I’m sure you are wondering where on earth I am going with this one. Well you can read on and you will see! 😉
As you may be aware head lice exist. They are gross. I wonder why on earth God invented them, but I digress. When working in the field of early childhood education one risks exposure to many bugs, and lice (which are actual bugs) are one of those things one may get exposed to. I recently (within the last few months) was exposed to and caught them twice. I have waist length thick hair. Getting head lice is basically my nightmare which unfortunately came to fruition. When I came to terms with the reality that I had them a while back I was very very VERY upset. In fact after talking with my momma I sobbed for twenty minutes. I was worried we might have to cut my hair. I was worried about using a chemical pesticide on my sensitive skin. I was worried about having to miss work. I also wondered which child had given it to me and how many others might have it. I was worried about a great many things.
Worry sucks. If you let it, worry will suck the joy, fun, contentment, majesty, wonder, beauty and life right out of you. Worry is like a python. At first its grip isn’t so bad, you can still breathe, but then the pressure builds and builds and builds until you die. People think that pythons squeeze the air out of their victims, the truth however is that the external pressure becomes so great that the heart of the victim can no longer pump blood, and the blood flow stops. No blood=no life.
Lice feast on blood. Creepy little bugs. I don’t know if I mentioned this but I had head lice? Yeah the first time I discovered I had them I had a pretty bad case. I had likely had them for a couple of weeks so I had a lot. SO MANY!! Insert weeping sounds here. I was not the only one. We had three cases, and then about a month later we had two more, and I caught them again too. Fortunately I caught it at the beginning and only had two bugs on my entire head and one egg. (Praise the Lamb!!)
Recently… In fact just a half hour ago I treated myself again. My head has been pretty itchy and it turns out I just have dandruff. This brings me back to worry. Every time my head itches… EVERY time I have an internal conversation with myself. ‘Okay Rachel that is the exact same place that itched a minute ago. You have eczema remember? It is flaring right now. Look at your face. You know that is all it is. Clam down.” Still there is this little voice that says “What if…” It’s a trap! A trap that I fell into. Don’t fall into the trap.
Here is yet one more thing I learned from head lice: My parents love me. For reals. When I was first exposed my Da went to the nearest store as soon as it opened and bought me a lice killing kit, and my momma spent over ten, TEN hours treating and combing through all of waist length hair until her body could no longer remain upright. Then the next night she went through it all again to make sure all the eggs were out. I then checked her and to my horror discovered she had a couple bugs on her head. So I combed through her head too. My Da combed my hair every night for two weeks, once a week for two weeks and has since done so again a few times so that I could be absolutely sure I was in the clear. This can take almost an hour. My parents love me. They may not have gotten everything perfect but they love me.
When I found lice on myself and two other kiddos, I and the other teacher checked our kids everyday for a couple of weeks. In order to make sure that we don’t end up with another epidemic I have taken to checking the kids every Monday. I have remained diligent. Even though it had been over a month since our class had three cases I still checked every single week. This last time there was an outbreak our class was clear. This got me to thinking. Do I do that with my thoughts?
In 2nd Corinthians 10 the bible says ‘…for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ…”
For years, so many years I have struggled with knowing the love of God in my heart and also in my head. I knew God loves me. You know yeah God loves me, I need to eat my vegetables and exercise. Blah blah blah. It was like a fact that floated around in my brain, but I wasn’t quite sure it was true. You see as I grew up somewhere back there when I was a wee little thing I got it in my head that there was no God, and if there was He hated me. When I came to the point in life that I accepted God was in fact there I never really dealt with the second portion of that way thinking. I have, since the beginning of my walk of faith struggled with the love of the Father. It makes no sense. Seriously the grand, resplendent, extravagant, unrelenting love of God makes no sense to my brain. I began to see that in order to walk with God I needed my heart to be part of the equation and that is when I got stuck.
When I gave my life to Jesus I fell madly in love with God, yet deep in the jungle of my heart there was a mighty fortress that was setup to destroy the truth of Father’s love for me. A giant lie from the pit remained standing tall: God hates me.
I loved God with all my heart, yet all the while in the deepest part of myself I believed God hated me. I was always trying to do more, to serve God more, to be better so that maybe He would like me just a little. I was always so worried that something would happen and I would fall short, or be left alone desolate. I drove myself mad trying to undo this belief that was buried so deep, yet I would never face it. I didn’t even realize it was there. I was not willing to do what was needed to actually make it better. You see I had to let God in. I had to trust Him with my ENTIRE heart. I had to let Him have it all… even the parts I was afraid of… even the ugly gnarly bits. Even the dark scary parts of my wild heart the contents of which I knew not. He wanted access to it all.
Did you know that your heart has thoughts? Well it does! It is a scientific fact. The heart contains 40,000 neurons. Neurons are brain cells. Part of your brain is in your heart, and there are a few in your stomach too, but that is irrelevant for the purpose of this discussion. The bible says in Proverbs 23:7a For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So deep down in my heart I thought God hated me. I thought when I was a wee tiny girl God hated me and that terrible lie grew up with me and became a gigantic stronghold. That lie became a hiding place for the enemy of my soul to lie to me and work to destroy me.
I tried so hard to be good. I thought I could work or think my way to be good enough. I worked and worked but never felt at peace. I never felt loved by the Father. I never felt loved by my family, or friends. I felt hated, and I was sure that if someone didn’t hate me yet it was only a matter of time until they did. I even hated myself. I tried not to because hate is not something a good Christian does, but honestly I did. I hated myself.
A few months ago, about two weeks before the first head lice incident I finally gave up. I surrendered. I told God He could have all of my heart; all the nasty gnarly bits, and the dark scary places that I didn’t know the contents of. I was chocking and gasping through my tears as I gave it, but I gave it all to Him. I finally gave God my ENTIRE heart.
I had no idea what was going to happen next. Honestly I was a little freaked out. I was in uncharted waters. I still am in uncharted waters but I am no longer afraid, I know that I am not alone. The repercussions of that moment are still unfolding and I don’t know who I be when the dust settles, but I can say that from that moment forward nothing was, nor will it ever be the same.
It is incredible how different things look now that I have allowed God to have everything. He has used head lice to show me that my parents love me and so many other things. He used the end of my relationship to show me that my church family loves me, and I am not alone. God told me the week before the head lice that everything was about to change and boy He wasn’t kidding.
Life is crazy, messy, and chaos. Life is glorious, radiance, and beauty. God is so incredibly good. He can take any awful ugly thing you give Him and turn it into the most beautiful work of art you couldn’t have imagined. God is glorious. God is gracious. God is love.
God works miracles, and He brings beauty out of ashes. He can turn brokenness into love, and He can turn head lice to lessons. He works all things for good.
©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015