I ended the first post with a question: Was having fun with my hair a spiritual, godly practice? My answer was yes, and here's why.
I've alluded to it a bit, but you know those ruts in life you get in? Those places you are settling for less than you deserve? Sometimes, doing something natural can actually get you to a point where the supernatural can have its place. As I got out of the box with my hair, I'm telling you, my spirit began to take flight. Now, obviously, that's not all because of how I wore my hair. It has much to do with growing my relationship with God - hearing His voice and knowing what he's up to. But the hair thing is an obvious coorelation. It's like little things like that in the natural give us a road map to the supernatural. It's picking up on patterns, noticing how God is speaking to you and teaching you things. I don't think you have to be very interested or even gifted in the prophetic or mystical to get that sort of stuff with God. Although it certainly helps. Here's the thing: God has written eternity on our hearts. That's there whether you believe Him or not, and it basically means that He has put His mysteries, His patterns, His designs on us, so all it takes is a little paying attention and asking to become aware for you to start seeing that He really is having a daily conversation with you. I simply chose to engage in that conversation with Him through my hair! It can be whatever else in your life.
So this brings me up to the point of coming to Bethel in Redding, California last September. I had already thought very seriously that I wanted to dread my hair. I was planning to do it by the end of being in England, but the pink just wasn't fading out as quickly as I thought it would. So I left it. Then I met Sarah at our first revival group party just before classes began. She's an Aussie with as much sass as her own dreadlocks carry. I talked to her about her process and how I was planning to do mine. By October, the pink had faded enough that I couldn't wait any longer, and I began my first "joy strand." Sarah worked on that first one as well, so that one has become known as "the MacArthur." This dear sister in the faith has a permanent place in my heart and hair! I slowly did a few strands at a time and finished them all off by October 24, so they've been locking for over 3 months now!
Now, I'd like to take you on a photo journey of the locking process and my thoughts and lessons learned so far.
The before photo, Sept 9, 2013:
See that tiny bit of pink left at the bottom? When I look at this photo now, I do get a little reminiscent about my long hair, but hey, it's not as fun as my joy strands.
The beginning, October 24:
The night I'd finished the backcombing method. How tired my arms were! During the month of October, I think I spent about 8 hours or so doing them - the last session lasting about 2 hours.
Playing around, the first few weeks:
As you can see, I began experimenting with this new look I had, playing around with different ways I could wear them. I also began decorating them with beads and hemp cords, something I had looked forward to the most, because it reminds me of Celtic hair, which has long since been a style I've admired.
The struggle, November 22:
This was two days shy of their one month mark. I remember feeling a little insecure at this point. They were beginning to shape up a little, trying to find their place. The back right under section got a little matted together, which scared me. "What have I done?" I questioned. Around this time, I met a girl one day as I was buying groceries. She came up to me and said, "It's hard isn't it?" I thought she was talking about pushing the big cart around as I was having a particulary hard time with this one buggy. I must have stared at her blankly a bit, because then she clarified. "The dreads, I mean. They're hard." "Oh," I replied, "Yeah, but I'm not really putting alot of effort into them." She had done hers around the same time as me, and she was using all these sorts of methods to get them going and keep dandruff from being a nuisance. I told her about the few trying to gather together at the back. "Yeah, you're going to want somebody to work on those," she said, "or you'll end up with a beaver tail."
Yep, that image I had seen on facebook or somewhere flooded my mind. "Oh my gosh..." I thought as I said my 'nice to meet you' and 'good luck with the dreads' to the girl I had just met. Not to mention that my friend Sarah had jokingly said one day at school around this time, "I'd like to redo those manky dreads of yours." I had purposely not chosen to go with the way that Sarah had done hers. (She uses the crochet hook method.) That way hurts your scalp pretty bad and takes a really long time. They look way neater and more pronounced/locked up sooner that way, but I had decided to take the natural route and let them do their own thing. But doubt started to creep in. I wasn't sure if I was being too proud in doing it the way I wanted instead of listening to someone who had already been through the process.
But eventually, I realized that knowing what you're after and trusting that you know how to get there in the end isn't necessarily being prideful or stubborn. It's likely just being confident. I stuck it out, ripped apart the sections that were trying to grow together in the back, and decided to enjoy the process.
I found I most loved having my hair up in a bun/wrap/scarf. Probably because it reminds me of Misty Edwards and her huge pile of dreads that she wraps up on the back of her head. (Does anyone else think her dreads are synthetic, by the way?)
I started loosing my length in December as the locks began to scrunch up and form in all sorts of shapes and "curly Qs." Some of the smaller beads fell out, and I couldn't be bothered to put them back in.
January 3, 2014:
Sorry for the blurriness in that last photo. This is the style I like them in best at the moment, only half up/down. But if I want them all up, I love wearing them on the top of my head in a scarf, as mentioned before.
You can see how they are starting to become much more defined as seperate locks. In January, I wrapped a few more strands in hemp cord. You can see the black down my shoulder in the far right photo above. That will be my long lock that is significantly longer than the others as it's unable to scrunch up being wrapped in the cord. Also, see how much length has come off? That just means my little joy babies are bundling up tight with so much delight in them! David actually wrote me a beautifully prophetic poem the other day in which one line reads, "Your hair has anointing and fire locked up inside it."
This is the sort of thing I'm after. Like I mentioned in my first post, I've always known that my hair was my favorite and probably best physical feature. It's really fun and special and intimate for it to be such a intrical part of my relationship with God right now. In the very beginning of January, Bethel Church hosted the premiere of "Compelled by Love," a movie about the life of Heidi and Rolland Baker (missionaries in Mozambique). One of the first prophetic words spoken over me here at Bethel was that there is a certain Heidi Baker type anointing on my life in caring for the orphans and the unlovable. It comes as no surprise to me, now, that on the night of the film premier, I was also given a prophetic word that I was one of those people who really "fill the space" they walk in. I had just decided over the Christmas break that I wasn't going to sit back anymore. I think I had been waiting during the first semester at school for someone to "push me off the ledge" so to speak in walking in the supernatural. But I realized no one is going to do that for me. I have to be the one who jumps off myself. So I went into that film premiere deciding to step out. I was there to bless people with prophetic words and art who were waiting in the line. I wasn't totally comfortable, but I spoke words over several people that blessed them, and one particular young woman was especially rocked by some of the images that came to my mind as I asked the Lord what she needed to hear. When that happens, it totally builds your confidence in you being able to tell what Holy Spirit is up to. It just makes the whole "knowing God" thing so much more real. Prophetic words are just that great. No wonder Paul said to desire them the most of the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians.
Anyway, that night, I also met a young lady who was wearing her hair in dreads. She had just started them, so I decided to bless her through her hair. I told her about how I am calling mine "joy strands," and how we can change the way people think about others who wear their hair in "alternative" ways (who often get the reputation of being either dirty, worldly, Rasta, hippie, or potheads). She was totally on board with what I was saying. I'm excited that my hair is another open door to the hearts of certain people, but they are foremost a reflection of how God is working in my life here at Bethel: a little messily, requiring patience and endurance, but something that can last for a really long time.
I'll end this post with a note that not everyone is happy about how I've changed my hair. My parents are indifferent toward it, my house mother is complimentary but it's definitely not her cup of tea, and my grandmother, well, she put it so forwardly in her last letter: "I have seen you with whatever that is in your hair and I am waiting to see the old Christie back with that beautiful long hair like our old Christie, but I know for sure in your sweet little Christie-heart, you are the same sweet little young lady that Papa and Nanny love with all our heart."
That I am, Nanny. My Christie-heart is just bursting with so much more these days.