"Include lots of colour,” I told the florist when I ordered flowers for my boss’ 40th birthday. “Very little or no white.”

A Narrowing of Options

It was a running joke in our family that white was the last colour I’d choose for anything from clothes to picture frames. Even my walking shoes were fuchsia.

“White is too boring,” I said. “Besides, it doesn’t go well with my red hair.” But after 30 years of colouring my hair to keep the original auburn and cover the grey, I was ready to wave the white flag.

“My only worry is that if I let my hair go natural, I’ll look older than I am,” I whined to my husband, Kevin. Red hair had always been part of my image as an inspirational/humour author and speaker. After all, didn’t I need to present a perky, joyous persona? Having white hair might hurt my book sales and the impact of my messages.

“Jeanette, it’s your beautiful face and sparkly personality that people are drawn to,” Kevin stated.

His compliment melted my heart. But I still wasn’t convinced. So I did what I should have originally done: I talked to God.

“Lord, should I quit colouring my hair, buy a wig or let the natural shade—which I imagine is white—make its debut?” When God remained silent, I ordered a wig. Wrong choice. Now I looked like Little Orphan Annie. At least I’d narrowed down my options.

Realigning Priorities

After months of praying for wisdom, seeking advice from my friends, and consulting with my stylist, I heard God’s gentle voice: “Jeanette, Jeanette, you’re worried and upset about something that isn’t that important.”

Wait, I thought, where had I heard that statement before?

In the New Testament, I found the story of Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary’s home. Martha fussed over the meal preparations while her younger sister, Mary, sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him talk about God. When Martha insisted that Jesus tell Mary to get up and help cook, Jesus rebuked her. “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at My feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her” (Luke10:41-42 The Passion Translation).

I realized Jesus was telling me that all my fuss over the colour of my hair was distracting me from His plan for my life—to learn from Him and share His Word. His focus was on my heart, not the colour of my hair.

I determined to realign my priorities.

Birthday Surprise

It took six months to grow out my hair and get used to the white curls. Every time someone said, “I love your hair,” I smiled and thought, I should have done this years ago.

On the morning of my birthday, I left the house to meet friends for breakfast. As I started down the walk, something white in the flowerbed caught my eye.

It can’t be, I thought. This hosta plant hasn’t bloomed in 20 years. I stood staring at the delicate, trumpet-shaped blossoms for a full two minutes. A sense of awe settled over me.

“Thank you, Lord, for these beautiful white flowers, and on my birthday!” I could almost hear Jesus laughing at me pairing the words beautiful and white in the same sentence.

The hosta blooms were the same colour as my hair.

Author of five books and hundreds of published articles, Jeanette Levellie and her husband make their home in Paris, Illinois. Jeanette’s hobbies include spoiling her three grandchildren, pampering her cats and inventing new ways to avoid housework. Find her splashes of hope and humour at www.jeanettelevellie.com.

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