“What am I here for?” - Hairstylist Michele Van Fossen
Hairstylist Michele Van Fossen sees her calling as coming alongside clients whatever they're going through in their lives.
“I’m wanting to love them for who they are, where they are, in that moment, whatever that looks like. That is the person I’ve been entrusted with … and I’m called to do something for that person … ” —Michele Van Fossen
Michele Van Fossen is not a counselor, a therapist, a pastor, or a priest. Not in the traditional sense of those words. Michele is a hairstylist, and she sees her everyday job as a vehicle for healing the people who sit in her chair.
Pastors don’t have a monopoly on ministry. Whatever you do, wherever your work takes you, God has uniquely equipped you to serve and to meet people at their point of need. Through your work, God has the power to redeem broken hearts and hopeless situations. You’re probably a lot like Michele. You can probably tell your own story of the sacredness of your work, and the miraculous ways God transforms the ordinary interactions of your day.
These moments of healing and hope that evolve through the course of any regular day? They are no coincidence. We partner with God as we put our hand to the plow—cultivating the ground beneath our feet, literally and figuratively. We carry the image of the Almighty God with us. When we surrender the work of our hands to his miraculous care, God breaks through, changing us and those we serve, forever, and for good.
I’m wanting to love them for who they are, where they are, in that moment, whatever that looks like. That is the person that I’ve been entrusted with for that half hour to four hours. I’m called to do something for that person in that time.
I had a brand new client sit in my chair and the second time I cut his hair divulged a drinking problem he has. I didn’t know this guy for more than 40 minutes. And wow. But it’s interesting who God put in my chair because I have a history of that. So I didn’t need to say anything. I just listened. And over the course of our relationship, over the following years, he would ask the question: “It was so hard. How did you do this?” During a haircut. I mean, it’s a haircut!
When people get real – and that’s another thing people tend to do in my chair, they tend to get real pretty quick, which I love – it enables me to further come along side of them. And that might be what I’m supposed to be here for. And that’s good enough.
So many people that sit in my chair are going through so many things in life. It’s said that we’re told more than most bartenders. So part hairdresser, part therapist, part counselor, and I take that part pretty seriously.
I like it when people leave feeling better than when they came in. And if they like their hair on top of it, it’s kind of a good thing.