Laughing Lines

“…she laughs at the days to come.”
Proverbs 31:25

i.

Hannah was a German exchange student befriended by my daughter and her friends their junior year, and theirs was a friendship that wouldn’t end with Hannah’s return to Germany.  We saw her when we lived there, and then again when she made a return trip to the States earlier this year.

While Hannah’s English is excellent, understandably it’s not perfect; unfamiliar with many colloquialisms, she had occasional “lost in translation” moments. Sometimes I like her interpretation better.

Laughing lines.

She called the crinkles that sunburst from the outer corners of my eyes laughing lines. Lightly tracing my furrows with her index finger, she smiled and added, “They’re pretty.”

There’s no way she could know how those two small words ministered encouragement to me, but I suppose the Lord knows when you need a kind affirmation, the same way He sent two perfectly-timed words that changed my life.

I’ve always referred to those first-tell signs of aging as laugh lines, but adding three little letters make it infinitely better. It suggests something I’m doing contrasted to something I’ve done. Laughing becomes descriptor and action.

Or maybe I’m just odd to care about such things.

ii.

I turned 50 last year and it wasn’t just that but All Of The Things going on that near about did me in.

A son graduating high school and a daughter turning 21.

My baby getting his license and starting to drive.

My husband leaving one job and trusting God for another (it would come five months later….).

Applying for jobs I was qualified for (even over-qualified!) and not being able to secure an interview.

Injuring my knee and needing surgery.

Knowing we would likely be moving and starting over. Again.

A mammogram scare and that other blasted confirmation from my doctor.

Right around that time there was one more blow to my heart — realizing I couldn’t attend a women’s event because I had aged out of its audience demographic.  I was simply too old for their format and hadn’t realized that at first.

For that day (and more than a few others) I could not stop crying.  I barely recognized myself because a) birthday milestones have never bothered me before and b) I don’t cry easily.

I’ve always seen silver linings and bright sides in the Eeyore-iest of clouds, but this inner shift was unchartered.

To realize I was closer to having grandchildren than my own children…

to accept I had likely lived more days than I had remaining…

to recognize the subtle changes in my body no matter how I hard I tried to stop them…

were all a sobering exercise in futility.

There were moments when a sense of panic set in.

My footing had never been more unsure, every step seeming to fall upon quaking ground…

I wasn’t dealing with life or death circumstances, but it sure felt like I was walking through fire…

But, then…

I heard a whisper…voice small and still but undeniable–

Age is the price you pay for  l i f e  and it’s not a privilege everyone gets to have.

It’s a long stretch to suggest Elijah’s story resembles my own, but when doubt and despair and defeat bludgeoned my soul and spirit, I felt a kinship.

I thanked God that he’s a God of “but, thens“.

iii.

There are two choices you can make when you’re faced with a challenge:  stand up and punch that sucker in the throat or lay down and let it bowl you over.

That doesn’t mean you can’t grieve or be sad or angry or frustrated; those are emotions of process that can lead you forward. To deny or suppress those very real feelings is dishonest and a personal disservice. But if you give in to them, they can become chokeholds or strongholds leading to paralysis.

Age is the price you pay for life and it’s not a privilege everyone gets to have.

My mother died when she was 38 and it is in her life cut cruelly short that I realize aging is a small price to pay to see my babies grow into an amazing young woman and men.  It is through the lens of her death where I can see with most clarity and fullness the gift of my life.

That Divine check in my spirit and the perspective rooted in my mom’s early death were seedlings for laughter.

20140616_RobinDance_Psalm90

iv.

We have but one life and I long to steward it well

God’s gentle whisper to my heart, a Holy nudging in the midst of my despair about getting old, was simple: to champion life and to age gracefully.

As I began to ask God what that would look like, He began to transform my thinking.

I finally began to see my age as a blessing, not a curse.

I hear women almost apologizing for their age; I’ve even done it. It can be hard being the oldest person in the room (even online).

Let this sink in deep: Age is a blessing not a curse! 

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12

There is no substitute for the experiences you’ve lived, for each life season you’ve passed, for the wisdom you’ve gained from reaching your age.  

