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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)

TITLE: Redheads Blush Best
By Pam Carlson-Hetland


“Miss Carlson...” My biology teacher interrupted his own lecture to look deeply into my eyes, “You have brown eyes!" I nodded.

"Did you know that it is a recessive gene that produces a redheaded child and that redheads almost always have blue or green eyes. You are quite an oddity of nature." He announced in front of the entire Junior Biology class.

The flood of laughter from my classmates matched the flood of color that stained my pale skin. If ever I wanted to die from pure embarrassment, it was at that moment. What self-conscious teenager struggling to navigate the awkward journey from child to adulthood wants to be thought of by her peers in such a manner? My whole head glowed as if it were a beacon atop a lighthouse.

The only other redhead in my small-town class was a blue-eyed jokester who frequently declared his romantic inclinations toward me in bits of poetry. Notes usually arrived on my desk crumpled and moist from my sweaty-palmed suitor. Once, he boldly declared his feelings in an English assignment read before the class. I was so lost in the near perfect iambic pentameter that I missed the message until the mention of his "red-haired love" made it clear to me--as well as the rest of the class--of whom he was speaking.

I blushed from embarrassment. He flushed with, perhaps, unrequited ardor. I feared there would be enough candlepower generated from our red hair and faces to illuminate half the high school. One thing is for sure: redheads blush best.

Psalm 139:13 (NIV) states "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." The Lord knit me together as a redhead––a fact that I struggled with most of my youth. Not having the coloring and complexion that was considered in vogue at the time certainly added to my teenaged insecurities. I wanted to blend in, not stand out. I wanted to wear trendy colors like hot pink, psychedelic orange and purple without my hair clashing clown-like with my clothing. And, I definitely wanted to be able to sunbathe to a bronzed brown rather than sizzle to a painful lobster-red in mere minutes.

Though my bright hair has darkened and dulled to a nondescript light reddish brown in the decades that have followed, I still identify myself as a redhead. I don't miss the teasing endured in my youth or the misconceptions of temperament associated with flame-colored hair. But being a redhead is part of who I am even if most of my reddish locks now come from a box. As I stand before the vast assortment of hair coloring products at the local Super Store, I feel compassion for the girls who want to cover their hair, and possibly insecurities, with a faddish color. But I feel kinship with those of us seeking to recover what we once had naturally.

It wasn’t until my walk with the Lord deepened that I finally felt comfortable in my own sensitive, freckled skin. Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV) was crucial to my self-acceptance. “...And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” I remember reading those verses repeatedly and thinking that if the Creator loved me to those expansive dimensions, then who was I to despise how He created me?

Lately, I have made this a prayer for my blue-eyed, brunette teenaged daughter who–much to my bewilderment--prefers to color her hair red.

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This article has been read 1115 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Julie Arduini07/26/07
You nailed the classroom embarrassment. I could relate, I always wanted to be a redhead and thanks to my last pregnancy, my body changed and I'm a red head! Loved it.
Dee Yoder 07/26/07
Good devotional- I enjoyed reading this very much! My best friend is a redhead (been friends for over 35 years). I've heard her say some of the same things you expressed in your story. :) She has also grown to love and accept her fair skin and red hair.
Kristen Hester07/27/07
This is so good. Your writing is witty and flows beautifully. I loved the descriptions of the boy with sweaty palms. And you nailed it with your ending line. Great punch.

