Preparing for Take Off, Part 1

She hated her curly hair.  Others admired, often coveted, the chestnut ringlets that spiraled well below her shoulder.  She journeyed through a hair phase where she constantly tucked her tresses into a tight bun, practicing out of sight out of mind, but inevitably at some point through the day, a coiled lock of hair fell from form as if to remind her “I am still here—tuck, tie, twist, but the mane is what it is.” 
Girlhood waxed and waned with hair angst.  All along, deep down, the words from Matthew echoed “even the hairs of your head are numbered; fear not…”
Girlhood melted into womanhood and the flame for the Gospel became heart-ignited.  The big question loomed, “What’s a girl to do?” heart making plans and allowing the Lord to establish her steps (Prov. 16:9) became her road map to the future.
Then one day she understood His perfect sovereignty.  The days of friendlessness, thwarted ministry opportunities, feeling ugly, unworthy or unappreciated, all those insecurities hidden in the abyss floated to the top as she “set her mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.”  
Her hair, she discovered, was perfectly designed.
Missionary Amy Carmichael was born in 1867 in a seacoast village of Northern Ireland. When she was only three she prayed that God would change the color of her eyes from brown to blue. The next morning she ran to the mirror but her eyes were still brown. She was very sad. Her mother said that God did answer her prayer. He answered “no.”
Many years later she was a missionary in India. Dressed in Indian clothing, her skin tanned brown, and with brown eyes she looked just like an Indian and she was very effective in her ministry. Many times she rescued some children from prostitution and from the dangers of the temples of India. If she would have had blue eyes she couldn’t have done this.
Amy reflected once that she now understood why she had brown eyes–a blue-eyed missionary would have been an oddity that never could have truly fit in with the people–and was thankful that God had persisted in God’s intricate and elegant design instead of catering to the wishes of a girl who had not yet met her calling. She even darkened her skin with coffee to further aid in her integration and assimilation into Indian culture. She did all of this, largely, for the children she ministered to in India.
It was not uncommon in India at the time for young girls to be given to the local Hindu temple. The custom was thought to save the family of the girl money because they did not have to take care of the young one who was considered a drain on finances–unlike a son–and made money for the priests who often sold the young girls as prostituteswhich helped cover the expenses of the girl and the priest who controlled her.
So what is a young, single woman of faith to do?  Follow the same divine road map etched out for Mariam, Dorcas, Pheobe, and Lydia; the path of faith that gave Amy Carmichael contentment with brown eyes, and you my dear daughter contentment with those crazy curls.
Give daughters roots and wings.  Roots, dug down and firm that no matter where that divine road map takes them in this big world, the sinews of roots connect to their relationship with God that pumps and pulsates—alive.   

When she was young, one of her most cherished books, Stellaluna, tells the story of a sweet, young fruit bat that one day realizes that she is not a bird but a bat. Her moment of realization comes through a serious of events as she discovers that she flies at night not day, craves the taste of luscious mango not worms, and hangs upside down, outside of the nest, rather than tucked inside the nest like birds.  During her maiden flight, Stella learns that her wings are designed for a specific purpose, so from that moment on Stella unfolds her wings and soars to new heights.
Be it freckles, curls, or lanky legs, the design is a perfect fit, ready to wear. As parents, our job is to show them how the pieces fit together, how to follow the divine road map, dig deep spiritual roots, and then take flight.

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