A Hair Tale

"As for the man whose hair has fallen from his head, he is bald, but he is clean.   He whose hair has fallen from his forehead, he is bald on the forehead, but he is clean" Leviticus 13:40-41

In comparison to last week this week was a good week.    I did have to go for bloodwork every day (30 minute drive each way) because my white blood count was low.  On Tuesday they gave me a shot to boost my white blood count which seemed to help a lot as my blood count was better on Wednesday and better still on Thursday.    On Friday (yesterday) I got my port placed.  That was a bigger deal than I expected.  I was at the hospital for about 4 hours and was fully sedated for the procedure.  But... all seemed to go well.   I'm a little sore and stiff when I move my left arm but I think that is to be expected.   Having the port will help tremendously as my arms are pretty bruised up from having to get stuck day after day for bloodwork and for chemo.

I am REALLY enjoying eating solid foods again.   Can't tell you how wonderful it is to actually chew food after 6 weeks of liquid only (amounted to a 40 day liquid fast).   I am up to 2,000 calories a day which is enough to maintain my weight, I have actually gained 2 pounds this week!   This morning I had 2 eggs, 2 biscuits, gravy, and one slice of bacon.  Had some jam on half a biscuit.  Total of 642 calories, not long ago I was struggling to get that in a day!    My Nanna used to say "food is such a comfort" and I am finding that to be true!   I still haven't gotten to eat Pizza Hut Pizza or a Pal's cheeseburger (Cherish is regulating what I eat very closely) but I'm getting close (maybe this week)!!

This week I am back on schedule with chemo.  On Monday I have the same chemo that I had that ended me up going to the emergency room with a fever that day and led to the delay in my treatment.   My doctor doesn't think that was a reaction to the chemo but had more to do with the pneumomia that I was diagnosed with.   Please pray that I don't have any kind of reaction (like that at least) on this coming Monday.   If all goes well I will begin another 5 days of chemo starting the week of May 10th.   Once I get through that I'll be half way through my treatment!

The big event this week was the shaving of my head.   I discovered on Monday evening that when I barely tugged on the hair on my head it came out in clumps.  So... rather than shed all over the place I talked Cherish into shaving it (there is a video available if you didn't get to see it and want to, just let me know).    It was a family affair as all my girls were there to witness and Evie took the video.  

Following the hair being shaved I began to be troubled in a somewhat illogical way.   I began to think about Samson and how he lost his strength when his hair was cut, as he broke the last part of his Nazarite Vow (he'd already broken the other two parts - not to touch a dead body or to drink strong drink).   I began to be concerned that if what I had done was Biblical!   Silly I know but as much as I have preached the grace of God I think all of us have a part of us somewhere that thinks that if we do something slightly out of place that we lose God's blessing on our lives.   I began to search the scriptures about "hair" even digging out my 20 pound Strong's concordance.    There are many verses that say NOT to shave your head!   I found one verse in Acts 18:18 where Paul shaved his head because "he had taken a vow".  That linked me to Numbers 6 where those who had fulfilled a temporary Nazarite vow (Samson's vow was permanent) would shave their head and take it to the temple as an offering.  Well.... I knew that I had not made a Nazarite vow and I certainly hadn't gathered up my hair and taken it to the church, so it weighed on me that maybe I had done something wrong!!   Again, I knew this was silly and that I was not cursed because of this but I want so much to please God in all that I do that it bothered me.   Until I came across the verse printed at the top of this blog in Leviticus 13.  This is a chapter all about leprosy but in the middle it says "he whose hair has fallen from his head, he is bald but he is clean."  This verse strangely brought me consolation.   It's really saying because your hair is falling out doesn't mean you have leprosy, but I took it as because my hair fell out on it's own I had done nothing wrong!    After that relief I then heard the voice of God speaking to my heart.   He chastised me for being concerned about it to begin with.   He reminded me that our relationship with Him is not about what we wear or don't wear, how our hair is fixed or even if we have any, "for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (I Sam. 16:7).  This verse was spoken about David who was overlooked by his own father, probably wasn't because he shaved his head, but regardless God saw much deeper than even David's own father did.   This small "issue" I had this week was an important reminder to me to keep from falling back into legalistic thinking and continue to love God with all my heart, soul, and strength that is what matters to Him.  He could care less whether I have hair or not, what color it is, and what style as long as my heart is after him.  

So... my encouragement to you is the same.  Quit worrying about whether or not some small action on your part has offended God and instead make sure your heart is right with Him.   If so, you have nothing to worry about.  Thank God for his grace.  Sometimes others may not understand or agree with the way you look but it doesn't matter as long as your heart is right with God.   What He sees in your heart is way more important than what others see on your head!

I pray that this blog has blessed you.  Please feel free to share and comment.   This is my "preaching platform" at the moment and I'm pleased that I can at least share my heart this way.  Thank you for reading and I pray you are blessed this week!


Lisa Finney - May 1st, 2021 at 11:11am

Matthew you always have been and continue to be an inspiration to us all...thank you for being so open and sharing yourself with us...we love you and Cherish and your family and appreciate you all more than you know...

Matthew Chapman - May 1st, 2021 at 2:19pm

Thank you Lisa. Thank you for what you shared last Sunday at church too. Love ya!

Tammy - May 1st, 2021 at 12:03pm

Thank you once again for sharing your heart and being so candid with your thoughts and struggles . I know you miss preaching at the church but this blog has really reached my heart just as much as if not more and is leading me closer to God. It has lined up with where God has been leading me in my walk with Him. Terry and I love you ! 💕

Matthew Chapman - May 1st, 2021 at 2:20pm

Thank you Tammy. That is so encouraging!! I’m so glad this blog is a blessing. Love you & Terry so much and are praying for you!

Elaine Smythe - May 4th, 2021 at 5:58am

I love your written messages! They assure me that God is, indeed, holding you up & using you in the midst of your trouble. It is sad that we stress over things that just aren't important to God. Loving him & others are the only things that really matter..

This kind of thing brings it all home, so to speak.. Thank you so much for sharing these messages. Sometimes it's the little things that we take for granted that speak the loudest.

Matthew Chapman - May 4th, 2021 at 1:16pm

Thanks Elaine. I appreciate the encouragement. It is often the little things that trip us up isn’t it? Our minds can create such land minds fir us to trip over. Love you & your family so much. See u soon!

Carrie - May 4th, 2021 at 3:29pm

Thanks for sharing your posts and blog with us all. I am encouraged by your faith and to hear about how the Lord is working in the midst of this journey. I am praying for and with you and your family and the church and love you all very much!

Matthew Chapman - May 4th, 2021 at 8:53pm

Thank you Carrie! Your prayers mean so much. Thank you for all the support you have been for so many years. You’re always there when we need you. Love ya!

Rev. Laura Howell (Montgomery County) - May 6th, 2021 at 1:03pm

Matthew, I am lifting you and your family up in my prayers. The love and light of Jesus Christ are pouring out to all to see through your words and actions. May God Bless you and Heal!

Matthew Chapman - May 6th, 2021 at 9:28pm

Thank you so much Laura!! That means SO much!!! Praying all is well with you in Montgomery County! Look forward to seeing you all sometime soon. Thank you for your prayer & support. God bless.