A Beautiful Life

“We’re so glad you’re here! We’ve been praying for older women.” … Attending my first Grace women’s retreat, I looked around the table. Clearly, I was the oldest one there. She was speaking to me!

So began the journey of getting my head and heart around being an “older woman.” At the time I was 55 years old. I had recently left a church where I was solidly entrenched in the middle of the age bell curve. But now I was in a congregation where, with just a handful of others, I occupied the upper end of the age range. The majority of women I was now with saw me as “older.” But I didn’t see myself that way. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I felt no different than the 30-somethings around me. Physically, hmmm, not so much.

In the five years since that defining encounter, I have been learning to embrace my identity as an older woman. The Ezer study has clarified my calling and responsibilities, shaping the mental, emotional, and spiritual realities of this season of my life. Scripture’s high view of an older woman’s calling (Titus 2:3-5) has been both comfort and challenge as I’ve realized that this is intended to be a season of great influence. I am finding joy and satisfaction as I have opportunity to exercise that influence in the lives of women God sends my way.

However, coming to grips with the physical aspect of aging has not been quite as easy! While mentally and emotionally I feel no different, one glance in the mirror is enough to remind me that I’m not who I used to be. The roots need a touch-up, the wrinkles are multiplying, the pounds creep on so easily, not to mention the aching joints! It’s hard to see anything noble or influential in those realities! And yet, the truth is: my identity is the same, I am still a woman created in the image of an ageless, eternal God. Yes, my earthly body is slowly decaying and its outward beauty fading. But Scripture tells me that, “though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). God calls me to be far more concerned with the “beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).

My aging body is a continual reminder that I live in a broken world. It reminds me daily of my great dependence upon Christ, not only for the ability to live out my ezer calling, but simply for life and breath and a run around the block! Truth is, being content in an “older body” can be a daily struggle. But, to the extent I’ve learned to embrace these aspects of being older, I am finding freedom from earthly expectations of what an aging boomer looks like! I am being freed to live a beautiful life of godly influence. I am being freed to be me – roots, wrinkles, and all!

~Libby Thomas, Powdersville

Please join us for our Body Matters Conference at the Pelham Campus, April 12th and 13th.  Click here for more 12_ezer_bodymattersinformation and to register.