What does growing old look like for you? Is it something you dread or a time you cherish?
When I first met him in college, I weighed 115 pounds. So did he –except his 115 pounds was spread over a 6’ 1” frame. We could eat whatever and however much we wanted, and our flaming metabolisms licked up all of those calories before they could make any impact on our waistlines.
Yesterday that man of mine invited me on a lovely anniversary date. I chose Echo Lake café, because nothing says love to me like eggs and hash browns with a side of coffee.
A few months before, I had spent hours cleaning out old pictures, and I put together a pile of photos from our early years, including documentation of how skinny we both were in the late 1980s. I pulled them out at the diner, and we laughed and reminisced about those long-gone seasons of our lives.
“I want that body again,” he said, pointing at his thin frame dressed in a leather jacket and skinny tie.
We simultaneously looked down at our huge breakfast platters.
“Tomorrow,” we said in unison. We’ll be skinny tomorrow.
This was our 26th wedding anniversary we were celebrating over a big breakfast. I sipped on my coffee and picked up a picture from our 10th year of marriage. In the photo, I was wearing a button-down cotton shirt.
“This wasn’t too long ago,” he said. I about spit my coffee across the room.
“Uh, yeah it was. Do you know how long it’s been since I could wear a fitted shirt like that? Buttons instead of a flowing top to hide my ‘relaxed’ stomach?” (Relaxed muscles. That’s what I like to call them.)
“You know,” I told Matt, “I wouldn’t trade that young, skinny body for the rich place I’m in with you relationally right now.”
I would not trade.
The Gift of Being Deeply Loved
Because back then my tiny waist was the envy of all the ladies, but I did not yet know what it meant to be loved deeply by a good man. I could tuck in shirts and didn’t need elastic or stretch fabrics, but I also didn’t know the joy of learning to stretch my heart in sacrifice and service.
Of course, it really helps that this man of mine still makes me feel like I’m gorgeous. He tells me I’m beautiful, and I believe him.
So my message to you today is please don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of saying goodbye to your 20-year-old body and then your 30-year-old body.
There is something better in exchange for youth.
Deepening friendship and the camaraderie of raising children together are better than being young and skinny. Walking through grief and painful seasons has toned our relationship, if not our bodies. Serving the Lord side-by-side has brought vitality to our hearts.
You don’t see that on the front pages of magazines in the grocery store.
Celebrate Growing Old Together
I pray that you will take care of your body, of course, but that you will gladly say goodbye to youth, as you grow in relationship with God and with your husband. May you celebrate the wrinkles pressed into your skin and the love pressed ever more firmly into your heart.
And hey, the diner was packed when we were there. Imagine all those people looking at my husband and I sitting so close and talking intimately. Picture them looking at our warm expressions and laughter as we looked at pictures. Imagine them watching us bow our heads, hold hands, and thank God for our food and our lives together.
I bet they weren’t sayin’, “Oh wow, look at that couple. They must be supermodels.” Probably not.
But maybe they smiled when they saw our sweet love. I can live with that, let me tell you.
And much love to you all from Montana,
Christy Fitzwater is a writer and pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She has a daughter who is married and a son in college. Christy writes to help people know God, and you can find her new book about becoming blameless on Amazon. Or follow her devotional blog at ChristyFitzwater. You can follow Christy on Instagram here!