Jarti…what does that mean? In the nomadic African village where we lived for four years, the people began calling me Jarti. It hurt to find out what the word meant: old woman. My face must have told volumes when I asked one of the village elders, “Do you think I look THAT old? I am still young and in good health.” He quickly corrected my misconception by telling me, “Oh, no. You raise your children well, can drive a car, make a computer work, read and write books, and learn a new language. Young girls can’t do those things. They are silly-headed. You are wise. You are Jarti.” I had to laugh at my oblivious buy-in to the American worship of youth.

Of the many lessons my African friends taught, this one stands out because they have it so right and the Western media has it so wrong! We need to value the inner person because, “Charm can fool you. Beauty fades. But a woman who has respect for the LORD should be praised” Proverbs 31:30, (NIrV).

We need to ask ourselves what we value most, and it should agree with what God values most.


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