Growing Older Gracefully Archives 2013

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  • A Worthy Woman  (poem) by Jennie Flowers
  • The Crown of Old Age
  • The Gentlemen at the Front Door by Pat Gates
  • Aging (poem) by Netagene Kirkpatrick
  • Growing Older Gracefully
  • Temptations of the Elderly (Why Are Old People So Mean?) by Pat Gates
  • Response to email: How do I quit interrupting people?
  • Temptations of the Elderly (Spiritual Retirement) by Pat Gates
  • Temptations of the Elderly (The Tongue) by Pat Gates
  • Growing Older (poem)

A Worthy Woman
Proverbs 31:10-31

by Jennie Flowers

A virtuous woman who can find?
Better than rubies is a worthy wife.
The heart of her husband trusts her,
For she does him good all her life.

She keeps her body well and strong;
And works willingly with her hands-
She is like the merchant ships,
Bringing her food from distant lands.

She rises while it is yet night,
Her family and her maids to feed.
She watches over her household,
And provides for their every need.

She considers a field, and buys it;
And plants a vineyard on its site.
She goes and seeks wool and flax;
And by lamplight, she spins at night.

She supplies sashes to the merchants,
And makes linen garments to sell.
She sees that her merchandise is good,
Because she does her work so well.

Her household has no fear of snow,
For their clothes are scarlet, of the best.
She makes for herself nice tapestry;
In fine linen and purple she is dressed.

She reaches out her hands to the needy,
And helps the poor on every hand.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits with the elders of the land.

She opens her mouth with wisdom;
With strength and honor she is clad.
On her tongue is the law of kindness-
In time she shall rejoice and be glad.

She does not eat the bread of idleness;
And hard work never fazes her.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
And her husband also praises her.

Search and find a virtuous woman,
For charm is deceitful and beauty is vain;
But a woman who fears the Lord,
Shall be praised again and again.

Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And her works shall praise her in the gate.
Many daughters have done well;
But a virtuous woman makes a worthy mate.





The crown of old age

The hoary head is a crown of glory; It shall be found in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:31

Many are the crowns which, in imagination, we see upon the head. Many are eagerly desired and diligently sought; such are those of fame, of rank, of wealth, of power, of beauty. These are well enough in their way; but

It means a prolongation of life; and life, under ordinary conditions, is greatly desired, so that men cling to it even tenaciously.

It means the completion of the course of life. Age is one of its natural stages. It has its privations, but it has also its own honours and enjoyments; those who have passed through life's other experiences may rightly wish to complete their course by wearing the hoary head of old age. But in connection with age, there is—

I. THE CROWN OF SHAME. For it is not always found in the way of righteousness. An old man who is still ignorant of those truths which he might have learned, but has neglected to gather; or who is addicted to dishonourable indulgences which he has had time to conquer, but has not subdued; or who yields to unbeautiful habits of the spirit which he should long ago have expelled from his nature and his life; or who has not yet returned unto that Divine Father who has been seeking and calling him all his days;—such an old man, with his grey hairs, wears a crown of dishonour rather than of glory. But while we may feel that he is to be condemned, we feel far more inclined to pity than to blame. For what is age not found in the way of righteousness—age without excellency, age without virtue, age uncrowned with faith and hope? Surely one of the most pitiable spectacles the world presents to our eyes. It is pleasant, indeed, to be able to regard—

II. THE CROWN OF HONOUR. When old age is found in the way of righteousness, it is a crown of honour, in that:

1. It has upon it the reflection of an honourable past. It speaks of past virtues that have helped to make it the "green old age" it is; of past successes that have been gained in the battle of life; of past services that have been diligently and faithfully rendered; of past sorrows that have been meekly borne; of past struggles that have been bravely met and passed; for it was in the rendering and in the bearing and in the meeting of these that the hair has been growing grey from year to year.

