The Cracked Life
By Mary Southerland
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, NKJV).
I must be getting older because I have six grandchildren. And they really do say the most hilarious things – sometimes. Other times, their words can absolutely nail me to the wall and put life in perspective in a split second.
A few weeks ago I was keeping our three-year-old grandson Hudson while our daughter took his older brother to the doctor. Hudson has strawberry-blonde hair, blue eyes, a killer smile … and he loves to snuggle. I know. It’s a deadly combination.
After Danna and Justus left, Hudson crawled up in my lap and just grinned at me. Then he began to gently rub my face with his little hand. My heart just melted. He was probably thinking what a beautiful grandmother he has … or how soft my skin is.
I could not have been more wrong…
“Mimi, why are there cwacks (cracks) in your face?” Hudson sweetly asked. I died laughing and tried my best to explain why my face has lines. It was quite a conversation. Hudson wanted to know if the doctor could fix the lines or if I needed a Band-Aid or some medicine. I assured him that I really was working on getting rid of the cracks in my face.
We live in a world frantically trying to ward off the aging process. Women – yes, I am right there with you – try every anti-aging product they can find. Some women spend a lot of money on cosmetic procedures in an effort to eliminate wrinkles, age spots, skin tabs and anything else that might remotely suggest that they are indeed getting older. It is almost as if we really do believe wrinkles are terminal.
I’m not saying it is wrong to make every effort to look our best, but I am saying that staying young is more of an inside job than an outside one.
I am 65 – a fact that is just almost impossible for me to wrap my head around. I really didn’t think I would live this long. Seriously!
Every day of my life has been jam-packed full of both wonderful and horrible things – some of which I didn’t think I would survive. And yet, here I am, going strong and looking forward to the next chapter of life – convinced it is going to be a doozy!
Friends and family members often compare my daily life to a series of helicopters landing. You never quite know what is in those helicopters, but one thing is certain – the landing is going to be fierce and things will start flying. Sometimes I stand firm, almost daring that helicopter to land. Other days I duck for cover. And when the dust settles, I am absolutely amazed and praising God that I am still breathing.
If you are a young woman, let me encourage you to cherish every day and every moment with your friends and family because the older you get, the quicker the days fly by. Seek God’s plan with a holy desperation and embrace it with every breath. I look at our children who are married and having children of their own and wonder where all those years went. How did this happen? I think it is called life, and the part this side of heaven is very short.
If you are a middle-aged woman, celebrate the journey … so far. Take time to reflect and let the lessons God has taught you marinate in your soul. Let go of what you thought was so important – but turned out to be so insignificant. Joyfully pick up the things worth hanging on to and turn the page with a sense of anticipation.
If you are an older woman, take a deep breath and celebrate the fact that you are breathing. Breathing is good! As our five-year-old granddaughter once told my husband when he finished a puzzle, “Good job, Papi! You did it! I proud of you!” Her words of encouragement have become a family maxim.
I believe this: if you are alive, God has a purpose and a plan for your life. Give yourself a pat on the back for your stellar survival skills. Take a few moments to reflect on your life and don’t get hung up on what might have been. Yank the question marks into exclamation points and praise God for His stubborn love and unwavering faithfulness to you.
God cannot fill hands that are desperately clutching a bunch of “what ifs.” Celebrate what is, dare to dream of what can be … and walk on. Keep your gaze on Him and your glance on your circumstances. Find your purpose and do it!
And those cracks?
Battle scars, girlfriend.
Wear them proudly! You have earned them, and they look great on you!