“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, out inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

My great aunt, Lucille Feldkamp, my grandfather’s sister, was one of most beautiful ladies I have ever met.  I didn’t know her well since she only visited during major family celebrations like golden anniversaries and birthdays that marked a new decade.  Her ivory hair framed her pixie face, her eyes twinkled like my grandfather’s, no lines etched the porcelain skin of her face, and she walked into a room gracefully.  I don’t remember her saying much, but her few polite words were always accompanied by a smile and an expression of gentle interest.  I saw their quiet watchful eyes as she sat next to my grandfather, and I wondered what interesting stories the two of them could share with the family gathered around them.  I remember my aunt asking Lucille’s daughter, Delores, what was the secret to her mother’s beauty regime.  She responded that she had no idea, except that her mother always wore hats when she gardened.

My Great Aunt Lucille and my Grandpa, Jerome Walter.

Recently, I was lamenting the truths of aging: the beginning of hot flashes, dry eyes, thinning white hair, and the increase of age spots on my face.  As I lamented, my friend, Bonnie, reminded me of God’s grace, and “wasn’t one of His gifts that we age slowly over the course of time” instead of hitting an age where everything suddenly falls apart.  It stopped my complaints and I have been pondering that for a while, asking myself what are the gifts God is giving me as I age?  The answers I have found are characteristic of the goodness of God.  They demonstrate His generosity, His faithfulness, and His sense of humor.

As far as his generosity, despite my years of obesity, I feel the strongest I have every felt in my life, in addition to having the most amount of flexibility.  The years of obesity could have caused an utter deterioration of my joints, resulting in the need for knee or hip replacements.  Instead, all the weight I have lost has given me a new lease on life.  I spend time racing across my yard to see a bird’s nest, make future play dates with children to splash in puddles, hike with friends, and practice flexibility through Pilates.  I have even attempted to climb a tree, something I rarely did as a child.

His faithfulness is expressed in His willingness to use my words to encourage others.  Twenty years ago, a wrinkle-free and glowing Sherry would have written a blog full of judgmental opinions and acid responses.  Fortunately, although I was prideful in a lot of areas in my life, I lacked confidence in writing, so I never pursued a blog.  God allowed me to forge my own path in pride and experience some failures that led me back to His arms.  He then set me on a different path paved with His word.  Now, I recognize that my age spots, wrinkles, and white hair mark time spent maturing in life experiences.  I can now reflect on my past through God’s eyes instead of youthful pride.

Finally, God has a sense of humor reflected not only in his design of the platypus, but also in my hair.  For all my life, I have had to contend with wavy hair, otherwise known as frizzy, but not quite curly hair.  I desperately wanted to have curly hair like the actress, Minnie Driver.  I would even stop women in public whose curls I deemed perfect and tell them I loved their hair!  My prayers have been answered now that I am in my late forties.  For the past year, my hair has been coming in curly at the roots, to the point that I have had to learn to use different products and techniques to manage it.  I would no longer define my hair as wavy but full-blown curly.  I believe that God answered my prayers through hormonal changes.

Aging does not have to be something we dread.  Yes, we will have wrinkles, move slower, and have thin graying hair.  But these aspects of aging do not have to define us.  Upon reflection of my great Aunt Lucille, it wasn’t just her physical beauty that impressed me, but it was also the fact that she was kind to those around her.  Recently, I spent some time talking to her daughter, Delores.  She shared with me how much her mom embraced the concept of being a homemaker.  She loved gardening and the kitchen was a place where she shined.  She created memories for her family in the meals and desserts she prepared.  Her family has even created a cookbook of their favorite recipes with notes from children and grandchildren explaining why these recipes meant so much to them.  What a beautiful legacy that Lucille gave to her family.  Her inner beauty inspires me to age with grace and dignity!

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