The Mohawk Diaries: On Making People Feel Welcome

I wasn’t prepared to learn so many lessons when my husband donned a 9-inch multicolored spike mohawk for two weeks last month. The story itself is a heartwarming one. My husband Judd and his co-workers formed a Relay for Life team for one of the women, who was suffering with breast cancer. While musing about how they could raise money to help her and her family, they hatched a plan. Judd would grow his hair out for several months. Then they would place three jars, each with a different wild hairstyle, in the school hallway. Whichever style received the most money in donations would grace his head for a two-week stint. The options were cornrows, slick bald head, or multi-colored spike mohawk.

The school children dropped spare change – and dollars – in the buckets for two weeks. Each time he announced, “The cornrows are catching up to the mohawk,” the kids would scour their pockets and beg their parents for more to add to the mohawk jar.

So,at the end of the two weeks, my husband looked like this:

spike liberty mohawk

While the focus of the ordeal was to bless our friend with cancer, we learned many lessons during the two mohawked weeks.

I have to admit that I liked it better than the long hair he’d been growing for 9 months.  You should have seen the first time we walked into our small town Walmart as a family with this hair! Children squealed, people snapped iPhone photos, some smiled widely while others quickly changed aisles.

Going to Church with a Mohawk

Another admission: I was very curious about what it would be like for Judd to show up at church looking like he did.  Sadly, I didn’t get to go that day, but Judd told me all about it. I was blown away by the revelation God had given that morning.

During a prayer time, the elders of the curch went to stand in the front so that people could come up for prayer. One of the elders later told Judd he hadn’t even recognized him from far away, but he’d been eyeing him from afar.

The question that rolled over and over in this elder’s mind was, “How can I make this different-looking person feel welcome here?” I just love that the first thought for one of our elders is how to show God’s grace and welcome someone into the body of Christ.

Next, he said something so profound. Why do we only go out of our way like this for people that look different? Why don’t we immediately start thinking about ways to make mainstream-looking people feel just as grace-covered and welcomed?

It’s been going through my mind since the beginning, and I think God is trying to impress it upon me. (Ya think?) Anyway…

You never know the story someone is holding behind his or her outward appearance.

Nope, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Go out of your way to shower grace and love on the guy with the tattoos all over his head. Smile at the girl with the pierced eyebrows. Shake hands with the guy with the crazy mowhawk. Hug the brown-black-red-yellow-white-skinned person. Pray for that lady with the pretty blonde hair who always looks put-together. Get to know the one you’re jealous of. Did that last one hit a nerve?

But never… never… assume you know the whole story.

There are so many more lessons we learned. I hope to share them here, so I hope you’ll come back.

Tell me, do you have any stories to share?