The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully

The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully, candlelight wedding, wedding recessional, bride and groom walking up the aisle
Our candlelight wedding in 1973

The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully

Last night I had a dream. In it I saw the passage of my life – the ‘dead’ time before I knew the Lord personally and then the ‘awakening’ after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at 31.

I saw the redeeming work He did in me and the sanctifying work He is still doing, and I praised Him for His mighty power to save. I arose from my bed with a renewed urgency to cultivate a deeper and more-abiding joy in the Lord that nothing, no matter how hurtful, can steal.

I fully realize that time here on earth is fleeting. Anyone who admits to being over 50 will tell you time just seems to go faster and faster as we age! None of us can never get it back to do it over again. Our lives on earth are but the twinkling of an eye.

The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully, young couple dressed for 50s or 60s era, 50s dress-up party, glamorous Dad and Mom

Dressed for a 50s party in the early 80s. You should have seen my husband’s pegged jeans!

It seems like ‘just yesterday’ that we were married. But 1973 was ages ago, chronologically speaking, as human lives go. When you are just starting out as a young person, you never give a thought to the big picture panorama of your life much less to how it might end…that is unless you somehow have gained the biblical perspective of time. This is what Solomon’s purpose is for his instructions in the Proverbs. His words are for:

…gaining wisdom and instruction; 
for understanding words of insight; 
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, 
doing what is right and just and fair; 
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young— 
let the wise listen and add to their learning
and let the discerning get guidance …
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
~ Proverbs 1: 2-5; 7 (emphasis mine)

Did you read that: ‘to the young’? Ideally, we are young when we grasp this, but we can learn this at any age. It says ‘the wise can listen and add to their learning’, too. Never too old…

Without a right heart in the Lord Jesus, no amount of money, looks, luck, or knowing the right people will sustain you in the day of trouble. No matter how put together you look on the outside, how modestly you dress, if you homeschool, how well-behaved your children are, or how spiritual you act, if underneath it you have a heart of pride, selfishness, or wrong motive, it will always be found out.

“Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” ~ Luke 12: 3

I thought I would be young and strong forever. Before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I didn’t actively cultivate inner beauty or give much thought to growing my heart in the lasting beauty of gentleness, kindness, patience, joy, goodness, or unselfish love.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting…”   ~Proverbs 31: 30

Sure, I value a lovely outward appearance and a healthy body – I really do. But I learned long ago that there was so much more peace and joy in developing my heart, mind, and soul in things that would not fade. I’m sorry for the wasted years!

Now as I grow older, I feel the Holy Spirit urging me to earnestly cultivate my heart and mind and to throw off all the worldly hopes I once had and often still cling to. Experience tells me that there is no help in money, things, appearance, a reputation based on lies, or position. Even the blessed gifts of family and home from the Lord can be lost in an instant. Our hope is in the Lord alone.

 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”~Psalm 39: 7

The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully, beautiful old Bible

So as the years roll on and I grow increasingly wrinkled, white-haired, gnarly-handed, stoop-shouldered, and frail with faded eyes, will I choose to be thankful and able to laugh at myself? Or will I be perpetually lack the joy of the Lord? The choice is up to each of us.

The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully, sad, grumpy woman,

My heart’s cry for you and for me, dear one, is that we will be cultivating the soil of our hearts and minds as carefully as we cultivate our garden or our wardrobe or our Facebook page. This will be the richest, most enduring legacy we could give and bring the highest glory to our mighty King.

What is the secret to graceful aging?

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”  ~ John 15: 4

Don’t wait until you see your life pass before you in a dream to begin fearing the Lord and abiding in the true Vine, Jesus. Begin now - while there is still time! There is no other way any of us can truly grow old gracefully.

The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully, woman laughing, hand on chin

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Emile Munier, May I Have One, too?, painting, child with a slice of bread, eating fruit 

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~ Jacqueline

This entry was posted in Encouragement for Mothers, Modesty, Preparedness, The Christian Walk. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully

  1. Carla says:

    Thank you for your faithfulness to this blogpost. It’s a blessing, sometimes a challenge. Always needed.