2. It has the special excellency of the present. "A crown of beauty" (marginal reading). In the "hoary head" and in the benignant countenance of old age there is a beauty which is all its own; it is a beauty which may not be observable to every eye, but which is there nevertheless; it is the beauty of spiritual worth, of trustfulness and repose, of calmness and quietness; it is a beauty if not the beauty, of holiness. He who does not recognize in the aged that have grown old in the service of God and in the practice of righteousness something more than the marks of time, fails to see a crown of beauty that is visible to a more discerning eye.

3. It has the blessed anticipation of the future. It looks homeward and heavenward. A selfish and a worldly old age is grovelling enough; it "hugs its gold to the very verge of the churchyard mould;" but the age that is found in the ways of righteousness has the light of a glorious hope in its eyes; it wears upon its brows the crown of a peaceful and blessed anticipation of a rest that remains for it, of a reunion with the beloved that have gone on before, of a beatific vision of the Saviour in his glory, of a larger life in a nobler sphere, only a few paces further on.

-author unknown



The Gentlemen At the Front Door

Pat Gates

Every Sunday morning the door of the church building swings open and you hear a "Good morning,"  as Monroe watches and waits for all who are entering. It's a nice feeling to be immediately greeted and to know I am wanted. As I walk past Monroe, there stands Billy, an older gentleman with a smile that will melt your heart and a hug that will warm your spirit. Standing by Billy is Nick. Dear Nick who stands with his walker, living with the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, but plants himself in his spot near the front door, along side the other older gentlemen. After receiving my warm welcome at the door, there stands James, to the left; another warm hello and a smile from a gentleman who exudes a quiet dignity and strength.

Our Sunday morning gentlemen, our greeters, our welcomers, and the last ones we say goodbye to as we walk out the door. Men of faith who have grown older gracefully, filling a need for the congregation, as well as the visitors, making all feel welcomed and sending a farewell for a good day.

In the past months, we have lost Billy and Nick. Cancer took them away from us and their presence by the front door is greatly missed. As I now say goodbye to James and walk past Monroe with his, "Have a good day," there is a silent farewell to Billy and Nick, as they are a permanent fixture in my memories; my brothers who made me feel a part of the congregation, from the beginning, by their friendliness and warm smiles. Men who grew old gracefully and now leaving the front door, they've entered the gates of eternal life, having themselves received the greeting from those who have gone before.


Netagene sent in the following poem she wrote. I'm sure many of us understand! ha! Thank you for sharing your poem and your informative information about hearing aides. Hearing loss can certainly contribute to problems in conversation. Netagene.



I'm not a “bag lady”. I’m just an old bag!

Or call me a crone or maybe a hag!

No more am I young or a “cute little thing”.

It's been a long time since I was “sweet 16”!

I still look good in my mind’s eye,

But what I see in the mirror makes me moan and sigh.

I knew I would age, but it’s really a shock

That my face looks like a crag of old weathered rock.

It’s shapeless and wrinkled and colorless, too.

Is this what happens? Will I just fade from view?

I like who I am, and mentally I’m glad
That I can handle what hits me, even the “bad”.

I thought I’d age gradually. I knew youth wouldn’t last,

But no slow morphing – my looks changed fast!

I never was tall but it came as surprise.

When I recently measured, I was an inch shorter in size.

And my hair is all mousey, and mostly now grey.

But I’ll keep it long, at least for today.

My hands are skinny, my feet ugly and plump.

My tummy looks pregnant. Overall, I’m a frump!

When I dress up, you hardly can tell.
I try to dress like an angel, but I rarely look well!

Since “round” is a shape, then I’m in fine form!

Yeah, like hurricane clouds or a winter storm!

I’ve no choice but to age, and I’m not into pain.
Whining about it is a sorry refrain.

So this closing thought, as I near the dark night:

Everyone will be beautiful in Heaven’s sweet light!

Written by Netagene Kirkpatrick, about myself, in a few minutes while I was at work, February 12, 2008.

