One morning in 2009, I peered into the reflection of the mirror, and I wondered who the person was staring back at me. I had been too depleted financially to get my hair done at a beauty shop and was taken by a friend to a hair design school. This is a shop where the students are learning to cut hair practice on you. I sat nervously in the chair as the dye was placed on my head and the foils. Soon I was ushered under the dryer, but something kept running down my neck. The hair dye had seeped through the foil. After shampooing, the stylist showed me the brown spots that had ran and dried. There were large dark brown spots in my blonde hair that looked horrible. Her assistant came out, the manager, and soon a host of women were standing around my chair trying to decide what to do with the mess. The manager asked if she could re-dye and cut my hair. I nodded and sat in shock as I heard her clippers begin to shave the back of my head in a boy-type hair cut that left me with about an inch or two of hair on top that she spiked with gel. The color red she chose was more of a burgundy and covered the brown spots. It was such a drastically different look that I still had trouble gazing into the mirror when it was time to go out in public.
Losing my hair was just an outward sign. I had lost so many things I loved with such swiftness, it seemed like one blow would knock me to my knees, and before I could recover from the next one, down, I’d go again. The pain I felt seemed to seep out of my pores.
I felt as if I was walking around with blood oozing from my heart. I kept dabbing at the seeping place, applying pressure but to no avail. This pain was so heavy it made breathing problematic.
I drove the short distance to the church assembly and made my way inside with my new fashion statements, my cane, and red hair. Just trying to stand during one song was a struggle for me. Although I was better and able to drive some, I was still exhausted from chronic fatigue. Losing my health was more like losing my freedom.
Everything that identified me as a person had been plucked away. I had begun to talk to Job as if he and I were old friends. “Oh Job what did it feel like when the messenger came with the news of more pain”? “How did you bow and begin to worship our Lord after hearing of the death of your children, your livestock, your servants, your health?” I sighed and hobbled out of the mini-van and entered the sanctuary. I tried to focus on the people around me in the pews. They smiled, clapped their hands, and sang loudly. Many had joy that I coveted. Genuine joy. I am sure they all had a story. It seemed many I encountered did.
The pastor’s message was well needed, and many scriptures he quoted seem to speak to me, encourage me even. He was gifted in the prophetic and humble, and I knew I was where I was supposed to be going then. I had just started driving this small distance to fellowship with other believers a few months prior but sitting alone on the pew was just a reminder that everything in my life had become empty.
I knew the Lord had taken the desire from my eyes in more ways than one when he took the man I was sharing my life with. He was in control, but the pain was unbearable some days. I missed people. I missed my pets, stepdaughter, job, life as I knew it, and yes, a man who left me. My children were living on their own or with others due to my situation. I couldn’t help but wonder how God could take my life and make anything out of it again. It seemed hopeless. I was too sick to start over and too empty. I did not know then that God loved empty vessels that He could fill. Elijah said to the empty widow, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few” 2nd Kings 4:2 ESV. She borrowed, and the oil poured forth and filled them all. I needed to become empty of everything that was SELF so He could pour in HIS oil and His Spirit.
The service was coming to a close, and soon the minister asked if there was anyone who needed healing in their body. “If you have any sickness or disease please come up front we would like to pray for you according to James 5:14, Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord”.
I stood there on wobbly legs, my cane in hand but did not budge from my seat. I watched as many made their way down to the altar. I listened as the minister placed his hands on the heads of the many and began to pray for each one. My heart hurt so badly. At that moment, I began to notice the seeping of sorrow and the constant throbbing that seemed to take my very breath. My heart felt like a sieve that blood was pouring out of. HELP.
I began to scream inside my soul, pleading even, “Oh Lord, I am sick in my body, this is true, but MY HEART IS BROKEN IN A MILLION PIECES. PLEASE HEAL MY HEART. Lord, can you take this grief away? It’s more than I can endure. I began to cry and ask Him over and over until something profound happened. Something so incredibly intimate brought tears that poured down my face like the constant rain. Suddenly the minister raised the microphone to his lips and said, “I need everyone to stop for a minute. I need your attention. The Lord is telling me that there is a person here who has a broken heart, and I can see it. It’s battered, shredded, and bruised. WHERE ARE YOU?” He began to look over the congregation, and I raised my hand, my small insignificant hand. He said, people, I want you all to lay hands on our sister as we pray for God to heal her heart, and at that moment, in that precious moment, I suddenly didn’t care about my heart. I was so in awe that HE HEARD ME and that He loved me enough to speak to His minister. He loved me enough to stop praying over people with physical ailments to envelop me and let me know He knew. He seen. He wanted to take His Son’s nail-scarred hands and hold my gaping places and pat the blood that had oozed out and covered it with His blood. Oh, I needed a savior in more ways than one and one that was intricate and detailed that He would speak with not only A ROAR THAT SAID, “GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER” But also in a whisper that blew across my heart and held it to His. Oh, what a GLORIOUS SAVIOR WE SERVE!