  2. Jacinda says:

    This post makes me miss you so much! I just want to sit down and enjoy a tea with you again. :) Thank-you for sharing your wisdom. You bless me!

    • Jacqueline says:

      What a friend and encouragement you are to me, Jacinda. Thank you for your love and prayers. They are much needed and appreciated. May the grace and peace of our Lord abound to you and yours as we journey for the Lord. September will be here sooner than we think! <3

  3. Sherrie says:

    Thank you so much for your godly wisdom. The Secret To Growing Old Gracefully really hit home to me. I’ll be 64 in August and STILL have so much to learn. Cultivating the soil of my heart is a priority for me, that cannot be neglected.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Oh, we will have much to learn until we go to the Lord, I’m afraid. I thought it’d be getting easier, but the truth is there is so much more I’m needing to learn to be like our Savior ;) We are to be running the race until the finish line. Blessings to you and yours, friend.

  4. Rachel says:

    Oh, dear Jacqueline, how right and wise view of life! When I read your post´s title I couldn´t help remembering a best-seller book in fashion these days: “French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude”. And while it surely may offer sound advice in relation to our health and beauty, to our “outside”, it lacks your “inside” perspective. We – believers – know we´re not just a body and a mind. We all want to be fit and cheerful as we age, but if we don´t take care of our precious soul, and those other souls put into our care by the Lord, it will all be like a theatre play.
    Surely you do so, as can be seen by looking at that beautiful glow in your eyes. Please, share more tips with us. I am still in my forties, but I´d love to become a lovely lady like you, Lord willing. Blessings from Spain.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Oh, I am blessed and encouraged. May the Lord be our sole focus and then all will fall into place.. I think of the verses: “”For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6: 32-33
      Thank you for the title to the article, too. It will be fun to peruse :) Warm blessings in the Lord!

  5. Allie says:

    You are so beautiful, inside and out. I really appreciate your wisdom here. Your blog posts are always so full of truth. Thank you.

  6. Erin says:

    This is such a timely post for me. I recently had an older woman in our church make some comments that felt like a slap in the face. I was stunned as they came quickly, unexpectedly and were rather like kicking me while I was down. My husband said not to take it personally as she has never seemed to be a warm person and he has heard her sound sharp when speaking to others. She is a believer-faithful to The Lord and her pastor husband.
    I prayed for 24 hours asking The Lord to help me not to be offended and he helped me in that need. What struck me the most about this was realizing how few women in our church have grown to be gentle, gracious, merciful and meek over the years. I’m not sure if it is something that comes from the type of people drawn to our denomination (fundamental baptist), or if it an effect of feminism on the culture (strong, outspoken, opinionated women) or if it just our sinful nature.
    Aging gracefully on the inside has been on my mind for the past week so I thank you so very much for this post. I have been praying that our hard times soften me rather than harden me through the years. I know I will read & re-read this over time.
    May God continue to bless you and your blog ministry!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Oh, Erin,
      I admit I can be that same woman…hard and opinionated (the indoctrination in feminism)…and I hate that in me. This post is written as much to myself as anyone reading it. ‘Lord, help us Your daughters to be more like Jesus…beautiful in every way.’
      Jesus’ words were always from the Father and His communion (abiding) with Him allowed Him to speak just the perfect words. We now have the Holy Spirit, thankfully, who guides and leads us if we allow Him to. Erin, I pray your heart will be healed and soon you can look through the stinging words and attitude to see some hurt in her. I have found that prayer FOR the person who wounds us is the most healing thing! I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. The Lord will give wisdom as you seek Him and ponder all of this. Grace and peace, dear sister. I love you in the Lord.

