A friend, whom I’d known since my teen-age years, recently died. The fact that she was so close to my age made me face that the fact that my mortal body is aging. To be honest, I avoid looking at pictures which show the effects of aging. These pictures stir up fear. I prefer to think that I will never get old. For quite a few years, I denied the fact that my hair was gray. When a photos of myself revealed the truth, I denied it, saying  to myself, “there’s something wrong with this photo; my hair isn’t gray; it must have been the lighting.”

It’s true that my hearing and my eyesight are not as sharp as they used to be, and my memory is not as quick. But my imagination is as active as it always has been! Therefore, faced with the death of my friend, I began to imagine the worst possible scenario and feel panicky. Then, I read these words:

 O Lord, you alone are my hope.
    I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
 Yes, you have been with me from birth;
    from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
    No wonder I am always praising you!

My life is an example to many,
    because you have been my strength and protection.
 That is why I can never stop praising you;
    I declare your glory all day long” (Psalm 71:4-6 NLT).

Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;

Even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4 NKJV).

“Yes, this is true,” I said to God. “You have been with me for my entire life; you’ve protected me; you’ve given me the knowledge and wisdom that I’ve asked for; you’ve forgiven me when I’ve wandered away from you; though I could not see you at the time, you were with me in every dark and painful valley; you’ve showered me with good things; you will not desert me when I get old; even though my hair has turned gray, you will take care of me.” (Isaiah 46:4)

After praying this, I determined, afresh, to place my trust and hope in God—to rely on him no matter what happens to my physical body. Losing my ability to function would be sad, but not nearly as sad as the losing my connection with him. 

The other change I determined to make is to focus on wellness instead of illness. Focusing on wellness means, among other things, that I will trust God to remain with me  and give me strength all the days of my life, and I will use my imagination to picture a healthy and strong self instead of a sick and weak self. 

When the day arrives for me to leave this earth, I want to have the same wonderful testimony that my friend who died had.  The last words that she spoke her family were, “boast in the Lord.” In life and in death, she honored him. I want to live as healthy as possible, for as long as possible, so that like my friend, I can boast greatly in God’s goodness.

I’ve determined, afresh, that like the Psalmist, my mouth shall tell of God’s limitless righteousness and salvation. I will sing about (and live in) the strength that he provides. It has always been sufficient. (Psalm 71:15-18)

I Will Live by the Strength which the Spirit Gives

I will live by the strength which the Spirit gives–
Which the Spirit gives,
Which the Holy Spirit gives–
I will live by the strength which the Spirit gives;
I will live by the strength of the Lord.

Giving thanks every day;
Finding something kind to say;
Reaching out in love to those I see;
Learning not to complain;
Replacing worry with a song.

Meditating on Truth;
Listening for God’s wise command;
Saying “Yes, Lord, I will go your way”;
Choosing, then, to obey,
Knowing he will be there;
Rejoicing in his love for me.

Fearing not curse or threat
Which the evil one blurts out;
Finding victory through interceding prayer;
Growing stronger each day,
As I speak words of truth,
Relying more and more on him.

Jane Ault

23 Responses

  1. Jane: Wonderful blog, as usual. I too wonder where my young self went so quickly and where that old woman came from when I look in the mirror. Like the caterpillar in his chrysalis waiting to turn into a butterfly, the white hairs that sprinkle my head are hopefully signaling that my time to fly away to heaven will come in the future. I do hope it is the distant future. I too want to see great grandbabies and see how much work I can do for the Lord in the meantime. May God bless you greatly.

    1. Debbie, you’re already a butterfly, and a very beautiful one. I love the way you fly around and “sprinkle” messages of hope and encouragement, as you fly.

  2. Hi Jane
    Loved this blog on aging….God has blessed me in the fact I don’t look my age…..but my poor body is aging and hurting. I talk to God about it every day as I couldn’t make it without Him. I have come to realize ….and it took time…..that God doesn’t like my pain either but He is right here beside me to help me through it. I also realize there are more hurting people out there worse than me so I need to make the best of it and keep my faith in God. He will see me through toll the end.
    Thank you for this blog.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Terri! I don’t look my age, either; and I keep thinking that I should be able to do as much as I did when I was 20 years younger. God is showing me that he will give me strength to do what he calls me to do, but not everything else.
      I”m glad that you realize God does not like your pain and that he is with you in it. Also, it’s wonderful that you can see beyond your own hurts. You have a compassionate heart.

