Last Sunday our church held a service outside in the park. It was a wonderful, cool morning with our church family gathered around the table. In his sermon, Jed talked about wearing masks. How appropriate for the morning after Halloween! The reality is, however, most of us do wear masks outside of our homes. Be it fear or perhaps pride, we are careful to not let others in and see what is really going on. We put on a mask and pretend that we have it all together, that all is well. But at what cost?
I was reminded of a time when I first moved to Texas many years ago. My husband Rick and I had found a church we loved and started attending services. Shortly after, I was invited to attend a women’s Bible study. I wanted to go but was full of fear. For some reason, I had it in my mind that Christians had it all together and lived “perfect” lives. What if these Christian women knew what really went on at home–that Rick and I struggled in our marriage? What if they found out that I was a recovering alcoholic? What if they knew that I did not have it all together? For a long time I felt as though I had to be someone I was not. I wore a mask and, honestly, it was exhausting.
God is so good, and looking back I can see his hand drawing me to that Bible study group. Within that group I found women who were real. They talked about their struggles and their fears. They talked about reliance on Jesus and his provision. When I finally felt a sense of trust, thanks be to God, I opened up about my past and what was going on in my life. Do you know what happened? This wonderful group loved me for who I was. They prayed for me and my family. I could be real with them and it brought such a sense of freedom and peace even in a time of turmoil. That wonderful group had a huge impact on my life and taught me about the kind of person I wanted to be.
I have an amazing testimony of what God has done in my life, but I would not be where I am today if I continued to wear a mask. It not only prevented others from getting to know me, it prevented God from having an intimate relationship with me and doing the work he needed to do in me, including transformation and healing. Taking off that mask was very humbling and it made me feel vulnerable. It was not easy to do and even today, every now and again, I pull it back out. But God is there and whether it be through other’s words or those Godly nudges, he reminds me that I need to take it off and be the real woman he created me to be. Reliance must be on him, not me behind a mask.
Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6, “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I pray that you will find Restoration Church to be the kind of home and family where you are loved unconditionally–no mask required.