I have climbed mountains and trudged valleys; nothing can replace the lessons I’ve learned and the value of enduring. Isn’t it incumbent upon us to reach into younger lives and encourage them? Haven’t we all said at some point, “If I had known then what I know now…”?

Let us be intentional about walking with our younger sisters, and be the Knowing that will bring assurance and relief.

Q. Can you relate? Have you struggled with growing older in our youth-oriented culture? What does it mean to you to “laugh at the days to come”?  

Originally, this post was much longer; rather than just completely deleting a meaningful (to me) part of this story, I’ve published those sections on my blog. If you’re curious to learn why writing online can be difficult for me, what prompted me to write this post, and join me in a related prayer, I hope you’ll check it out. Also? There’s a wonderful DaySpring giveaway that will help you pursue a more intentional life!

Robin

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  1. 1

    Robin,
    I smile and my laughing lines show when I see that you are the writer for the day! Being 50+, I really appreciate your perspective. “Age is the price you pay for life and it’s not a privilege everyone gets to have.” – how true! When I get to complaining about my various aches and pains and surgeries I’ve had to endure, I am reminded that they prove that I am alive and reasonably well.

    I am able to laugh at the days to come, in part, because I’ve seen the blessings that God has given me at various stages in my life. The older I get the more blessings I accrue…that’s pretty cool. I recently was married for the second time and people remarked that they have never seen me look so happy and so beautiful…wonderful words to hear when you are 53. There IS beauty in every season.

    I also look to my mom, who is 80, and I see a beautiful woman who sees the best in life and has the laughing lines to prove it. This also encourages me. Thanks so much for a great perspective adjustment this morning and for your encouragement to us gals with more laughing lines!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • 2

      Bev :) ,

      Do you ever feel like the older you get the BETTER you see what the eyes cannot? Your comment made me think of that… Funny, when you mentioned your mom, I thought immediately of Jean Fleming, the author of Bloom’s Spring selection. She’s 73 and the moment I met her, I thought YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!

      Blessings to you, sweet one.

  2. 3
    Melanie Vanlaningham says:

    Robin,
    Once again you’ve written about the things on your heart and in your life and I’m sitting here nodding my head “yes” all the way through. I feel such a kindred spirit with you in many ways. I’m a few years older and have wanted to age gracefully but seem to struggle (beat myself up) way too often. Sometimes I’m way too serious and wish my heart was lighter like yours seems to be.
    I want those laughing lines and not the furrowed brow because I’m trying too hard or expecting too much. I want to trust the God that I know to be faithful as my husband just quit his job and we don’t know know what is next. I’m going to be a Grandma in December and I worry I won’t have enough energy or “be enough” to be the Grandma my heart wants to be.
    My age doesn’t bother me but they way I struggle with life does. Yes, I want those laughing lines created by the joy I know resides in my heart as I walk along with my Father, my hand in His, knowing He takes care of all of me.
    Sure wish I could just sit down beside you and share hours of life, faith, Jesus, and joy. You are an encouragement to me.
    Blessings to you, sweet sister!
    Melanie

    • 4

      Oh, Melanie, your generosity of spirit is a precious delight this morning–thank you!

      And I DO have dark moments I’m not proud of but those aren’t quite DaySpring fare :) . But…BUT…when I reorient my focus, it’s amazing how differently I can feel and/or respond.

      It’s HARD when your husband quits his job without one in hand or knowing “what next?”! Even though that was our choice for him, the uncertainty was brutal. I’m praying for you to have great wisdom, to know how to love and encourage him during this season of waiting for the next thing. AND, for him to receive your love and encouragement! That might be the harder of the two.

      I’ve tended to play down my age in the past; but I’m sensing a responsibility in sharing it more, a privilege. NOT that it’s a big deal or I’m anything special, but because I’ve needed that kind of engagement from women just ahead of me! I’m glad we’re walking this together because sometimes all a girlfriend needs is, “I get it.” :)

  3. 5

    Such beauty in these words … much like the photograph included of a precious and lovely woman of God. We need these reminders of all we are blessed with, the joys are still hidden within the trials .. the moments to be taken and cherished no matter what.
    I have learned this lesson this year, I hope that I can take your words, and live them too.
    Love – Nicole xxxx

    • 6

      Nicole,

      Honey, you could write volumes I imagine. I can’t help myself–I want to remove all the challenges in the lives of those I care about, but…that would be robbing everyone of lessons learned no other way. I wouldn’t want to relive my challenges, but I can find redemptive value in all of them. {{hugs}} to you, friend.

