For my 44th birthday I am gifting myself with a make-over. I am thrilled to see the final result, but I have to admit I'm also nervous about the process. You see, I have decided to remove the mask of brown hair dye and be beautiful the way God has designed me to be at just this age. I've been thinking about this for a long time now, probably two years or more. But recently, as my appointments have moved closer together on the calendar, I've been unable to stop myself from seeing the big pile of money stacking up on the annual table with each salon visit. And before you think I could just use a box ~ I can't. My hair requires a double-dosing of professional strength products and extra time under the heat lamp. I'm special that way! It's not that I think there's anything wrong with coloring my hair. No, it's not about right or wrong, righteousness or sin. I just can't help thinking how much more I want to do with that money than paint my head.
Then there's the approach of the day when people will stop saying I'm too young to have four children. Too young to be the mother of a 22 year-old. That my daughter and I must be sisters. As I blush with embarrassment each time, and I try to respond with grace, I also wonder how these kind words from others are painting my identity and self-worth. I try not to, but I am afraid each compliment adds another layer to my pride. I mention my kids in conversation and then in the pause I wait for the inevitable. "You look so young!" Who will look out at me from the mirror the day all of that is stripped away?
I just had my hair colored two days ago. I wish I hadn't. I'm going to Allume the end of October, meeting lovely new friends for the first time in person, and now I'm wrestling with coloring one more time or going with hair that is grown out two inches. If I had made this decision just two days ago I would have had enough grow-out to cut my hair before this event. I'm dreading the cut. I wish I could just say "yes" God and wake up without any dye. Cutting off my hair will take courage. But it will also be symbolic of cutting away something that is not really my true identity. God is like that, cutting away things that keep us from seeing who we are in him. I'm leaning towards going with the grow-out. If my real hair is as platinum as I think it is (and my hairdressers have told me) then I can just see it as a crown? A beautiful, shiny crown?
I wrestled last night with this decision because I saw individual faces and had imaginary conversations about my new look. But this morning I unwrapped the birthday present God gave me for being brave enough to be me. As I studied my daily Psalm this is what He said through the writing of Eugene Peterson.
"Let them curse, but you will bless. Let my assailants be put to shame; may your servant be glad." Psalm 109:28
I've always seen this as battle against enemies. But today I realized it's still the same battle against pride. Always pride. And Eugene spoke words against my fear and confirmed my battle stance is secure:
Our lives are not determined by popular vote. I need to say that to myself again. Our lives are not determined by popular vote. "Hidden in Christ by God" (Colossians 3:3), we are beyond the fashions and opinions of other people. If we are an "object of scorn" to many, we are recipients of "steadfast love" through Jesus Christ. The blessing of God is far more determinative for our lives than the curses of people."
Today I dedicated money for a very special birthday present to me. And guess what? It's still money spent on brown hair! Just not mine.
Meet Prottashi Chakma. She and I share a birthday. She is seven years old today. Seven, the numerical symbol of fullness, completion, and perfection. My birthday wish is that together we will discover the fullness, completion, and perfection of Him. Happy Birthday, Prottashi!
Can I share a bit about my little girl?
Prottashi lives with her father and her mother. She is responsible for carrying water and cleaning. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her mother maintains the home. There are 3 children in the family.
As part of Compassion's ministry, Prottashi participates in Bible class. She is also in primary school where her performance is average. Singing and playing with dolls are her favorite activities.
Please remember Prottashi in your prayers. Your love and support will help her to receive the assistance she needs to grow and develop.
I searched for Prottashi. I just asked for a girl in Asia, born on the same day as me. Two little girls popped up. But Prottashi has been waiting for over six months to be sponsored. She also lives in an area with higher risk for exploitation and abuse. She and I? Two little girls whose favorite activities are singing and playing with dolls, we are perfect for each other.
I'm returning to the real me. If I am courageous enough to do that, I'm absolutely bold enough to ask you to join me in caring for children in poverty. Favored One, would you pray about who is really beneath the masks you wear, hair dye or not, and see if there is a party invitation you are ready to receive? Come and celebrate pure joy with me! Love you, Friend!
Sponsor a Child Today!
Help save a child from a lifetime of desperate poverty and despair.
Just $38 a month will change the future for your child, and your own life as well. Your child sponsorship makes possible a church-based program that provides:
• Food and clean water
• Medical care
• Educational opportunities
• A Bible in his or her native language
• Life-skills training
Most important, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.
...counting grace today...
1617. a desire You gave me, to love people with more grace, live for myself less, and touch the lives of those who have so little
1618. owning a computer with internet access, both of which can be so distracting but offer a voice and message to more people than I could in my own little world outside my door
1619. hope, that others will join me in child sponsorship this month and learn the lessons of holding abundance loosely in hand, enjoying it best when sharing it with those in need
Linking up today with ~