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Michelle Warner

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Letting My Hair Down. Literally.

Posted on March 6th, 2010

As the warm water pounded on my back in the shower yesterday afternoon, I ran my hands through my hair. Multiple strands laced each finger and the water chased them to the drain below. I stood there staring blankly at the frosted shower glass realizing my new reality in my chemo journey: my hair was falling out.

Tears welled in my eyes as I watched the hair fall. As with each new stage, my first inclination is to feel overwhelmed. I prayed, “God, would you give me some truth right now to comfort my heart?”

After a couple of quiet moments, two verses popped into my head:

“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows [to God]” (Matthew 10:30).

“…Every detail of your body and soul—even the hairs of your head!—is in My care” (Luke 21:18).

I allowed the tears to slip down my cheeks as I soaked in the truth. God knows how many hairs covered my head, and He also knows how many would fall out this week. And most importantly, what that means to me is that He is and continues to be intimately involved in my life. Down to the very last detail.

This brought to mind a special passage to me, Psalm 139, and I turned to see how it related to my current situation. Verses 13 and 14 in The Message version spoke especially to me:

“You know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, You watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before You; The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”

Next to these verses in my Bible I had written a note from a past sermon: “God is there in every period of life.” No wonder one of His names is Immanuel, “God with us.”

I don’t mean to sound trite, but sometimes that’s all I need to know: God is here.  He’s holding me close as the tears and hair strands fall. He’s walking me through the mountains and valleys of this journey, just like He’s walking right next to you through yours.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (God to Jacob in a dream, Genesis 28:15).

*****

In my post “Finding Freedom from Fears,” I shared the first part of my cancer story focusing specifically on my diagnosis.  As promised, I will share the second half of my story later this week.  That entry will also include an update on my health and treatment which many of you have requested.  I can’t thank each of you enough for your continued encouragement and I look forward to sharing more of my story.  Stay tuned!

16 Comments on “Letting My Hair Down. Literally.”

  • Linda Tatman says:

    Dear Michelle,

    Your comments about losing your hair reminded of something I had forgotten to tell you. A teaching colleague of mine (when I taught at Lockland) went through her own personal battle with breast cancer. She, too, lost her hair, and it was difficult for her. However, she made it through her battle, and when her hair grew out, she had the most beautiful soft curls I had ever seen – you know, the kind we pay $100.00 in a salon to get. None of us still don’t know why this happened, but I saw it as God’s extra gift to her after her faith and endurance. So, who knows what will happen when your hair grows back in. I still think about you all the time and you are always in my prayers. Our God will continue to give you the strength you and Jared need to weather this. He says that he will never fail us nor forsake us. Believe.

    Sincerely,

    Linda Tatman

  • Lauren says:

    You’re so right, SMALL truths are just sometimes what we need in unbelievably HUGE moments of our life. Not only does our sweet Lord have every hair numbered on your head, but as those disappear, He also knows every freckle, every smile line, every scar, bump, and bruise, thank goodness we’re still a bit too young to say wrinkles! I love you girl and am excited to see you tonight. You inspire many, thank you!

  • Ashley says:

    Beautiful insight, Michelle. I’m praying for you and cheering you on. Hair is overrated, by the way! You are beautiful inside and out, with AND without hair. Love and blessings…

  • Debbie Belshaw says:

    Hi Michelle, Just want to let you know that you and yours are in my prayers. Love you much.

  • Judy N says:

    I love you!

  • colleen says:

    I am aaron bivens mom (jarrod’s roommate from college) I was diagnosed with breast cancer probably a month ago. so far I have had a lumpectomy with no nodal involvement and clean margins. in the world of breast cancer, that is very good news….and it is true that I am grateful to God for his help and support in all of this. BUT much lies ahead, pet scans, radiation and possibly chemotherapy. There is still a lot to go through.

    I know I will be fine….and I praise God for that. However the process is upsetting. I* thank you for your willingness to share…..for your example of hope and faith in the storm. You are both in my prayers and please include me in yours.

