Friday, September 26, 2014

What's a Girl to Do?

Elizabeth Anne is five years old now. She knows her letters and writes her numbers. She can fold towels and help make supper. But she has a secret.

If you know her well, or if you've seen her when she lets her hair down - literally - then you already know.

She's done it her whole life. What started out as cute, has lingered into a challenging cause for concern.

Every day, throughout the day, she sucks two fingers of her right hand while she uses her left hand to twist her hair.

The finger-sucking provides satisfaction.
The hair-twisting is comfortable when she feels anxious or bored.

She sucks until her teeth are protruding and her fingers are wrinkled; she twists until her hair knots up and is pulled out. 
So with gapped teeth, she sports moist, calloused fingers on her right hand, and short, frizzy, frayed hair on her left side. And I love her to pieces!!

Every morning when I brush her hair, we discuss her dilemma.
She wants to stop.
But then again ...

The hair on the right side of her head is long and healthy and gorgeous, while the sprigs on the left side are scarce and damaged. There is about a 12 inch difference in the left and the right. 

The mirror shows the harsh imbalance. 

I tell her how beautiful she is, and she groans about the side that is "her fault". I tell her it will all be ok some day, then I pull the longer side over into her signature left side ponytail which will mercifully minimize the result of her struggles.
We stick a bow in, and live our day.

I wonder if my life - on some level - resembles Gizzy's hair.

Capable of growth, but characterized in places by stress and damage - where my own choices and compulsions break away and fray my potential progress.

For "satisfaction" and "comfort", where do I turn?

Do I choose self-destructive habits that leave me filled in the moment, but not divinely fulfilled?
Do I trust my version of pleasure ...which ironically causes more harm than good, shortens the long-run, and serves as a miserably pale comparison to true joy?
Do I return to what feels normal? To what seems safe and secure?

When I am prone to "suck my fingers" ... 
God says, "I am enough. I will satisfy you with good things."

When I am compelled to "twist my hair" ... 
God says, "Fear not. Be anxious for nothing. I have a plan for you - an active purpose and a hope."

I wonder: if God could brush my hair, what would He say? 
We would look in the Mirror that tells the startling truth, and He would whisper,
"You are beautiful."
And as I groan at the junk that is my fault,, He would promise,
"It will all be right some day."

He confidently wants the best for me, while He already loves me to pieces.