Monday, April 16, 2007

The Beauty of Age

My dear grandmother is now with her Lord. Before she died, my family and I were blessed to share a special visit with her at the Senior's Lodge where she spent the final years of her life. Our youngest boy was only months old and had just learned to sit, so we were relishing in his latest "trick", and had given him a seat of particular honor - right on the middle of the patio table we were visiting around.

Ur-Oma (great-grandmother) was enjoying the little one and I was busy snapping photos. As motherly, protective hands subconsciously do, Oma cradled the back of my boy - to ensure he wouldn't suddenly fall backwards and be hurt.

The moments were special - particularly so, because they were the last moments we spent together.

Months later, I was scrapbooking these photos into a photo album, and in doing so, dramatically cut some of the photos up. I was trying a "new" technique - placing little squares around the circumferance of the page. I remember looking for "one last square" to complete the page - rifling through my photo scraps in search of a flower, leaf, or some other "less noticeable" feature in the remnants of my photographs. As a result, my eyes lighted upon a corner in my discard pile. On it, were my grandmother's hands. Instantly, I cut around those hands to shape a square and added it, like the crowning jewel to my scrapbook page.

To anyone else, the little square would probably be overlooked on the page - amidst the shining face of my 6 month old, and smiles of my, then 3 year old with Ur-Oma. But today I was reminded just how precious that little square of the photograph is, and why it stirred my heart while I was scrapbooking.

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary and host of the Albert Mohler show (and arguably, one of the smartest Christians speaking out in the world today:), did a show last week called The Nature of True Beauty. I highly recommend listening to the program - especially if you've ever lamented over a wrinkle or a blemish. As part of the show, Dr.Mohler addressed our cultural fixation with the beauty of youth and how this becomes extraplated into the superiority of youthfulness. He pointed to scripture's perspective on beauty, as penned by Solomon in Proverbs 31:30 0 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain (NIV "fleeting"), But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

My Oma was a woman who feared God. I remember her talking of God to strangers, to friends, and to her family. She was in the Word daily and sought to live according to it with all her strength. In hindsight, I regret that I did not respect and honor her more in these regards. She was a hard-working wife and mother. She worked long and hard at church - using her gift of encouragement to rally brothers & sisters in the faith until her final days. Her hands spoke of such efforts. Her hands displayed her beauty within. Such true beauty is what I would like to develop - for it is such beauty that is not simply a result of genetic distribution, but the result of an obedient and willing heart in the hands of the Almighty God. Such beauty is to be praised because it points to the creator and sustainer of true beauty and it exalts Him, who IS truly beautiful.

May our hands become more beautiful - as we serve our God by serving others. May each wrinkle that is earned prove itself beautiful in the refining fire of our Maker's cauldron. May the beauty that we seek, reflect that ultimate Beauty we are gazing upon in God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Coffee Cup Verse

Psalm 86:7
In the day of my trouble
I call upon you,
for you answer me.