Today’s post is by my dear friend Monica Romig Green. She went through cancer treatment this last year and wrote this lovely piece as her hair began to grow back in. As I sat with my hopes for Expand, Monica’s story came to mind. What a delight it is to have her posting on the blog today. So, please welcome Monica!
Everyone told me that after chemotherapy my hair would grow back in a completely different texture and color. I never imagined that God would include with this change a great gift for my soul.
My whole life I have had fine-textured, curly brown hair. Over my lifetime, I’ve generally worn my hair in one of two styles: shoulder-length long or in a chin-length bob. When a few gray hairs began to appear in my late 20s, I began to use dye to keep my hair its natural medium brown color. This is how I have always seen myself, both when I looked in a mirror and in my heart: a sensible brunette.
But when my hair began to grow back after chemo, those few gray hairs had spread to cover my whole head, but in a beautifully rich array of light to dark shades. Soon, I was sporting a full head of very short hair. My friends were thrilled to see such tangible evidence of my healing and told me how great I looked. But it was when complete strangers started complimenting me on my “haircut” that I began to take a long look at myself in the mirror, to see what they appeared to see.
What I saw was a version of myself that exuded great confidence and style. The gray hair didn’t seem to make me look old, as I’d feared, but rather just more self-assured. And the short “pixie cut” length seemed sophisticated and a bit daring. I marveled at the woman I was seeing and what this look communicated to the world!
But what really blew me away is that this new look felt like it matched up more accurately with something in my heart, even more so than the level-headed brunette I have seen looking back at me for years. I started to remember that I had always admired women who chose this kind of short and sassy look for themselves, but I’d never had the courage to try it. (Except for one time in the mid-80s… with a perm… and that’s enough said about that!) With my new style choice made for me, I felt like something dormant inside had been awakened, a bolder, stronger side of myself that I had been too timid to show the world.
I marvel at how God works in my life and in the lives of others. He never wastes a moment or an event to express His love to us and to help us grow. As I have been moving through life with my new look, I have been noticing well-placed opportunities for me to express this bolder side of myself, like they were invitations set up by God. Each one has been showing me how often I have chosen to mold myself into the shape that I felt the people around me would like, rather than simply being who God made me to be. It’s scary to change my ways, as I feel more open to rejection. But the more I continue to let myself be truly seen, the freer and better I feel, and the more I feel able to choose God’s will.
I continue to be amazed at the many ways that God communicates His love to us. It’s clear that He knows me better than I even know myself, and He’s inviting me to stand up and live more as the person He’s made me to be.
Who is Monica?
Monica Romig Green is the Director of the Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association (ESDA), a network of amazing spiritual directors. She also co-writes really interesting spiritual formation studies for churches for ECSW. And she loves leading highly interactive retreats she calls Pray Thru Play. While she currently lives in the awesome city of Toronto with her super smarty-pants husband Matthew, she’s looking forward to moving back to the States in 2014 and getting a dog!