I was always a tom boy growing up, and an athlete for as long as I can remember. I have also been a Christian since I was 12, and was mentored in my early years by a man, so my feminine attributes were never of utmost importance to me. I really don't think I started wearing make-up consistently until college, and didn't realize that something might seriously need to change until long after that!
I think it was when I was a youth pastor in Malibu, CA (age 25/26) that I began to understand that my physical appearance could actually make a difference in the Kingdom of God. I started realizing that my personal presentation made a difference in how seriously people took the spiritual things I had to say... at least in Malibu. :) I don't think this realization fully hit me until after I'd gone through my "Makeover" and I saw how involved God was in the process.
This transformation in my life started when I read Henry Cloud's book called, "How To Find a Date Worth Keeping." Great book, btw! I was visiting Louisiana with my good friend Kim, when I read Dr. Clouds suggestion to ask a friend to be honest with you about something that was not attractive about you. Kim was all to willing! "The hair," she said! "We've got to do something about the hair!" Of all the things she could have said, it's funny to me that she started with my hair, but it did at least get the ball rolling.
We made general plans to go see our friend Kristin's hair-dresser, cause she really like him and thought he would be great for me, but he just kept not being available.
During this time, I was working at a gym, but was going to be starting at another position shortly, where I would have to dress up to go to work. Also during this time, I went to a conference at a church in Pasadena. I went to a seminar for youth leaders, and had two young gentlemen, whom I'd never met before, pray prophetically over me at the end of the session. Mind you, we were there for youth ministry, but this is what they prayed! One said, "I'm getting this picture of you taking off a sweatsuit and putting on a dress." The other said, "I believe you're going to start dressing differently and doing your hair differently." REALLY??!! Come on, God! I didn't know you cared about that stuff! A prophetic word about how I dress and what I look like?! You really are bigger than my little human brain has conceived.
So I started my new job, incidentally at a company called "Chrysalis." This is the name of the cocoon that a caterpillar hides-out in while it's transformed into a butterfly! I was only there for one month, but during that time received an email from an acquaintance at church. She explained that she and her family owned a company called Body Beautiful, and they were looking for people who might be interested in a "Makeover" with $1500 worth of free consulting, etc. All I'd need to provide was money for new clothes, and they'd go shopping with me, do a full style analysis, hair-cut/color, etc. They wanted to use the before & after pictures for their company's website. I could hardly believe what I was reading!! One of the high school students that I mentored at the time was actually with me at work that day, and I remember showing her the email and staring at each other in disbelief! Could this be anymore perfect!! I couldn't respond fast enough!
We got started soon thereafter, and met several times throughout the course of a couple weeks. If you want to see more pictures and read about the process, check out their website at www.bodybeautifulonline.com. We completed the process on a Friday afternoon, just in time for our young adults group that night. When I got there, I kid you not, a guy I'd known for many years, saw me across the room. When I said hi, he responded in kind, but racked his brain trying to figure out how in the world he knew me!
After the makeover was complete, my friends came over to my house, and helped me go through my closet and figure out how to sustain these new changes that I was already loving! I still prefer going shopping with friends who are a little more naturally gifted in this area than I am, and am thankful for a husband who has a great sense of style! :) But I've come a long way, baby!! And I'm so thankful.
My favorite comment at the end of this process came from my friend Sharon Rhodes. She said, "Now your outsides match your insides!" And the Kingdom of God is advancing in ways I never thought about before! Just a few months ago, I went shopping with several girlfriends, one who'd come out of a homosexual lifestyle. She wanted to be more feminine, but really just didn't know how to get there herself. I wasn't the one picking out clothes for her, per say, but I was there for moral / "Laurel" support, as an encouragement that transformation is possible.
Some people may not want to change or be called to change in this way, but I am thankful that this was part of the grace the Lord had in store for me. This experience has opened my eyes to see that God cares about things that I would naturally judge as unspiritual. I've found, and hope I never forget, that the spiritual world touches a lot more of the natural world than might be percieved at first glance. Come open our eyes, Lord Jesus, that we might see You in the hidden places.