The Woman in the Mirror


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. 




The Woman in the Mirror

The Woman in the Mirror

The Woman in the Mirror

The Woman in the Mirror tells me I’m almost 44. Which is crazy because just yesterday I was 33. And the day before that I was 22. But there’s no denying it: once-covert wrinkles now flaunt themselves; previously perky-and-woke skin now slumbers. It’s all kinds of awkward to age, people. Even my hormones have formed an alliance with my hair roots—to overthrow any last vestiges of youth.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore being in my forties. I love getting older, and I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been. But in a culture that worships the ruthless tyrant Ageless—and with a heart prone to obsess over Self—I wage a daily war between lies and truth.

Lies say the greatest compliment I can receive is, “You look so young for your age! I never would have guessed you’re in your forties!” (Even today, on TV in the doctor’s office, a famous model offered me a special age-defying potion. She said there’s a magical fruit in the south of France that will take ten years off my face.)

But Truth says I’m an image-bearer of The Most Beautiful One—and by beholding him, I become like him. My spirit, the very essence of who I am, grows more beautiful in his presence.

Lies say women lose stock as they age.

Truth says these wrinkles represent some pretty amazing chapters in my story—chapters I wouldn’t give up for all the youthful looks in the world. (Why would I want to be mistaken for 34 when I’m so grateful for every one of these 44 years?)

Lies say your body is your worth. Your looks are your currency.

Truth says this life is just a shadow of the breathtaking reality to come. Aging is the passing of the shadow, the coming of all that is good and lasting.

So, when I’m tempted to resent how hard it is to maintain muscle these days, how my eyes seem to wax gibbous, or how my jowls are sinking into my neck, I catch myself. These wrinkles are my glory! Every altercation of age is a testimony to God’s good work in my life, to a heart that he is beautifying each day.

I hope that as I live into the fullness of middle age, the best compliment I receive will be, “You are radiant with Jesus. I see him in and through you, and it is beautiful.”

Bring it on, 44.

(Now if only I could make peace with my gray roots….)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5

“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

“A human is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Psalm 144:4