  4. 7

    as I preached my 30th birthday, I figured my youth and vitality were going away, along with the “you can’t trust anyone over 30″ phrase. I wanted to leave the country and take a trip, as if that would somehow alter the age clock. instead,a 12 year boy in our church died In an accident and my whole perspective changed. this child was only 12! Eric would never date, go to high School or college, have a job, get an apt. or house, nor marry! I had all of that and I didn’t want to turn 30?! God revealed to me what you had learned; to live each day and know aging was a blessing and gift from Him!

    At Eric’s funeral, I knew God was reminding me of His grace to me and that each wrinkle, furrow and sag, I could enjoy and celebrate that gift of life!
    Instead of hiding my age, I usually announce it even when no one asks. I don’t think of how few days I have left at 63 but much I have lived and loved!

    • 8

      Oh, Joan…what an awful way to have this perspective opened, but how beautiful that you took away LIFE from Eric’s death! THAT is a precious legacy he left behind.

  5. 9

    Thank you, Robin, for your transparency and the truth you capture, too. This post was filled with words I needed to hear this morning. Thank you!

    • 10

      elisa,

      Thank you for your comment; I’m feeling a little exposed (maybe more so with the post I’ve linked from my blog… :/), but, I really felt led to write it. If it encourages or affirms anyone, to God be the glory. :)

  6. 11

    Do laughing lines around your mouth count even when you’re not laughing ? :) Loved this post and I wanted to let you know that you are seven years YOUNGER than me, well, June 21st you will be 7 years younger :)

  7. 12

    Becky,

    Of course they count ;) .

  8. 13
    Lisa Derrick says:

    Thank you for this post – I am 6 months out from turning 50 and I have been struggling with where I am right now in my life journey – living through some tall obstacles.
    I appreciate your encouragement – your words have helped me see things differently.

    Blessings to you!

  9. 15

    Thank you for this. I’m only 26 but have started to notice “laughing lines” around my eyes. It has been hard to have this realization of my own mortality, especially when I know girls my age who are already getting Botox and lip injections. It’s very easy to feel “not enough.”

    • 16

      Sharon,

      I understand why women make this choice, I do…so I’m not judging others who take measures like botox, surgery, etc. to “erase” some of the natural signs of aging. But…I’m trying to accept natural changes as part of it (some days harder than others :) .).

      But you, at 26? It hurts my heart to know women feel the need to SO YOUNG! Yes, it IS easy to feel “not enough” but sweet friend, it’s not me telling you you already are….it’s God. He chose you, loves you, gave you life and gave HIS life for you. Enough :) .

      Praying strength, resolve, wisdom and grace over you right now.

  10. 17

    Thanks for this Robin. I had just decided last night I was going crazy and having a mid-life breakdown as my husband is going on month 5 of no job and money has run out. I still have small children to raise and cannot get a “job” and life looks quite different than I imagined in my youth. but this is all part of the experience in life that will one day be a story to encourage another woman in this spot.

    • 18

      Kerry,

      It’s still hard…even knowing there’s value in this experience, it can still threaten to defeat you. I’m praying over you, too, this morning–that you would know the best way to challenge and encourage your husband, to love him through this difficult season; that the Lord would reveal himself to you and draw you closer; that His goodness and mercy would be evident in your days. {{Hugs}} as you walk through this valley; excited to see how God meets you here.

  11. 19

    This post…LOVE. You put into words everything I’ve been feeling for the past few years.It’s been a struggle to want to age gracefully, but not give in to the “I have lived more days than I have left” mentality. In truth, it should make me want to live MORE, reach MORE, be MORE…but sometimes, I just want a nap. Just kidding (but really). My Mom died unexpectedly (to us) when she was 59…just a few years older than I am now. Her early death is what motivates me to be more intentional with the time I have with my husband, children…and others. Because I know that long life may not be in my genes or in God’s plan, I want to make sure, when I lay my head down at night, that I’ve said the important things to my family and friends. I believe that if my Mom had known, she would’ve done the same thing…and we wouldn’t have some of the questions that we have now…because we would KNOW.

