Turtle Neckin'
Amy Carroll

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life." Proverbs 16:31 (NIV)

"There comes a moment when you know that your face has changed; when that effortless glow you always had going for you suddenly requires serious effort. For me, that moment came on the first of August at 4:13 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, while buying a pound and a half of chicken breasts at Simchyk and Sons." - Lisa Kogan

At first I laughed hysterically when I read those lines from an article. Pretty soon, though, I realized that the laugh was just hysteria and that it had a real note of panic in it. It hit a little too close to home, because I had my own well-defined realization of my aging recently. I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of my car window, and I almost turned to see who was standing behind me.

Unfortunately, the neck that was reflected was my own. I just couldn't understand where all those little crepe-y lines had come from. I had never seen them before. Upon reflection, I think I must even do the turtle neck in the mirror. You know the move. It's the stretch I do with my neck during pictures to try to eliminate any extra chins. Evidently, I've been doing it in the mirror, too, and that's why I hadn't seen any of those wrinkles on my neck!

I had a significant birthday this year, and there were almost instant changes in my face. I've enlisted my good friend Holly to be my dealer -I mean supplier - of skin care products. Even though Proverbs assures me that my gray hairs are a crown, I still want my crown hidden for a while under color from a bottle. I want to age gracefully but not suddenly!

With all the angst over a few wrinkles, I have to admit that I'm also embracing all the good stuff that comes with age. There's actually a lot to celebrate. I have gradually felt myself feeling more comfortable in my own skin. Although I strive to make my words godly, I also feel bolder and more empowered to stand up and speak up. I've increasingly realized that although I have nothing to offer, Jesus in me has everything to offer. I'm relishing becoming the older woman who knows a little bit about the world, mothering, pursuing a passion and cultivating a walk with God.

My outward body may be deteriorating, but I know that running hard on the heels of Jesus will keep me spiritually fit and beautiful. I can revel in each year as long as my image is more closely matching His image.

I see the stretch of the years in front of me as the stretch to truly begin looking more like Jesus. It's the stretch where, if I do it right, the outside matters less and less. The world is less and less attractive. Heaven becomes more and more my home. My character is more and more submitted to Jesus, and my final destination is in sight. I may decide to apply specialized creams to my neck and dye to my hair, but the increase in years is worth it to gain from God the things I need to be a woman of substance!

Dear Lord, help me to keep laughing about all the changes in my body as I age, but help me to take inner change seriously. I truly want to grow older and godlier instead of older and grouchier. In Jesus' precious Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

God’s Purpose for Every Woman: A Compilation of Favorite P31 Devotions by various Encouragement for Today authors.

Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be by Donna Partow

Visit Amy’s blog - Ponderings from the Pathway

Application Steps:
Make a list of the blessings that have come with age.

Thank God even for the hard things that come with age. They are the things that make heaven become more appealing and more like home.

What steps can I take to look more like Jesus every day?

How can I encourage the older people around me that they are valuable and loved?

Power Verses:
Job 12:12, "Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?" (NIV)

Isaiah 46:4, "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." (NIV)

© 2009 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Glynnis Whitwer said...

Amy - what a great message this morning. Thank you for the inspiration to grow more like Jesus on the inside, and to let the things of this world matter less and less.

Blogger Kelsie said...

I must say, as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, I appreciate your words about desiring to age gracefully. :-) I've actually been struggling recently, to reconcile the two issues of my inward beauty vs. my outward beauty. Both are important; I want to take care of myself and be attractive to my husband. However, I know that "charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." May I seek to become more like Christ first and foremost! Thanks for this devotion!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was one scripture that kept coming back to me as I read your devotional today and I wanted to share it with you.

2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

This is one of my favorite scriptures.

Blogger GEARS said...

There is a new beauty to each age that we achieve. The stage following motherhood (some call it the crone stage) is significantly beautiful in that we are now able to reach outside our families and mother our sisters in God. We have reached a new maturity and with that comes a sense of peace. There is no need to keep up with a superficial world. We are God's personal jewel, we are beautiful in His eyes. Thats something that no amount of Max Factor can ever achieve. It comes from within. Just because tank tops can only be worn in layers now, and akirts shorter than finger tip length are not going to work, thats ok. We are beautiful and significant and still have awesome work to do for our Lord.

Anonymous Ashley said...

Im just thankful the Lord looks on the inside, because I am very different on the outside now than I was ten years ago. I am thankful as a Christian we can have other things to be proud of, we may not all be a size six or all wear designer clothes and look like we just shot a magazine cover, but we do as Christians all serve the same Almighty, Faithful, & Merciful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The best part is, he does love us JUST THE WAY WE ARE.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this message! I came home last night feeling pretty down because I had gone to a wake for a 21 year-old man who died in a tragic accident. No matter how good the words were at the service, I couldn't help but think of the thorns. Your word this morning reminds me that we should look to the petals of that beautiful life we had, even for just a little while. And, when I finished reading this devotional this morning, God sent someone here from work with a gift. She brought me a rose... God is so good!

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