Youth Renewed

In our youth obsessed society, it is getting harder to convince myself that the ravages of time that are becoming more and more evident in my appearance are badges of honor.

“Laugh lines” punctuate my face like quotation marks. Cheeks, chin, and belly have all given up their resistance to gravity and succumbed to the relentless downward force. My metabolism has screeched to a halt like a stubborn ass that refuses to carry its load One. Step. Further.

And my neck. What happened to my neck? There isn’t a ponytail tight enough to correct what’s going on there.

I look in a mirror and almost don’t recognize myself. Almost. I qualify that because I don’t want to be that person James talks about.

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:23-24

But it’s close. Because I don’t feel any different than I did twenty or thirty years ago.

So in spite of telling myself that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, that the media lies to us courtesy of Photoshop, that I’m so much wiser than when I was young, I sound like the older folks I disregarded in my youth, who plaintively complained, “Where did the time go?”

You can imagine my elation when I stumbled across the following verse in the Bible.

“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2-5

Oh. My. Goodness.

I want all of that. The forgiveness of sins. Healing. My life redeemed from the pit. And I have experienced these things–evidence of his love and compassion.

But would it be wrong if I really want my desires to be satisfied with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s?

To be honest, I don’t really understand what eagles have to do with renewed youth. That kind of puzzles me. The part about renewed youth piques my imagination though.

Armed with this verse, I did what anyone trying to live by faith would do. I prayed that God would renew my youth.

Apparently, I needed to be more specific when I pray. Because a few days later I woke up, looked in the mirror and took my usual inventory. And there it was.

An answer to prayer.

Evidence of God’s sense of humor.

And a lighter, hopefully humorous, topic for this blog.

I saw evidence of youth: a pimple erupting in the middle of my chin.

Really.

Laugh lines still frame my eyes. Skin tone is headed to Palm Beach for the winter with the Snow Birds. Metabolism is sitting stubbornly on its haunches in the middle of the road. But I have a “spot.”

My romanticized view of “youth” got a dose of reality. It’s easy to filter the past and selectively remember only the good parts of being young. But if I’m honest with myself, there were struggles then, too.

When it comes down to it, I think my yearning for renewed youth is as much about wanting to be relevant as desiring a firmer smoother complexion. But the reality is I don’t have too many wrinkles to be used by God. My story, the things I’ve experienced in my life make me who I am and give me a unique voice.

So maybe, this promise of renewed youth is really a renewed purpose. And that’s pretty cool…living my life with God’s purpose is a gift at any age.

 

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10 Responses to Youth Renewed

  1. THY HANDS FASHIONED AND MADE ME

    I see another wrinkle
    Around my eye
    One more smile line?
    The clocks ticking faster as the calendar counts
    More gray hairs I find

    Jogging’s a drag
    But my clothes don’t fit
    Even when I lose pound by pound
    My crazy body’s rearranged
    What used to be up slipped down

    New aches here and there
    Which I never had
    Before
    I could go on and on
    But somehow I know there’s more

    Lord, You’re not bound
    By place, dimension
    Or time
    It surely isn’t my earthly body
    You’re working to make Thine

    ‘Cuz You’ve promised
    In Your Word
    Written in many a place
    You’ll give us glorified bodies
    When we meet you face to face

    You allow
    The falling apart
    that’s taking a toll on me
    To polish up my rough cut soul
    And draw me closer to Thee

    A complete creation, I wasn’t at birth
    Nor even at 63
    Perhaps not until
    Death comes around
    To set your servant free

    Thanks for helping me
    Refocus in You
    By knocking at my vanity
    By destroying some of my self concern
    You helped me look at Thee

    “Thy hands fashioned and made me,
    Now thou dost ….destroy me.”
    Thy servant Job wrote down.
    All those many years ago,
    I believe the key he found.

    Sand me, buff me,
    Destroy me
    To create
    A faithful, loving servant
    You’ll greet at heaven’s gate!
    (C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

  2. Dana says:

    Another great post, Charlotte!! Some people say “Wouldn’t it be fun to be back in high school?” I always answered “Only if I could go back knowing what I know now!!” You have definitely discovered what God’s purpose is for you. You speak so eloquently and honestly in your blog. I can relate to you and I know I am not the only one! What’s funny is that even though it has been several years since I have seen you or talked to you in person, I can hear your voice telling this story. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me.

  3. Lol, love this! We forget what youth was really like. Thank you for putting your experience to words, I will go to my mirror and be thankful for the things that time, preciousness time, has written on me. It is the result of a life well lived.

  4. I wrote Thy Hands Fashioned and Made Me way early in my walk with the Lord and just kept changing the age I had in there – am now 67 1/2 but that doesn’t rhyme (GRIN)

  5. Kathy Snyder says:

    As for this Grandmother – I would like to either practice inversion doing yoga or do wall yoga inversion. All that defies gravity! I experience a greater punt of wisdom as each year goes by. I’m looking forward to my birthday this year – 63 – and I choose to love life!!!

  6. Becky Prater says:

    Well, my first reaction is “Botox”, but I understand exactly what you’re saying. Our “external” body’s are changing, no doubt but GOD knows and loves our “internal” self or soul.
    The mirror and “society” do show us an unrealistic picture of what they think we should look like, but our heart and relationship with GOD show us what is real, we’re a summary of our experiences and love.

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