In the Afternoon

Have you ever heard the term afternoon of life? Well, if you are my age, you probably have. It refers to the age range of 46-60. For most women, this is a difficult time of change. I know it is for me. But, oh my goodness, every day I wake up with a new wrinkle, ache, and what was that other thing?

It’s bad enough that we face physical changes that feel like a horrific roller coaster ride that leaves you stuck upside down—or experiencing all four seasons in ten minutes ending with your head in the freezer. Yet, we also feel overwhelmed at times with grief about what we left behind in our youth. We look ahead and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fear sets in as if the story has come to an abrupt end.

Loss of youth, menopause, empty nest, caring for ill parents, and fanning the flames of marriage are all the realities that we face in the afternoon of life. Though all of these signify change, they also bring a new season of growth. Gray hair does not determine your smarts or significance. The fact that your children have left the nest only means you have room for adventure. Just because your days of bringing children into the world are over does not mean your gift of mothering is over. Even if you are fanning the flames of your marriage in this new season, it only takes a spark to start a forest fire.

Young people may have physical strength, but older people have a strength of character. “The glory of young men is their strength, the honor of old men is their gray hair.” (Prov 20:29) Our life experience, the battles we have fought, failures turned to successes, loss, and the many times we have struggled in our faith all turn to precious silver – wisdom. Godly wisdom supersedes any loss of physical youthfulness. “Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding.” (Job 12:12) Divine wisdom means insight, prudence, understanding, and discretion. These attributes tell us how to live productively and are a treasure chest full of experiences for us to share with others.

I spent an entire year grieving something I had not lost – wisdom. I had equated my significance as a pastor to whether or not I was meeting the church’s relevant, hip, and trending culture and measuring my worth based on the push for younger and more current in-touch leaders. I felt utterly defeated, worthless, and rejected. I discovered that my age does not limit God’s anointing on my life, the spiritual gifts He has entrusted to me, or His calling and purpose that He specifically chose for me.

Though our outward appearance may change, we are still His beloved, filled with His Spirit, given gifts of the Spirit to serve and glorify Him all the days of our life. The story of Jesus in our life continues. Our identity is in Jesus Christ, not in the mirror.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Proverbs 31:30

The beauty of a woman is not based on how she looks. Instead, it flows from the heart as she puts her trust in her Heavenly Father. The beauty of a woman is the light of God reflected in her heart as she trusts Him, loves what He loves, hates what He hates, and seeks after Him. She is praised!