Aging, Maybe not so Gracefully

I saw a photo of me this morning. Now, I avoid cameras. I have never been one to gloat over a collection of images, and I’m a terrible self-critic.

I looked middle-aged.

So? I am middle-aged – assuming I live to be a hundred (and two.) The grey hair is coming in with a vengeance; the crow’s feet and softened jawline are apparent. In my Plain dress, I look like someone’s Oma.

And that’s not bad.

I wish my hair would hurry up already and just turn silver. This mixture of colour and texture is sometimes hard to manage. I can’t do anything about the skin. It’s really in good shape for my age and the kind of life I’ve lived, which has included quite a bit of UV exposure. My teeth are all mine! That’s a blessing!

So I don’t look dewy and youthful. God blessed me with an interesting life. I chose a way of serving Christ’s mission that shut out the vain ways of the world. So I have no right to complain that I don’t look like one of those models on the cover of an Amish bonnet-ripper romance novel. (These are the Christian equivalent of Harlequin, and while some of the writers may get the details right, no one acts that way in real life, Amish or otherwise.)

When old friends and my family ask, “Why did you do this?” I have to make the analogy of becoming a nun. The old-fashioned kind of nun, that is, in a habit, keeping the discipline, and pretty much looking and acting like all the other nuns. And it’s hard to tell nuns apart until you get to know them, and their personalities shine through. I am not wearing my personality on the outside of my skin. Those who knew me in the past would say that I am hiding the real me, and that might be true, but only in the case of hiding the real me from those who have no business knowing me. I am not buying my personality in a store. I am not living in the world. I chose to follow Jesus in a very special way. I am still me, but I hope I am becoming the better part of me, in Jesus Christ.

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4 thoughts on “Aging, Maybe not so Gracefully

  1. magdelaina,

    I’m right on your heels turning 40 this year. moving into early middle age for me is the promise of the changing seasons of life. I find it rather incredible when I consider how quickly this previous decade has flown by.

    I certainly am, at the dawn of the 2010’s in many respects at a far different place than I was at the beginning of the millenium. I pray those I love and those close to me (plus all who will, in the wider community) will return to Christ and not flee from him as they have done for so many years, and that God can use my covering and modesty for His glory, opening the hearts of those close to me to the beauty of this, that they may be drawn to Christ, and not repelled. Please pray for the issues of HC before immediate family who find the whole notion of godly modesty, God’s ordering, submission etc merely as repression by men, a patriarchal church and book (the Bible), that the eyes of their spirit may be opened to see this for the privelege and liberty that it really is. I will continue in prayer for you, that God leads you to a ministry, be it a parish or mission, and furnishes you with employment for His furtherence where God can use you to make a difference for Him; i wish my family could just meet and talk with someone like you for half an hour; an Anglican minister who is a woman that covers and modest dresses, oh this would be worth more to me than uncountable earthly riches. Please pray for them. I will continue to pray for you and Nicholas.

    Oh, by the by, what do you think of II Thess. 2:3,7…
    and its application to the age in which we live, especially concerning those who were raised Christians, anglicans, as it happens, with family who were devoted Anglican ministers (on both sides of my family) but have walked without interest in returning? email me privately if you like at zenia 1 at bigpond com (add the dots and remove the spaces.

    Additionally, I lent a family friend ‘Life as a Prayer, Recapturing the Wind of Headcovering’ by Michele Barnes McClendon, . They’ll get to the I Cor 11, that ‘pray without ceasing’ passage in I thes, Titus 2, 1 Tim, 1 Peter 3 and be repelled in their late boomer secular sensibilities; I gave it to them desperate for them to understand why I cover.

    Oh how I wish you were my priest!!

    blessings,

    Sarah.

    • I think the question about II Thessalonians 2 is whether it was a distant future prophecy or an immediate prophecy. Paul may have been specific to his own political situation. But, as we say, what goes around, comes around…so similar circumstances today may lead to the same results. All I can say is that eachof us must keep faith as best we can, following Christ as closely as our circumstances allow. Lead by example! Some may choose to follow,others may fall away. Eachof us must work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

      Family especially have a hard time understanding why we have changed, when it is them who have wandered. Their memories and perceptions of us are often rooted in past relationships and behaviours. (I was quite impulsive and headstrong when young, and often refused good council.) Don’t push too hard or too soon, or you risk pushing them away! But sometimes you do have to push back a little – as you did by providing some literature. Don’t be disappointed if it goes unread, or misunderstood.

      Thank you for your prayers. I am now at the preparation stage of looking for a parish, getting a CV and other information together. I have looked at churches all over the world. I am open to the working of the Holy Spirit in this!

  2. Magdelaina,

    You’re so right about family re our deicisions, especially those connected to the way in which we live out our faith. For them, on the mostpart, it has been between 35-45 years since they left their faith (in that great exodus that seemed to occur during the 60’s and 70’s. I hope and pray they might be touched even by one little bit of what they read; tried this with a selection of well presented articles printed from the internet a few years ago now and with immediate family and they just didn’t get it; there is a mindset that has closed itself off to even considering the other, as if they’re terrified that if they do, they’ll actually be confronted in themselves and be caused to face the nasty spector of ‘oh me! might I have to actually change and acknowledge that all that stuff in the Bible; Christian life, was correct after all?’

    I am most interested in your understanding of prophecy; especially New Testament prophecy. my former denomination for 21 years (Seventh Day ADventist) and to a lesser extent, the current Anglican circle in which I move, has taken, and takes the binary application approach, that, indeed, prophecy was meant to cover the specific period in which it was written but had a secondary (usually ‘end time’) application running parrallel like the two rails on a piece of railway track. I am intrigued by the third possibility you present, that, if the circumstances (be they political, environmental, social etc) line up, the same results will happen due to the machinations of flawed human nature and the fact God cannot let things go on unabated…

    I’ve also read your latest post and cringed with frustration upon hearing that your latest doctor’s report on Nicholas’s health did not coincide with your latest application for disability support; I will pray that the next time you apply, adequate documentation can be provided. Indeed, many folk labouring with disabilities are forced to really suffer because of the inhumane workings of a government system established to alleviate sufering…I pray also that the worldwide outpouring of compassion from all points around the globe to our fellow brothers and sisters in Haiti can be applied upon our own shores. Furthermore, I will continue with more fervant urgency hold up to our Heavenly Father your need for employment, that, when your CV is sent circulating, it reaches the right places and God grants you an opportunity – also working on the hearts and minds of the recipiants.

    May you continue to be fully blessed, and I will likewise pray your current accomodation arrangements last for as long as you need them.

    Sarah.

    • I’m reluctant to call all prophecies end-time prophecies unless they seem specifically so; such as “You know that the Lord will return when…” I think this may be a subconscious strand in Anglican theology; perhaps we need to look at it more closely!

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