I was just shy of my 18th birthday when the first wave of that healing began and in the wake of all the shifting, I started cutting off my hair. Because I'd been broken too long and I'd spent years covered in the ugliness of the past. My hair had grown long and untamed those years of a life, and I'd wrapped it around me to distract all the eyes from the girl I didn't want to be.
But when the faint stirrings of healing began, I felt it strong, how it was time to stop hiding and I had to choose to live. I kept cutting until there was nothing left, and I didn't mind because this hair--it no longer defined who I was.
Oh, healing was still a long way off and I'd be burying the truth if I said there were no more wounded places even as I write. But healing did come to dark corners and hard memories, and that little girl who couldn't protect herself, couldn't trust anyone not to rip her open? I'm not her anymore.
But I was 25 years old when I looked in the mirror and realized I was hiding all over again, afraid of being who I was. Maybe I wasn't that broken girl anymore but I was still afraid of being a woman.
It was just months after the discovery of my Shame and I didn't know it then, but Grace Himself was already at work mending my deepest pain, hammering away the chains that had long bound me tight. All I knew was this: It was time to grow out my hair.
6 months of growing
1 year of growing
2 year of growing (...and dyed red with henna)
2.5 years of growing
3.5 years of growing (...and a Retro Party)
4.5 years of growing
And how could I have known that the years of growing hair would be full of more heartache than I'd known in all the years before? If He'd have told me from the start, I might've turned away, grabbed the scissors and chopped off any hope of becoming the woman I was born to be. But I'd have missed out on the deepest healing of all, the Grace Waters washing away the Shame of a past I'd carried too long and Him shaping me into this woman I'm becoming.
There's only gratitude now for the One Who keeps the secrets of tomorrow. Because I might think I want to know what's coming, but don't I already know the only thing that matters? That He'll be here always? That His Love will run through all my days, building ruins into beauty, breathing life into the dying, and working all the broken pieces into His Glory?
And who has the strength to bear the knowledge of all the heartaches to come? Isn't it enough to know that He'll put the pieces back together, heal us deep when we're sure there'll never be joy again?
It's four and a half years since the growing began and I walk into a salon because I'm ready to cut it off again. I've finally figured out that who I am is enough and I'm not afraid to grow my hair out long or chop it all off. I'm not afraid because God, He's loved me through it all and He's taught me that it's okay to be who I am, a little bit broken and a little bit scared, but full of hope and love and Him.
This last transformation might've only taken an hour but it's been a long time coming and He's been hard at work every day since I was born. And He'll keep working and I'll keep growing for all the days He's given because this woman I am? She won't be complete until the day He's standing here for all the world to see and she's on her face and there's no more breaking, only Him filling all the earth with His Glory.