    So my kids, my husband, they KNOW. :)

    Also, we laugh a lot in our home, so I’m pretty sure I have “laughing lines” all over my face!

    Thank you for sharing!

    • 20

      Marty,

      Your comment? Might have given me a new line or two ;) .

      You point out something I’ve stressed to myself and those around me: remaining “current” with the people in your life. Because we DON’T ever know, I want my lovies to KNOW how I feel about them. At least then, should an unexpected loss occur…that part is not left to question. A wonderful point to bring up in this comment thread.

  12. 21
    Kathy R. says:

    Robin,
    My mother passed away when she was only 48, when my first child was only 2 yrs. old. I never wanted to turn 48 so I decided to really celebrate that year and make everyone else celebrate with me. It was so much fun and I still am known to this day (at 66) for celebrating my birthday. So your phrase, “Age is the price you pay for life and it’s not a privilege everyone gets to have” means a lot to me. In discipling, I love to talk about living with intention. I look forward to reading the book Pursue the Intentional Life. Thank you for the encouragement about embracing each of our days.

    • 22

      Kathy,

      I remember when 48 sounded old; funny how that line keeps moving :) .

      Birthday celebrators are the wisest people I know–they understand life’s gift and make the most of it. Your example is a good one.

  13. 23
    Ro elliott says:

    Yes…turn and face it…face the wind…the clicking hands of the clock… When I turned 55 something stirred deep ‘within me… I think because I could see a bit of the finish line from there… I determined in The Lord…. To finish stronger than I started… To be very intentional about the aging process…. No one grows old gracefully without God’s Grace saturating our lives. I look for small and big ways to keep challenging me not to get stuck and become the wrong kind of “old”. The younger and the older need one another…neither should be seen as being unnesseary in our lives… And yes…your laugh lines are pretty!!

    • 24

      Ro!! You get it! Your perspective is SO healthy! I’m not sure how you can accomplish this kind of perspective, apart from a sense of eternity and Kingdom purpose. And yes–WE NEED EACH OTHER!

      Your intention is lovely :) .

  14. 25

    Oh dear Robin…thank you …thank you…thank you! I too, am one of those women that can “echo”, yes to the above statements. I came to (in)courage today…needing just this kind of encouragement…for in two days…I turn 55, and am having confusing and mixed emotions. Your story reminds me of an encounter I recently had.
    While walking through the mall, a young energetic fellow “grabbed” me an pulled me into his boutique with the promise of helping me “look better”. I sat in the chair and starred into the mirror he held in front of my face, straining to see the “imperfections” that he so easlily saw; a realization came to me! I LIKE my laughing lines. No, I don’t need to try and conceal them…for they are a part of my journey.
    When I look in the mirror at my face, it’s like taking a mini tour of my life. The lines are like road maps of my adventure of life on this earth. The young fellow couldn’t grasp that I was actually happy with the way I looked, and that I didn’t need his miracle cream to conceal. I on the other hand went away from the boutique with a lighter heart at re-discovering the joy of my life, and the adventures that God has allowed me to have during my stay here on earth.
    Thanks so much for your post. There are many different age woment that meet here at (in)courage…and we need to hear from all.

    • 26

      Jan–

      I LOVE YOUR STORY! YOU GO GIRL!! Oh, hon…we need more women like you who see BEAUTY in their faces because of what those lines mean–journey, adventure, a mini tour & road map. Oh, how I appreciate your perspective. Thank you for encouraging me this morning! :)

      xo

  15. 27

    This literally spoke to what has been on my heart. I have been crying to my Mother as turning 46 has hit me very hard this year, I am not sure why.

