I have known for years that this day would come. But the manner in which it came so reflected Your character that it astounds me.
It really wasn’t until the reservation that I began to understand how important my hair was in forming my identity. It was the one part of my body that people constantly complimented. Strangers often asked if it was natural, if they could touch it, how beautiful it was, etc. It became such a common experience over the last two years that if someone didn’t remark about it, I wondered what was wrong with it that day.
The compliments were like heroin to my wounded soul–I constantly was looking for the next hit of affirmation. I glanced in every window that I passed by, I made a judgement call, assessing my value based on the outer package that I presented.
I didn’t have to search very deep in my heart to know that this was a problem. I also knew a bit about Your character–You wanted all of me. I knew that You were constantly working for my good and my abuse of my hair was not pleasing to You. I knew it was an id
ol in my life that was chaining me down. Yet I continued just the same, daring You to take the one thing I loved about me, from me.
And then I decided to dye my hair blonde, much of my motivation being rooted in the desire to gain more attention.
But then it didn’t turn out blonde–it was Little Mermaid orange. I cried and cried out of a deep place of brokenness. Who would love me now that the only beautiful part of me was ugly? Rather than purpose in my heart to seek a Truer kind of beauty, we spent nearly $200 buying the shade of hair I was after.
And it looked good. The blonde suited me very well, softening my features and making my hair even more eye-catching. But the pleasures of this world are fleeting, are they not? Soon my beautiful golden tresses had taken on a brassy orange after being coated by the mineral-filled water on the reservation.
Again I wept, sure that You were purposely working against me and trying to strip me of my beauty. Rue took me to the hair salon and I dyed it brown again, just wanting the saga to end.
It turned out midnight black. The Wicked Witch of the West and I shared the exact same shade of hair, I am sure. To make matters worst, my beautiful curls now hung limp.
I cried and cried and cried. I had gone from beautiful brown girls to limp, black hair. Only You understand what it did within my soul. I was so angry that You had the audacity to take my beauty away.
Much was I relieved when the color began to wash out. But wait–too fast! I was convinced that the color was fading too fast and soon I would be left with splotchy blonde, brown and orange hair.
You got it–again I cried. I screamed at You for taking my hair away, refusing to own up to my own foolish decisions. What kinda of Father takes His daughter’s beauty that he so stingily bestowed?
As time passed, my fears faded. The curl returned, the color calmed and the expensive shampoos and conditioners I purchased softened my damaged tresses.
And then the lice came–louse, to be more specific. That single bug was a wave against the foundation of sand I had built. I always used to joke that if I ever got lice, I would have to shave my head. Now that I was faced with the reality, I panicked. I sat for hours underneath the shower cap, praying the Listerine fumes would kill every parasite that dared tread across my scalp.
It worked. My scalp felt clean and no nits or lice were found. My beauty had survived another onslaught!
But a few days after arriving at IHOP, I knew something was wrong again. Though I didn’t
itch again, to my horror, I found dozens and dozens of nits. So I wept.
Six lice treatments later, one heat treatment, hours of research, several loads of laundry and an untold number of tears, I was again free.
By this time, You had taken my heart to a different place. I was finally wiling to not only acknowledge that my hair was an idol, a part of me was willing to consider giving it up.
I approached the prayer room with a restless spirit, accusing You of what I long suspected would one day happen: “Are You going to make me shave my head?” And in the most quiet of voices, I felt my spirit stir and this reply rise up within me: “I’m not going to take it, but You can give it to me if You want.”
The stark difference between the two motives of the heart hit me like a freight train. I finally saw clearly–You could have taken my beautiful hair in a moment but had chosen not to. Instead, over and over again You allowed me to be in situations that clearly displayed how tightly I was holding on to my hair as the source of my identity, desiring that I give it to You. You knew that if You had taken it, I would have unjustly been bitter and would not have experienced freedom.
So the decision remained with me. The smallest part of me remained indecisive so I searche
This link was the first to show up: http://www.wonderfullymadeblog.org/2013/01/why-i-shaved-my-head.htmld the term, “Shaving for my Heart” in Google.
Within the first line, Egypt is mentioned. Indeed, the first photo was of the author in front of the Great Pyramids riding on a camel. I almost laughed. 194 countries and the first blog that I come across takes place in Egypt, the country You have called us to preach the Gospel in.
The author told her story, one not so different than mine. However, she had met a young girl named Daisy who was going through chemo while in Israel. As I looked at the family photo of the grinning girl, guarded lovingly by her mother, brother and father, I recognized a face and a name. Merrick.
You see, I knew the Merricks. My sister had served in Carpentaria, CA with them years ago. They had been close at one time. I had head that the daughter had cancer and had prayed for her. Now, the Merricks were interwoven into my story, changing someone else’s life on a random blog that took place in Egypt.
Recalling that the Merrick’s had a website set up for their girl, I decided to see how she was doing since the blog was written about six months ago. The familiar tears once again began spilling out of me as I read about her memorial. Her broken-hearted mother shared about the death of her daughter in February.
In that moment, everything seemed so much clearer. Was my hair really worth it? Was it worth all the thousands of tears I had shed and the hundreds of dollars I had spent? I had wept over a dea
d idol when somewhere across the country, a family grieved for their daughter.
The hair had to go. I knew You didn’t need it and it wouldn’t help
the Merricks at all. But I believed it would bring a freedom I had never known.
And so I went to the salon and had it cut off. My hair was donated to Locks of Love in memory of Daisy Merrick and in honor of Jesus Christ, the man who gave His life for me.
Reactions are varied but everyone wants to know the motive of my heart. I think Paul’s words in Philippians sum it up best:
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”