At 59 years old, former “Little House on the Prairie” child actress Melissa Gilbert has embraced aging. She talked frankly and openly with People this month about letting her hair go gray and going through menopause — subjects that would make most Hollywood stars run the other way. But it hasn’t always been that way for Gilbert. She recalled being consumed with her appearance when she appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2012, when she was in her late 40s. “I was approaching 50 and there was this panic of, ‘This is it. I’ve got to wring this out while I can,'” she told People. That era “was the peak of Botox, fillers, spray tan, hair extensions, big boobs,” she explained during another People interview, in 2018. She got a wake-up call of sorts when she caught a glimpse of herself in a photo from an event she had attended. “I literally looked like Carrot Top the comedian,” she told the outlet this month. “My hair was too red, and when I did Botox, I became the spawn of Satan with pointy eyebrows. I had no facial expression, which is anathema considering what I do for a living.” Not long after those realizations, she met and married actor and director Timothy Busfield, who, she said, encouraged her to embrace her aging. “When I would say, ‘I think I’m going to stop coloring my hair,’ he’d say, ‘Can’t wait to see what color it is. This is so exciting!’ ” she told People. “When I said, ‘I think I want to get my breast implants taken out permanently,’ he said, ‘Do it!’ It’s incredibly uplifting to be with someone who says, ‘I love you exactly the way you are.’ ” The freedom she experienced from that thinking encouraged her to develop Modern Prairie, a “lifestyle brand” and online platform for older women. Modern Prairie markets clothing and household items “inspired by the Little House ethos of ‘love, community and family,’ made by women-owned or women-run businesses,” People reported. Gilbert described it as an antidote to the standard approach of labeling everything for older women as an “anti-aging” product. “There’s no such thing!” Gilbert insisted. “It’s derogatory and demeaning. The idea that we’re trying to teach people to be afraid of aging is a mistake. Aging is a gift. I like to say I’m aging gratefully. “Aging is not a disease. It’s time we celebrate it. I think it’s so amazing that I get to grow old.” It’s refreshing to see a celebrity encouraging a healthy outlook on one of the most natural processes in the world. In a culture that seems to value only the youngest, strongest and most physically perfect, it’s nice to see someone who has come to realize that people on the other end of the aging spectrum have beauty and worth. It’s an idea found in Proverbs 16:31: “Gray hair is a crown of glory.” It’s fortunate that Gilbert has someone in her life who has encouraged her to accept herself — gray hair, wrinkles and all. Of course, she was just using humorous hyperbole with her “spawn of Satan” remark, but isn’t that just like the Enemy, whispering in our ear about all our faults and failures? As Gilbert told People, that era of frantic striving to reclaim her lost youth was before she met Busfield, now 66, whose love and encouragement gave her the freedom to accept herself. Not everyone is blessed to encounter a spouse like that, but we all have a chance to encounter a Savior like that — someone who meets us and loves us where we are as described in Romans 5:8 — empowering us to disregard the doubts and become the one He created us to be. It appears Gilbert has her family priorities in order, as well, as she talked without envy of her fellow actresses “who are still a size 2 or a 0, but that’s not what my life is right now.” “It’s attainable, but it’s fleeting,” she told People. “You have to keep it up. I did that in my 20s, and I don’t have the wherewithal to do it anymore. If that’s what you want to do with your time, great. I’d rather get down in a sandbox and play with my grandchildren.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.