As to conversations, interrupting others, etc., which often happens more as we grow older, here's another point, which I KNOW PERSONALLY. (Read Ecclesiastes 12, also.)
I became high partial legally blind in October 2003. My counselor for the blind at state vocational rehab also thought I had a hearing loss. One reason was because I talked fairly loudly, I often pretty much dominated a conversation, and I interrupted a lot. I agreed to be tested. Guess what. Yep, my hearing was getting to the point of needing hearing aids. Being a client of the state VR, the hearing test and the hearing aids were all paid for. Even though I had only a mild-to-moderate HL (hearing loss), the HAs
(hearing aids) DID help - my hearing, and my conversational skills (for lack of not knowing what else to call it!).
My hearing has since gotten worse, and I got new HAs a couple years ago. This time, I also have not had to pay for them, as I learned of a grant through the hearing clinic that's associated with the university medical center here in Birmingham.

So HAVE YOUR HEARING TESTED! And don't be ashamed to wear HAs! And it's not just old people who wear HAs. There are a lot of children who wear them. People already know you're HOH (hard of hearing) because of several things. Most people wear glasses that people can see, so why try to hide HAs? Besides, the larger HAs (called BTEs - behind-the-ear) have more computer capabilities inside them, and use larger batteries, which last longer. They come in all colors (my new ones are light blue but I kind of wish I'd got zebra stripe, or maybe red), and you can also buy (or make) charms that you can put on the HAs (see - I know Hayleigh and her family personally but of course don't get a commission for telling people about them!). The charms look sort of like earrings, and I've often gotten compliments on mine.

And don't fuss about the cost. You don't have to get the most expensive ones with all the bells and whistles! Also, that huge price (usually about $2000 to $7000 for a pair) usually is a "bundle" and will cover EVERYTHING for 3 years (that's the usual deal with most audiologists - do NOT go to a place that advertises a lot because you're paying for the ads; go to an audiologist associated with a university medical school if possible, or to an ENT doctor - who does not advertise). That price usually covers a hearing test once a year, the HAs themselves, programming them, re-programming them, fitting them, adjusting them, cleaning them, etc. Because I live alone, I don't wear my HAs all the time, but when I DO put them on, they are so comfortable that I forget that I have them on! It did take a couple of visits after I got them, to get them to fit comfortably. And sure, they take some getting-used-to, just like glasses or new shoes, etc.
And look up and join the HLAA - - the Hearing Loss Association of America. Even if there's not a chapter near you, the 6 magazines a year are well worth the membership price. (And no, I don't get a commission from that, either!)  -- Netagene



Growing Old Gracefully

When Longfellow was well along in years, his head as white as snow, but his cheeks as red as a rose, an ardent admirer asked him how it was that he was able to keep so vigorous, and write so beautifully.

Pointing to a blooming apple tree nearby, he replied: "That apple tree is very old, but I never saw prettier blossoms on it than those it now bears. The tree grows a little new wood every year, and I suppose it is out of that new wood that those blossoms come. Like the apple tree, I try to grow a little new wood every year."

We all ought to do what Longfellow did. We cannot head off the one great event that happens to all; but we can keep on "growing new wood," and in that way keep on blossoming to the end.

"The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green..." (Psalm 92:12-14)


— anonymous



Temptations of the Elderly

Why Are Old People So Mean?

by Pat Gates

Disclaimer: Most old people are not mean, however, we often hear the younger generation speak of "mean old people." Most often, the aged are thrown into this category due to misunderstanding of the aged, but unfortunately, it is true at times. Because we are talking about temptations of the elderly, I'm going to direct this article towards "mean old people" and to encourage all of us to do a self-examination in order for us to be sure we don't or won't fall into this category.

I had not planned on writing about "mean old people" until I began doing a google search on temptations of the aged. It was then I kept seeing the question, "Why are old people so mean?" Fortunately, most of the answers I read were defending old people and saying they were not mean and pointing out the fact older people have many aches and pains and sorrows which they have to deal with and may give the appearance of being mean. I appreciate these points as they are accurate, however, the truth of the matter is that there are mean old people. I believe they are in the minority, but why is it they make such an impression on younger generations? Afterall, there are mean young people but you never hear the question, "Why are young people so mean?"

