And if it's your looks, probably there are a few things in particular you wish you could change. Usually, we're ashamed of our deficiencies. We don't talk about them, but we feel diminished and defective nonetheless.
For Becca Bradford, it was her lack of eyelashes. She lost them when she was a kid, but God cared enough to do something wonderful and unexpected for her. Here's Becca's story.
I will never forget the day in 6th grade when the popular boy, let’s call him, ‘Noah,’ came over and stood in front of my desk. I looked up into his curious face feeling all sorts of nervous and excited. And then he yelled, ‘you guys were right! She really doesn’t have any eyelashes!’ and ran off to his friends laughing and pointing at me. Ouch.
Doesn’t that just make your inner middle schooler want to go curl up in the corner and hide? Kids can be cruel, even the cutest of them.
I spent the majority of middle and high school ashamed of my eyes. I was reluctant to make eye contact with people, hoping that if I didn’t then they wouldn’t notice the very obvious thing that I was missing. And if they didn’t notice, then they wouldn’t ask about it. Many times I would make up stories of what had happened because telling the truth just didn’t seem like an option. I let shame and what other people would think of me rule so much of my adolescent life.
As I got older it started to seem silly that a lack of hair coming out of my eyelids was the source of so much humiliation throughout my life. It was ridiculous that I had allowed this one aspect of who I was to completely define who I would continue to be. I wanted that to change. I needed that to change.
I began to grow more comfortable with the way my eyes were. The confidence I had in the Lord started to overflow into the confidence I had in my appearance. I could look people in the eyes without quickly turning away. If someone asked me about my eyes I didn’t get offended or try and hide it, I just told the truth. By the time I moved to LA in 2008, my issues were long gone. I was ok with the way I was and had accepted that that’s just how it would always be.
I was me, quirks and all.
At the end of our first month in Guatemala my squad leader Mike Sanders left me with a simple statement he thought God wanted me to have – “ask and he will do it.” So of course my first thought was ‘ask and he’ll do what?’ I appreciated his words but didn’t know why they were for me. Throughout the next few months they would come to mind every now and then, but I just didn’t know what to do with them. I had no idea what God wanted me to ask him.
And then we got to Cambodia.
Looks were the last of my concerns as we entered into our 5th month of ministry. My un-air-conditioned bedroom was the hottest place I’d ever been. Any desire for cute hair or make-up was sidetracked by my stronger desire to not die from heat stroke. Despite my physical circumstances I felt like God and I found a deeper relationship that month. He showed me that I could trust him with my fears. That I could and should surrender them to him, and that he would always be there to walk with me through the hard times.
And somewhere in this time of surrender I got a crazy little notion that I can only explain as God.
At first, I ignored it.
“God, NO! I won’t ask for that. I can’t!”
“That’s frivolous. That’s selfish. That’s unnecessary.”
You see, the crazy thing that was freaking me out was this:
God asked me to pray for eyelashes.
If you’re thinking that sounds ridiculous then I agree with you. Because it is.
But the craziness that turned me away from it at first is what ended up drawing me back in. The whole race I’d been asking God to show me something wild. Something completely unexplainable and yet only explained through him. I believed that the God of the bible – the one that casts out demons, heals the sick and raises the dead – was the same God of today. And I wanted him to show me his power. I just never thought that the person he would show me it through would be me.
So I started praying. And I got the fierce women of team Wellspring to pray along with me. And then something even crazier than the prayer itself happened –
HE DID IT.
That’s right, friends. I am now the proud owner of EYELASHES!!!!! Now there’s a sentence I never expected to say! (mom – are you freaking out by now??? surprise!)
It’s really fun to curl my eyelashes, put on mascara (thanks Ash for teaching me!) and feel like I have this fun new accessory. But in the end, it’s not really about me having eyelashes (even though I do and I am still semi-spazzing about it). It’s about God. It’s about this tangible representation He gave me of the enormous love he has for his children.
You see, I didn’t need eyelashes. But He is a good God who loves to give good gifts to his children. And so he gave them to me just because. How cool is that?! He taught me that he cares about the small stuff in my life – the things that I don’t think really matter and the stuff that seems too silly to pray for. But nothing is too silly for God.
He created me. He knows me, he loves me, and he cares for every. little. thing. about me.
He created YOU. He knows you, he loves you, and he cares for every. little. thing. about you.
Ask and He will do it.