Monday, July 30, 2007

wisdom moments

The wedding was beautiful—the happy couple joined together in marriage, witnessed by smiling and crying family and friends in a perfect setting.
Next came the reception and the bride, glowing with joy, had just danced with her father.
And now, the tall, handsome groom had taken me into his arms for the mother-son dance.
As he hugged me tightly he said, “Mom, you look great. It doesn’t even matter that you’re wearing a wig.”
Needless to say, all of the tears I’d managed to hold back so far flooded down my face and our dance became a special moment in time that I will never forget—as memorable to me as the moment this son was born.
But, months earlier, neither of us had been so sure—my son had been quite upset when he learned I would lose all of my hair before his wedding and I’d had plenty of misgivings of my own…
As I contemplate going to Kevin’s wedding in a wig I’m feeling kind of melancholy—running my fingers through my hair, looking at my eyebrows and thinking how I will miss them.
But I must trust that there are new lessons I will learn and share with others.
Every hair on my head is numbered—each one may fall out but God will still know exactly what the current count is.
And, when it’s gone He’ll know the follicle count and the number of hairs that will grow back. He’ll know the color and the texture and just as He knitted me together in my mother’s womb, He will knit me back together again.
This whole episode shouldn’t be about how I look—it’s should be about how much glory He can receive out of my life—it should be about how much damage can be done to the enemy as I stand firm in my faith…
And yet, the idea of no hair and no eyebrows continues to nag at me—this is appearance only, so why does it bother me so much?
I imagine it’s mostly because of Kevin’s wedding, and I want to look really nice.
I don’t want him to be negatively affected by my appearance, remembering for the rest of his life whenever he looks at one of his wedding pictures that his mom had cancer…
It’s interesting that it’s the hair that spurs feelings of not being in control—apparently this is normal because one of the cancer web sites suggested shaving it off before it fell out in order to maintain a sense of control.
Is there an issue of control in my life that needs to be submitted to the Lord?
I surrender all Father—I confess my total helplessness to manage any part of this situation—take all of my scars, including the impending hair loss.
I’d like to consider them as badges of honor, signifying that You have brought me through, and that in each incidence of weakness You were strong.
May each scar and each hair that falls from my body be a reminder to me that my life is not about what I look like or how I feel—let them instead be a reminder of how great is my God…Living without fear is one thing, but how will I handle living without hair?
This won’t jut be a “bad hair day”—it’ll be a “no hair day” that lasts for many months!
What is it about hair that is so important?
How can something with such an unglamorous definition as “a filament growing out of the skin” be so significant in our lives?
Click on a television for five minutes and chances are there will be a commercial for a hair product or a hair restoration method; and of course it’ll promise wonderful, manageable results. Walk into any drug store and observe the shampoos, conditioners, gels, dyes and sprays; combs, brushes, curling irons and hair dryers; hair clips, bands and bows—on and on, aisle after aisle.
Or listen to the lyrics from the hit song from the rock musical of the same name, “Gimme a head with hair; long beautiful hair…I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty, oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen, knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided, powdered, flowered, and confettied, bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!
There ain't no words for the beauty, the splendor, the wonder of my...Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair…”
It’s a given that our society sees hair as vital to our lives, but what does God have to say about it?
A search revealed ninety-nine references to hair in the NIV and a similar number in most other popular versions of the Bible.
For the most part, its significance seems to be as a positive image that implies health and beauty, but hair often symbolizes larger spiritual issues as well.
How could I apply these lessons to my own experience?
Time and again I took comfort in the familiar verses of Matthew 10:29-31, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Another passage in Numbers 6 speaks of the treatment of hair if a man or woman wanted to make a special vow of separation to the LORD, “During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the LORD is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long…Throughout the period of his separation he is consecrated to the LORD…Then at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the Nazirite must shave off the hair that he dedicated. He is to take the hair and put it in the fire that is under the sacrifice of the fellowship offering.” (verses 5,6,18,19)
By default this would be a time of separation from the world—I was just too sick and tired to go anywhere or do anything except cry out to God—so…
the only way I know how to deal with this illness is to offer it to God—right along with, I now realize, a possessiveness of my hair.
Father, I give you my hair as an offering of faith…
In prayer I felt as if I was at Jesus feet—like Mary—but instead of washing His feet with tears and drying them with my hair, all of my numbered hairs that fell out were mixed with all of my tears and presented as an offering to him.
Hair is commonly thought of as being symbolic of wisdom, so I’m offering Him all of my earthly wisdom—laying it at His feet along with all of my tears and my pain.
And, as my hair grows back, may it be representative of a new level of godly wisdom in me. Every hair that comes in will be counted, just as the ones that fell out were, and my prayer is that my new physical hair will be a physical picture of God doing a new work in my life.
My hair continues to come out—my eyebrows are almost gone.
I admit it’s hard to look at myself in the mirror sometimes.
I also admit that the upcoming 12 weeks with another round of chemo is not something I look forward to.
I can only continue this because of the certainty that the LORD is with me and He has a plan.
I honestly don’t know how people endure this treatment without God.
No wonder there’s so much fear.
But He is greater than any problem and I will continue to trust him.
I’ve been told the worst is behind me and I’ve made it through almost six months of this—another three and my hair should start coming back.
Lord, how I thank you for the bright spot of Kevin’s wedding in the midst of it all.
What grace and mercy—God’s timing is so perfect.
And He even let me keep enough eyebrows to be able to see where to pencil them in!

Barbara Parker

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