After thinking about this I've come up with some possible reasons why older people get labeled "mean" or "grouchy." The first point will be in defense of older people but the remaining points will be directed towards the temptation of older people to be mean and grouchy.

1. An illusion of grouchiness. Physical attributes of the aged contribute to a mean look. Some older people develop wrinkles and weakness of facial muscles which pull their faces downward, giving them an appearance of being angry when, in actuality, they aren't.

Fatigue may contribute to an unfriendly appearance. Older people need all their energy and concentration on just getting out and moving, leaving little reserve for friendliness. Not that they are purposely being unfriendly, they just have no extra energy to give more than the task at hand; living with chronic fatigue I understand this very well. It's all you can do to get the job done and there is an inability to multi-task. When people with fatigue get out of the house to shop, meet for worship, or just take a walk, carrying on a conversation may be very difficult as it takes added energy. 

Another reason for an appearance of unfriendliness may be a lack of hearing. An older person may not have heard what others said, or misunderstood what was said.

Nervousness from medications or mild dementia may cause an air of unfriendliness and can't be helped.

Older people are sometimes taken advantage of by younger people. Sometimes they are ignored, cheated, and left to themselves to take care of needs that may be impossible for them to do. Frustration may be the cause of their complaining so we need to examine ourselves to see if we are doing what we can to help the aged.

2. A reality of grouchiness and complaining. Yes! There are grouchy, complaining old people who seem to thrive on being miserable. I'm from Florida, the land of retirement, and I lived near a community of retirees. Many are happy, friendly, sweet people, but some, well, I felt like I needed to put on my battle gear to go shopping in their area, just in case there was a confrontation like me saying, "Hi, how are you?" And if they even dared to respond, I would be bombarded with how terrible the world is. Again, this was the minority.

Even if we are in pain, weakness, and loneliness we have no excuse to have a complete negative look on life and to indulge in murmuring and complaining. It's wrong.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Php 2:14-15

To help change an attitude of negativity we need to count our blessings, meditate on the goodness of God and His creation (including people), and remember that as God's children we should be lights in the world.

3. Putting too much emphasis on earthly things. Fears set in as we grow older. Perhaps we have good reason for that as we lose loved ones, finances, and body functioning. We may begin to wonder what's around the corner and we allow these fears to develop into a pattern of concern and worry. This, in turn, causes us to miss out on the good that is and will come our way and our worry spills over into our outlook on life in our actions and our conversation. The end result: Unfriendliness and complaining.

4. Forgetting their youth and having their own prejudice. Some forget what it was like being young and they harbor their own prejudice towards youth, placing all young people into a category of frivolity and mis-behavior. As they don't want to be judged in a negative light just because they are old, they should not do the same with youth.

5. Selfishness and self-interest. I understand how pain, weakness, and illness can cause a type of selfishness; the body is breaking down and shouts for attention. And I understand how living alone the majority of the time without a spouse, children, and friends can contribute to self-interest. There would be a temptation to concentrate on self, believing no one cares so some withdraw into themselves and give up on others. They must fight this temptation as this only increases loneliness. God wants all of us to care for others, even if we feel we ourselves are being uncared for (whether that's true or not).

6. Pride.  Pride blinds us and prevents us from forming better relationships with others. It can give us an appearance of a grouchy old person if we are so inflexible that we refuse to look at anyone else's point of view.  

7. Speaking their mind. We talked about this in the last issue of the temptations of the tongue and how our tongue gets looser the older we get. We need to be on guard that we don't give ourselves license to hurt others with our words that are totally unnecessary to say.

8. Depression and taking it out on others. Depression in the elderly can come from medications, fatigue and weakness, pain, illness, and the emotional pain of the loss of loved ones as well as the loss of functioning. Dealing with depression is not wrong in itself, it is how it is dealt with. Some "mean old people" seem to believe that if they are miserable then everyone around them should be miserable as well. These people mistrust others, see no good in life as well as seeing no good in the people around them. They become bitter and wonder why they have to end their life in misery.

