It’s everywhere these days! The “in” color for walls, clothing, and even your head. It used to be that women would stress over the first sign of gray hair – rushing to the salon or drug store for color to cover it! Now it’s the trend – ombre, baylage, or all over color ranging from smoke to silver. Famous celebrities such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Dame Helen Mirren, and PWOC’s own Becky Shirey, rock their silver strands.
Scripture even has something to say about it in Proverbs 16:31 :
A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness. (NASB)
In other words, gray hair is a crown, a wreath of victory (such as those given to Olympic champions in days past), or a sign of rank, gained journeying the road of righteousness if we are believers.
Let that sink in further than your hair color! A wreath of victory for clinging to Christ instead of something to lament or hide? Yes, please!
In our military culture, this appreciation for those older than us can be lost as we can be a rather insular community. Our main demographic age tends to fall between 17 and the late 30’s, which means gray heads aren’t that common. Those who are “older” may be seen as past their prime, ready for retirement, or out of step with the modern military and its families. But is that really true?
I would wager none of us have had to travel by covered wagon, received letters with censorship holes in them, had zero contact during war time, or any of the other privations our sisters from years past dealt with. I’m glad housing assignments are no longer decided by the “ranking out” process, aren’t you?
Even during our time in the military, some things have changed drastically. I am truly thankful for technology so many spouses take for granted, because I’ve sent MARS Grams! Yet some things remain the same – spouses deal with separations, money issues, distance from family, and a list of other challenges.
In Titus 2:3-5 the older women are directed to “encourage” the younger. While the word translated encourage does mean to inspire hope and to support, other meanings include develop, stimulate, admonish, restore to one’s senses, and hold one to their duty.
That may mean practical action like babysitting for a frazzled mom. Or it may mean saying, you can do this, you can survive pushing one buggy at the commissary with the kids and pulling one with the groceries! Extending grace in the form of crying together, or extending harder grace by saying “adapt and overcome.” What this passage should never be is a means to guilt women into serving where they’re not called, or to marginalize them to one role.
Every stage of life has its challenges and charms, and we would do well to learn from each other. Older women can listen graciously, commiserate with how demanding raising little children can be, offer encouragement that it will pass, and seek to instill hope that even in the hard times God is still there. Younger women can also listen graciously, lay aside thoughts that she just doesn’t understand, respect the trials of other stages, and look for true mentorship – not just validation.
We do our community a disservice and miss out on sweet sisterhood when we relegate one another to certain boxes. Or walk in fear of asking questions and really listening because the answer might not be what we want to hear.
What if God is using this season to prepare us for something harder in the next? Those sisters who have gone before us on this military path have much to teach about perseverance, grit, perspective, God’s faithfulness, and grace under pressure. Warrior women in the midst of a warrior culture need each other. I am so thankful for those who have encouraged, chided, upheld, and challenged me along the way.
Are you thankful for those who’ve gone before you? How can you honor them?
So all that gray hair I’ve got? Not only am I a little tired of the upkeep spent trying to hide it, as I ponder Proverbs 16:31 and how God sees it, I’m seriously thinking about letting it shine through. After 28 years of Army wife life, 15-plus moves, 4 children, and multiple deployments and separations, I can promise you I have earned every. single. one.
Besides, if I don’t like it I can always dye over it again, right?
A self-declared “eclectic kind of gal,” Holly is a Jane Austen fan, history buff, and avid reader, who enjoys a rousing debate, learning new things, chocolate chip cookies, and dancing. Married to her soldier boy, Timothy, for 28 years and mom to 4 extraordinary children she currently resides in El Paso, Texas. She is passionate about God’s truth in everyday life, enjoys teaching and speaking at various military, homeschool, and ministry events, has been published on the NMFA blog, and can be found online at Household Six.