A few days ago I was on the phone interviewing a woman for some work I need done. Her heart and passion for her work inspired me, so I decided to hire her. Somehow during the course of our conversation our ages came up. Soon the tone of my new friend’s voice changed from being full of energy and passion to sounding melancholy. She felt, and I think rightfully so, that culture doesn’t value maturity. Instead, the media and pop culture send the message that aging is bad. Once you reach a certain age your usefulness is gone. The magic number is sixty-five, fifty-five for early retirement. Wisdom and experience are tossed aside in favor of youth and vigor. If that is not enough, we are told that we can (and should want to) reduce the signs of aging by undergoing drastic cosmetic surgery. My friend sighed. She wished someone would stand up and say, ”Women are significant, beautiful and valuable no matter their age!”
What do you think?
Does culture value maturity?
Does aging affect your significance, beauty, or value?
There is good news! In God’s kingdom, age doesn’t matter. We read about one mature woman of significance, beauty and value in 1 Peter 3:3-6, which says:
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 1 Peter 3:3-6 (NIV)
In this passage, Peter describes how holy women of the past made themselves beautiful. He gives us a specific example to follow in a woman named Sarah. She was the wife of Abraham. God promised Abraham two important things: the Promised Land, and descendants so numerous they would outnumber the stars. The problem was, at over sixty years of age, Sarah was barren and past the age of childbearing.
Sarah’s life was in no way a picnic. Not only did she experience the cultural shame of infertility, but twice she was taken captive by kings who admired her physical beauty; she was disappointed by her husband’s failure to tell the truth; and she endured the insults of her maidservant who bore Abraham his first child. But, all through her trials Sarah remained faithful to God because she believed, according to Hebrews 11:11 (NLT) that God would keep his promise.
Sarah’s life teaches us that our usefulness and significance in God’s kingdom does not diminish with age. (Sarah lived to be 127 years old, but we don’t read about her in Scripture until she is in her sixties.)
Physical beauty does not belong exclusively to the young. Mature women are beautiful and desirable, too. We learn that true beauty comes from an attitude that is submissive and humble, a desire to fearlessly do what is right, and a gentle and quiet spirit–a spirit that holds fast to God despite what we see and feel. As Peter tells us, we know that we are Sarah’s daughters if we do what is right and don’t give way to fear. In other words, we can have that same unfading beauty if we follow her example.
Sarah is a wonderful example of what it means to be a woman of faith. I’ve been very blessed by the many Sarah’s that God has placed in my life. Each one has played a specific and important role in helping me to grow in my relationship with God, and in his purpose for my life. They have poured their experience and wisdom into me. I am the woman I am because of them.
I want to encourage the women in my life and all who may read this post.
You become more and more beautiful as you mature.
Your hope in God gives me hope.
Your faithfulness to God despite your circumstances, inspires and encourages me.
Your wisdom is priceless to me and my spiritual growth.
Like Sarah, you are an example that I can follow.
I want you to know that I AM says, “You are significant, beautiful, and valued” – and so do I.