9. Mentally fatigued and cynical. Perhaps the aged have been cheated and have concluded none are trustworthy. Perhaps they are tired of trying because one problem is piling on top of another and they have come to the conclusion why try at all. Why bother being friendly when they have predicted the outcome will only lead to more sorrow because others will hurt them or they will eventually lose them? This kind of reasoning results in cutting oneself off from others and, therefore, unfriendly and uncaring.

10. Physically fatigued. This point goes back to #1, except in this case, apathy takes over and they quit caring about others and have a mindset of just getting through the remainder of their years not getting in anyone's way and not wanting anyone to get in theirs. They only have enough energy to take care of their own life. This is understandable but, as best we can, our love for others needs to remain intact until the end of our lives. If it's too difficult physically to be around people we can call, send cards, and pray for others.


Fortunately "mean old people" are few and far between but with so many burdens that press on our spirit as we age, it is tempting to turn grouchy. We need to strive to remain sweet-tempered always looking for the blessed coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!



FROM THE MAIL:  "I am 73 year old. When I talking on the phone I talk when other person is talking. It make me feel so bad is any way I can stop that?????"
First of all, thank you for sharing this. Thank you for looking at yourself and seeing what you want to change, even at this age of your life; that shows a sincerity of heart and I appreciate it. Your email came a day after a friend and I had the same conversation. She is in her early 60's and I'm in my late 50's. I interrupted her and I apologized and she said, "Don't you find us doing that more because we are afraid we're going to forget what we want to say?" Yes! That's it. Even though I'm 15 years younger than you I'm finding I often forget what I was going to say when conversing with others.
Now I do realize there are women (and men) who have been in the habit of not listening and interrupting others throughout their lives but they don't usually recognize that in themselves so I don't think you fall into that category. It's probably what my friend mentioned... you may be afraid you'll forget what you were going to say.
What to do about it:
1. Be aware of it and you've already done that.
2. Keep a notebook by the phone and jot down what you want to say when it's your turn.
3. When you catch yourself interrupting, apologize, and then try your best to remain silent, even if you do forget what you were going to say.
4. Since the other person can't see you if you are talking on the phone, keep your hand over your mouth to remind you not to interrupt. Eventually you'll develop a habit of silence.
5. Change your focus as soon as the phone rings. Say to yourself, "I want to hear what this person is saying and if I can contribute after I hear, that's fine. If I forget what I was going to say, that's OK too. Now if the person is calling for advice, you may have to tell them from the beginning you may have to interrupt them because it's likely you'll forget how you were going to respond.
6. Remember others will listen to you with more interest if you listen to them first.
7. Seek first to understand before you want to be understood.
8. Remain calm. When I'm nervous or excited (happily excited), I'm more apt to interrupt.
9. Conversation isn't a race. I don't get to be with others very often, as I'm homebound so much of the time. When I do feel like getting out I find myself talking too much. It's as if all my times of silence comes gushing out. I have to remind myself during these times to slow down. Older people may experience this as well if they don't get out much as they are so joyful when they get to visit with others either by phone or face to face they want to share all their thoughts and experience. This is very understandable but in order for others to enjoy our conversations we need to slow down and listen and well as speak.
10. Keep in mind the most enjoyable conversations are two-sided and as we grow older we need to be available for younger people to come to us with their problems. Also we need the joy of youth and all they can contribute to our lives. Listening is the key to enjoyment.
 Now, with that said, is the person on the other end of the line not giving you a chance to speak? If that's the case, sometimes you have to interrupt to get a word in edgewise.
Thank you for writing. I appreciate your attitude and giving you advice has, hopefully, helped me to be more conscience of myself in the future.
-Pat Gates

Temptations of the Elderly

The Tongue

by Pat Gates

As we grow older and our bodies weaken a strange occurance happens - our tongue gets stronger and bolder! Actually this can be a blessing in many ways if we use our tongue properly. However, often it goes the other way as we give ourselves license as older women to speak out whenever we want to.  It would be good if we all keep a bridle with us, as did David, when we are about to use our tongues improperly, "I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle."

