10 YEARS AND THERE IS SO MUCH TO SAY !!! THAT I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN.
Yes, ten years filled with many changes, in which a person can experience multiple things. But why would I want to share this with all of you? Because for me it is important to let you all know who I had been before and who I am today by the grace of God, and share with you the reason for which I decided to display in my hairstyle transformation all of the changes I have experienced during these past years.
Yes, changes, for in those past ten years I was confronted with the cross of Christ and by His grace I am a new creature.
But, who was I? I was a lost woman... a woman dead in her trespasses and sins, a woman who carries in her past two divorces, and the terrible reality of having suffered of severe depression, a woman who had tried to rid herself of her own life multiple times and had strived to live life her own way, but wasn’t really living. Nowadays, a woman who is not proud of her past. A woman who took part in the world. That woman is now in the past, by the grace of God.
A woman who had a child early in life, while she was still in college, a child who is the only thing she can claim as beautiful from that time, but that also recognizes that she didn’t bring him into the world in God’s timing, because I was a woman who practiced the sin of fornication. Those were many years in which I, being married at the time, committed serious mistakes and blasphemed against God, in which I had become so seriously ill, that my medications made me gain 80 pounds, a woman who in her years of youth was a dancer and had kept a “nice figure”, now looked at herself in the mirror totally different and had come to hate what she saw. The years went by and one day, I woke up and in my own strength said to myself, “no more medications”; I threw them away, decided to get my body back in shape, got a gym membership, and was able to start to lose all the weight I had put on because of my depression and the medication I was taking. During that time I also learned karate and returned to dancing, but the years continued to pass by, I still found myself in a destroyed marriage in which love did not exist, and since I wanted my life back back, I got a divorce and moved on to continue to pursue my personal desires.
It was there that I continued my life with a man I had met through a mutual friend, and had now fallen in love with because of the convincing way in which he professed to be a christian, since he had grown up in a church all of his life. It was this time the Lord used to bring me to His feet. Following my own desires, I persisted in the sin of fornication, but after being invited by our friend to visit a church, I agreed to go, and it was in that time that I slowly began to hear of the Lord in a way completely different to how I had heard before. I began to come to know the God of the Scriptures. I started to learn to pray and do morning devotionals, things that I had never done before. But I still continued to live in sin together with that man. I’ll never forget all I suffered by his side, because our relationship was very unhealthy and without a future, but I was so blind that I could not see it clearly. One day, a beautiful lady from the church I was assisting with him told me “that’s not the man that the Lord has prepared for you”. Regardless, I remained in that relationship. It was a time in which I began to experience great changes in my mind; what I used to enjoy had already ceased to amuse me, and I had begun to have serious disagreements with that man and his lifestyle, which was not proper for someone who had professed to be a christian. After multiple years with him, and many break-ups and make-ups, I became pregnant and we got married, all the while never forgetting those words spoken to me by that beautiful lady from church, who told me “that’s not the man the Lord has prepared for you”. We got married, I spent every last penny from my savings on our wedding and then, I lost our baby. This loss caused me to suffer of a hormonal imbalance which only made our already unhealthy relationship even worse. After 6 months of marriage, he abandoned me, which caused me to fall into a severe depression, causing me to become underweight, a depression I do not desire to remember, but that in order to glorify God, I must share.
That was the time!
The time that God used so that I would finally have an encounter with His cross. That was the time that God used so that I could see my need of salvation, that all my life I had sinned against God and that I lived only to fulfill my own desires, headed to eternal damnation. It was in that time that I was able to see the perfect work of Jesus Christ in love for me, it was then that I realized that I needed forgiveness, that I needed Christ. It was then that I experienced new birth and I truly became a new creature, a woman who desired to live for the glory of God. Still being an abandoned woman, a woman who waited for her husband, and prayed for him, and did not accept what was being told to her by other people, for he was with another woman while we were still married. I waited for him for almost a year and a half, faithfully praying for him, praying to God for his salvation and that He might bring him back renewed.
The work of Christ had healed me! Depression no longer had part in me and I began to take hold of my life. I found a good job, an apartment, while persevering in prayer for that husband. Until one day, that I will never forget, my prayer changed, and instead of asking God to bring back to me a renewed husband and to restore our marriage, I told God that I wanted His will to be done, that I no longer wanted things my way and that I desired His plan. That was when everything made sense, a year and a half had already passed by of me waiting for that husband, a husband who had already gone forward with his own life and of whom what I was told about was true. He was in a relationship with a co- worker, with whom he remains to this day and is raising two children.
