Giving ourselves grace

Written by Kay Wyma
Published on May 14, 2021

I recently received an email invitation for a gathering to encourage women in younger life stages about womanly issues, specifically “embracing growing old.” 

I laughed out loud. Is this what it has come to? Am I old? And what about these younger women we’re to encourage?

Most of them are my friends, literally. Our kids are in the same class. It’s probably because I was a bit older in having our five kids. 

When my littlest guy was five, I sat next to a same-aged friend of mine at a children’s Christmas program. Looking over, I happily whisper-asked her what she was doing there, then practically choked on her reply: “I came to see my grandchild.”

Freedom with age 

At that moment, I felt old. But only for a moment. Maybe that’s part of “embracing growing old.” So, as I replied yes to the email-invite, I chuckled, remembering turning fifty (five years ago) and my announcement to my family, “Just so you know, now that I’m fifty—I’m free. Fifty and free! I mean why wait 20 years to sink into all the great stuff that comes with age? I’m sinking into it today.” 

They cringed. “I’m going to wear what I want, say what I think, and merge into traffic without so much as a care in the world. Other drivers will give me a break—I’m 50!” 

I still smile at the thought. That’s what happens when you’re old. Maybe wisdom does come with age. Wisdom and freedom

• Freedom to openly embrace a Lycra-laced wardrobe. Not the standard two-inch elastic waistbands hiked up to your armpits elderly fare (though, never say never), simply, clothes with give. Let the young sacrifice comfort for fashion. So long fitted/button/zero-percent-stretch waistlines. Hello, comfy dresses and flat shoes. 

• Freedom to be late. 

• Freedom to wear the same outfit twice in one week—just because a mid-centenarian can. 

• Freedom to forget. 

• Freedom to repeat myself. 

•Freedom to lean into the gray. 

Encourage each other in every life stage

“Your hair,” a friend commented. “Where did you get your highlights done?” 

“Riding shotgun in my car,” I replied. 

Student drivers are not for the faint of heart—let alone mid-century hearts. “With every near-miss, each clipped curb, all the muffled gasps and failed attempts to stomp on nonexistent passenger-side brakes, I can literally feel the gray hairs grow.” 

Then I add, “I’m fifty. Gray’s OK.” 

The truth is, we’re OK at any age. Alongside each other and in it together, we can encourage each other in every life stage. And we need to. 

As we share our stories, we beckon each other away from the isolating shadows of insecurity, mis-met expectations, doubt, disappointment, and judgment (most of which we heap upon ourselves) that often accompany aging. 

In honestly sharing our experiences, we connect and realize that we aren’t the only ones. We recognize that, as our bodies change, what worked so well in our twenties doesn’t quite fit in our forties. 

Hormonal shifts or depletions may require more than a diet change or natural remedies that used to fit their purpose. And that’s OK. 

God is with us in every step

Gathered with the group of women, ages ranging from twenty-five to seventy, the one thing that resonated regardless of age is our seemingly universal need to give ourselves a break. To extend grace and stop being so hard on ourselves. To be kind to ourselves. 

God is with us in every stage, in every step. He inspires, equips, fills, and works through us so that we can do what each one of us is beautifully purposed to do. 

Never alone. Never on our own. Breathe. And give yourself grace. Then: 

• Linger in God’s endless creativity, beauty, and goodness.  

• Fully enjoy the days rather than allow changes or circumstances to steal the joy woven within them. 

• Lean into changes that come with age. 

• Let go of mis-met expectations. 

• Wear your clothes of fine white linen, the clothes of righteousness he has prepared and purchased uniquely for you.  

Remember that God has declared you: Loved. Precious. Honored. Cherished. Sought After. Redeemed. Never alone. Seen. Chosen. Known. A masterpiece. 

Then see the person walking alongside as they are—a person of great worth and dignity—so that we can take steps in a direction toward a little more peace with each other and within ourselves.

“‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10 ESV).

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Kay Wyma

Kay Wills Wyma is a mother of five children, three of which fall into the tween/teen category. She writes primarily to fellow parents walking the challenging yet rewarding road of parenting adolescents and teens. Her first book, Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her House of Youth Entitlement, grew out of her blogging through a year of determined effort to teach responsibility and self-reliance to her children. Her latest release is titled I’m Happy for You (Sort of…Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison. You can find Kay’s blog, where she continues to write, at www.themoatblog.com.

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