For the Woman Who Fears Growing Older
No matter what season in life you find yourself in, there’s quite a bit of race to be run. Today, I welcome The Better Mom contributor, Becky Kopitzke, to encourage you to embrace and conquer growing older.
Last week was my birthday. I turned 44. If that sounds old to you, hang with me. We have more in common than you might think. Or if 44 seems relatively young, then I have a word for you, too, sweet sister.
A few years ago I might have shied away from telling you my exact age. I mean, turning 40 was kind of fun, a rite of passage, and I embraced the idea that I’d finally reached an age of proper wisdom (whatever that is). But each year beyond 40 seemed to grow a little scarier, a little further from the 40-but-still-more-30-something-than-40-something stage. And I began to wonder if I was still relevant.
There’s a big push for wrapping arms around the millennial generation these days, transitioning leadership in church and business from the mature regime to the new idea set—of which I am no longer a part. While this generational shift is not a bad thing—healthy, even—it just reinforced to me the fear that I’m past my prime.
I am now officially in my mid-40s. The bloom of youth is in my past. My back aches, my skin sags a bit, my hair sprouts new grays every time I look in the mirror.
Yet I am celebrating.
And I want you to celebrate, too.
Whether you’re in your 20s and fearing your 30s, in your 30s and dreading turning the corner to the big Four-Oh, or, like me, somewhere in the middle of the decade that says “middle age” and beyond… it’s time we view aging from God’s standpoint.
Because the truth is this:
Not everyone GETS to grow old.
One year ago this month I lost a dear friend of mine, my college roommate and bridesmaid. We were young together, became wives and moms together, laughed together about the time she forgot to feed her daughter breakfast before school and the time I was so out-of-my-mind exhausted I stored the milk in the freezer. We kept in touch across the miles and did life together as maturing women. We learned how to be adults—together.
Then cancer took her away at the age of 43.
Six years earlier, her husband was killed in a pedestrian accident at the age of 37.
Another friend from college died from cancer at age 30—only 30! And the list goes on… friends and family who were taken from this world in all manner of circumstances, before reaching my now golden age of 44. I’m willing to bet many of you have similar losses in your history, too. Yes, God ordained it all, and who is to say they aren’t the lucky ones? Heaven is better than here. We might be left to wrestle and grieve, but we can trust God’s sovereignty.
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)
Yet have we forgotten? God’s sovereignty includes us. It includes growing older. If we’re still here on earth, getting grayer and hopefully wiser, then God has a reason for it. He has a purpose for us.
And we can mope in the mirror about our wrinkles and question what we’ve accomplished thus far, for someone “our age,” wondering if we’re too old now to matter like we used to—or.
We have a choice.
We can begin fresh today—every day—grateful for the fact that God loves us, delights in us, and wants to use us here on earth for His glory. We can learn to love our changing bodies, our deeper relevance, our past and our present as part of His trustworthy plan. And we can show the world that we still matter—because our Maker says we do.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)
I don’t know about you, but I want to run the race well. For many of us in our 30s, 40s and 50s, we’re only halfway there. This is the mid-lap, the part of the race where a body gets tired from all the running thus far—yet there’s so much distance yet to go. How do we face it, embrace it, and conquer it?
We don’t. God does.
So will you let Him carry you today? Listen to His voice reminding you how beautiful you are in His sight, how valuable, how integral to the plan of which He has made you a part. Each one of us, no matter our age or attitude or condition, is someone who can make a difference in this world. Let’s celebrate that today.
Because really, every day is a birthday. It’s a new chance to thank God for our blessings and keep racking up more. And I want to do that well. Not because I ought to. But because I get to.
And so do you.
“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.” (Proverbs 16:31, NLT)
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