A woman’s face changes by aging.
A woman’s face tells more than her age. As we age, our facial features change. Hair becomes thinner and whiter, and our skin turgor changes.
You’ve gone years without seeing someone, then happen to meet them again. You think to yourself, “My, she’s aged.” It’s part of growing old – and growing gray.
There’s another change which happens in women that has little to do with age, but a lot to do with relationships. When a woman is loved and cared for, it shows. You can see it in her face. The lines around her eyes and mouth are gentle, warm, and tender. Even with age creeping on and more wrinkles on a woman’s face, those wrinkles continue to show peace and harmony.
Even though women may endure difficult times, sorrow does not wipe away the strength in her smile. When she is cared for, it shows, and it shows up especially well in her face.
When a woman chooses joy
My mother stopped in to visit an older widow woman in our community who I hardly knew. We came away from that short visit smiling. This woman’s face was full of joy. Her eyes twinkled and her smile went from ear to ear.
“Mama,” I said, “She is so jolly and happy! That was fun!”
Then my mother told me why this particular woman had a “right” not to be happy. I did not know her husband left her when her children were young. He was gone for years. She was left to provide for her children with the help of her parents. In time, he returned. She forgave his wanderlust. This woman had every reason to be bitter and angry. Yet I never knew, because she bubbled with sunshine and joy.
What I learned that day has stayed with me for life. My mother was not a gossiper, but she wanted me to understand that our joy does not need to depend on how we are treated by others. She used this woman as an example of how one can rise above circumstances to find joy in Jesus.
Face changes from pain
Sadly, many women have not experienced that joy. A woman’s face tells when things are not well in her life. It might be because of her spouse, her kids, her family, her work, or her world. You know women like that. We all do. We watch the lines harden, the luster disappear from the eyes, and the softness of her face diminish.
It might be your sister, your aunt, your cousin, your daughter, or a friend. You watch her age before her time. Her face becomes gaunt and gray. The lines and wrinkles show deep pain and hurt. Sometimes she becomes thin and gaunt, or heavy and pudgy. Pain, bitterness, and anger show in our bodies, as well. That is when we hear others say, “She’s aged before her time.”
At forty, she looks like she’s sixty. At fifty, she resembles seventy. Whether she’s thin from worry and lack of care, or heavy from depression and gloom, her face tells a lot – and everyone can read it.
The path to a woman’s face changing
I’ve known women who were beauties in their teens. You know, the kind of beauty every guy wanted to date. The kind of pretty that caused jealousy in other gals, even her friends. She was going places and full of potential and dreams.
Then life happened.
Now, she’s the one who envies you. Perhaps it’s because she married an abusive man or finds herself in a careless marriage, or he’s left her for someone else.
Maybe her spouse neglects her emotionally. Oh, they’re married and they have kids. But the spark has long been gone because he failed to nurture her soul. She’s but a shadow of the woman she once was. In fact, sometimes she’s not even certain who she is anymore, because the light has gone out in her heart.
Or, perhaps she traverses the world to get away from home and finds she lost so much when she gave up home – and now has no one she can hold close. She becomes hard, and cold, and aloof.
Bitterness from her past, or aloofness from broken relationships wear away at the soft, smooth lines and darken the sparkle that used to shine in her eyes. Hardness, pain, sorrow, and loss wear away at the softness and gentleness that shone out of innocent, carefree eyes.
The wall behind a woman’s face
Friends who care about her are thwarted from getting too close. Friends who could help aren’t allowed because she doesn’t want anyone to know the pain inside.
Sometimes she finds other friends – friends who choose to be part of the misery loves company club. They commiserate together, each one pulling the other one down because they have so little left to give. I’ve watched this happen over and over. It’s an exclusive club, and no one belongs there but the angry, lonely, bitter, or miserable.
When you’re watching and you see the changes, what can you do? What’s to happen to bring the sparkle back, to bring light on the face, to soften the lines of hardship from years of neglect?
How to help when a woman’s face changes
If you’re the spouse, and your neglect has caused the heartache and pain we read on her face, you probably know what to do. If you don’t know, then find someone who can help you. Is it possible that the language on the face of your spouse is a reflection of the true you?
If you’re a friend of the hurting woman, don’t stop. Keep on being the friend. Hurting, lonely people need friends even when they don’t know they need them. Speak truth to your friend and help her find her way to healing and hope. You might never be called upon, but be ready to help if the time is right. Be willing to listen to her pain without passing judgment or giving unwanted advice.
If you are the woman who has lost hope for healing, take stock of your situation. We are each responsible for the way we respond to situations. Find someone who can help you find your way through the darkness. It’s not likely that you can do this on your own. Don’t allow pride to keep you from getting the help you need. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I really want to wear this weariness and pain on my face the rest of my life?”
Faith can change a woman’s face
No matter who you are, if you are a child of God, you can pray.
Ask God for wisdom and for direction to find your way out – or to help your friend find your way out -of despondency and despair.
Ask God for opportunities to pour healing into your friend. If they don’t accept it now, then you must accept that as well. Don’t shut the door on your friend. Use the rebuttals and negativity as a reminder to keep praying. One day she might be ready to open it and ask for help.
There’s only one way to find rest and joy when life is hard, and that is through Jesus Christ. If you do not have a relationship with Him, then it’s time.