AgapeLady’s Blog

January 28, 2009

Unmasked to Love

Filed under: Encouragement,God's Love,Love,Religion,Uncategorized — agapelady @ 2:58 AM

A divorce in a marriage that seemed so good from the outside… the suicide of someone you thought was happy… the sins of someone you considered “spiritual”… many people hide their secrets to the point of giving up or being alone in their pain. But God’s intention is that we know He is with us and need never be alone. That’s why we celebrate “Emmanuel” (“God with us”) at Christmas – and why He promises never to leave or forsake us (Heb 13:5). Our Creator knows that love and acceptance may be critical to our perseverance.

There are times when we falter… when life deals a hard blow that leaves us trembling and unsure of God’s presence. Many of us hide these feelings due to a fear that we won’t be liked or that someone will think less of us if we confess our secrets and/or problems. However, God tells us, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” I John 4:18

Consider the typical responses when someone shares a “secret”: 1) judgment, 2) recognition of a “problem,” or 3) efforts to change or “fix” the situation. Granted, these responses may be warranted at times, but I believe God calls us – first and foremost – to love as He does. If people refuse to share a problem because they’re fearful of losing love, then how can there be forgiveness and healing? How can we ever feel safe enough to share our darkest secrets? How can we – when our own pain is too great – go to the Father and seek the help we so desperately need? I believe it comes first from encountering the kind of love that makes us vulnerable enough to remove our own masks without “punishment”… the kind of love that offers to carry another’s burdens to the Lord in prayer.

Becoming Real

In the story of “The Velveteen Rabbit,” a young boy’s love for his stuffed rabbit makes him become “real.” In my own life, the same has been true in my relationship with God. As I began to see that my Heavenly Father loves me – even me – I found great healing. I didn’t have to do or be anything! God – the Creator of the Universe – loved me enough to send His only Son to die for me (John 3:16)! Furthermore, He promised that nothing can separate me from that love (Romans 8:35). That knowledge has given me the freedom to become the person God created me to be. His love makes me “real” and helps me take off the mask and be unafraid of sharing who I really am… even if it hurts.

Unmasking

I confess: I’m a struggling sinner doing what I can in this life to rely on the Savior I know and love. I often fail miserably. The more I grow in faith, the more I see the need for change in my life… and yet God loves me just as I am… not for what I’ve done or will do, but as I am.

Some of the most difficult times in my life have been when I have been unable to share my struggles. When faced with spiritual crises in my life, I felt more alone than ever. When I longed for God “with skin on” through the church, I seemed to keep Him at a distance. Through a rape and abuse, a divorce and various struggles with sin, I was sure no one would understand or love me if they knew. Still, God tells us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16) for a reason – so that others can help carry these burdens (Gal. 6:2). We don’t have to know the answers or judge the situation. We can simply love those who are struggling because “love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8 This is the deepest kind of soul care we can provide for one another.

I believe God tells us to confess our sins to Him not because He doesn’t know them already, but because He wants to help us learn the safety of His love. As we practice becoming more “real” with Him, we learn that we can be “real” with others too. So we can take off the mask (wasn’t it getting uncomfortable anyway?) and feel the touch of someone’s hand on our face… or a hug that says, “It’s okay. I love you anyway. Let’s wait to see what God is doing… together. In the meantime, lean on me, friend, and I will lean on you.”

It starts with God’s love… and ends in taking off the masks and becoming real with God and others. We all need to hear the words “I love you.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the love that God extends through you making someone else become more “real”? That’s my goal every single day.

Much love & blessings,

AgapeLady

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9 Comments »

  1. Beautifully written. And thank you for unmasking yourself for this post.

    I was involved in a house church until 2000 where the pastor was very judgmental. I never felt comfortable sharing my struggles with him. This affected my relationship with God because I felt if I couldn’t share my struggles with my human pastor then how could I share them with Almighty God? I was wrong of course.

    Now I go to a loving church where I feel comfortable sharing my struggles.

    Comment by Jason Mitchener — January 28, 2009 @ 5:00 AM | Reply

  2. You have no idea how this post spoke to my heart and soul today. During these past 24 hours I have been experiencing a lot of fear and feeling separate from the Love; feeling unworthy of Grace and Love and abundance which of course is our inheritance. You so poignantly expressed God’s Love and safety. Thank you for sharing – what a blessing to know you and we all help each other to heal and feel God’s love through each other. May you be blessed with peace and healing. Thank you again and thanks for sending me the DM to let me know about this post.

    Comment by Mary McManus — January 28, 2009 @ 5:20 AM | Reply

  3. Very well written. I van see you put a lot of effort into this, and articulated yourself extremely well. Spreading love is such an admirable goal, and you do it very well!

    Comment by Bud Gallant — January 28, 2009 @ 9:03 AM | Reply

  4. Oops. I meant “can see”. Sorry for the typo. I am looking forward to more posts.

    Comment by Bud Gallant — January 28, 2009 @ 9:04 AM | Reply

  5. You packed so many truths into this one piece, I hardly know where to start. The older I get and the more mature I become in my faith, the more I learn that as we strive to obey Jesus, He shapes us for a multitude of ministries. They don’t have to involve some structured program, but merely using the gifts and talents God gives us as we go about our day to day living.

    Our past hurts are part of that shaping. God can take something bad that happened to us and use it to His glory by working through us as we share what we learned and how we gained victory through or over it.

    So well written. Thanks for inviting me to read it.

    Comment by deb burton — January 28, 2009 @ 9:31 AM | Reply

  6. The Velveteen Rabbit is one of my all-time favorite stories. As I get older, it seems easier to become “real”. I knew the image I wanted to project when I was younger, but as I age, I realize that WYSIWYG works well in life. Thanks for sharing this post! I appreciate reading you on twitter and this doubles the blessing! 🙂

    Comment by deni — January 28, 2009 @ 11:41 AM | Reply

  7. LOVE IT!! wow ..i feel even safer coming to you!! IF that is possible cause I already felt that way!!

    Thank you for being so transparent …..wow, that takes a lot of courage and show strength!!

    You said so much I could not put into words myself, but SO agree.
    thanks for this!! and for YOU!!

    love to you
    sue : )

    Comment by sue — January 28, 2009 @ 1:51 PM | Reply

  8. Oh goodness darlin…I KNEW the words would start flowing out of you once you gave yourself permission to share your amazing heart and love with all who cross your path. It takes a lot of courage to take off our masks and let the world see us …warts and all. And in my experience, that is one of the most freeing experiences we can have. You have been such a gift in my life…and light to follow and experience and learn from.

    I can’t begin to share in words how much joy it brings to see you living the core passion and light that is the AgapeLady.

    You ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    love and light, hugs and blessings
    MamaRed

    Comment by MamaRed (Jerilynne) — January 28, 2009 @ 7:17 PM | Reply

  9. Beautiful! Thank you for inspiring us to live authentic lives. God truly loves us as we are!

    Comment by Dr. Carolyn Clansy Miller — February 4, 2009 @ 6:40 AM | Reply


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