Growing up UPC from day one has given me strength and taught me things I wouldn't have otherwise, however it also got me picked on in school. I was often pushed in the hallways, pointed at, and whispered about the girl with the really long hair/skirt who got to go into special tutoring classes. I wasn't allowed to be evolved in things I could have been good at because I couldn't wear a skirt doing it. I often felt ostracized from everyone else. My mom would always say being different was the point and we were supposed to be separate from the world. My friends didn't often invite me to their birthday parties because I was always at church. I feel like I missed out on having solid relationships with those who didn't attend the UPC. I had a friend, Hope, hand make me a necklace back in 5th grade (I still have it), She was so excited to give it to me. I opened the little box. Thanked her kindly but explained I could never wear it due to church rules. Her facial expression still haunts me sometimes when I see that necklace. I hurt my friend by not using her gift as it was intended. Or the time I wore make-up for a school play. I really liked it so much it scared me. I haven't worn any since.
With that said, I wish I were brave enough to go style my hair. I really despise being afraid of people's reactions good or bad. I've told people for over ten years I struggle with all this appearance stuff. I'd asked for advice from people I respect/ed in the UPC (United Pentecostal Church) for the entire time about hair, make-up, and jewelry. I received lots of well thought out replies. It was/has boiled down to how separate do I wanna be/stay? Does my "being separate" keep me from love, joy, peace, kindness, etc that could come my way? God and his grace are enough to save me and my little family. He doesn't want to harm us.
What's my point? Things are changing for me. One day in the future, I may not have long uncut hair, not wear jewelry or be make-up-less. That doesn't mean I've forgotten God. It doesn't mean I don't remember the bible or the preaching or all-night prayer meetings. I still feel God's presence often and am challenged by it. My goal is that my heart behaviors match the fruits of the spirit where ever they lead me. Modesty will still be a priority for me.
|So if I look like this.|
|Or like this. Remember your words can leave scars.|
Be wise with them.