I want to share about a time in my life that was a struggle before Nick and I got married. I had an addiction. But it was not your normal type of addiction. My addiction was to dying and cutting my hair.
See, Nick and I had a really long time of courtship before we were able to get married. And we struggled a lot during that time. Struggles in wanting to experience oneness and choosing to wait. I have said before the 6 year dating relationship is not something I recommend. Once I heard that a lot of problems with couples stem from three different subjects. Sex, Finances, and Extended Family Relationships. And that it all had to do with how to communicate in those areas.
With waiting 6 years of our life, we entered marriage with a very strong communication about finances. And we felt as though our relationships with extended family were great too. So our obvious struggle was communication in sex. Before we were married we struggled a lot in that area, and because of that, we brought those struggles into our marriage.
One of the ways Nick dealt with the struggle, would be he would avoid me. Would avoid hanging out with me. One time after a college group bible study, he told me he was just going to go home and sleep and wasn't up for hanging out with me. I found out later that he went out with a bunch of guy friends to Red Robin instead. He could have told me he wanted to do that, and he was having a hard time with our struggles, but he didn't communicate that.
So, I struggled in the area of wanting his attention. One weekend he went to visit a friend at school, and me in my frustration of not getting to go along, chopped all my hair off. He came home and told me it was the ugliest hair cut he had ever seen. Wow, we were awesome at communication.
My struggles in wanting attention turned into wanting to be "beautiful." I thought maybe if I could get my hair lighter that would do the trick. I would do box kit after box kit - my dark hair did not get lighter. I would pay to have high lights done. But then they would grow out. My "darkest" moment in my hair coloring addictions involved Nick's mom Sue helping me strip my hair color - turning it to a clown colored red, and then recoloring over top of it a lighter brown. But eventually it grew in dark again.
I had weekends were I would color it three times, trying to achieve the right color, hoping it would catch Nick's attention.
I was abusing myself in a very unhealthy way. And it was not getting Nick's attention.
I felt completely stuck, and as I kept trying to recolor and cover my hair deep down it was an attempt to recover and fix my mistakes and struggles and hurts.
I think that is what we do with sin. We try to cover it up make it beautiful, but it really does not look beautiful. My hair was terrible looking while Nick was in college. It had it's moments, but mostly, it was pretty bad. This struggle went on for a couple years, and was a very expensive addiction (especially when I would do several boxes in one weekend).
During Nick's junior year, Sue invited me to go on a retreat with her. It was not the normal type of retreat I would have been accustomed to. It was called an "aglow" retreat. I will say I did not agree with everything that went on during that time, you could definitely call it charismatic to the fullest... but it was a retreat that God did a major healing in my life.
It will be hard to explain in details, but one of the nights, the speaker was inviting people to come and be anointed with oil. As other ladies came, they had their hands anointed with oil. I knew I needed to go down. When I came to the speaker, I pointed to my hair. And she looked at me with these eyes, that were as if the Lord were looking right into my heart, and nodded, and said "Yes, Yes" as she anointed my hair with oil. I went outside and fell into Sue's arms and cried for 15 minutes. 15 minutes of releasing all the hurt and pain and sin that I had piled into this struggle of dying my hair over and over again. God used that weekend to teach me to forgive myself. I had so many times fell and struggled with Nick and instead of trying to change I would hate myself for it and basically try to cover it up with hair dye to heal the hurt, which it never did. I wasn't really aching for attention, I was aching to be healed, and to be forgiven... and the person that wasn't forgiving myself was me.
I left that retreat changed. Before the retreat Nick and I had almost broken up, and decided to take a month to see if our relationship was really going to work.
When I came back Nick and I still had our times of struggling, but when we did I knew that I had a Savior who still loved me and wanted to help me change and forgives. And that set me free.
But the coolest part of this time of healing was yet to come. Two weeks later, I was going to meet my friend after work to hang out. While she finished working I wandered into Albertson's next door. It had been a month since I had colored my hair. My roots were starting to grow out a little... and I wandered down the hair color aisle. I thought to myself... "Well, maybe just to recover the grow out..." As I reached for the box and picked it up, this voice behind me says:
"You don't need that." What???
I turn around, and see a guy named Shane. He was a guy that had come to our college group a few times, and was a single dad. I didn't know too much more about him. I smiled and rambled something about how I was thinking of recovering my hair color. We chit chatted another minute, and before he turned to go, he looked me in the eye and said to me one more time, "You don't need that."
Then he walked away.
As I turned back to the shelves of hair color, looking down at the box, I smiled, and I put it back and said to God, "You are right Lord, I don't need that."
And I walked away. :)
Just to clarify, now that I am older, I do color my hair for gray coverage. There is nothing wrong in the act of hair coloring. It was the reason why I was coloring my hair that the issues lied. But, I know that back then God completely healed me of that struggle. It was something I could not have done on my own. It was something that was completely out of my control. And I am so grateful for that healing. We do have a God that heals. And I love that because of being set free of that struggle, that my hair grew out long and healthy by the time I got to walk down the aisle and take my vows to marry my husband.
So whenever I think of others that maybe struggling, I remember that voice telling me, "You don't need that." And I pray that if there is a struggle, and addiction in your life, that is an area trying to cover up hurt and pain and sin, that God may set you free and that you can hear a voice tell you, "You don't need that!" Because you don't. You need Jesus. :)