Here are some times of temptation when we may need to use our bridle:

Impatience and bossiness towards husband. We feel tired, cranky and we respond to our husbands with impatience as we feel completely relaxed with our husbands and it's easy to just let go. We may begin to be bossy and take the lead. The command from the Lord to be in subjection to our husbands does not end when we become aged. In fact, we are to be examples to younger women.

Tit 2:1-5 But speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine: that aged men be temperate, grave, sober-minded, sound in faith, in love, in patience: that aged women likewise be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sober-minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed:

Interfering in adult children's family affairs. Does your daughter cook and clean differently than you do? Let it go. Be silent. Does your son have different ideas than his dad about how a project should be done? Be silent. Let it go. Do your children have their own way of raising their children? Be silent. Let it go. Is your daughter and son-in-law (or vice versa) having an argument? Be silent. Let them work it out.

In spiritual matters and in some other situations we find dangerous, we may have to speak out but even in this, we need to use wisdom regarding when we speak and how often we do so.

Loose tongue. Are you finding yourself saying things out loud you would have never said in your younger years? I am! At times, I'm glad for this as I don't hesitate to stand for some truth that I may have been too embarrassed to say in my youth, but sometimes words come out that should have stayed in. I believe the reason for this is, as we become older, people don't intimidate us like they use to in our younger years and we begin to relax the guarding of our tongue.

A woman on the web said, "I've noticed that my mother as she's gotten older has started saying things that I would never have expected to come out of her mouth. Not necessarily rude just more blunt than she usually is. I've given her some funny looks when I've heard her talk like that and she just looks back and tells me she's too old care what she says. Okey dokey mom! LOL.

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that most of us spend our lives never really saying what we're thinking. Tiptoeing around people trying not to offend or be rude and I guess you just hit a point when you just finally have to say what's on your mind. That's the only thing I can think of."

Criticize Others. To go along with the loose tongue why do we feel it is O.K. to openly criticize others just because we've gotten older? This will be part of our topic next month so I won't say much now but age never gives us a license to hurt feelings. If we must discipline in some matter, kindness should be coupled with instruction.

Self-interest. There are women who begin early in life focusing on themselves and their conversation usually includes their interest and their family and not much of anything else. These women will naturally grow into older women who stay focused on themselves in their conversations unless they come to a self-awareness and desire to change. There are older women, however, who develop this self-interest later in life and they become totally absorbed in themselves. Actually there are some good reasons for this as an aged woman may be confined to her home or nursing home and she has no other experience to talk about. She may not have anyone to share her thoughts with during the week so she happily shares them with whomever she can. And, yes, sometimes the stories get repeated and repeated but we need patience as we'll all be there one day if we live long enough.

Nothing is wrong with talking about yourself and what happened during the week, but what is wrong is when we remained so self-focused we quit hearing what others are saying and we continually bring the conversation back to self. Younger women need the aged and they need listeners. Older women need each other and they need to listen to each other. It good and healthy to share your life with others as long as you are allowing them to share their's with you. 

"The general rule for talking is that we talk to serve others not ourselves. When talking we should be offering something to the other person such as humor, information, consolation, entertainment… basically anything so long as it is worthwhile for the other person. But, if we talk only about ourselves and feed our ego, we might as well just be talking to ourselves." Tejvan Pettinger

Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips. Prov. 27:2

It is not good to eat much honey; So to seek one’s own glory is not glory. Prov. 25:27

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Do not let each man look upon his own things, but each man also on the things of others. Php 2:3-4

Gossip. The aged may be lonely, longing for friendship but that is no excuse for getting involved in gossip. Let's stop the loose tongues (including our own) and speak with wisdom and patience. See Joanne Beckley's article about gossiping and sins of the tongue on the Gifts from Granny page.

