My daughter, Makenzie, invited her friend, Sunday, to our home. The weather was finally pleasant after a few weeks of cold and rain. The moment Sunday’s toe crossed the threshold of the kitchen my daughter Makenzie came barreling toward me. She’d just gotten her hair done, but I knew the moment she looked me in my eyes that she was going to ask one question: “Can I get my hair wet?”
Now, this may not seem like a big deal for some of you, but every Black woman knows that the Jeopardy music should have cued the moment the question was tossed in my direction. The hours of detangling, washing, conditioning, blow-drying, and pressing would go out of the window in a splash—literally! This is exactly why most Black women avoid wetting their freshly done hair.
Everything in me knew better. I thought about the time that would go into detangling, washing, conditioning, and styling her hair again. I also knew that as a homeschooled, middle child she often lacks fulfilling connection with girls her age. With a shoulder shrug, deep visceral sigh, an eye roll, and neck rub I told her the decision was hers to make.
I knew there were only two possible outcomes: Makenzie’s hair remains intact, or I roll up my sleeves and restore whatever is damaged. With absolutely zero hesitation, my daughter stripped off her clothing, revealing a bathing suit she had on all along. One day we’ll have to talk about the level of faith that her hidden bathing suit required! She took off full speed toward the swimming pool.
Right as Sunday cannonballed into the pool, Kenzie came running back in my direction with a look of pure horror in her eyes. “Mom, Sunday has never seen my natural hair!” Quick hair lesson for those who may not know: My daughter’s mid-length straightened tresses would recoil into a teeny-weeny afro the moment her hair was submerged in water. A phenomenon known as shrinkage that evidently affected more than her hair. What she said was a concern about her hair, but what I heard was the fear of being fully seen.
Right in front of my eyes I witnessed my daughter’s joy, confidence, hope, and faith shrivel. She was afraid that the love and adoration cultivated through their friendship would not withstand raw authenticity. Even more concerning was that my daughter wasn’t convinced that she is as beautiful in her raw state as she is when her hair is altered to look a certain way.
If we dared to be honest, we’d confess that the fear of being seen is not just a little girl’s struggle. It grows with us like a companion in every stage of life. Have you ever chosen to actively resist experiences, memories, or situations because you did not want to run the risk of being seen in your most vulnerable state? What if everyone around you knew about the depression? The addiction? Chronic stress? That troubled child? Heartbreak? What if you were truly seen?
When Adam and Eve were in the garden, they were so determined to not be seen in the aftermath of their sin that they used fig leaves and hid from each other, even though they both knew what the other had done (Genesis 3:7).
This is how so many of us go through life. Even our most intimate relationships are not granted access to our deep worry, shame, and concern. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how deeply troubling it can be to share the thoughts and memories you can barely express to yourself, let alone to another. However, if we’re truly going to experience the goodness of God, we must learn to remove the fig leaves we’ve come to love and exchange them for the covering that God wants to give us.
A woman who is determined to abandon what was must commit to the vulnerable process of evolving. It’s impossible to maximize the potential that God has placed in each of us and stay the same. When we make room for transformation in our lives, we embody the definition of evolving.
Evolve means to develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form. Notice how in saying evolve very slowly, you hear Eve. That’s how much her experience has inspired me.
Eve made a mistake, but she had proper perspective on how important it was to course correct. She didn’t settle for seeing life through a filter of fear, shame, or disappointment. No! She showed up and fought back. Her mistake never changed God’s intention, only how He would fulfill that intention. God still desired to partner with Eve to unleash His divinity on earth—just as He wants to partner with you and me to bring heaven to earth today!
Whether you’re attempting to recover from a setback, break free from an addiction, or bring forth good fruit despite the forbidden fruit you were exposed to, God has a redeeming plan for you—just like He did Eve. He’s got plans and purposes that are beyond what you can imagine. He wants to bless you and bless people through you. You, yes you, are a beautiful, vast, ornate demonstration of God’s thoughts and hope for humanity. And God is inviting you to take a risk and jump in the pool of grace. Let the living water change you from the inside out.
I’ll never forget the joy my daughter had on her face that day when she jumped into the pool. You know what else? I’ll never forget the joy she had on display as the world around her received an invitation to experience her most authentic self.
My hope and prayer is that through this study, you’ll see you were born to bring light to the darkness, a revolution of faith to future generations, and a smile in the wild. And when the fear tries to creep in and the anxiety fights to find a way through, you’ll remember two words, and read them as a command: Woman, Evolve!
Now, let’s go change the world!
Watch Session 1