    I have always trusted God to bring forth good from all things and cancer is no different. I have been led into a new job through this illness, I have been able to better understand my relationships with others and my 18 year old son (who is in the other room now finishing the laundry….who would have thought) will enjoy a type of senior year that I never would have asked for but that will make us closer than I could have dreamed., In all things, look for the blessings…and they will be there. Today I was unable to attend church but instead of listening on television (which is not a bad thing) I used the time to write thank you notes…and to get in touch with how many wonderful things have been done for me and in how many ways I have been blessed.

    thank you for sharing your journey on this blog. I have sent it to several others who are struggling in the same way. This blog has truly been a blessing to me.

  • Susan H. says:

    Hello precious Michelle, you are constantly on my heart and if I could take one minute of this away from you I would…..but then Thank God that I am not God – His ways are not our ways, He knows the plans for our lives – and whether they are big or small storms – it is pain. And even when we have so many caring people in our lives it can still be very scary sometimes. Hold onto Jesus, even when you don’t feel like it, because there are many of us who will lift you up when you find it difficult.

    to borrow the lyrics of a song I sing when I cannot understand, I want to post them here for you-

    I can do all things
    Through Christ who gives me strength,
    But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me;
    No great success to show, No glory on my own,
    Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know . . .

    CHORUS
    His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
    He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
    Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
    His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.

    We can only know
    The power that He holds
    When we truly see how deep our weakness goes;
    His strength in us begins
    Where ours comes to an end.
    He hears our humble cry and proves again . . .

    love
    Susan
    XOX

  • Dear Michelle, I don’t even know where to begin. Your faith is so strong and I was crying as I was reading this. I will be praying for your impatient chemo treatment this week. Know you are on my mind, and I am praying constantly. Looking forward to our walk this spring in Elmhurst. I now know where that panera is:o) It is walking distance from our house. Looking forward to seeing you! Love and hugs to you friend. You are impacting so many people through your story. using it to bring God the glory and help other. You are incredible

  • Sheila says:

    I’m going through something similar even now as I head into another cosmetic scar revision still realizing that no matter what the scar will always be there and some of my facial paralysis as well….however, I love love love your faith in praying for God to reveal truth within those moments. I want that for myself and you have inspired me to make those prayers.

  • Michelle,

    Thank you for being so transparent and honest. You have been on my heart and I am praying for strength and the Lord’s peace to be ever present in you. Also, that the doctors would have His wisdom and your body would respond well to the treatments. You are so special and even your hair is precious to the Lord, as he knows you so intimately.

    Much love,
    Allison

  • Kelli Peyton says:

    Michelle, thanks for inviting us all into your journey. You don’t have to, but in these times you have such a platform to reveal His grace. I am blessed by your faith and encouraged as you have faced your fears…God is using you in a powerful way. Thinking of you and praying for you!

  • Amanda L.G. says:

    Michelle,
    It’s been years and I just came across this blog. My heart and prayers are with you and your family during this time. I must say that your wisdom, courage and vulnerability in processing this season is bafflingly amazing!!! What an incredible woman of God you have continued to become since our adventures with the Continentals. My mom has recovered from breast cancer in the last year. It has been a unexpected journey that has provided so much for my mom and our family. God has been so faithful!! Thank you for your example and testimony to all that know you and hear your story. God be Glorified!!
    Love to you!

  • You’re one strong lady. Keep the Faith. We’re all praying for you and Jared. – Erica

  • Kelly B. says:

    Love this post. Thanks for sharing Michelle.

  • colleen says:

    today I stood in the shower and watched hair go down the drain….I remembered what you had written and went back and reread it…thank you for being open and honest for the benefit of thoses that follow

  • [...] As I shared on this blog before, losing my hair was one of the most difficult parts of my journey. A group of my friends organized a “Hair-cutting Party” to shave off my hair. They brought food for tacos, we had a time of prayer and sharing, and then they shaved my hair. It was a time I will never forget and their encouragement through a very difficult time made it so much easier. [...]

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