  3. This is beautiful and encouraging. I have determined to age with acceptance as it’s a privilege that many don’t get. I loved “Losing my ability to function would be sad, but not nearly as sad as the losing my connection with him.” That is absolutely profound. Thank you for your authenticity!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Christina! Your words about aging as “a privilege that many don’t get” got my attention. Through your words, God nudged me to be more grateful!

  4. Love the transparency here! I am also aging but actually just the last few years walking in a new season of my God given destiny, which keeps me young in mind and spirit. Plus we are going to be blessed with our first great grandchild in October. He will keep us young for sure!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Gloria! May God bless you with great joy in the arrival of your first grandchild! What a special event! I’m happy that you know what your God-given destiny is and that you are walking it out.

        1. Oh my goodness! A GREAT grandchild! I missed that when I read your first comment. That is really exciting!

  5. My aunt who is abt 86 married an old friend 2 years ago. Aunt Mary has had various serious health problems, but her heart and spirit are young, and she and her husband sound like newlyweds each time I call. They are also both enthusiastically serving the Lord. I told Dick the other day that I want to grow up to be like Aunt Mary…ever humble, prayerful and obedient to our Lord. I’m 70.

    1. Thanks for sharing the this inspiring story about your Aunt Mary, Lee. I just love the fact that despite serious health problems her heart and spirit are young. Being “ever humble,prayerful, and obedient to the Lord are such worthy goals!

  6. My mother was young at heart. She had a very young sounding voice, she was witty and enjoyed learning new things. She lived to be 96. I remember her saying so many times that when she looks in the mirror she wonders who that old lady is. I am now 65 and I wonder the same thing. I always forget how old I am until I look in the mirror. I want to be like you Jane; still growing and offering your gifts to the world. I’m sure you’ll be doing it as long as you have breath. I hope I’ll be the same way.

    1. Thank you, Rosemary! It sounds like your mother was a delightful person, Rosemary! I would like have known her; in your description of her, I recognize a lot of you. So, in a way, perhaps I do know her. You too, have a young sounding voice. You radiate peace, and when I hear you speak, it calms my spirit. I think of you as “young”. You have much to offer others in the world. Let’s neither one of us look let the mirror define us.

  7. Thanks again for your honesty on this topic. Since the death of both of my parents the issue has been on my mind more than I would like to admit. This was so helpful to me and I loved what you had to say. Thanks for encouraging me just when I needed it.

    1. Rose, thank you for your truthful response to what I wrote on the topic of aging. Knowing that it’s not been many years since the death of your parents, I’m sure that you’ve had a lot of processing to do. May God continue to give you comfort, along with the encouragement and wisdom on how to care of yourself.

  8. Hi Jane,
    As my hair is starting to gray, I find myself thinking about growing older. Our culture wants to sell us a lie that we can look young and be young as long as we are able to pay for treatments and surgeries. Somehow, our culture no longer lives in the reality that we do grow old. Old age is no longer respected, but it is something to avoid. It is only the enemy up to his old tricks again. We don’t like to think about death. Death from our human perspective is scary. But if we are living with our death in mind, it should lead us to a greater reliance on Jesus. His life and death and promises are all we need and truly, all we have. As believers, our life is in Him. We live in an age of denial, but if our hope is in the Lord, we should age with our head held high, trusting in Him. I love the scripture from Isaiah 46. God has all our days before Him and He is reliable. I want to age with grace and dignity. I can work at staying as healthy as I am able to, but I can’t be “Forever 21” and really, do I want to be? We get to grow everyday until we go to be with the Lord. That is something to look forward to! Thanks for being real about aging. It’s refreshing.

    1. Hi Sandy, I admit I felt a bit anxious about writing this blog; so, I appreciate your additional comments about death and aging, especially your phrase ” if we are living with our death in mind, it should lead us to a greater reliance on Jesus”. Another focus of our culture is a distorted idea of independence and self-sufficiency that causes us to disregard our reliance on God.

  9. Dear Jane,
    Thanks always for your support. I think your gray hair is beautiful!
    My age shows….but I’m young inside. I don’t like coping with colonoscopy/esophagoscopy (this week’s challenge) but felt good about it when done.

    1. Thank you, Judith! Oh my, I would not have enjoyed a colonoscopy/esophagoscopy done either! I’m glad that you are taking care about the body that God has given you. I’m discovering that you are a delightfully young person on the inside, and I hope God blesses you with good health for many more years.

  10. Thanks Jane for this beautiful encouragement of faith so honestly written! As we continue to walk by faith with the author of it all , may we age gracefully, continuing to live in His power, being an example of His faithfulness! All glory to God!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Lauri! I appreciate your words and am encouraged by them. It is truly through God’s power and grace that we can “age gracefully” and remain faithful. My desire is to finish well.

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