I’m stepping into a different season. Gray hairs are starting to glisten among my darker roots. I’m looking back and instead of tripping over my old mistakes, I recognize them as learning experiences.
I’m also finding myself protective of other women. . . because I feel that somewhere along the way we have lost something really important and I want it back for all of us.
I want us to be okay with being vulnerable.
We’ve been told that if we are vulnerable, then we must be weak.
So we put up defense mechanisms that kept us “safe” but keep us isolated. We wrestle with being tender because it might be taken advantage of.
I want to pull women close and let them know that it’s okay to live life fully. We can tear down those walls. Sure, life can be messy because people are messy, but we become vulnerably strong as we open our hearts to experience God, to embrace joy, to laugh, to weep, to work through the hard places with people we love, and not to shut our hearts down when people let us down.
I want us to push back against overt sexuality
I want you to know that I think sex is a gift. I do. But I watch as beautiful women, from way too young of an age, draw the attention of men with pictures or words that say, “Take a look, because this is who I am,” it just makes me angry for all of us.
That guy who is drawn to that and leaves his praise on social media might make you feel good for a moment, but he’s not a good man. He’s shallow as the driest of creeks on a hot summer day and you’ll find yourself empty too if that’s the only way you feel good about you.
I want to push back against these images that sex sells. I want the industry to know that it shouldn’t take a half-clad woman’s body to sell a cheeseburger or that twerking on national TV is the only way to be noticed.
We are more than our body.
We are beautiful because of our mind, our heart, our courage, our laugh, our smile, our tender words to others, and because of our deep faith in the hard places.
And yes, we are sexual beings, but that is a deeply private dance that you are not allowed to join if you don’t want to love us for a lifetime.
I want to shout out to men around the world, like my friend Ann Rhana did this weekend in her message that stirred me deeply, to, “Be our fathers, be our brothers.”
Protect and nurture and cheer on women, rather than sell us into bondage, watch us on your computers when the lights are dim, or see us as less than companions, friends, sisters, mothers, the medicine God created to walk alongside you in life.
And I want us to say that this unacceptable. Not because we are against intimacy or sex, but because we understand the value of it in God’s divine plan, and you don’t get to demean it or us in the process.
I want us to embrace aging
Beauty is fleeting; it really is.
We give birth and our stomachs are lined with angry red marks that fade to white, evidence that a miracle once existed inside us. Brown spots show up on our hands and we look at them in surprise, wondering if they somehow appeared while we slept. Wrinkles begin to appear around your eyes and pounds try to creep around our waist. We fight them because we want to live healthy, but the reality is that the more we experience life the more that life marks us.
I remember standing in a hotel room once with a friend. As I got ready for bed, she pointed to a scar on my arm.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Skin cancer,” I said, and pointed to two more places.
She turned and showed me her shoulder where a deep scar marred her fair skin.
“Me, too,” she said.
You and I have earned those scars. There are stories in each of the marks, stretch marks, wrinkles and scars on our flesh. I want us to treasure them and see them of value rather than try to erase them as if they never existed.
I’m not going to lie and pretend that I don’t have anti-wrinkle cream in my makeup drawer, because I do, but we are not diminished by aging.
I want us to embrace the truth that our beauty is found in wisdom. It’s found in family. It’s found in a legacy that we are leaving to those behind us. It’s found in kind words. It’s found in knees that creak as they kneel to pray as warriors.
If you are young, you will get older and it’s okay. In fact, it’s more then okay. There’s good things that come with maturity. I look back and see the girl I once was and I wish I could scoop her up and tell her that there’s SO much to learn, so much to experience, so much to gain as the years go by.
If you are like me and the years are starting to add up, the younger women need us not to fade away. Too many don’t have mamas that speak good into their hearts, and we can do that. Too many are looking for someone to remind them that God is real. We can do that, too.
This has become my prayer: God, make us strong again.
Let’s take back what we have given up.
Let’s come round and encourage “us.”
Let’s not be afraid to speak out on issues that rob women of our true voice.
Let’s pray for each other and get rid of any walls that keep us isolated from each other.
Let’s pray that we step into the strength God has already placed inside of us.
Let’s be strong again, together.
Oh my goodness Suzie. What beauty and truth you spoke. How you called me out to be more of the woman God has created me to be– in this stage of life. I too am growing older, and If I look to the world, it says I am of no more use, (even if I’m just 60), because I am not a thin, twenty-something hottie. If I buy that lie, then I will miss the fullness of the stage of life I’m in and I’ll miss understanding how valuable what I have to contribute is. Thank you for your encouragement. You are the kind of woman this world needs, and I thank you for sharing your wisdom that comes from the heart for our Father. Blessings to you. Cate
Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom with us today, Suzie. The part of this piece that spoke to my heart was when you said, ” I’m looking back and instead of tripping over my old mistakes, I recognize them as learning experiences.” That is such a beautiful perspective, and one I am trying to adopt in my own life. Transparency and vulnerability are qualities the Lord is teaching me to embrace and search for in others and in myself. We are so much stronger when we are real and honest and engaged in encouraging relationships with other believers.