    My Mother tells me that being 63 is hard on her and that she longs for the days of being in her 40s. I am trying to stay present and find joy in the days as my laugh lines grown, my stress hairs (that’s what I call my grey hair) do not hold the dye quite as long, and my small frame is now fighting to maintain my weight. There are so many things that our teens enjoy and as soon as we join in, we are dorks. Funny how when your a teen other teens make you feel bad and then when you gave teens, they can make you feel bad. Lol! Need a sermon series on that! Lol

    I am going to re-read this and re-read it as my heart truly needs to learn how to ” number my days”

    Thank you

    • 28

      Nicole,

      {{hugs}} Sometimes that’s what you need.

      I suppose age and how we feel is like that half full/half empty glass analogy; I pray to have eyes to see that half-full glass, and I’m praying that over you now. So you can DELIGHT in what the Lord has for you TODAY, but also in the future. Sometimes becoming intentional is a slow at first, but in time, momentum can build.

      Let’s live ON PURPOSE and to the glory of God. That is always beautiful :) .

  16. 29

    At 42, this is the best and most beautiful encouragement regarding aging that I have ever read! My grandmother died at 42, a dear friend died 3 years ago at 40. When I have a birthday I am learning to count it as a privilege. I “get” to be 40, 42, and hopefully more! Absolutely wonderful post!

    • 30

      Jeanine,

      Oh, my. You have no idea how much your comment means to me. If there’s any “good” in this post, it’s because I was obedient to the Lord’s nudge to write it (and expose myself). So…thank you. I’m grateful to YOU. xo

  17. 31

    Hi Robin,

    I believe this is my first time reading your blog and I just loved this devo. I am 29 (and have just recently made up my mind that I am happy to be leaving my 20′s; it hasn’t exactly been the happiest of decades) and while I have yet to see those laughing lines you referred to, I anticipate that I will and you know what? I will welcome them! I supposed it will hit me more when it actually happens but I would love to learn to embrace aging as it happens rather than attempting to fight it as so many women do. Of course I don’t want to look old before my time but I don’t think God intended His children to be as caught up in our appearances and material possessions as we are currently, especially in the West. I would love to learn to embrace the gray hair, the laughing lines, etc. as a way of saying, “You know what? I have lived life well. I have laughed and cried, experienced unspeakable joy and heart-wrenching grief and I am thankful for it because without those experiences, those experiences that produced the wrinkles and the natural change in hair color, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be me!” Maybe I am naive to think such things, especially at age 29.

  18. 33

    This was the first thing I read this morning, and it was perfect. Today Is my birthday, and so much of what you have written I have connected with today–like someone needed me to read this before I went on without Him… ;) . Thank you.

    • 34

      Joy!! HAPPY (day after your) BIRTHDAY!! Your comment is a gift to me and I would love to know how you spent your day. Give us details if you happen to check back in :) .

  19. 35

    What a beautiful way to start my day, as Joy above says. I, too, opened my email and the “laughing lines” caught me and I knew I wanted to read this. I am 66 and learning…still learning. But I am asking God to drench me in grace that I would be the woman He called me to be at this age. I lost my precious father when he was only 46, I was 12. I just wrote about him for Father’s Day, giving me much to ponder about his short life, how much my mother missed him until the day she died at 98, just a year and a half ago. My mother had laughing lines and they were more lovely as she aged for she continued to laugh, deepening them so.
    Reading your words this morning makes me listen to the stillness around me and know that He is with me and will be until He calls me home. In the meantime, I pray for wisdom as I age, for smiles and laughter, for love and joy as I walk the road He has for me.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda
    P.S. I will go read the rest on your blog. I look forward to that.

    • 36

      Linda,

      “Drench me in grace”, gracious I *like* that.

      The way you described your mother is so sweet, a love story, even. She missed your father over half her life! What a testament to their connection.

  20. 37

    Robin,

    When you said that you had lived longer than you had remaining is a sobering thought. I am older than you and facing the fact that most of my years of this life are behind me.

    This past week was our granddaughter’s graduation. Two grandmothers, from completely different backgrounds partnered together to try to give our two grandchildren a chance at life despite the tumultuous chaotic life their divorced parents provided.

    Our granddaughter graduated, with honors, a President scholar for 2014, with a bright future to begin Yale in the gall. While these are reasons to joyously celebrate, as grandmother’s we hid a deep sadness. The other grandmother has weeks to live after her cancer returned. She did not want to spoil the happiness and success of our granddaughter so we kept the secret.