  7. deedy says:

    Jacqueline,
    Like you, we were married in 1973. 4o years, how can that be?
    The Lord has been faithful to His word and every promise. He has been in the midst of the hardest days, and alongside the joys as well. Like you, I am convicted that the next part of my life needs to count. Our adult children and grandchildren are watching; hopeful and needing us to model this part of our lives well for them. We seem always to be in process of change here. Good, but stretching. Thank you for the encouragement. We need to be the quiet, gentle but courageous older women shown to us in the scriptures. Blessings…Deedy

  8. Roxy says:

    Good Afternoon, As the spirit of the Lords trins us; we must hear the teaching with an open heart! It would be very grievous to have outer beauty with a sharp tongue!
    I think a woman that shows evidence of the fruits of the spirit are very becoming.
    We should be spending more time on seeking Him at every turn and twist of our days.
    Once we hear ourselves speaking not very kindly, may we be quick to hear the spirit and repent. Have you ever heard yourself on an answering machine and thought you sounded loud or rude. It was a tool that helped me hear myself.
    I really loved this and I do so want to grow old gracefully.
    Blessings Always, Roxy

  9. Linda Chapman says:

    Thank you. I’m comforted to learn that the Holy Spirit is teaching you to direct the focus on things above, as He seems to be doing in my life as well, very prominently. I needed to hear someone else share that experience. Next will be the 70th.

  10. Hilary says:

    First of all, you are neither “wrinkled” (thank you coconut oil and avocado), “gnarly-handed” (or you couldn’t type your blog posts), “stoop-shouldered” (unless it’s from picking all of those berries), and “frail with faded eyes,” (because your eyes sparkle in every single picture of you!) And…your (silver) “crown of glory” is definitely a blessing because it is “found in the way of righteousness.” Thank you for exemplifying the truth of this post. You give me hope. Encouraged by your example, Hilary

  11. Ok my friend. You are so right! And you look amazing!!

  12. Toni says:

    Love, love those photos of you and your husband and especially the more recent one of you. You’ve certainly aged gracefully on the outside, and I know from your posts that the Lord has given you a loving and kind heart. Your site is a true blessing to so many of us. Thank you for sharing your heart with your readers. :)
    -Toni

  13. Jill York says:

    You are so beautiful, graceful, and full of wisdom!

  14. Melissa says:

    As a mother of 3 young kids, I absolutely love and appreciate the wealth of knowledge you bestow to me. You have honestly been such an inspiration. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t share something with my husband of real value that I have learned from you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for the time and energy you take to share your heart with us.

    God bless you and your family!
    Melissa

  15. Glenys Hicks says:

    That was a lovely post… and a much needed message for today… thank you for your posts.. your blog is so refreshing. Blessings!

  16. Charlotte Moore says:

    What an encouraging post to all of us. As I read each person’s response I agreed with all of them. I will say your beauty today outshines your youthful beauty by far.

    GOD BLESS!!!!

  17. Melinda says:

    You are so beautiful. I may not know you personally, however your grace and loveliness shine through in what you write about. And in the last picture of you, I can visibly see it.
    I often share with my husband the things you write about because they are so similar to how I view life. I’m 42. Not “old” but definitely not young. I wake up with very stiff muscles and aches where I didn’t know I could ache. Sometimes I get so caught up in how quickly time goes by. It’s not softly. It’s racing as fast as it can and I get so overwhelmed. But I do not want to chase after it, stumbling, falling. Hopefully, I can apply your wisdom to my life and grow old gracefully.

  18. Marva says:

    Your message is so timly, Thank You Father! Just what I needed to hear…..I appreciate your blog so very much, your heart is truly toward the Father; Therefore you exemplify what I too desire to become. My fellowship with other women of the Faith, has been limited for some time, this is why I connect with you as I do. Thank you for being here for me and others….