But, what happened with me? After all that time without a clue of the whereabouts of that husband, and in the very moment my prayer for him had changed, he reappeared. I said to myself “Wow! God never ceases to amaze me!”, we had a conversation over the phone in which I asked him what would happen between us, to which he responded “I want a divorce!”. It was in that time that I saw God’s answer to my prayers, and I came to see that the words spoken by that lovely lady from church were indeed true, that’s not the man God has prepared for me. At that time I felt that a huge weight had fallen off my shoulders; I felt peace in my soul and I said to him: “If you want to get a divorce, you’ll do it all yourself. The fault for this sin will not fall over me.”, and in less than a month, the divorce had become a reality. He was free to continue his relationship with that other woman and I was free to follow God’s will and ways.
What can I say? It is a very long story and there is still a lot left, but I don’t want to bore you all with so much information. Still, I didn’t want to finish my little story without telling you why I decided now was the time to change my hairstyle, without letting you know that I now delight in having come to understand of the mercies of God. The Lord did not leave me alone, he brought me a man whom I now call husband, with whom we are now building a future together by God’s grace, a man who also experienced the new birth, and who walks with me in the same direction, a man who has been blessed by God. We have already experienced two miscarriages in the nearly four years of marriage we’ve had, but we continue to wait on the Lord’s will and timing, whether or not we are able to hold that child in our arms, we know that God’s grace is sufficient for us. In some other time in the future I will tell you of our little love story.
But now we come back to what brought me to take the decision now to change my hairstyle. It was approximately ten years, my long black hair had been one of those attributes for which I received compliments, conserving my natural hair color, a hairstyle which had caught my husband’s eye, which I always wore long, down to my waist. We weren’t ready to take the step towards change, but, don’t you think we have enough reasons to make visible in our external appearance our internal changes? I have come to understand it was about time. One day, while speaking with my stylist Daphne, I was able to convince myself, without knowing exactly what we’d do, we launched ourselves forward, and I think it was the best decision we could’ve made. And now you can all see the results. The feedback we have received has been amazing, and I can’t stop talking about the incredible work Daphne did on me. It was a lengthy process, with nerves on point, in which I was not allowed to see anything until the final revelation. When I saw how much hair had been cut off, I must confess I found myself about to cry, but I was strong. My hair had a lot of meaning to me and I was letting go of it. But in the end, when I was able to finally look in the mirror, I cried; I cried because of how different I looked in my outward appearance, with my hair transformed, I hugged Daphne and I thanked her for doing such an excellent job. And so, we left to show my husband, who had been waiting for us in the waiting room without taking a peek. Once he saw, his face without words said it all, he was a bit shy, but his eyes were lit up. It was then that we took the photos while Daphne retouched my makeup.
After all, it was the right time. All of this exterior change had a purpose, to let you know that this has all been a process of constant changes in God’s hands, in which I am still Anne, but with a different hairstyle, in which I am still a sinner, but redeemed by the grace of God, Who will take me through more changes, which will not be easy, but will continue to be reflected in my outward appearance by the grace of God.
MAYBE THIS ISN’T THE MOST ENTERTAINING STORY YOU’VE EVER READ, OR MAYBE YOU WERE EXPECTING A DIFFERENT KIND OF PUBLICATION, BUT I HOPE THAT THIS LITTLE STORY HAS BEEN OF BLESSING TO YOUR LIVES, FOR THIS IS MERELY A SMALL SUMMARY OF WHAT THESE TEN YEARS OF MY LIFE HAVE BEEN, YEARS OF LOSS, BUT ALSO OF ABUNDANT GAINS, IN WHICH I’VE COME TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE ONLY HOPE I HAVE IS IN THE ONE WHO GAVE HIS LIFE FOR ME. IF THIS TESTIMONY WAS OF BLESSING TO YOUR LIFE IN SOME WAY, LEAVE ME A COMMENT AND IF YOU DESIRE THAT WE MIGHT TALK MORE ABOUT THE NEW BIRTH IS AND OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, I AM GLAD TO DO SO, ALSO IF YOU NEED PRAYER. BELIEVE ME, IF THIS HAS BEEN OF BLESSING TO YOUR LIFE, IT HAS BEEN OF GREATER BLESSING TO MINE. IN CHRIST AND ONLY IN CHRIST IS HOPE FOR LIFE.
I send you the greatest of hugs.
Translation by Shelly Michelle Rosado