    The grace and dignity this grandmother displayed walking into the graduation, staying for the entire graduation, although I suggested she might want to leave earlier. The fact that, despite her pain and fatigue, she went to the restaurant with the family, posed for pictures and tried to eat something even though she was fighting nausea. On our eight hour drive back to our home state, she stopped along the way to say good bye to a close friend and her brother, leaving small gifts that she thought they would enjoy.

    This experience with the amazing woman, (they don’t make many like her any more) made my concerns about aging or any problem seem small.

    • 38
      Joanne Peterson says:

      Such a grace-filled, loving woman. No good words to describe the depth of her love and character from your description of her.

    • 39

      Pamela,

      Thank you for sharing this tender story; she sounds amazing. When we have someone like that in our lives, doesn’t it make you want to emulate such special qualities?

      You’re loving your granddaughters well through what sounds like a difficult time. They might not ever realize all you’ve done, but the Lord knows. :)

  21. 40
    Patty Aslin says:

    I am a 68 year old mother of two and grandmother (Nana) of two. As I read your piece today, yes I could relate! When I am looking at myself in the mirror I feel so much younger than the woman who I see looking back at me…..I do see a resemblance, but where in the world did those wrinkles come from? In the past year I decided to embrace my age and the way I look…..do you want to know something…..I am OK with what I see in the mirror now! I think God gives us wrinkles to keep us humble (smile), besides that, I know He loves me “just as I am”……and that is something to smile about! Now go put a beautiful SMILE on you lovely face and go out into the world and spread some joy! Blessings, Patty from Colorado

  22. 42

    God has been talking to me about the concept of being a “steward of grace” through studying Ephesians with my (in)courage community group. So, I absolutely LOVED reading your words about stewarding my life well. You’ve given me more to chew on…. :)

    • 43

      Lyli,

      Can you see why I was so thrilled to read Jean’s book? It’s like she’s providing a framework for so many thoughts I’ve had; plus, she offers some perspective I haven’t yet considered. :)

  23. 44
    Cellina says:

    Beautiful Robin, I love your post. I will be 51 in a month. When I was approaching 50 I ws excited, had planned to have a cake with 50 candles though I usually do not have a birthday celebration. Last year was no different, so, did not get the 50 candles. I was thankful that at half a century old (sounds grand!) I was walking with God, serving Him. It was and still is not peaches and pie and many dreams would remain as dreams is a certainty. BUT there is much to be thankful. It is a privilege to be able to age past, LIVE past 50. I was forgetting that! Your post is a timely and needed reminder. I agree with Hannah, your laughing lines are pretty, no doubt an expression of your heart.

  24. 45

    Thank you for sharing, and I love the phrase “laughing lines” as well.

  25. 46
    Jodi Michaelides says:

    Robin, I appreciated your post. I agree that age does bring each of us a lot of wisdom. All of us as women should feel good about embracing our age and for enduring all the different seasons of life we have already gone through. They all have taught is valuable life lessons and put us on our path to draw us closer to our relationship with God. I do look forward to my ‘days to come’ even though that I still fall into the ‘enemy’s trap’ of lies still, however I work very diligently to rebuke his lies. Thank you for your ministry and offering your giveaway. I would love a copy of the book you are offering. I did everything you requested, however I don’t know how to show that I ‘shared’ your post on my Facebook acct. May you have many joyful days ahead.

  26. 47
    Joanne Peterson says:

    Hi Robin,

    Beautiful post. I am also past 50 and have grandchildren. Many of the things I have dreaded and thought would be a woman’s worst nightmare…….really aren’t.

    I this past weekend, went to a graduation party of a lovely young lady whom my son had a crush on when he was four years and she was three. (Prior to this he was going to marry Mama, now he was going to marry Emmalee.) I met my girlfriend’s mother for the first time. She was describing her daughter not knowing what her future holds since her daughter is leaving home for college. I was describing how you never know how Jesus is going to use your future. She had to have been at least in her seventies and I see my friend becoming more and more like her mother.

