My stomach was churning with nervous butterflies as I ran off the last few outlines needed for my class. I was getting ready to facilitate a group of women down a road of complete uncertainty as they began the task of tackling their past. I had traveled this road myself, and it was one which carried plenty of pain and tears, but the final destination held an abundance of healing. This length of the road for me was extremely winding and encompassed many years of unearthed memories which had to be deconstructed and worked through in a way which shed some light of hope on my future as a woman, wife, mother and ultimately a child of God.
Each person’s story is different, and each road takes its own path. For years, I had no memories, just a blank, empty canvas. I was puzzled as to why I could not pinpoint simple memories such as holiday celebrations, birthdays or school events. Later, I would learn that in the process of blocking out traumatic memories for the sake of self protection, one often loses the ability to recall common memories also. It was in the midst of becoming a mother for the third time to a beautiful daughter that an ocean of memories baragged my mind, and my past came storming full force. The task of plowing through the memories was both painful and emotionally exhausting. There were many times when I gave up and withdrew, scared, defeated and hopeless. It was simply easier to put on my mask and pretend….pretend I was like everyone else….pretend I was normal….pretend I could ignore it all and move on to create a new path all by myself.
For a long time, wearing my mask was the path of least resistance for my soul. It was forged so beautifully to keep secrets properly tucked away from anyone who got too close. And it even came with internal messages which I later realized were lies spun by my wounded heart in an attempt to protect myself from further hurt. Messages like…It was all your fault!….What will people think?……You are weak!……No one will love you if they know!…..It’s better to keep hiding!
As long as I wore my mask, I thought I was protecting myself; yet in reality, I was only protecting the past and as a result, I was completely unable to see my future for what it really was; full of hope, pleasant places and a delightful inheritance. In an effort to try and control my future and not repeat past harmful dynamics for my own children, I was not allowing God into the hidden places of my heart so He could soothe and heal my wounds with His unconditional love and acceptance. Pride, shame, distrust and blame kept my mask firmly fixed but beneath, my heart was screaming to be made whole.
Help and healing did not begin until I was willing to yield and allow God to help me sift through those moments which held pain. As I did, he poured his love through the tears, sent people to help me discern truth, release and forgive. Slowly, over a period of time, the stubborn, destructive mask was chipped away.
Do you find yourself wearing the same mask? Are you ready to take it off and allow God access to the most vulnerable parts of your heart? Removing the mask on our past is crucial if we are to move forward to a joyful and hopeful future. Although the road can be long and tedious and often requires guidance and insight from others, the rewards are incredibly healing.
- By exposing the past, we break any hold it has on our present and our future.
- When brought into light, the lies are exposed as God speaks His truth into our hearts.
- The truth allows us to forgive and be forgiven so we can move forward.
- History stands less of a chance of repeating itself in our lives.
- Pride and control give way to trust and the ability to see the good in life.
- Shame is released, and is replaced with peace and a confidence in our future.
- Our pain and road to healing can be used to comfort others.
Through the years, I have met women who have been in the same situation. Some have made poor choices which have hurt themselves and others. Others had no choice, and hurt was brought upon them by others. Either way, the choice to wear the mask was theirs, and the price for wearing such a destructive mask is far too high. God desires to shed light on the darkness of our past so it can be released to make way for the plans He has for us. Trusting Him enough to hand Him our mask is the only way to peace and healing. Believing that God has a delightful inheritance for us apart from our past offers the freedom to give up control and let Him be the builder of our future. What our past destroyed, God can and will rebuild!
“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5,6
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm….” Joel 2: 25