I’m always amazed at the object lessons Christ teaches me through my interaction with children. This year, I had the opportunity to serve as a small group leader for our Athens Vacation Bible School program. I thoroughly enjoyed my vibrant troop of 6-9 year olds. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed till I cried at the comedy those children brought me every single day. I’d like to share the lessons I learned from a short conversation I had with a little girl on the last day of VBS.
During the summer, I usually wear my hair slicked back into a bun. Buns are low-maintenance and keep my hair out of my way. At night, I usually take the bun out and braid up my hair in a couple plaits to make sure my curls stay moisturized. When I wake up in the morning, I could choose to wear my hair out in what’s called a “braid-out” (the braids are unraveled and let free) but I usually wear the simple bun. However, after taking the braids out on Friday morning, I decided to switch it up and wear my hair out for our last day in Athens. As the day progressed, my hair got bigger. The bigger my hair gets, the more I like it. By the time I arrived at VBS that evening, my hair was just right.
However, as soon as I walked into the doors and stepped into the registration line, I heard a gasp. I turned and saw the cutest little girl - she couldn't have been more than five years old - looking at me in total shock.
Me: “Hi, sweetie!”
Little Girl: “Your hair!!!! It’s fuzzy!”
Little Girl: “No! Fuzzy! Your hair is fuzzy! It was smooth all week and now it’s fuzzy!”
Me: “Oh!! Fuzzy! Well, yes this is what my hair does. It’s very…curly!”
Little Girl: “Yeah, It’s very fuzzy.” (Turns up nose and shakes head in disgust) “I like it smooth.”
Here are my object lessons:
1. When the kids came into VBS, they spent the majority of their night with their tribe and their leader. This little girl was not in my tribe. I might have danced with her a couple times during the Praise & Worship section but our interaction was definitely limited. What blew me away was the fact that she noticed such a simple change in my hairstyle. She was paying attention. It reminded me of being a kid and how much I paid attention to the adult who told another adult to “shut up”. I couldn’t understand how that was okay when I wasn’t allowed to tell others to shut up. If she picked up on a simple change in hairstyle, what else is she picking up? You guessed it. Everything!
You never know who is watching you. You never know who may be admiring you. You never know who might be drawn closer to Christ as a result of the actions they see in you. Out of frustration, you might roll your eyes or "steups". A little person may see that and thinks it’s cool and you’ve just passed on a not-so admirable habit. So be careful! Now, I’m not trying to instill a sense of paranoia. Don’t go around thinking that everyone is watching your every move. That will drive you crazy. Just be mindful.
2. As cute and sweet as the little girl was, she made it clear she didn’t like my “fuzzy” hair. I might have days where my hair is not doing what I really want it to, but one thing is for certain - no one can successfully convince me that my hair isn’t beautiful. However, that wasn’t always the case.
I used to be insecure about my hair. In elementary school, kids used to pull my hair and make fun of me because I didn’t have pretty Shirley Temple curls and a perm like the other girls. In those days, it wasn’t about embracing what God gave me. It was about embracing the fact that Mom wouldn’t let me get a perm so I had to deal with it. However, the less I fought what came naturally to me, the sooner I saw the beauty in it. If I truly embrace EVERYTHING that God has given me, inward and outward, the sooner I’ll see the beauty and any insecurities I have will fade away.
There may be a part of your story that you may struggle to truly embrace as a gift from God. Learn to embrace it. Cultivate it. For example, ladies with natural hair usually go through a two-step process called moisturizing and sealing. The first step is to moisturize the hair with a water-based product to keep the hair from getting dry. Sealing is the second step when oil (preferably coconut oil) is placed on the strands to keep the moisture from getting out. Here's the girl - just as natural hair needs water-based moisture daily, our spirits need the Living Water daily. Nurture the person who God has called you to be. Remind yourself of His promises. Affirm yourself in the Lord. Meditate on the FACT that you are fearfully and so wonderfully made!!! Then seal that in with love from God and believers who continue to validate, celebrate and affirm what He has created in you. This two-step process is a great way to help you continue to, beautifully and gracefully, grow in the Lord.
I really hope this message encourages and inspires you! If you are interested in joining the fun, join our Children’s ministry team. Children’s Church, which starts again in October, will be your opportunity. See Cheryl Marshall-Gordon for more info.
Oh yeah and before I forget: #teamnatural!!!!