Monday, September 5, 2011

In the Growing

A friend writes the story of her healing and I see myself right there in her words.  We've come from different places, she and I, but we share the kind of breaking that changes the course of a life.  And I didn't realize until I read it in her words that sometimes the healing marks us for all the world to see.

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

Before....

And after....

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.

12 comments:

  1. I LOVE the pictures of you! I didnt notce how little I see of you because your writing is very descriptive and full! You are so beautiful!

    from mamagriffith

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  2. Much as I have total hair envy over the length that you achieved while maintaining those to-die-for curls, I absolutely love the new style! It is very flattering on you and you look beautiful. I bet it will be much easier to care for too. ;o)

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  3. 'B' sent me over to look at your pics. Oh..I am jealous too! How can your hair grow so fast! Time for true confessions...I want your curls and I am coveting.:-P Short or long or in-between, it didn't change the beautiful person you are :)
    'one of your "other" moms :)

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  4. @Anonymous: Oh, MamaGriffith, thank you. Not just for calling me beautiful but for seeing *me* in my writing. That is what I strive for, to let the real me show through my words. Thank you for seeing it.

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  5. @B: Thanks! It is mostly easier to care for, though I am still learning how to get it to do what I want. The main thing, though, is that it's easier to wear. When it was so long, I never wore it down because it would be in the way of everything and so the curls didn't stay nice and no one really saw how long and pretty it was. I can't say that my curls will ever be "low maintenance," however, so you might want to rethink your hair envy ;o).

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  6. @Anonymous: My hair does grow fast--which is why it never really made sense to keep it super short all those years. Even if I sometimes wish for straight hair, I am always grateful for how fast it grows because it means I can change styles or outgrow a bad cut in a shorter period of time. And I'd share some of my curl with you if I could! Thank you for seeing the real me all these years and for being a mom to me :o).

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  7. Wow, what a beautiful story and beautiful you...

    Thank you for sharing so honestly.

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  8. "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."
    Thank you for that, I think it describes so well, the truth I wish all women could come to...and live in. Love your posts!

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  9. @chadandkeishastory: Thank you so much for reading my story, for seeing the honesty here. God writes beautiful stories and I'm just trying to let Him speak. PS--I stopped by your blog. Beautiful love story you have; thank you for sharing it.

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  10. @kathleen: Yes! Wouldn't this whole world light up with Him if all of His daughters could believe this truth and live it? It's taken me a long time to reach this place but oh, how grateful I am for His healing and hope in my life!

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  11. again beautiful writing! I have to tell you that the shortest hair looks really good on you!!! chop it!!! really short!!. you look really beautiful!!!!love your writing. and it has crossed my mind to cut my hair to change who I am. but, i sure know that it doesn't work that way!!! i wish it did! :0

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  12. @Anonymous: Thank you--I may indeed chop it short again someday, but at the moment, I'm enjoying this in-between length. It lends itself to a little more variety in styling than when I had it super short! And no, cutting your hair won't change who you are, although I think it can sometimes help us move forward--an outward, tangible step to encourage us in our inward journey. I'd say cut your hair to reflect who you are becoming...and believe Him when He calls you beautiful. Thanks for the note!

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