I’ve had plenty of insecurities. I was never pretty enough. I don’t know when it started or why. Winning a local beauty pageant or even being prom queen didn’t convince me that I was attractive. By contrast, I always compared myself to every other woman I met and fell short on the “beauty” scale.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was devastated – my world and dreams shattered. My husband at the time asked the same questions that I did, “Why are you considering a mastectomy, isn’t there a less invasive surgery?” and “Are you going to have chemotherapy; what if you lose all your hair?” I wondered if he would still find me attractive after all I would be going through. After two surgeries, I made the decision to have a left mastectomy and reconstruction, but not chemotherapy. I was afraid that I would be unloved without my hair.
It is really, really, really hard to feel beautiful with only one breast, even with a full head of hair.
In Spring 2010, a friend of mine went to Haiti to do mission work after the earthquake. A husband and his wife, Lisa, are former missionaries and led the mission team. Now they are a committed couple doing God’s work by manufacturing water filters on the devastated island. I was reading my friend’s blog from Haiti when I came across a picture 5 days into their trip. Lisa was having all her hair shaved off! Her objective in cutting her hair was to point out that most women spend at least $30 weekly on hair care products or services. Each water filter costs the same amount to manufacture; she wanted to encourage everyone to give at least one week’s worth of hair care to provide clean drinking water to the people of Haiti. I was astounded, confused and embarrassed – and for good reason.
“Why would she voluntarily cut off her beautiful hair?” “Where did she find a man that would still love and cherish her without her beautiful locks?” were my anguished questions. Of course, the answer is that it had nothing to do with the man she had chosen. She knows God loves her regardless of her outward appearance, the amount, or the color of her hair.
I had heard it hundreds of times, but it wasn’t until I saw her shaved head that I understood. God has made me in His image and thinks I am beautiful, with or without hair. Even with or without make-up!
Now I believe that God loves me just as I am, looking just as I look. Admittedly, I still care about my appearance, but my value no longer rests in my hairdo. If God needs me to cut it all off, I will. I have even been known to show up at our Saturday morning church service without make-up (well, just a little mascara.)
The Importance of My Hair? Not important at all.