Today I want to address an issue tearing down women’s confidence in themselves. This is the issue of aging, and how it affects our perception of our own beauty and worth.
Los Angeles is the image capital of the world.
Who you are doesn’t hold a candle to how you look. Or so they scream at us from every billboard around town. I’m sure you folks of the male persuasion struggle with this, but I want to focus on my ladies out there for a moment. There is some serious pressure on us, am I right girls?! We have Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, all inviting and luring us to try to measure up to a culturally defined ideal. Youthful, flawless, wrinkle-free women with glowing skin assault us with every scroll of our cell phone screen, every channel on tv, every turn of a magazine page.
This study found that Beverly Hills boasts the highest concentration of plastic surgeons in the country, with 72 plastic surgeons serving the 6-square-mile city. Business is booming. We’re a culture offering every ounce of our blood, sweat, and tears on the altar of youth.
The pressure skyrockets if you’re single and lonely and yearning to meet a good man. In a world of pretty, there is pressure to stand out from the crowd…or at least keep up with it! We all know men are only attracted to a young slender hourglass figure with full lips and thick shiny hair…right?
With all this emphasis on looks, aging can feel devastating.
We may look at our weary skin or sagging body parts and feel nothing short of panic. We live in a world where many ladies jump for botox at the first sign of a wrinkle, and sometimes it can feel like the only way to stay in the race is to do the same.
Sure, beauty can be fun. Donning a cute outfit, teasing your hair, or slapping some mascara on those lashes can be enjoyable if you’re into that sort of thing. And when it’s done in proportion.
But sisters, something dangerous happens when we give in to the lie that our looks are who we are.
I’m here to offer a new way of seeing things.
Aging means a life lived.
Stretch marks are a sign of having brought a new little person into the world. Crows feet come from thousands of smiles offered to our family, friends, neighbors. Our hair slowly grays and thins. You know what? It’s a badge of a life lived, enterprises created, people loved, stories to tell.
What can make a woman more beautiful than youth, the right genes, hours at the gym, flawless makeup and a great outfit?
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
Doesn’t matter if she’s 21 or 91, a loving wife shines more than the rarest diamond.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
Her eyes shift quickly from alluring visions of other men. She repeatedly proves herself reliable both in public and in private, when no one is watching.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
All props to the gal who speaks life into her man! She sees him as the man God is making him to be, in spite of evidence to the contrary. She deserves a billboard!
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
How lovely is the woman who dives into that career, side hustle, or plain old job so she can serve her family and the world.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
I read, “She tries out all the new stuff from Trader Joes.” Anybody with me?
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
Mad props to the mama who forgoes sleep for her man and babies! You are profoundly under-appreciated.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
Homegirl is creative and entrepreneurial, driven and fruitful.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She’s no pushover. This woman is level-headed, with discernment as sharp as a pin. She holds to her convictions even when the ground is being pulled out from under her. Those arms pick up tired cranky kids and they bring food to the hungry.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
When the Etsy shop stalls, our diligent heroine is trouble-shooting. See those bags under her eyes? That’s because she’s losing sleep to make it all work. It’s exhausting, but she’s committed.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She is a busy little bee. Years of practice have taught her some solid life skills.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
Perfect figure? Who cares?! This woman has an enormous heart where many find a warm safe home.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
Who thought ahead? SHE DID! Where would we all be without her anticipating our needs?
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
She might be 58, but she puts on attractive clothes that communicate honor and dignity because she knows who she is.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
You better believe she had something to do with this. After years of her speaking life into him, ironing his shirts, and showing hospitality to his associates, he owes a lot to her for his good name, and he knows it.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
She’s got both that good artistic sense and that drive. She’s built a solid network of partners who respect her.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
Does she ever feel fear? Of course. But shining from that love-worn face are eyes with a glint that says, I know who I am and whose I am. And nothing can separate me from His love.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Her young’uns trail behind her as she speaks hope to the downtrodden, grace to the guilt-ridden, love to the haters. Her clear grasp on truth continually flows out in life-giving words, and her family cannot help but follow suit.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
She’s not a neglectful mom. She is attuned to her husband’s and kids’ needs, spoken and unspoken. She’s a listener, a seer, a knower.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
He sure is glad he found her. In his adoring eyes, she’s a catch, a keeper, not just because she was cute, but because she’s the real deal. The whole package. Integrity, kindness, and all.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Beauty pertains to the kind word spoken by gracious lips, the silent patience of a loving heart, and the formidable courage of a woman whose feet are firmly planted on the rock of truth. Lip fillers don’t compare.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
This woman is going to get the adoration of many hearts well beyond her youth. Her beauty emanates out of every pore of her being.
The aging deserve our ears, eyes, and hearts.
The aged have wisdom. We miss this a lot in our culture. We forget that they have rich stories to tell, fascinating history to share. Let’s rejoice today in this gift of earthly life. It’s only temporary, and it’s fraught with stress, discomfort, pain. But every day as we notice new wrinkles around our eyes, new sunspots on our hands, new varicose veins popping out, let’s remember this short life is leading us towards an eternity that will be much, much better.