Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.

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Frankly Phyllis

Aging Lessons for Summer into Fall

Summertime and the aging is easy, if you take in too much sun and too many of those yummy barbeque sides, that is. But you're smarter than that, so your Vitamin D is good about now. I know a dermatologist who wears driving gloves, year 'round, to protect her hands from premature aging. (I wonder when it's time to age maturely, instead of pre-maturely? If I find out how I'll let you know.) Maybe you don't go that far, but you've frantically applied skin care lotion to offset sunburn this summer. Aren't we loving the outdoors and the garden, as we walk, swim, bike, or whatever gets us moving? We've probably never been so well informed about how to age well, from skin to heart to attitude.

But survey the magazine covers in the grocery aisle and you see that women want to be ageless. Who isn't tempted to try for that when we stare at Photoshopped images topped with headlines screaming we can look like that, too? My daughters buy into that a bit more than I do, so they talked me into a makeover this summer. They'd finally had it with my constant use of little samples of face moisturizer, foundation, and lipstick. I'm totally okay with that. They're easy to carry and save me money to put toward my favorite causes. And I'm in radio for goodness sake. People hear me. They don't see me. I count on you to listen, think, and pick up on the energy and inspiration of the topic and the guest. I have a radio face!

Back to my daughters. One said, "Look, mom, normal people carry makeup bags with real bottles of several very good things that work for their skin and look, you're all grown up now. We're finished with school and you can afford this for yourself." I admitted my aversion to this and thought, to myself, what difference will it make? But I made an appointment to quiet the mounting angst from well-meaning, beautiful daughters who spend little time in front of the mirror and still look great. Of course, when I tell them that, they look at the sky and say, "You're our mom!" Like that doesn't count for feedback. Oh well, they do use my recipes!

My makeup "consultant" turned out to be a woman with whom I could have spent hours with, sharing stories and learning about where to put what on the face. We were off to a good start when I called her cell to report traffic was delaying me! She'd come in especially that day to work with me for a photo shoot, yet she cheerfully said, "Take your time, I'll be here. Drive safely!" Take your time? Does anyone ever say that anymore? I haven't heard it in years. But I do hear road rage and people talking on cells through meals while their child sits there unengaged -- and on the beach and at ball games. But I digress. The point is this was not a hard-sell cosmetician.

I arrive five minutes late. She greets me warmly and we begin. She's done this for 15 years with various companies. She likes this one because it's a natural look. Of course, she's a good ad for the product, attractively sweet and endearing herself. I'm not sure, but maybe even without product on her face. But when you just "take your time" per her suggestion, the rush and hurry slip away and you actually enjoy the moment. I had made the appointment thinking, let's just get this over with and my kids will be happy I did it. And now I'm chatting with a stranger about how she sat in the sun too much when she was younger, too! That came up when I asked, "What's the number one mistake women make with their skin care?"

"Too much sun. Sun damage," shot the reply.

"And number two?"

"Women judge themselves harshly in this chair. I see them as beautiful, and they can't see it. They literally do not see how attractive they are because they run themselves down and that gets in the way." She knows us!

As a young girl I thought the most beautiful thing to behold was a woman who had aged in the Lord. I knew such women. They were old, wrinkled, soft skinned women who, when they spoke, said important words. These were women whose eyes twinkled, without eye liner and shadow and mascara. These were women whose animated joy reflected inner peace and strength from intimacy with Jesus Christ. The lovely epitaph of Emma Allen Bates in Atlanta from 1923 fits in here. "Her walk was ever close with God, whose light was in the holy beauty of her face." There's no hiding the light of Christ in our face. It spills over from His glory and grace!

I love that! It's been in the back of my mind, as well as my goal, ever since I saw it many years and many wrinkles ago. By the way, I did purchase a few items to soothe my aging skin. My daughters are pleased. I'm using the products without guilt. All of this left me even more determined not to fall for age-defying talk against laugh and frown lines, against bags under the eyes, and brown spots on the skin, and lip lines. Instead, I choose to listen to age-defining talk!

I believe the truest thing about you is what the Bible says about you. Do you look at yourself like the women in my consultant's makeup chair? Or do you see yourself like God does? The Psalmist helps us do that. "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb," Psalm 139:13. "... It is He who made us and we are His," Psalm 100:3b. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. ..." Psalm 139:14. All of this is about God's perception of you when He created the only you there will ever be. Whatever season you're in right now, trust this kind of age-defining talk!

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