birthday hits, or a sudden event happens, and we are hit with the realization that we are old, or our situation is precarious. It may be the death or severe illness of a spouse. It may even be a divorce, a move or a job change. It may be a new diagnosis or a scare. But something happens that shakes our world. Our actual age number is irrelevant.
We realize that life is no longer going to be the same as it once was. We are now old. We have arrived at a place we never wanted to live, not even to visit. We didn’t stop to think that we also didn’t want our lives to be cut short either! It seems we weren’t really thinking through our options clearly.
As we get deeper into the aging process, the aching starts and joints start wearing out.
I haven’t even started in on the aches and pains. If you aren’t at this stage in life, I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it. We can tell. On the occasions we mention them, your eyes glaze over. Your brain has turned off. You aren’t interested. How do we know? We were young once too! We weren’t interested either.
Then there are other physical ailments that tell us our bodies are wearing out. I won’t even go there. This is not a happy predicament. It hits us all at different ages. But sooner or later, we come to see that time is starting to run out for us, at least in terms of a comfortable, pain-free life!
Most of us don’t have a terminal disease. But our bodies are getting old and some of our parts are wearing out. Our time on earth will be over soon. It may be 20 more years still, but we are being warned. We are not invincible. We are finite.
When does our inner renewal begin? When do we start living for eternity?
Facing the physical weakness and discouraging view from our perspective can seem like a very dark place. For some it is. If this physical life is the full story, it is a dark place for sure! But this physical life is not the full story for those of us who are in Christ!
Do we have regrets about decisions we made in the past? Most likely. If we knew then what we know now, who among us would not have made a different decision here or there. But we didn’t. We are human. Not only that, there were times when we failed to do what we knew we should have done.
The encouraging thing is that if we are in Christ, we are forgiven and can find forgiveness and reconciliation with the people we have wronged. Of course, that is only half of the story. It doesn’t just happen automatically. We may have some apologizing to do and even some conversations with the people we have wronged. Those conversation complete the process of reconciling with friends or former friends.
Do you realize that GOD has forgiven you if you are HIs?
Do we understand that we have GOD’s smile on us if we are in Christ? That is what it means when Jesus took on Himself our sin and gave us His record. We don’t have GOD always looking on us with disapproval and second guessing each action we took over the course of our lives. He knows what we are made of. He knows our frailties.. He knew we could not live out a perfect life. That is why we needed Jesus!
So in order for us to live out the remainder of our lives with joy, acceptance of our lives and hope for the future, we must come to accept the promises of Christ particularly in regard to salvation, forgivenes and the future. We also need to live out a life of forgiveness and reconciliation with others…to the degree that we are able in Christ. It will also encourage us as we move forward, to understand who GOD is according to the Bible.We often limit Him to our tiny view of life and what we want and need. He is much larger and grander, with more texture! He is a big GOD who loves us beyond our imagination.
He is is totally aware of the deterioration of our bodies, the ways we can’t remember things like we once did. He knows. He also knows that a day is coming when we will no longer have to deal with these temporary bodies. We will be with Him forever in a place where nothing rots or rusts. There is no dust or dirt. Everything is clean and bright and filled with the light of Jesus! It will be a wonderful day!
How are we going to use our last years?
How will you live out hope toward your loved ones, your neighbors and the world around you?
So we do not lose heart.
Though our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen
but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient,
but the things that are unseen are eternal.
II Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV
Martha, Thank you for writing. You have a gift. Keep it up. “But this physical life is not the full story for those of us who are in Christ!” Amen!
thanks so much Kathy. I’m trying to narrow down my focus these days and it is helping a lot. I’m headed to a writing conference in early November. very exciting! I miss seeing you. might touch base after I return. right now, i’m working hard to get ready for the conference!! grand baby photos are cute:)
Martha, thank you so much for this! Ever since I hit 40 I’ve battled a serious case of the mid-life blues–feeling like life is moving too quickly and I still have so much I want to do! Now that I’m closer to 50 than 40 I’m really battling because the physical ailments are creeping in, reminding me that the clock is ticking. Yet, I’m surrounded by people who are taking this aging thing in stride! So then I wonder what’s wrong with me? I need to just get busy living and not worry about all of that! So, I try to live each day to the fullest and appreciate every moment. I also try to focus on the benefits of age–which is wisdom. What do I know now that I didn’t before? Yes, young people have youth, but what do they know? Knowledge comes with experience. I take comfort in that…and knowing that I have eternity with God awaiting me on the other side!
welcome Kem:) in my experience, women who don’t talk about their struggles with aging aren’t necessarily not struggling. in fact, they may not have even explored their struggles very deeply. they have a discomfort, but aren’t certain where it is coming from. But when someone else puts words to it, they often say, “Yes, that’s how I feel too!”
Learning to process what is going on in your head with a few good friends in the light of GOD’s Word can be helpful and hopeful. There are benefits to aging…but there are also downsides as well. It’s good to pay attention to both.
you make a good point Kem re the wisdom/knowledge thing. gaining all that wisdom also involves making lots of mistakes along the way doesn’t it?
and we definitely have the hope of heaven getting closer and closer:) blessings!
Martha did you write this to me?
Great job! Keep writing!
Judy, i just wrote it. thought it might resonate with some of my friends though:)
Martha, this was a wonderful article and I agree with all your thoughts. I suddenly find myself old but can not believe that it has come on so sudden!!you have to experience it to know the feeling.keep writing of these things we can all relate to. Proud of you.
thanks sandy, i’m with you. the time has flown so fast hasn’t it? thanks for the kind words.
This touched my heart. Thank you for sharing.
thanks paula. it means a lot! doesn’t seem all that long ago that we were starting out in our first year of college. turns out it was over 50 years ago! the years went really fast!
Love this! Thanks for good questions! Letting go and forgiving is better than Botox!
thanks barbara:) i appreciate it. you are so right about the forgiving part!
As always Martha, I read your writings with joy. I love your ability to write and this achy-shaky article hits this old body! That said, I do still feel young at heart and am still mostly mystified about the hereafter. But I know that one day I will see that place. Keep on writing Martha!
welcome renee:) yes, in many ways, i feel young too…except when i look in the mirror! but we often don’t talk about the realities of aging in polite company. maybe it would help if we did. that’s why i wrote about it today…and have occasionally before. There are so many things that play into how we age aren’t there? physical health, mental health and under spiritual health i would add how well we have learned to forgive and let go of irritants. they often cause us more harm than they do the people we hold our grudges against.