A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. Prov. 11:13

He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends. Prov. 17:9

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips. Prov. 20:19

Complaining. We'll speak more about this in the next article but, for now, let's be careful about our complaining. There are disappointments, aches, pains, fatigue, loneliness, and more negative that comes with old age, but we need to be on guard that we don't become complainers who can see no good, nor speak any good about life.

A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.  Prov. 29:11

Silence. Meek and quiet spirit doesn't mean absolute silence. We need to be on guard against bitterness, apathy, self-focus, and even shyness that may be preventing us from encouraging others with words of kindness.

Pro_3:3 Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart

Let's all work on being or becoming older women who have the law of kindness on their lips and try to speak in wisdom, kindness, and gentleness.

Pro_31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; And the law of kindness is on her tongue.


Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Margot Benary-Isbert


Temptations of the Elderly

Spiritual Retirement

by Pat Gates


She sat by the window, bent over from old age,  Bible laying open in her lap and in a voice barely above a whisper, she asked the nursing home aide if she would like to study the Bible. She didn't see that her deterioration of memory or her speech and hearing problems should get in the way of spreading the gospel. The word of God was such a part of her that there were never thoughts of retirement from either study of God's word or teaching it to others.

The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of Jehovah; They shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and green: To show that Jehovah is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Psa 92:12-15

The old woman in the nursing home is my mom, two years ago at 92 years of age, doing what I've seen her do countless times since I was a little girl - asking whomever she meets if they would like to study the Bible. Now, at 94 years old she lay almost motionless, the ravages of Parkinsons has greatly lessened her ability to read and communicate but it took disease to stop this godly woman, as it never dawned on her to slow down in her spiritual walk on this earth. This cedar of Lebanon's branches may have been old and gnarled but she was full of sap and her leaves remain a glorious green! Spiritual retirement was unknown to this woman who walked in righteousness.

What is spiritual retirement?

Spiritual retirement is not a scriptural term by any means but one that is left up to our interpretation. In this series of temptations of the elderly Christian I want us to look at this term as an idea of withdrawal from an active spiritual working life of serving others as well as personal spiritual growth.

No one, or not many, will come out and say, "I'm 65 now so I've put in my years and I'm going to take it easy and not work so hard for the Lord and His church." However, this mindset can creep in our lives as we grow older and before we know it we are sitting back leaving the work up to the young. While our bodies and mind will begin to force limitations on us, we need to strive to continually go "in the strength of the Lord" and "declare [God's] strength to the next generation."

Excuses for spiritual retirement:

There are numerous excuses the elderly give themselves to retire. 

1. Mental fatigue. We may also want to call this battle fatigue. The life of the righteous is often lived on the battle ground. We fight against the wiles of the devil in and outside of the body of Christ. We sometimes have our own personal battles whether they have to do with our own self or with our family. As we age we learn to "pick our battles," having wisdom and experience to teach us to overlook some matters that aren't that important. This is a good trait of the elderly, however, there could be a temptation to begin to overlook serious problems within ourselves, our family, and the church because we just don't want to get into any more battles. We've had enough.

The problem with this way of thinking is that now we have wisdom and knowledge like we've never had it before and the younger members of our physical and spiritual family need this wisdom. We should never have the mindset that we have had our time of battles, now it's their time, and we sit in the trenches while our loved ones draw their spiritual swords. If we can't do much because we are physically limited, we can encourage those loving souls who are striving to win their personal battles as well as helping others overcome their's. We can uplift the hands of those who are striving to spread the gospel and to keep the church pure.

Notice in the scriptures to the Ephesians how active putting on and wearing our armour is and we are to wear this armour "being watchful to this end in all perseverance," knowing our strength lies in the Lord and the power of His might.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;  praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Tim 4:6-8

2. Feeling worthless and unwanted. Unfortunately, there are physical and spiritual families who don't respect the aged and are full of themselves. This isn't always the case and sometimes the feeling of being unwanted may be in our own self-image. But, either way, we need to understand that everyone in the Lord's church is of worth to the body and all are wanted by our Lord to serve in whatever capacity they find ourselves in.

