On Haircuts and Holding On

My hair was falling out. Anytime I washed or ran my fingers through it, numerous strands would float to the floor. My doctor told me it wasn’t uncommon to experience hair loss with the illness my body had endured that year. She promised it would stop at some point and my hair would grow back again.

In the meantime, I took extra biotin and researched wig stores. My scalp was starting to show and it seemed like a better option than presenting a balding head to the world. However, the same week I was planning to shop for wig, the hair loss seemed to finally stop, just like my doctor said it would.

As the year went on, my remaining hair grew long and new strands came in behind it, causing random wisps to stick out. No one seemed to notice how thin my hair was or the awkward new growth. But I knew. I was deeply acquainted with the insecurities that revolved around my hair.

Over the past few months, I’ve been mustering up the guts to get a haircut. Before my birthday in March, I made plans to get it done, but I ended up cancelling the day before because I’d cried about it all week. I decided that if I was crying about a haircut, maybe I wasn’t ready.

My hair was one of many losses I experienced over the past year. It was a time of letting go and being let go of, and my head of hair was caught in the mix of emotions that came with it. I’d been reluctant to say goodbye to this season of my life and I realized my hair was the last thing I could tangibly cling to.

During my illness, I experienced profound intimacy with God. Knowing Him in the midst of my suffering softened my heart and grew my faith. I watched His love engulf every fear and need I had. He not only restored my body and health, but He filled my husband with strength to care well for me. He made sure my boys were loved and cared for when I couldn’t do it. He provided every possible physical and financial need, like finding an envelope of cash in our garage, and a hospital bill for only $542 dollars when it should have been fifty times that amount.

It felt like God literally carried me in His arms during every awful and scary moment. I was not alone—God was with me and I knew it. As my health improved, each day felt like a beautiful gift. I leapt out of bed excited to live it.

The further away I get from that season of my life, I’ve felt a sense of sadness, as though I’m mourning the death of something. Even though the experience was awful, it was also glorious.  I was scared that God would never do something that extraordinary again and I wanted to stay in the middle of it. I realized that maybe I had been holding onto what He did, instead of holding onto Him.

 God was inviting me to let go so there was room to hold His hand.

Over the weekend, I braved my fears and went to the salon. I felt myself relax as the stylist washed, rinsed, and conditioned my hair. The hair washing is the best part of any trip to the salon, isn’t it? Seven inches of my thin, lifeless hair fell to the floor. When she was done, I walked out with a bouncy bob and the reminder that even though this particular season had ended, my story was far from over.

The places God has touched my heart, body, and soul are forever marked by suffering and grace. As I watched my stylist sweep up the remnants of last year’s hair with her plastic broom and dust pan, I knew that there would be future seasons of beauty and growth to come—both for me and my hair.

Deeply rooted in South Texas, Jennifer Stamness is a sunshine-lover, wife and mother to two young boys. She enjoys creating beauty in places like writing, music, decorating and throwing parties. She desires to follow Jesus into the unknown places He invites her to and is thankful for His abundant and amazing grace. Jennifer writes, dreams and shares pieces of her story here.