Colleen Elisabeth Chao is an editor and author. She enjoys dark-dark chocolate, side-splitting laughter, and half-read books piled bedside. She makes her home near Boise, Idaho, with her husband Eddie, their son Jeremy, and Willow the dog. 







I have several friends in their fifties and sixties who are living proof that a woman can grow more beautiful with age. Isn’t it hopeful to know that a heart at peace and a life of joy can transform our faces and attract people to our God?

As I celebrate my 41st birthday this week, I’m returning to a poem I wrote years ago, when I had far fewer grays, spots, and lines; when time had not yet begun to leave its mark on my body. This is the kind of imperishable beauty I long for….


Her face was weathered,
older now.
Facials and lotions,
expensive beauty potions—
she had turned them in.
For in the end,
when life was done,
she wanted her heart
to be the most beautiful part
of her.

Sure, she missed that glance,
the eyes that danced
to look at her
(in her younger days
when beauty’s ways
were upon her).
But now people stared long and hard
at her heart
that shone on her face.

Plastic Beauties who saw her walk by
envied her—the life in her eyes
that sparkled,
undaunted by aging and time—
and almost mesmerized
they asked her
the reason for her smile.
And she would stop awhile
and tell them
(oh, she loved to tell them)
of the One who made her beautiful.

“Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
Psalm 34:5

“They shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord…”
Jeremiah 31:12

“‘And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.”
Ezekiel 16:14

“Oh, the soul of man is more worth than a thousand worlds! It is the greatest abasing of it that can be—to let it dote upon a little shining earth, upon a little painted beauty and fading glory—when it is capable of union with Christ, of communion with God, and of enjoying the eternal vision of God.”
Thomas Brooks