I Become the Woman Whose Hair is on Fire


Michele Morin -Compassion4

“You don’t need to fast,” she said. “Your prayers are enough.”

But I did need to fast, because her situation sounded really bleak, and God was talking to my heart about it.

Bev was traveling alone in Uganda when she injured her knee hurrying across a busy street. Swollen to nearly twice its size, the knee was painful.

The itinerary called for travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The schedule called for long hours of teaching and counseling.

She shared her need for prayer through the medium that brought us together: the Internet.

Bev is a warrior (and a SheLovely) whose ministry allows her to see, firsthand, the burdens women bear, sometimes quite literally. During this most recent trip, Bev saw women of all ages and sizes carry bundles of up to 100 kilos or more on their backs. These bundles are secured by a rag, wrapped around their middle and then over the front of their forehead. The women bend forward to carry the weight, but there’s no posture that will lighten the load of  trauma. In the DRC, rape is often used as a weapon of war. Women are marked as damaged goods, husbands abandon them and this back-breaking labor barely finances what’s left of their lives.

Bev returned to her home in Australia, hair aflame. She was excited to share the potential for ministry among women of the DRC whose whole life trajectory could be altered by the ownership of a simple wheelbarrow or by the introduction of a micro-enterprise that will enable them to provide for themselves.

“I think I need to learn French,” Bev exclaimed. “And I have found a couple of women who are connected to the interior decor industry. They are looking to source products from women across the world.”

If you know Bev, you know she works with urgency. She has realized that God has given us abilities to solve problems and meet needs in our lifetime. Years ago, Bev stood beside a crib in a Ugandan hospital, a witness to one of the 177,000 children living with HIV.

She heard the Spirit say: “You can do something about this if you want to.”

Cherish Uganda was born, a ministry that provides a home, health care, and education for children living with HIV/AIDS.

Today, she envisions a ministry to women and children of the DRC. She dreams of building a path out of the poverty and hopelessness her eyes have seen.

Will I ever stand bed-side to a Ugandan AIDS orphan or counsel victims of rape in the DRC?

Not likely.

I’m that woman who makes lists. I scribble plans as if the tip of my pencil could nail an entire day into place. Sometimes the plan works, the list gets accomplished, and peace rules in the galaxy.

Other days? Not necessarily.

It’s when my brittle, little world is challenged that I become the woman whose hair is on fire. Red-faced, I feel the heat of indignation when God or some lesser power dares to thwart my plan.

Hair aflame, and with My-kingdom-come-My-will-be-done-prayers on my lips, my focus narrows and my world becomes very small.

This is why I need the community of a worldwide sisterhood to open my eyes to global need and injustice. Do I smolder over the statistic that there are more slaves in the world right now than at any other time in history? Does even a spark ignite when I hear Gallup’s research that 65% of the people in my state have absolutely no connection to the healing and help that comes with a church family? As a mother of four young men, am I overcome with fiery compassion for the mothers in our country whose sons have been shot dead, victims of fear and misunderstanding?

Literally, the word “compassion” means a sharing of passion. I am finding that the experiences and the heartbeat of others can change the vibration of my own feeble pulse. As a middle-aged Christian woman living in North America, I continually strive for balance, for a gentle and quiet spirit, the mark of incorruptible beauty. I’m learning, however, that there is a time to welcome the flame, to look around at the injustice, at the condition of the world, and let my hair and my heart catch fire. This is not in the pursuit of my own tiny kingdom, but in the realization that my prayers and my actions can make a difference in THE Kingdom of God.

Ignited by the Spirit, my heart opens to the acceptance of inconvenience: carrying the pain of a sister on the other side of the world. The measure of my love is the measure of my willingness to be disturbed. Your pain in my heart means that I throw my categories out the window.

The Apostle Paul wrote about “the communion of the body of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:16)

It’s a unity built around death and sacrifice, blood and suffering.

The result? Burdens are lifted, shame is burned away, and a shared passion grows that strives for wholeness and healing in a broken world of pain.



  • Who or what sets your hair on fire?
  • Who reminds you to get out of your small world? How do you keep it front and center?