(Previously published September 9, 2010)
Are you ready?
It is a simple question and often we make the answer so complex.
On Wednesday, as I walked into Jude Plum hair salon with my husband, and friends by my side, my heart was settled, my focus on the task before us, but my emotions were unstable. My mind raced to the uncertainty of how I would feel when this was all done? How would I feel as the razor hit my head? What would those moments be like? And what I am finding more each day through this cancer journey, is that therein lies my problem. The focus on the emotion which robs me of complete joy and peace in the Lord. My lens so quickly can come out of focus and that which should be last becomes first...me last and Jesus first.
I sat in the chair, pulled my long hair from the clip which held it up and began laughing and talking with my dear friends who had come along. I was showing them that my hair had in fact begun the falling out process. As I ran my fingers through my hair, strands of hair were entangled in my fingers. This was the day this process needed to take place. God knew. I had asked Barclay to capture the moments. Because I never wanted to forget them. And as my head was turned, as my mind was focused on the conversation and the laughter.....Jude Plum picked up the razor and began his task, without asking me if I was ready.
My first response was panic. As the reverberation hit my head and the razor buzzed in my ears, I pulled back, a little annoyed with Jude. Why didn't you let me know you were going to begin, I thought? Ease into this with me, please. Let's take a moment. But, after 30 years of removing the hair from women's heads....Jude knows....that no lady is completely ready to lose her hair. He has to move right in and do the job before him. He was ever so gentle and loving, but as I pulled my head away slightly, he gently tilted it back toward the razor and continued on, never pausing or stopping. He had a job to do and my response had to be submission to the buzz and clipping of the razor in his hand. As I began to let go, my posture began changing. My head fell forward, my eyes closed and I began praying. Going to the one true source of my comfort and peace, my heavenly Father. As each clump of hair fell from my head, a deep stripping away came over me....another level of surrender, another level of letting go...not just of my hair, but the sin entangling my heart, the pain of this disease, and tears began to gently fall across my cheeks as the Holy Spirit washed over me with His love and abundant comfort. Lord, I am yours, completely.
Sitting in that chair Wednesday afternoon, God gave me such a vivid picture of Himself. As that razor was held in Jude's hand with a distinct purpose, so to is this breast cancer trial in the hand of my Lord and Savior. And as He holds each moment, holds each truth that He desires embedded so deeply in my heart....He is holding me and He is holding each of you in your trials and difficulties. And His love is everlasting. But the process must be walked out to arrive at the end. Was I ready for that first cut: not fully. But God knew that first cut was needed and had been preparing my heart for such a time, as I allowed Him in to the tender places of uncertainty that laid within. The razor is only the tool being used to achieve a much greater purpose. All God asks of me to walk in faith and trust the one who holds the razor...submitting. There should be no fear, as there is no fear in love.
I am learning through this trial many things. But what stuck with me yesterday morning, as I was reflecting back over the previous day is this.....I need to stop making my circumstances, my problems, this disease bigger than God and allow God to be in His rightful place: the King of Kings, the Lord of Lord. There is none bigger than God. I need to make God bigger and then He makes my circumstances smaller in my eyes and heart. It doesn't mean the problems go away, it means that my faith is being placed fully in Him and Him alone. That I am trusting Him, because He is the beginning and the end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. And as I put Jesus first in all things, every situation, every emotion, every trial.....He remains strong and faithful seeing me through each difficulty. What seems like the impossible, becomes possible through Him. And when He is on the throne of my heart, I can say....I am ready as I place myself under His Lordship, submitting to what He has allowed to enter my path and my life. How quickly my perspective is eschewed.
Joy is: Jesus first, others second, and me (you) last. So simple. But when this is followed how James 1:2-6 takes on such a real meaning...
"My brethren, count it all joy (Jesus, others, you) when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."
Trials can be counted JOY because we are putting God first, not ourselves....knowing that God's heart is that we are perfect (spiritually mature) and complete, lacking nothing.
He is a big God. The biggest, "for He commanded and they were created, He also established them forever...." Psalm 148:5...the animals, the mountains, the trees, the seas, the wind, fire, hail and snow, all people....for "His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and the heavens."
And you know what.....as the razor finished its task and I raised my head and opened my eyes....looking at the image being reflected back to me from the mirror, running my hands over this fuzzy new head.....it was well with my soul, because of God.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold ALL things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
Here is the "new" me.
Jude cutting and styling my wig then showing me my many options....hats, hair pieces for under the hats....his bag of tricks if you will.
The Cheering Squad...Beth, Hillary, me, Allyson and sweet baby Priscilla. Thank you friends!
My Beloved husband
And this is the banner I came home to. I am truly blessed.
Thank you also to my precious family and friends who have financially contributed to the cost of the wig. You have each made this road a little easier to walk and we love each of you so much.
Once again, God blows me away as I stand in awe of His ongoing provision, in ways my finite mind could never imagine. He is BIG....so Big! :)