I have a redheaded daughter. Thankfully she adores my redheaded sister, so she still likes her look. But she's only seven. We have plenty of years ahead where it may be an issue. I'll save this story for her.
Mariane Holbrook 07/27/07
How endearing! And your daughter wants to look JUST LIKE YOU! That has to be the best compliment a mother can receive from a teenage daughter. Your embarrassment in being the object of a classmate's affection suggests to me you were a knock-out teenager. Your article was sensitively written, with a great deal of class. You have several choice phrases in there that suggest you're on your way to the next level. Very well done!!
Sandra Fischer 07/27/07
I can truly relate to this -well done! I am a brown-eyed redhead and I was called "Red" as a child, which made me "red". Now, I am pleased to say I have a redheaded daughter and a redheaded granddaughter. Redheads are special and so are you for sharing this good piece!
Joanne Sher 07/30/07
Great title - and great last line. This is a wonderful devotional with the story so nicely woven into it.
Elizabeth Baize07/30/07
Your description of embarrassment in the classroom very well worded. I loved your word choice! You also brought in some important points with the verses that you chose. I think one of my favorite lines was, "I feared there would be enough candlepower generated from our red hair and faces to illuminate half the high school."
Angela M. Baker-Bridge07/30/07
It's taken years for God, and you, to turn something embarrassing and painful into something powerfully healing for others. Well done... Angel
Sheri Gordon07/30/07
This is incredible! Your descriptive writing kept me with you every step of the way. I love the way you interwove your story with Bible scriptures. Really good job with this topic.
william price07/30/07
Sharp crisp writing! Impressive. Enjoyed the story. God bless.
Jan Ackerson 07/31/07
I love the way this started out as a narrative, and became a devotional. Very smooth.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/01/07
This is excellent inspirational writing. It takes us quite a while to realize how uniquely God created us and loves us. You demonstrated this so well.
Sara Harricharan 08/01/07
Ah, a glimpse into the world of redheads! Your title says it and the story is great as well as your message. I like your last paragraph best though...good job.
Loren T. Lowery08/01/07
A great tesimony, well-written. I am one who blushes easily and it's never left me and I, like your MC, have come to accept it simply as part and parcel of the way God intended me to be. Nice story - good message.
Lynda Schultz 08/01/07
Nice work. Your last observations about the daughter actually choosing to have red hair reminded me of that saying that goes something like "some people's junk is someone else's treasure."
Dara Sorensen08/01/07
"My whole head glowed as if it were a beacon atop a lighthouse." Such great imagery here! ^_^ I loved this!
Edy T Johnson 09/29/07
What a hoot that I should find this delightful story of yours, when I came looking to tell you "thank you!" for leaving a comment on my "Proposals" story.

My favorite lines: "Once, he boldly declared his feelings in an English assignment read before the class. I was so lost in the near perfect iambic pentameter that I missed the message until the mention of his "red-haired love" made it clear to me--as well as the rest of the class--of whom he was speaking."

I love your story, and am delighted to have you for my friend, Kindred Spirit!
Jan Ackerson 10/27/07
Pam, great job on this article! I'm going to feature it in the Front Page showcase for the week of November 26. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page, and keep up the good work!
LauraLee Shaw11/26/07
This is an effective reminder to wrap our identity in Him. All else pales in comparison! Glad to see this featured, as I know it will minister to many...
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/26/07
Pam, I still think this is an excellent devotional article. :) I think brown-eyed redheads are especially attractive. Congratulations on being the showcase article.
Beth LaBuff 11/26/07
Well written and fun to read! Congrats on being the front-page showcase!
Edy T Johnson 11/27/07
Congratulations, Pam. This story in the Showcase is right where it belongs. I forgot to mention in my earlier comment that I've always LOVED the redhead-brown eyes combination. And, now I have at least one gorgeous granddaughter with that mix. This is such a great story, so well done.
Janice Cartwright11/28/07
Red is my absolute favorite color for hair. All the shades are so unusual and smashing. I always hoped at least one of my children or grandchildren would have red hair but so far all have been brunettes or various hues of blonde. There are redheads on both sides of our family.

Of course it's never too late - there are always great-grands for possibilities.

By the way my daughter's freshman science prof called her an anomaly for having a brown-eyed mom, offspring of two blue-eyed parents. He said it was impossible. But with God all things are possible for I KNOW I am my mother and father's child.

Really good writing! I enjoyed it very much!
Valora Otis12/01/07
Dear friend, as I read your story I was astounded at how close this story is to my very own! As you know I'm a red hed with brown eyes. Three of my sons have red hair. I guess you grow into it with age. But the teasing was terrible as a child. Thanks for sharing your gift with us. You are an amazing writer!