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Angela’s Hair

It was no small thing, when Angela decided to let her hair grow. 

“The students here kept telling me that I was beautiful,” she explained softly, “but I couldn’t believe them. I guess that is no surprise, considering my past.”

It took months before Angela felt able to share her life story with fellow students in the HADIME discipleship program in Mexico. Her whole life in Colombia had been spent thinking she was worthless, ugly, and deserved abuse. As the only girl among three brothers, Angela was expected to work hard and not complain. So, when she suffered terrible trauma at the hands of an uncle, she felt that she could not speak of it. She just wanted it to stop.

“My father came home early one day,” Angela said. “He saw what was happening. But instead of defending me from my uncle, he beat me, as if it were my fault.”

Over the years, she became more depressed. One day, as a young adult, she hacked off her thick and shiny hair; if she felt ugly, she might as well look the part. Her mother, a devout Christian, anxiously insisted that Angela come to church, hoping that this would help. It did not. Instead, she began to have violent nightmares, and her mother turned to the pastors for help. Not trusting men, Angela found it difficult to confide in them. Then it was suggested that she attend the HADIME program, where for ten months she could be in a safe and loving environment, and experience more of the love of Jesus. Angela said yes.

“Everyone here helped me see that I was believing a lie,” she said. “The Bible says that God created my inmost being and knit me together in my mother’s womb. I am not ugly; I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

She began finding more and more freedom, even forgiving her uncle and her father, and it began to change the way she saw herself. As students kept commenting about her hair – that it was beautiful – at first, she just shook her head, and wouldn’t even meet their eyes. But as God healed her, Angela decided to let it grow again.

“They tell me I am beautiful, just like my hair,” she said, pointing to her now-long waves. “Who knows? Maybe they are right.”

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