Friday, March 23, 2012

40 Days of Virtue: Aging With Grace

Cheryl attending the Miss America pageant
and looking like Miss America!!
"Aging With Grace"
Woven Leader
Cheryl Simpson

“Charm is deceptive
and beauty does not last,
 but a woman who fears the Lord
will be greatly praised.”
When Did It Happen? Was it sometime in my 50's?
When did I suddenly stop and see the signs?
     Increased lines...they call them wrinkles and I can testify that no amount of expensive creams will erase them!
     The more frequent visits to my hair hide the grey.
     The double chin and droopy eye lids...need I say more?
     The aches in the joints…they call it arthritis.

Aging! Isn’t it glorious?
In the mid 1990’s, my daughter and I would dress up and travel all the way to Mansfield, Ohio to watch the Miss Ohio pageant. We looked forward to this for several years. I was so taken up with this display of glamour.  One year I even attended the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City! I did have a good reason to go. Our neighbor girl was representing  Ohio in the pageant and we wanted to support her.
One evening, as I walked with a friend from my hotel to the Atlanta Convention Center, we encountered a homeless man. He was sitting on the street watching those who were more fortunate stroll past. My reaction to him still haunts me today. I turned away from him. More than that, I walked across the street to avoid connecting with him even in a small way. I completely ignored him. 

How charming of me. How beautiful? Knowing that our God has called us to be imitators of Christ, how Christlike was that? A heart change happened to me that night. I pictured our Lord hanging his head! My heart was broken.

W.W.J.D? (What would Jesus Do?) "Jesus came to set the captives free. Jesus came to deliver the alcoholic, to make the embittered joyful, to forgive those who are shamed, to rebuild marriages, and He came to embrace orphans (Max Lucado)"….and yet, I turned and walked away.

How much would a stop, a smile and a “Do you know that someone loves you very much” cost me? As I reflect on that night, that poor man, and my reaction to him, a familiar chorus rings through my soul, “Oh to Be Like Thee”:

“O to be Like thee,
Blessed Redeemer, Pure as thou art,
Come in thy sweetness, Come in thy fullness
Stamp thine own image, Deep in my heart."
Our standard is not beauty. It is Holiness!  Listen as you read these words of wisdom from our Heavenly Father:
”The world is passing away and the lust of it but he who does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:17)."

Renowned blind and deaf author Helen Keller once said, “Because I have been given so much, how can I think about what I don’t have!” Now doesn’t this put me to shame? I think I will quit complaining about my wrinkles.
“Be joyful always: Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1Thessalonians 45:16) .”
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.” I Thess. 5:23
Cheryl is the grateful wife of 36 years to Ken. They have two children and five granddaughters. Previously a public school teacher, she now spends much of her week doing pastoral care for her church, Newark Church of the Nazarene.
She is a Woven Woman: a Woman of Virtue!


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