“When was the last time you allowed yourself to consider who you are?”

Emily P. Freeman-A Million Little Ways

“I now felt unaccountably joyful having purged the unnecessary emotionally laden fashion baggage. The sense of liberation was profound.”

Anne Kreamer-Going Gray

My life begs for simplicity. I look around me and see the changes we have made. A smaller home, meal planning, creating space for rest. Learning to say my best yes, which sometimes-often times is no. (Thank you Lysa TerKuerst for sharing your wisdom!)

I look for ways to make living with chronic illness easier and safer, while at the same time being fully present in a quieter, less chaotic way.

Living with chronic illness, is much like carrying a backpack on your shoulders. A backpack loaded with heavy stones. It goes everywhere you go, there’s no removing it. The weight is always with you.

I’ve come to realize, we all carry a bag, though the stones may look different in your backpack. Either way, they are sharp, gouging painfully in tender places. Soul piercing, painful, and heavy.

It’s a work in progress, transforming, learning new ways to ease the weight. Perhaps, shift it around a bit, simplifying-minimizing the hardships I carry. The hardships you carry.

One stone had been troubling me for well over a year. Deep in my soul, I knew I could ease the weight if only I could choose to let go of this one thing.

I didn’t know for sure. What I did know, it had become the thing.

Gazing into the mirror, I had become obsessed with it, weighing the pros and cons. Measuring my worth, with and without it. Measuring my identity. This had become the heaviest rock in my bag. I sensed an ease would come with letting it go.

I had been coloring my hair since the age of eighteen. Thirty. Nine. Years. The longing to be free from this was overwhelming.

I began to say it out loud, first to myself and soon to My Sweet Man. I went to the most authentic woman I know, a safe place to voice my thoughts and fears, and shared my idea.

Making the decision, I unzipped the back pack, took out the stone, easing the weight on my back. Making one radical change-simplifying my life.

The collective gasp was loud.

It wasn’t an easy decision. Somehow my identity had become frozen in place, smothering the aging process. Begging me to question who I really was. Who I am. Would I look old? Would I look my age, my real authentic self? Who is she anyway? Somewhere in the process of the processing, I had lost me.

The transition itself took on a life of its own. I have worn my hair short for sometime, thus, making the process a bit easier. Each trim took my hair shorter, bringing it closer to the actual gray.

Nine weeks later, taking the plunge, my stylist clipped my hair down to the gray.

Relief took me by surprise. I expected to simplify my life. However, I was surprised to find comfort in my own skin. Standing taller, lighter, and very much looking my age. I walked out the door radically changed. Free and liberated.

My first days of passing by the mirror prompted the question, “Who is this girl?” It wasn’t long before I realized how much I truly liked her.

In her book Going Gray, Ann Kreamer poses this question:

“What is the big deal about looking my age?”

What is the big deal? When did we become so lost in our identities we felt the pressure to freeze time? Is seeking the proverbial fountain of youth worth so much effort? I suspect this debate will go way beyond my  years on this earth. I will tell you I have met some resistance and I have been complimented. Either way, this is who I am. This is who I will remain. 

My true identity does not come from a hair color, my illness, or how I look on the outside. My identity lies in my heart. The depth of my soul.

My identity is in Jesus.

“The idea underlying artificial hair color is that gray on a woman-but not a man, mostly, not yet-is a flaw, a blemish, an embarrassment to be hidden, a problem to be fixed. To me, coloring gray hair is like painting over the brick or stone or cedar shingles on a nice old house-it’s not necessarily awful, but part of the beautiful essence of the real thing is how it looks as it ages.”

Ann Kreamer-Going Gray

I’m blessed to serve you in this place, to share with you the Gifts of Grace as I journey through the wilderness. I picture you across the table, hands wrapped tightly around your cup, sharing life, and laughter, and tears. As I share with you my own daily struggles, I long to hear what yours may be. Sharing the realness of life. You can do that by commenting below or reaching out to me here.

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Gifts of Grace