Bad Hair Days


Falcon Youth Camp, Day 5… “Dear Mom and Dad, It is raining. The good news is that now Pastor Jon won’t have to make me take a shower. On the downside, Nurse Missy won’t let us play any more human foosball or atomic dodgeball ’cause she’s running out of ibuprofen, ace bandages, and instant cold packs. When do I get to come home?”

As soon as I walked into my kitchen this morning, I knew it was going to be bad hair day.  I had moussed my hair into a cute, fluffy ‘do and was wearing my favorite chunky leather sandals.  But when I walked into the kitchen and looked out the back glass door and saw rain pouring down in sheets, I glanced at the clock and saw that I had exactly four minutes to regroup and get to the car. 

Frustrated, I ran back to the bedroom and rummaged in the sock drawer.  I came up with two almost-matching white socks—one with gray lettering on the toes and one with pink lettering on the toes—and decided they would have to do.  I pulled on the socks, tugged on my hated New Balance tennis shoes, grabbed the dog and headed out the door.

I suppose now would be a good time to mention that I don’t own a raincoat.  Or an umbrella.

Knowing how prone I am to slipping down my steps when they’re wet, I took the steps carefully and then broke into a run across the grass to the dog’s runner.  Quickly releasing Sadie, I ran to the car and slid into the driver’s seat, sneaking a peek at the clock.

Four minutes late.  Doggone it!

I don’t think anyone noticed that I was four minutes late.  Really, they were too busy laughing at my drowned-rat appearance.  My formerly cute, fluffy, dry hair was now hanging in dripping strings.  And I was soaked to the bone.

By lunchtime, the day seemed to be running fairly smooth.  The rain had stopped.  I was dry (though my hair was flat and slicked back–not a good look for me).  The phone was fairly calm.  I was making a dent in the day’s demands.  No irate parents.  No homesick campers.  Almost a normal day.  Our Missions and Evangelism Department secretary walked to the cafeteria to have lunch with me and we enjoyed our chicken and rice, peas, biscuits, and fruit cup.  And then, we walked out the door to walk back to the office.  As I stepped onto the portico, I heard the door slap shut behind me and then I heard a pre-teen girl’s voice behind me.  “Wow, it’s like really raining.  Like, it’s totally coming down!” 

My co-worker froze beside me on the portico, both of us staring open-mouthed at the deluge.

Did I mention that I don’t own a raincoat?  Or an umbrella?

“Wanna wait and see if it stops?”  Nicole looked longingly back at the dry dining room and I could tell she wanted to go back in. 

“Can’t.  Jon needs me to make these phone calls now.  I stared at the sky hoping that the rain would miraculously stop, but as if to mock me, it came down faster and harder.  Focused on the to-do list sitting on my desk, I couldn’t stop to worry about the rain.  I took a step toward the wet sidewalk that led from the portico to the office across the street.

“Sarah, you can’t be serious!”  Nicole laughed behind me.  Several middle-school girls had stopped to watch the normally practical Miss Sarah walk out in the rain. 

“I have to get back to the office, Nicole.”

I double-timed it back across the street to my office, hearing little more than the sound of rain hitting the ground and a group of girls standing under the portico laughing at me.  As I stepped into my office, I heard a gasp as our office’s financial manager saw me.  Then, as she handed me a Kleenex to dry my glasses, we both began to laugh.

Several years ago, when I was first learning how to walk in God’s will instead of Sarah’s will, God gave me an example.  He said, “Sarah, my will is like a covered walkway.  If you stay on the walkway, you will be protected.  But if you step off of the walkway, you are also stepping out from under your protection.” 

I’ve been a Christian for several years now, but there are still many times that I want to walk in my own will.  Sometimes, I still think that my way is better than God’s way.  It doesn’t take many steps out from under the covered walkway to remember that I really like the protection that God’s way provides.  I usually step back onto the walkway pretty quickly.

When I was a Freshman in college, I had a roommate that I had a lot of trouble loving.  She wasn’t a Christian and didn’t act like one, either.  She was strong-willed and so am I.  And so, we butted heads on a regular basis.  Because I knew that God had put us together for a reason, I usually managed to keep a lid on my temper.  But many, many, many times, I would go climb into the shower (the only “alone” spot that exists when you live in a dorm) and stare up into the ceiling as though to burn a hole into the floor of heaven to get a direct audience with God.  I’d clench my fists and pound the faded blue tile walls and say, “God, I don’t want to forgive Kelly!  I don’t want to forgive her!”  And inevitably, as soon as I’d admit it, my heart would begin to soften.  By the time I’d dressed and gotten back to the room, I would be ready to face my roommate again.  

You might think that working in full time ministry, I’m always surrounded by sweet, loveable, kind, trust-worthy people.  But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.  I can’t trust everyone and some of them really don’t want to be my friends.  I regularly encounter people that are hard to love.  When I do, I am still tempted to be angry and hold a grudge, but ultimately, I will end up going to God and saying, “Lord, I don’t want to forgive!  I don’t want to forgive!”  But because God is big enough to deal with truth, He’ll begin to soften my heart.  And before I know it, I’ve forgiven and I’m back on the walkway.  And believe me, you have far fewer “bad hair days” when you stay on that walkway. 

About Sarah Salter


  1. Neal Salter says:

    Bad hair days also come for pastors. There are days I really don’t want to be nice. When everything has gone really crazy and no body really cares how I feel about the issues, I really would like to be like the rest of the world and tell some of them to go take a flying leap! When I do that though, God reminds me He has never left me and never not loved me, so why should I be so cynical. During the last seven weeks, a group of 12-15 of us have been going through Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Love. It has been eye-opening and very good, especially for me. Over the last several years it seems I have become more cynical and critical, when I really should be more loving and encouraging. The book, The Relationship Principles of Jesus by Tom Halliday, has helped me recover a renewed desire to be more like Jesus, than I’ve really sought to be. Sarah, keep up the good work, it reminds me to keep my eyes on Jesus, when I read and hear your ponderings.

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