  19. Karen says:

    Thank you, dear Jacqueline! As always, the Holy Spirit is speaking similar things to me! I have had such a stirring in my heart for more of the Lord and for prayer and for His word in me. I was led to read, “The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life” by Charles Spurgeon. I came to this quote: “Prayer comes spontaneously from those who abide in Jesus. Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus. As the leaf and fruit come out of the vine branch with out any conscious effort and simply because of its living union with the stem, so prayer buds and blossoms and fruits out of souls abiding in Jesus.” The scripture he shared over and over was John 15:7 – If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you…(and to add – verse 8) By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples.” This is truly what we are desiring! May we bring Him glory! <3

    • Jacqueline says:

      Oh, Karen,
      This is a confirmation of sorts, for me, in something I am praying for with all my heart. I can be working alone and suddenly thoughts of this person are so vivid and I earnestly lift them up to the throne room of our almighty God in tears. Thank you for this wonderful word! Would Spurgeon’s book work for us ladies to read through and pray over (in the house) while our men meet for accountability? There is a spiritual battle and we want to combat it with prayer! Any other book you can recommend specifically about prayer for our men?
      Love you, sister, in the Lord!

  20. Cheryl Smith says:

    What a lovely, precious post! So very, very true! Growing old gracefully from the inside out is what matters to our Creator. Filled with spiritual graces and having a meek and quiet spirit before our Lord, our husbands, and our children, is the ornament God seeks in each one of us. Oh, to be that woman God seeks! To be so hidden in Christ, that others have to go through Him to get to us! Thank you dear, sweet friend, for your wonderful, edifying words. You are such a dear blessing to me, and your beauty glows from the inside out. May the Lord bless you and continually fill your soul with His peace. Love you!

  21. Christy C says:

    Beautiful Jacqueline! You and your writing—BEAUTIFUL! I have read this post a couple of times now. I so needed your words! You are such a blessing!

    Christy

  22. Sheri Fraser says:

    Such a dashing, lovely couple you were then and still are! These photos make me smile.

    Although we didn’t know you when these photos were taken, my husband and I are so very thankful we know you both now. We bless the Lord for your friendship and for the ways your lives encourage us as a couple to age gracefully as heirs together in the grace of the Lord.

  23. Jenn says:

    You are beautiful! Inside and out! I’m thankful for your wisdom and grace and your encouragement as well. Praise the Lord!

  24. Thank you so much for this post I really needed to read this today!

  25. Gigi says:

    Oh how I missed stopping by your blog! It’s been a long while.

    This post is very encouraging to me as someone still in my young years. I don’t want to waste time! I want to have my focus in the right things, in eternal things. I so pray to God that He grants me the grace and courage to age gracefully. In our culture there are so many pressures to look a certain way as you age, and I don’t want to be deceived by it.

    One of the first things I noticed when I first came across your blog was your gray hair and just how beautiful you looked! Especially because my husband always tells me he does not want me to color my hair as I age, and he’s definitely not supportive of any cosmetic surgery of any kind. He is a firm believer in the truths you just spoke about here. But having been “raised” in our distorted culture it is especially hard to follow this truth! It is SO VERY encouraging to be able to see someone living this truth out! I hope 30 years from now, if God still wants me here, that I can be an encouragement to younger generations, just like you have been to me :)
    Blessings to you sister!!!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Dear Gigi,
      Your heart is filled with beauty and that is what the Lord looks upon! Stay true to the Lord, and you will have an eternal beauty that this world can never have. Abide in the True Vine and the Living Word and receive vigor of body (which WILL end at some point) and mind (maybe that, too), living water to keep you fresh and evergreen in spirit, and brightness of eyes (the window to your soul). Your smile will be genuine and you will not look hard. Beyond that, we long for being with the Lord in heaven! I do love my white hair now, so thank you! I was so afraid to take out the color, but coloring it was making me sick, so I followed my gut to keep free of toxins and stopped coloring…best decision!

      Multiplied blessings to you, dear sister!
      Jacqueline

  26. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this post. God spoke to me through you today!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Praise God, Sarah! I am lifting you up in prayer for grace and mercy right now. I wish I was growing more quickly in grace than I am, but He is faithful even when we are not. Blessings!

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