The aged have the advantage of perspective and they need to make good use of it. They have a vantage point the younger ones do not have. I found this explained in an article on the internet, "It is like standing on a mountain of years and looking over the valley of time, so that we can see relationships, connections, failures, successes, dangers, lessons that those who live in the valley of youth do not see. We can help them. Our years are now valuable for the sake of counsel and advice." Hopefully, we also had many more years of Bible study and can share the wisdom of God's word. If not, it's never too late to gain knowledge.

But I will hope continually,
And will praise You yet more and more.
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
And Your salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits.
I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.

O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come. Psalm 71:14-18

3. Pain and illness. Pain and illness can definitely limit our functioning and much of what we use to do, we find we can no longer do it. However, we can not use that for an excuse to give up. No matter what the condition of our body, there is something we can do. Yes! There is! I have seen young bodies destroyed by MS and heart disease and these righteous Christians did not quit. A young man completely paralyzed from MS spent his day in Bible study and, I'm sure, prayer. Another young man I knew who could barely function from MS would make home made cards for others. And still another, whose entire body was almost completely broken down due to heart and liver disease, press on in Bible study, prayer, and encouraging others. Some never make it too old age, but their example should teach us there is never a time or circumstance with our body, as long as we have our mind, that we can't work for the Lord. 

Chronic illness may keep us from meeting with the saints for worship, but please don't just quit attending without explaining your circumstance. If you can no longer attend, let others know it is of a physical nature and not spiritual. If you are up to it, ask for home study and visits. Pray for the congregation and let others know you are praying. Keep up with the news and send cards. You can still encourage the local congregation, even if you are homebound.

4. Complacency. Everything mentioned above can tempt us with spiritual complacency. We're old now. Time to sit back and pass through what time we have left with as much ease as we can. We're tired, in pain, and somewhat bitter with the attitude of the young. Our mindset affects our thoughts and actions to where we dismiss spiritual thoughts and remain inactive.  Our prayers begin to fade; we quit praying for opportunities (do we really want them?), we quit praying for others, and soon, we just quit praying.

We must fight this temptation. Our Lord never gave us an excuse to quit. In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite.

5. Idea that it is time to enjoy life before I die. To be honest, I envy those who are retired and can take trips with their husbands in their RVs and enjoy life and relaxing after a lifetime of work. Unfortunately, we have no retirement and my dear husband has to continue to work. Those who can retire are quite fortunate, especially in today's world. However, there is a temptation to retire from the Lord's work as we set out to enjoy life. We may continue to meet with the saints but may become so involved in rest and relaxation that we begin to tell ourselves that our service begins and ends with meeting with the saints on Sunday and Wednesday night. The work can be done by those younger as we put in our time.

Keep Pressing On!

We are needed to continue to work until the day we die! Our gracious Father has provided an eternal rest from our labors but, for now, we must press on, not becoming sluggish but daily renewing our spirit, and be faithful unto death.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:12-14

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:16-18

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,  that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Heb. 6:10-12

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10

               Growing Older

A little more tired at the close of day,
A little less anxious to have our way,
A little less ready to scold and blame,
A little more care for a brother's name;
And so we are nearing the journey's end,
Where time and eternity meet and blend.

A little less care for bonds or gold,
A little more zeal for the days of old;
A broader view and a saner mind,
And a little more love for all mankind;
And so we are faring down the way
That leads to the gates of a better day.

A little more love for the friends of youth,
A little more zeal for established truth,
A little more charity in our views,
A little less thirst for the daily news;
And so we are folding our tents away
And passing in silence at close of day.

A little more leisure to sit and dream,
A little more real the things unseen,
A little nearer to those ahead,
With visions of those long loved and dead;
And so we are going where all must go
To the place the living may never know.

A little more laughter, a few more tears,
And we shall have told our increasing years.
The book is closed and the prayers are said,
And we are part of the countless dead;
Thrice happy, then, if some soul can say,
"I live because of their help on the way."

by R. G. Well

November 2017