12 October 2013

Ghana: Beautiful despite imperfections

One of the tests I had while out in Ghana was the beauty test! This is were the word in me gets tested, as to where do I believe my beauty comes from!

Now, before I left for Ghana I decided to do the big chop. It was a massive step for me to do, because it really did challenge the idea that Afro hair on ME wasn't as nice as relaxed...but it was another one of those things, of letting go of the old and moving into the new. I prayed about it before I did it and felt a peace to do so and so I did. I didn't ever think that going to Africa with natural hair would be such a problem but it seemed to be for the stylists that couldn't do my hair. 

One of the things I did while out in Ghana was a spa day with the bride and other bridesmaids. It was such a relaxing day, followed by our hair trials for the wedding day, which I was most excited for. I really like pretty hair and so I was looking forward to the end result. Only, all the stylists that tried to work with my hair, just had no idea! I knew this because they tried to dry flat twist my hair, without any oils or anything. I could see that it wasn't going well. At that point I started to feel so left out from the rest of the ladies, as I couldn't experience the girly fun of having my hair done...and plus the looks I was getting from people in the salon, just made it so much worse. It felt as though others were starring at me, like I had some abnormal hair. At one point in the holiday, one of the hair dressers jokerly asked me why don't I just relax it? *insert blank face*... I THANK GOD for the gift He has given me in knowing how to style hair and all, as I realised that evening, I will have to do it myself. 

To be completely honest with you, I felt sooo rejected and ugly at this point, because of my hair...Sounds crazy right?! and it's so not the truth, but this is how I felt. I am not suggesting that we live by or should allow our emotions to lead us, but we do have them and have to learn how to use them in a healthy way and not ignore them, without leaning on the Holy Spirit. On this occasion, I didn't get over this in a few hours, it took the next couple of days, as the test continued. 

 The Holy Spirit was reminding me that feelings are not final, and I had to ask God for help to shut down the lies, that 'I look ugly' etc. I had to cast down those imaginations and remind myself that hair doesn't define a person - my hair doesn't define me. Whether straight or Afro, it does not define what is beautiful. Some may say, straight hair looks better and would prefer it and for so long, I was one of those people too (we each have our preferences and this was one of mine). However I am finding that the more I expose myself to natural hair sisters, I have been encouraged to see the beauty in that type of hair also. Yet, even in that, I have quickly learnt, it is so important NOT to compare your Afro hair to others, because that will cause insecurities to grow. It is important to find the beauty in the portion you have been given; in the length or texture your hair is in, right now....or else you are the person that looses out on enjoying life. I learnt this one the hard way, so now, I am learning all the time to FIND THE BEAUTY in my portion or season! Some how, some where it is there and asking God, helps me to see that 'beyond the surface' beauty. 

Now back to the story...that evening I went home - cried a little - spoke to God, and asked Him to inspire me and help me to not feel so rubbish. The wedding was in two days, and at this point my confidence levels in styling my own hair was so slow, due to feeling rubbish. I knew I had to get out of that feeling place, because I had 2 days to be ready to serve at the wedding. This was not the time to be down about hair.

The next day, I woke up and my forehead was rather itchy...as the day continued, 5 lumps appeared on my forehead! Mosquito bites, the day before the wedding! Ah!!! Once I had a quick private moment to myself, I cried, again! 'Why me?!' I thought, not knowing I was going through a test at the time. I wish I realised sooner, especially as before going to Ghana, I was at a Love Limitless event and beauty was something that was discussed. I completely forgot that the truth I heard would get tested at some point! 

My thinking was 'so here I am the MOH - I love photos and MANY will be taken tomorrow! ...I've woken up with these things on my face! My hair isn't done yet and this is my first time styling completely natural hair. GREAT!' I had to just submit my emotions and thoughts to God and ask for divine grace and He heard me! God Inspired me and really helped me to do a creative style whereby I covered by forehead. It was so deep, because I had to KEEP reminding myself that my beauty is NOT surface level but its my character that either makes me beautiful  or not. Therefore my attitude in the situation had to be beautiful in order for me to remain and move in that God given beauty. You know them lessons, in life that really do stretch you. This was one! Ladies, I promise you, you can pass too, and with a better attitude then I started out with, just look to Jesus in all things and at all times. Apply His word. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18
'In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.'

'In every thing give thanks...' not FOR everything, but IN every thing give thanks, that's what scripture says. It's important to remember what God says! 

Philippians 4:6
'Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.'

Holy Spirit was reminding me 'beyond the surface, you are more than just your face. You may not look your physical best tomorrow in those photos but 1) It's not about you tomorrow. 2) Just work it and be you! You are the MOH but be thankful it's not happening to the bride!' This so comforted me! That and aftercare cream! Haha. I rubbed that cream so much and was praying, and asked my sisters in London to pray also, that it may disappear, and if not that God would give me such confidence to not be conscious about the lumps. 

On the day they didn't go away, but I didn't care! My mind was made up that I was going to still serve regardless and put myself aside because it really was not my day! And that helped me so much. To put the bride before myself.  It was SUCH a lovely day and a BEAUTIFUL wedding and I'm glad I didn't sulk and have a sour face about a situation. No other than God's grace, empowering me to fulfill what I am meant to do! I even forgot it was there until I was putting my headscarf on in the evening. 

God is good! He helped me to know and by His grace pass the test of where I believe my beauty comes from and truly have a heart that didn't dwell on the bites. My attitude was not perfect throughout the test, but I ended well and I thank Him for that!

'Better is the end of a thing than its beginning...' ~ Ecclesiastes 7:8
 I am beautiful because He makes me beautiful...and the journey continues. 

On the day of the wedding. The story through pictures below...


Washed and blow dried, just before the styling attempts begun. 
Gathering my thoughts in a chicken shop, hungry and just upset after leaving
the salon with blow dried hair alone.

Blow dried Afro hair. 
The next day. Asking for that joy to be present in my life and for inspiration!

When I discovered the bites! I wasn't even sure I was going to share the photo
but this is as real as it gets, so I shared.

After I had styled my hair, at the hotel.
On the day of the wedding, after the make up artist had finished my face.


If I wasn't sure before, I am sure today. I am more than my face and good skin, although I aim to be diligent in looking after my temple! 

God is still on the throne, He still loves me and HE still thinks I am precious and that is enough! I have come a long way but thanking God for the growth! Psalms 139 has been faithful. 

Hope you have enjoyed my Ghana posts.

With love and Style, 
Nash Amber 

6 comments

  1. Great post I think the styling you ended up doing is gorgeous. A bit sadden by your experience but glad u got over it and u didn't just think let me perm my hair as a quick solution.:-)

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    1. Thank you Miss! Bless you!! - - nope, no perm! :)

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  2. Inspiring and edifying journey... Mum J. :D

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