This year has been one of complete blessings for me. I attended the second semester of college at Nebraska Christian College with wonderful professors, students, and classes; I know God has me right where I am supposed to be. I've been completely blown away by the relationships I've built at NCC with students and adults alike. The worship arts professor, my choir director Ron is one of these wonderful people. I've been able to really meet his family and spend time with Ron and Ashley's four hilarious, and at times crazy, children. I love this family deeply; Ron and Ashley have been two wonderful people who I look up to very much.In March this year, their 6 year old daughter Katie was diagnosed with cancer, a Wilm's tumor. After surgeries to remove the tumor and prepare Katie for treatment, she began chemo almost right away it seemed; with chemo the loss of hair is common as many of you know. This summer I was able to go on two NCC choir tours with Ron, and his family was with us for a large part of these 3 weeks. In that time, I really connected with Katie even more than we had before. We were pals, but after hanging out so much we really were like best friends, she felt like a little sister. We talked a lot about her cancer, how she felt about it, and how she felt physically. Sometimes these conversations could get tough. Katie really struggles with feeling beautiful while she has no hair. She continuously asks for reassurance that she is cute, and often states that she feels ugly and terrible and can't understand why anyone can look at her. She feels that everyone is laughing.
Beauty is not in your outward appearance. So many people can tell Katie this, but who means it? The majority of people who tell Katie that she is beautiful have perfect hair, and cute clothes, and makeup on, and tanned skin. People always are quick to say that beauty is not on the outside, but it's on the inside...however when do they mean it? I have been one of those people. I like to look good, I like my hair perfectly straight (my friends can attest to that), I like my makeup to cover any blemish I find, I want to have nice legs and tanned skin and painted nails. I know these things don't matter, but I make sure to always check the mirror before I step out the door. Then Katie happened. The outside all of a sudden meant nothing to me. She only sees the outside of herself, but I see both the inside and out. She has no hair and is missing two front teeth and I think she is one stunning young lady. Her dimple is adorable, her eyes pierce your heart, and her funny faces will make my stomach hurt from laughing. More than those things, her heart is amazing and her thoughts are more kind than any other 6 year old I've met. She thinks about others often. Katie is so considerate and is always so thankful if you go out of your way for her, which she never expects. These beautiful qualities on the inside shine through, beyond that absolutely gorgeous bald head.
I felt so moved by my friend Katie. I returned from Kentucky at the beginning of July with a huge weight on my heart for her. I didn't know how I could help Katie see that she is full of beauty. I prayed and sat in thought, and I'd talked about shaving my head back in May this year, but I never felt like I was prompted by God. Then, out of nowhere, July 15th I was at dinner with friends and we started talking about shaving my head, and they were all supportive of this idea I had. I decided to research what I could do with my hair if I did shave it all off, and it turned out I could donate my hair for a wig to be made (either to Pantene Pro-V or to Locks of Love, I'm still deciding on which organization). This ability to donate my hair pulled the trigger. I knew this was something I had to do. The next morning I called my hair dresser and made an appointment for that evening, because that was the day for me, July 16th. I just felt like God finally gave me the green light, and that this was a way I could help Katie to see beauty.
So here I stand today, with shorter hair than most women, but I still feel beautiful. I know I am beautiful because I am God's, and He made me just the way I am supposed to be. I want to keep my hair short until Katie is done with chemo, it is kind of nice not worrying about my hair anyway :) and she loves to be bald together. My hair will grow back, like Katie's will soon, but that can't make me any more beautiful. We are all beautiful on the inside, that's the only place that matters.
Since shaving my hair off, I've seen Katie twice and it has brought up great conversation. Last week we talked about the heart of a person, and how being pretty comes from there. That people are kind of like books. We talked about how there's the saying of not judging a book by it's cover, because books with beautiful covers might not be super exciting books. However the old cover that is torn and has stains, it gets overlooked sometimes, but the story on the inside could be one of excitement, fun, and laughter. People are the same. Sometimes the outside doesn't do justice to what a person holds on the inside. Sometimes even when you don't feel pretty, you still are because the inside doesn't change.
Being bald has also been a humbling experience for me. Katie is right, you don't always feel beautiful being bald. I've learned to find my beauty from within, and to get help from God in those moments. It has strengthened me more than I could have imagined. I get frustrated when people call me a "hero" or a girl with such a great heart...why you ask? Because, it's not me. I am just an ordinary girl, a human, being used by an extraordinary God. He makes all things beautiful. He finds beauty in pain, heartbreak, weakness, and in all of the ugly things in life. I've learned so much through Katie's battle, and I am only one of the dozens...hundreds...of people that Katie's story is going to change. God is using Katie to do great things, she just needs encouragement, love and prayer along the way. God will take care of the rest.
This blog will be one that will show readers what the world can do to a person. What eyes can say to someone, and how beauty can be so skewed. I plan to fill this blog with experiences I have with other people, how being bald impacts my life, and what other people say about my lack of hair. I think I've learned so much about life, about beauty, and about happiness from this experience.