For years, and I mean, years and years and years, I copied these words from Isaiah into my prayer journals:
Even to your old age and gray hairs, Heather,
I am He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
New International Version, Isaiah 46:4
I took Isaiah’s promise as my own. There have been countless times when I needed the strength, care, love, and protection of my God.,
Of course, I did not have gray hair yet.
My gray hair began to emerge in my early thirties. Back then, though, I was not ready to let my hair follicles have their way. I enjoyed colored and highlighted hair. Even though I continued to age – year after year – my hair color kept me feeling and looking young. Few ever guessed my age. And honestly, I liked that.
Yet, with each passing year I would wonder – when would be the time when I would be ready for my gray hair to surface in all its platinum glory?
Well, like many people, the pandemic curtailed my hair salon visits.
As each month passed, and the gray grew and grew and grew, I determined that my pandemic life was as good a time as any to jump ship and abandon my hair coloring and highlight practice and set sail towards an altogether new look.
So, I did.
Today, all evidence of my past hair color is gone. In its place is my pandemic – er platinum – gray.
I’m an old gray lady now.
How do I know?
Just last week, when I introduced myself and mentioned where I live, the gal I was speaking to asked, “Do you live in that 55-and-older community down there?”
My eyes widened.
I thought to myself, “What?! Me?! Live in a 55-and-older community?! There is no way!! Not with two kids! Why would she even say that???? I’ve never been asked that before!”
And then it hit me.
I’m gray now.
She observed my hair, maybe even something more, and assumed that I was that old.
Here’s the thing. Over the course of my life, I have always been told I look 10-15 years younger than I am.
I liked that.
Call it vanity.
Now, I am living in a new environment, a new-to-me state, and, also meeting people who never-ever-ever saw me without gray hair. I have no history here. I am starting a new life – literally – and I am doing it with gray hair.
Do I like my gray hair?
Honestly, I do not know yet.
I had my hair cut short to eliminate all the previous color.
A drastic move.
But, the cut did the job and now I can do whatever I like with my silver, gray, mop top. And that is freeing – if I am honest with you.
It’s also discombobulating, too. I look at myself and wonder who in the heck I am right now.
That’s because our family and ministry life has completely changed. I am not doing what I once did. I look different. And my rhythms of life are all out of whack.
I am out of whack.
My emotions range from grief to wonder, from worry to confidence, from indecisiveness to assurance, from sorrow to joy, from doubt to certainty and just about every other type of range of feeling. And honestly, deciding to go pandemic gray is part of me finding myself or figuring out myself all over again as I transition back to the United States and adjust to living here.
Here I am – yes, I am 55-years-and-older – determining my purpose, my identity, and my vision!
So, this is why my verse from Isaiah is so appropriate in my current season of life. Here it is from The Message:
And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old.
I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.
I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,
carrying you on my back, saving you.
Isn’t this what I need from my God?
I need His presence.
I need His assurance.
I need His promise.
I need His strength.
I need His care and protection.
I need His love.
And I have it.
Regardless of hair color. Right? 😊
I am becoming something new all over again. And having my God with me, for me, and even carrying me when I need Him to, is reassuring as I develop my purpose, identity, and vision once again.
How about you?
What changes have occurred in recent months – by choice or not – that you are adjusting to and accepting in this season of life?