    This woman was such a picture of loveliness, and had such a warmth, and dignity, and lots of laughing lines, and I know her life was difficult. But, I was thinking I would like to be that beautiful when I am older than I am.

    It was a couple of years ago when I realized that I am now the “older woman” described in Titus. But would I actually be able to give words of wisdom other than saying you will live through the child rearing years and they will be gone before you know it. With having young children again, I realize there is more I don’t know than what I do know.

    Well, my husband and I have been married for 23 years, but can I actually tell anyone who to be married? Once again, I know less than what I realize about being married. Maybe, that is to be my message, be teachable……

    Thank you Robin, you’ve given me a lot to think about.

    Blessings,

    Joanne

  27. 48

    I so enjoyed reading your post. You write with such grace. I am a 52-yr-old mother of 4 grown children, 2 of which are presently in recovery, and a mother with terminal cancer. It’s pretty easy to look in the mirror at my “laughing lines” and put things in perspective: I don’t care how many lines I have on my body. My boys are alive and doing well TODAY, and I have time (albeit limited) to spend with my Mom. I eat well and exercise to do good for my body, and whatever aging process will happen, I hope to embrace it gracefully.

  28. 49
    mommashopper says:

    WELL SAID..i always believe in “aging gracefully”,meaning accept our ages at whatever stage and don’t be the grandma trying to fit into the tight jeans with a new tattoo..both my grandmas on my dads and moms side showed me aging gracefully done with love and accepting their ages as they went.they sort of celebrated each 10 years that passed with the knowledge that they have served their families well,had all their children raised up and now finally had some time to be themselves !! althought I dread aging I wont apologize for getting tired faster,being more content with the lil things or not caring who has the “best ” in every situation..ive grown up and am not ashamed at any age.lets be there to guide the younger girls into Gods knowledge thru what we know.

  29. 50

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful!! I love it — Laughing Lines! Now I will look in the mirror and see all the lines on my end-of-my-forties face in a very different way.
    I have indeed earned each and every one of my ‘laughing lines’ and I’m proud to say I’ve lived to tell my tale of a daughter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and as a stronger-than-ever survivor of an abusive marriage.

    For me, to laugh about the days to come means letting go of all anxiety of what is to come and finding rest in the Lord as we walk together through whatever may be.

    Blessings!

  30. 51
    Carla Beck says:

    Your writing is so refreshing and truly gets to the heart of the matter. I started Tae-Kwon-Do in my early 50′s. I was so proud that number 1, I was the oldest in the class and number 2, my body could do most of the kicks and punches – until I tore the meniscus of each knee and had to give up the sport. I will soon be approaching 60 and as I grow stronger in my faith, I am learning to let go and give God control, to savor each moment, laugh at my mistakes and not worry about how old I am. cjb

  31. 52
    Paulette says:

    Your story so hit home. I just turned 57 last week and came across a picture of myself 22 years ago. I took a picture of myself on my birthday and was in tears as I saw the changes in my face and the lines I did not notice until this past year. BUT reading your post brought me back to the reality that I was not married 22 years ago, did not have my son 22 years ago, had not lost two jobs 22 years ago, had a divorce and nearly lost my son 22 years ago and did not know Christ 22 years ago. Though there are a few lines on my face, I have learned so much in those 22 years and GOD has loved me more than I could have ever imagined and ever hoped for. I carry so much experience that I can share with those who will go through what I have experienced and it is by the love of GOD his grace, mercy and strength that I am able to. My sister passed away at 56 and I have made it one year past her but my only thought is will I reach the age that my mother passed away at 61? Will I see my son get married and have a child the things that my mother did not get to experience with me? Only GOD knows but I can enjoy the now and know that he is with me through it all. Thank you for sharing your story Robin.

  32. 53

    Oh Robin, I am sitting in front of my PC with my laugh lines in full radiance (like sun rays..lol). I am a couple days away from my 44th birthday and I was just having a conversation with a wonderful friend about turning 44 and not feeling sad or not thinking about this number at all. I even said I thought I was strange I wasn’t more reactive to this number. You have given me the why, “Age is a blessing not a curse!” I am filled with gratitude to see another year. I too lost my dad when he was 47 and I was only 16. It forever changed my perspective on life. I learned early on everyday is a gift. I thank God for that!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your heart and what that Lord revealed to you. I am so blessed by this.