As I look back over my 64 years as a wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, aunt, grandmother, friend, teacher, employ, I always see all of my many failures. Sometimes, I can not see anything good within me according to the world’s standards of beauty. Thank you for reminding me that my true beauty is found much deeper and known by my Savior.
Thank you for spreading your strength to us, dear friend!
I decided in my fifties that I would grow old gracefully and naturally. Now I’m 82 and I’ve grown old. I love my almost white hair, my many friends both older and younger than me, watching my grandchildren grow up and become Christian leaders as my children have. I have many aches and pains from arthritis so I have to rest often but rest times are times for talking to Jesus about my friends, my children and grandchildren , and the world in general. I look forward to His return to earth or my return to heaven. Its really an exciting
I decided when I was in my fifties that I would grow old gracefully, graciously, and thankfully. Now I am 82. I am old and God is good to me. I have watched my children and grandchildren grow into strong Christian leaders. I have no regrets. I have many friends and there is much love in my life. I have many aches and pains from arthritis and it has slowed me down and I have to rest but the rest times give me a chance to talk to Him about my children and grandchildren and the rest of the world. I am looking forward to Jesus’ return to earth or my return to Him in the not too distant future. Its so exciting.
How delightful to read this, Beth. Beautiful that you are looking forward to Jesus’ return and continuing to have an impact for him in your 82nd year. I’m praising God for you!
Thanks for these words of wisdom, Suzie. I want to keep showing up for younger women. As you say, too many don’t have mamas who speak goodness into their hearts. I’ve noticed that as I grow older, I have to make more effort to connect with younger women because they view me as older. But it’s so worth it to make the effort and take the first step to connect with them, even when I have to fight past my own insecurity to do it!
I am in my mid 50’s and going to be a grandmother for the first time in 7 days! I have raised three girls into amazing women. It has been a privilege to be their mothers. I have a few girlfriends that are so special to me. They know everything about me and love me so much. That is so humbling.
As I get older I am much more at ease with myself and look forward to resting more in Him, letting go more of me. Mercy Me in their song, Dear Younger Me talk about sharing what I know now with the younger version of myself. Letting go of things I don’t need to carry like expectations.
What’s encouraging is that I can share this with my daughters and other young women who are open to hearing from older women. Being transparent and vulnerable is imperative to healthy living. Rising strong when we fail and keeping our eyes on the Lord is the hope we can share with one another.
Thanks for your eloquent words.
My heart so resonates with you message, Suzie! I want to scream AMEN and yes, Yes, YES! I love this stage of life: be a grammy, walking in the fullness of life, coming of age. There is so much life to be lived…after 50 and I love the “knowing looks” from other women that say, “Yes, we’ve been there–done that. It’s time to just be friends.”
PS–I met you at a “Writing for the Soul Conference” a few years ago. You led a workshop and I had a mentoring session with you. <3
Suzie, thank you for sharing these truths in is such a beautiful way. I always considered growing older as something to dread and avoid talking about as much as possible. But I’ve come to realize that growing older is not a curse – it’s a gift from our Creator. Many women won’t make it to their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60’s. They’re life will be tragically cut short as they leave behind a trail of broken pieces and broken hearts.
I’m grateful for every day the Lord gives me on this earth It’s another opportunity to share the love of Jesus. I’m learning that leaving behind a legacy doesn’t begin once I’m absent from this earth and present with the Lord. Leaving a legacy is something that happens every day when I share what God is teaching me with those I love and those I’ve never met before. I love you, Friend!
Yes, you are so right. Our beauty is found in wisdom, family, and legacy. I am getting that beauty is in my vulnerability. Beauty is found in my willingness to share the love of the gospel in the midst of my struggle. Thank you Suzie!
Thank you, Suzanne. THANK YOU! I am so grateful for this post…for the young women who post pictures of themselves and think this is the right way to attract men/boys; for the elderly and growing gray women of many ages (like myself at 68)…we need to stand strong as women and know that God created us and loves us and wants us to remember that we are made in His image. Oh, that I will hold that mirror up and see the face of God.
You are beautiful, Suzanne…so beautiful from the inside out.
Love this post so much! One of the greatest truths I’ve learned about doing ministry is that you can’t do ministry without being vulnerable. People know when you’re not. They sense when you’re holding back. God gave us redemption from our past so that we could help others experience His redemption and restoration.
This is amazing! I’m in total agreement with you.
My prayer everyday is “Lord, use me for Your purpose today!”
We need each other.
I know I’m posting this Really late but I couldn’t not take a moment to say “Thank You!” And shout AMEN from my rooftop.