  33. 55

    YES! I have worn that coat. The one that brings sadness at the fraying ends, the worn torn sleeves, greying hair, rounder middle, aching joints and the memoiries of life that was. I would put it on and take it off and put it on again. Such torture! Although I still struggle with the purposefulness of my life, that coat of aging now sits in the corner of my mind. Periodically I pick it up and hold it up to the light, examining its intricacies, but I haven’t put it on in a long time. It really is an integral part of my life. It reminds me of where I’ve been and you’re right ‘growing old is not a priviledge everyone gets to have’! My mom, too, left this world far too early, in such a cruel way. And you’re right, it reminds me to walk delightfully into and out of every day. Thankful for every piece of every moment! My God has a plan and it is my joy to walk it out!

  34. 56

    I needed this…thank you friend :)

  35. 57
    Trudy Mintun says:

    Your post didn’t just speak to me it yelled right out loud in my face. I have been dealing with the age “thing” for 8 years now. I am 58. Up until last week I still thought of myself as middle aged. Then. My best friend burst my bubble and informed me that I was old. Because. I will not live to be 116. In her opinion after middle age comes old. She is older than I am so she could state these facts. However, I am trying to wrap my head, heart, and anything else I can around the fact that I am old.
    Your post has gone a long way to helping me..
    I don’t have laughing lines, and I know it isn’t from not laughing enough. God gave me good skin to help me through this process. He also led me to your blog.

  36. 58

    Blessings to you, Robin! I have been reading your blog on and off and enjoy your writing. I am a bit older than you, and I am glad that the bloom courage website has our age group because we all need some encouragement from time to time… Love the quote you posted about age, and it is powerful indeed! Will post this quote on Fb. I have subscribed already and am looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  37. 59
    jennifer says:

    Thanks for being so “real”. Your story gave me a new prospective on aging. Aging is a privilege, and I plan to rejoice in the journey.

  38. 60
    Jennifer says:

    What you described about now fitting your church’s demographic for a gathering is what many childless single women face as early as their 30s. Women over 50 are not the only ones marginalized.

  39. 62

    Oh my dear friend, I love this and I love YOU! You are so beautiful.

    P.S. Look how many of us are out there! Maybe we should start our own conference. ;)

  40. 63
    Paulette says:

    I just had to comment because God just reminded me of my birthday last Thursday and the gift of company for an evening meal with my ex husband and the movies where we showed our ID and paid the Seniors price. As we walked through the theater we couldn’t stop laughing as the reality that we are considered “Seniors” finally set in..To think there are so many of us who think that term is something bad but a Senior.. ‘Sees Everything New Inviting Overcoming Radiant” through the eyes of GOD…

  41. 64

    I love you, friend, and I’m not too far behind you. The thing that’s blowing me away? I’ll be the mother of the groom next year. Wild.

  42. 65

    What a lovely article thank you Robin. And the timing is incredible. I am only turning 50 in a year or two but my ‘upcoming’ 50th already fills me with dread!! But this article has given new meaning to me re my ‘ageing’…thank you so much!!

  43. 66
    Beth WIlliams says:

    Robin,

    What a great inspiring post!! I am just 1 year behind you and can’t wait to see what that year holds.

    I have been through a lot in my lifetime and God has always blessed me and seen me through each trial!

    I marvel at the fact that my dad is nearing 89 this year. He has had a tough year. We moved him to assisted living and then he had mediation issues that landed him in hospital and rehab. God saw us through all that and now he is feeling good.

    Lately I have had lots of sadness, and uneasiness. Life can get hard as we age–achy joints, busy, schedules, aging parents, work schedules. This year especially has had me frayed to the edge. Through it all I will laugh at life and appreciate all that God has given me.

  44. 67

    Thank you for this, dear Robin. Thank you for being honest about how hard it can sometimes be to deal with the realities of aging. And thanks for coming round to the blessing – because, despite the indignities and injuries, age is a gift. And a joy. And so are you.